Most people think of the Bay Area as a summer destination, and while it’s true that few things are quite as quintessentially Bay Area as summer in the city, spring has a unique charm of its own. Not only will you beat the seasonal tourist crowds, but you’ll also see a side of San Francisco most tourists aren’t lucky enough to experience. Here’s what you need to know about Bay Area things to do in spring and why you should be there.
San Francisco St. Patrick’s Day Parade
San Francisco goes all out for parades, and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade is no exception. More than one hundred creative and colorful floats interspersed with Irish dance groups and marching bands wind their way through the city streets toward their final destination at the San Francisco Civic Center. The fun doesn’t stop when the parade participants reach their destination — the parade transitions into an all-ages street festival featuring music, food vendors, beer, and Irish coffee. The parade and festival always occur on the weekend following St. Patrick’s Day.
Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival
The Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival is the West Coasts’s biggest cherry blossom festival and one of the region’s largest and oldest celebrations of Japanese culture. The festival takes place during the month of April over the course of two weekends. Attendees experience authentic Japanese cuisine, live music, and vibrant cultural performances that include traditional Japanese music and dance.
Macy’s Flower Show
Most people have undoubtedly heard the iconic song about making sure to wear flowers in your hair if you come to San Francisco. The Macy’s Flower Shower dials that sentiment up several hundred notches during two weeks in late March and early April when flowers literally cover historic Union Square. The fabulous floral displays are accompanied by culinary demonstrations, live music, fashion shows, and floral design workshops.
San Francisco International Film Festival
Founded in 1957, the San Francisco International Film Festival is the longest-run festival of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. features hundreds of films from over 50 countries, with an emphasis on international films not yet distributed in the American market. The festival takes place in April and is attended by film aficionados from all across the globe. Attendees can also enjoy live performances and artist talks.
Carnaval San Francisco
Held during the last weekend in May in San Francisco’s iconic Mission District, Carnaval San Francisco says goodbye to spring and hello to summer in true San Francisco street fair style. Festivities kick off with a parade and shift into street festival mode once the parade has run its course. As the West Coast’s largest multicultural celebration, Carnaval San Franciso features a wide range of international street food, live music and theater performances, arts and crafts activities vendor booths, and children’s programs. Fabulous costumes are everywhere, and each street corner features unique performances and demonstrations.
As an added bonus, San Francisco is within easy driving distance from Northern California’s wildly beautiful Lost Coast, which is a perfect day trip option for those seeking to recharge their batteries after getting their fill of urban activity. Rocky shorelines, colossal coastal redwoods, sweeping oak savannahs, and forested mountains shrouded in mystic fog are all part of the Lost Coast experience. nearby Napa valley is another option for those looking for fun and relaxing day trip options during their visit to the Bay Area.
Please feel free to contact our San Francisco conference center for more information on the best things to do in the Bay Area no matter what time of year you plan on visiting.