Oaktoberfest in the Dimond is a family-friendly festival with German food & music, a kids’ area and root beer garden, a beer garden featuring 50 microbreweries and wineries, and an eco fair at Fruitvale Avenue & MacArthur Boulevard. Free admission.
Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon follows a relatively flat course, with live bands on the way, and a free two-day health & fitness expo. Events include a kids’ run, 5K, 10K, and half marathon.
Oct. 3 - 5K & kids’ events
Oct. 4 - 10K & half marathon
October 3 - 24, 2020
(begins Sept. 19)
92 miles SE
Watch knights joust on noble steeds, mingle with costumed minstrels and troubadours, shop at 200 artisan and food-purveyor stalls, and see children delight in games and activities at Northern California Renaissance Faire in Hollister. Children age 12 and younger are free. Every weekend has a theme.
Free music festival
October 4, 2020
0.1 miles west
SF Music Day features 32 diverse ensembles performing short sets of chamber music, jazz, and contemporary works on four stages in the ornate War Memorial Veterans Building. Free.
Castro Street Fair
October 4, 2020
1.6 miles SW
Castro Street Fair features local artists, vendors, craftspeople, LGBT organizations, live music, and dancers at Castro & Market Streets. Donation.
October 4 - 13, 2020
2.5 miles north
The schedule for Fleet Week includes concerts, tours of Navy ships, a parade of ships under the Golden Gate Bridge, air shows with the Blue Angels, and military dogs. Also consider the Fleet Week Celebration events at Pier 39. Free.
October 8 - 17, 2020
San Francisco & Oakland
Book lovers unite at Litquake, a giant independent literary festival with cutting-edge panel discussions, hundreds of mostly free author readings, parties, and a Lit Crawl in local bars.
See dozens of music, dance, and art performances at Yerba Buena Night, located at Jessie Square. Free.
Car show in Alameda
October 10, 2020
15.3 miles east
See 400 classic vehicles lined up along Park Street in Alameda during the Classic Car Show (vintage coupes, antique roadsters, hot rods, and muscle cars). DJs will be playing oldies from the ‘50s and the ‘60s. Added in 2019 is a section for electric vehicles. Free.
Bike & beer festival
October 10, 2020
20 miles north
See handmade bikes, visit 50 exhibitors, take a bike ride, buy a ticket to taste 35 hand-crafted beers, and hear live music at Biketoberfest in Fairfax. Free.
October 10, 2020
32.1 miles south
Day of the Horse has a free fair with live music, food, exhibits, pony rides, and stagecoach rides on Sunday in the small town of Woodside. The ticketed trail ride, costume contest, and after party is Saturday. A reception and art show is Friday.
Art fair in Livermore
October 10, 2020
44 miles SE
Browse artwork by 200 artists outdoors and in shops, hear music in the park and plaza, and check out family activities at ArtWalk Livermore. Free.
Art fair in San Carlos
October 10 - 11, 2020
28.5 miles south
San Carlos Art & Wine Faire features 250 art and craft booths, two stages of entertainment, food vendors, wine, beer, a two-day car show, and a family zone at San Carlos Avenue & Laurel Street. No pets. Free.
Expect crowds at Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival, plus giant pumpkins, pumpkin carving, art & craft booths, four stages of entertainment, wine, beer, food vendors, and a parade (Sat. noon) on Main Street. No pets. The pumpkin weigh-off is Oct. 12, 2020. Free.
San Jose home show
October 17 - 18, 2020
48.3 miles south
See home improvement products, services, and demonstrations at the San Jose Home Show at the San Jose convention center. Held in Feb. & Oct.
October 17 - 24, 2020
2.3 miles NE
San Francisco Greek Film Festival screens 25 films about Greece and Cyprus, plus films made or directed by Greek filmmakers and filmmakers of Greek descent at Delancey Street Screening Room. English subtitles.
October 17 - 25, 2020
San Francisco locations
San Francisco Dance Film Festival (SFDFF) features local and international dance on screen at five venues around the city. The types of films include art and experimental, documentaries, family films, live performance capture, and shorts.
October 17 - 19 and 25 - 26, 2020
0.9 miles NE
The Playwrights Center of S.F. presents Best Short Plays of 2020, “a collection of nine short plays: three selected by audience vote during three preliminary rounds of readings and six chosen by the production team” at the Phoenix Theatre for age 18+.
People in the street
October 18, 2020
San Francisco neighborhoods
Walk, bike, or roller skate on a city street when most cars are banned for Sunday Streets, which are held about once a month from March to October.
Shop for beads and handmade art from 200 vendors, and choose from 50 daily workshops at Walnut Creek Bead & Design Show at the Crowne Plaza Concord. Held in March and Octobe.
1920s Halloween party
October 23 - 31, 2020
(Fri. & Sat.)
2 miles NE
Wear a 1920s style Halloween costume to The Speakeasy: All Hallows’ Eve, which has vaudeville shows, magic acts, tarot card readings, casino gaming, live music, a costume contest, and “plenty of dancing and boozing” in North Beach.
October 24, 2020
2 miles SE
The band begins playing at 12:15 p.m. outside Farley’s, the Pet Parade begins at 1 p.m. on 18th Street (from Arkansas to Texas Street), judging is at 1:30 p.m., and the band plays again at 2 p.m. Free, and you do not have to register to join the parade.
Sandcastles at the beach
October 24, 2020
5.8 miles west
See fantastic sandcastles built by competing teams of architects, designers, engineers, and students at Leap Sandcastle Classic at Ocean Beach. Limited parking. Free.
Halloween at S.F. Zoo
October 24 - 25, 2020
7.7 miles SW
Children can enjoy treats, watch animals eat pumpkins, dance to music, make crafts, see creepy bugs, walk the haunted nature trail, and join the 11 a.m. costume parade and contest during Boo at the Zoo at San Francisco Zoo.
Halloween Family Concert
October 25, 2020
30.3 miles south
Children meet musicians and learn about instruments during a tour of the orchestra, and then they hear spooky music performed by Redwood Symphony at Halloween Family Concert at Cañada College Main Theatre in Redwood City. Costumes are welcome.
October 29, 2020
3 miles west
Tour a haunted hall full of scientific curiosities, visit a haunted arcade of games, watch a drag show, join a costume contest, and order food/drinks at Creatures of the NightLife at California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park for age 21+.
Halloween in the park
October 30, 2020
5.2 miles SW
Scaregrove is a ticketed event with a costume parade, haunted house, entertainment, carnival rides, games, and food for sale at Sigmund Stern Recreation Grove.
Are You Afraid of the ‘90s Party delivers “the most gruesome and horrific songs from the most frightening decade of the 20th century, as played by the brazenly bad ass The Freshmakers” with “costume contests, drink specials, and the dirtiest dance moves of the decade” in the restaurant at PianoFight.
October 31, 2020
1.3 miles NE
Celebrate Halloween on the Nob Hill Vampire Tour of San Francisco, which includes historical facts, vampire lore, humor, and a costume contest, beginning at the corner of California & Taylor Streets.
October 31, 2020
2.1 miles NE
Take a three-hour Prohibition Halloween Party Cruise aboard San Francisco Belle, with bay views, DJ dance music, three levels of entertainment, and a cash bar, leaving Pier 3 for age 21+. Costumes are welcome.
San Jose neighborhood haunt
October 31, 2020
48 miles south
Just a normal house the rest of the year, Albertson Halloween House is a neighborhood attraction at Halloween. The theme changes each year. Free.
San Francisco Bay Area
The Arab Film Festival screens films about the beauty, complexity, and diversity of the Arab world, plus its people, culture, art, history, and politics.
Celebrate San Francisco Bay
Bay Day events include free entertainment and food trucks at The Yard SF, family activities at Jack London Square in Oakland, the Port Fest festival in Redwood City, and activities (pre-register) on Angel Island.
Celebrate local manufacturers, their products, and their people during SFMade Week with pop-up shops, factory tours, classes, and tastings.
0.4 miles north
Watch local celebrities get soaked at the $125 Pool Toss, with “fabulous food, refreshing libations, wacky entertainment, and a wet-and-wild celebrity auction pool toss” at the Phoenix Hotel for charity.
Columbus Day ball
1 mile NE
The black-tie optional Grand Ball includes a banquet, no-host cocktails, and dancing at the Westin St. Francis Hotel, organized by San Francisco Italian Heritage.
Japanese fall festival
1.1. miles NW
Celebrate autumn with Japanese drumming, dancing, singing, martial arts, taiko, flower arranging, calligraphy, and kimonos during Aki Matsuri at Japan Center. Poster. Free.
See a dozen immersive, interactive installations and performances, and attend workshops during Art+Tech Festival at GitHub.
2.3 miles north
San Francisco’s Wharf Fest has live music, street performers, and craft and food vendors on the Embarcadero (from Taylor to Powell). The chowder competition and beer/wine tasting is 12 to 3 p.m. The benefit concert with four bands is 4 to 8 p.m.
Beer party - Golden Gate Park
2.5 miles west
A ticket to Botanicals and Brews Beer Garden includes one craft beer. Hear live music (7 to 10 p.m.), visit the Conservatory of Flowers (timed entry), and hang out in the Palm Terrace beer garden (until 11 p.m.) for age 21+. Monthly from June to November.
2.6 miles NE
See and drive electric vehicles, or join a workshop about ebikes and electric scooters during EV Week at Pier 27 on the Embarcadero. Free.
Concerts in the park
3 miles west
Golden Gate Park Band plays a variety of music (classical, marches, opera, swing, and show tunes) at Spreckels Temple of Music in Golden Gate Park. Most concerts are held Sundays at 1 p.m. Free.
World Veg Festival features speakers, cooking demos, exhibitors, a children’s corner, samples, and food for sale at San Francisco County Fair Building. Children age 18 and younger are free.
3.1 miles NW
Visit an elegant private home in Presidio Heights during the Annual Home Tour of The Junior League of San Francisco, which highlights architecture, art, history, and interior design.
3.7 miles south
Fiesta on the Hill features live music, dancing in the street, street artists, kids’ activities, food vendors, and a costume parade with a marching band (noon) on Cortland Avenue in Bernal Heights. Free.
3.8 miles SE
Bring an appetite to shop from 50 local food vendors at San Francisco Street Food Festival, at The Power Station in Dogpatch. Bring cash but not pets. Children age 5 and younger are free.
9.5 miles east
Life is Living Festival has live music, theater, African dancing, dance classes, a kids’ zone, and vendors at DeFremery Park. Free.
Garden lights festival
12.3 miles east
Autumn Lights Festival features illuminated art, fire dancers, larger-than-life art installations, live music, interactive arts, and a food court in The Gardens at Lake Merritt in Oakland.
Find German food, beer, wine, arts & crafts, carnival rides, street performers, and a parade (noon Saturday) at outdoor Clayton Oktoberfest. Free entry.
Jewish film festival
Palo Alto & San Jose
Watch two dozen feature-length films “that showcase Jewish spirit, culture, traditions and humor” at the Silicon Valley Jewish Film Festival at three venues in Palo Alto and San Jose.
Day of the Dead - San Jose
47.8 miles south
Día de los Muertos Procession & Festival features a colorful parade that goes from Cityview Plaza to Martin Luther King Jr. Library Plaza. The library has elaborate altars displayed on floors 2 and 5. Free.
A professional tour guide leads you on the 1.5 to 2 hour San Francisco Ghost Hunt Walking Tour, which combines the city’s “rich haunted history with storytelling, insider gossip, and a magic twist” beginning at 1801 Bush Street.
Haunted walk - Haight
1.9 miles SW
A paranormal investigator describes local hauntings and the macabre history of the Haight-Ashbury district on the two-hour Haunted Haight Walking Tour, beginning at 1206 Masonic Avenue. Recommended for age 13+.
Haunted house - San Leandro
23 miles SE
Fear Overload Scream Park offers two haunted houses “rich with monsters and unsavory demons from the darkest depths of your fears” in San Leandro. See schedule.
Join the irreverent Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence for “a fun-filled, spooky night of dancing, pop-up drag performances, ping pong, and FUNdraising” with a costume contest, no-host bar, and food for sale at the Saints and Spinners Halloween Party at Spin.
Halloween party for families
3 miles west
A ticket to SuperNatural Halloween gets you trick-or-treating, dancing, face painting, magic shows, science, pumpkin carving, crafts, food, and drink at California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. Separate lounge for teenagers.
Free classical concert
8 miles SW
Hear two pianists “perform Halloween-themed music” at the Annual Scary Concert in the Creative Arts Building at San Francisco State University. Free.
Halloween at Oakland Zoo
19.2 miles east
Children can collect treats, watch animals eat pumpkins, dance to music, make crafts, and get a free ride ticket (if wearing a costume) during Boo at the Zoo at the Oakland Zoo.
Halloween at Six Flags
34.7 miles NE
Enjoy pumpkin painting & trick-or-treating in daylight, but beware of ghosts, ghouls, and zombies at night during Fright Fest at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo. Enjoy 6 haunted mazes, 5 scare zones, 4 shows, and many rides on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Family haunted house
37.8 miles SE
Candle Lighters Ghost House is a low-scare haunt with goblins, ghosts, witches, and warlocks in a historic carriage house, plus games, caramel apples, and a country store in Fremont. Special events include a dance party, lights on afternoon, and a kiddie costume parade & contest. Schedule.