12 things you pretty much have to do in SF this Summer

San Francisco

12 things you pretty much have to do in SF this Summer
12 things you pretty much have to do in SF this Summer

Flickr/William Warby
Flickr/William Warby

Summer's just around the corner, and even though that might not mean the same thing for us as the rest of California *shakes fist at LA*, we still have a ton of fun stuff coming up, which we've sifted through to come up with 12 absolute-must-attend Summer events in SF. (Did we mention we've got two VIP tickets worth $200 apiece to give away, too? Cause we totally do.)

What: Be a kid again with Undercover Capture The Flag
When: June 1st
Where: Jessie St Alley
Get a group of friends together, get tickets, and join up with this fun, grown-up rendition of the game you played as a kid. The whole group'll split into two teams and try to discreetly play capture the flag throughout the city, but be advised: this is serious stuff*; they even recommend disguises to fool the other team (*no, it's not).


What: Drink specials all day, erry day during Negroni Week
When: June 2nd-8th
Where: ALL of the bars
Get in on Campari's Negroni Week, wherein a whole bunch of bars will be doing their takes on the classic cocktail and donating a portion of the proceeds to charity.

Aquarium of the Bay

What: Party underwater at Aquapalooza
When: June 4th
Where: Aquarium of the Bay
Finally, a decent reason to go to Fisherman's Wharf (other than In-N-Out)! The Aquarium of the Bay is hosting this after-hours, 21+ party, where you'll get two drink tickets, food, a silent disco in the shark-infested tunnel exhibit, and a full bar catered by Tonic. Get your tickets, dude.


What: Drink on the street! Union Street, that is.
When: June 7-8th
Where: Union St
Hit up the 38th annual, six blocks-deep Union Street Festival, which has free entrance. But if you want unlimited beer tastings (hahahaha "if". We kid, we kid.), you should grab your tickets here, because they're cheaper than in person.

Cultivate Festival

What: Get your food party on at Cultivate Festival
When: June 7th
Where: Golden Gate Park
Drop in on Chipotle's Cultivate Festival in GGP (fo' free-zies!) with live music, demos by celebrity chefs, food from Chipotle (including their not-available-outside-Washington DC Asian spot Shophouse), plus even more food from locals like 4505 Meats, Radius, and Three Babes Bakeshop.

The Armory

What: Party in the otherwise-not-party-able Armory
When: June 13th
Where: The Armory
Grab your tickets for Reason to Party: Pas de Deux, where they'll have several different DJ sets, professional dancers, and most importantly, hosted drinks, so you'll have a pleasant buzz while hanging out in the Kink p*rn studios. Oh right, we also scored two VIP tickets for a lucky reader and a friend, and all you have to do is Tweet THIS to enter!

What: BYOB to a midnight Jumanji showing
When: June 14th
Where: Clay Theater
Enjoy this childhood favorite the way it was meant to be, with forties you brought from the corner store. The pre-party begins at Thai Stick at 10pm, and the movie starts at midnight sharp, where concessions will be served and safari costumes are encouraged. Get on it

What: Go on all the bar crawls with Crawl SF
When: June 21st - August 23rd
Where: Bars (duh)
Hit up this site for a season pass (or individual passes, if for some reason you're too cool for multiple bar crawls), which'll get you in on all the Summer events the guys at Crawl SF have going on, including an Independence Day pub-er and a hot dog eating contest that can only end one way: awesomely. AMERICA!!

What: Kick off Pride and celebrate SF's birthday AT THE SAME TIME at The Big Gay Birthday Party
When: June 27th
Where: Mezzanine
On the eve of Pride weekend in SF, get all your celebrating out in one place at this Bold Italic party, which'll also ring in SF's 238th birthday. Expect DJs, drag performances, a lip-syncing contest, and a bunch of other surprises to get you ready for the weekend ahead.

flickr/Ethan Bloch

What: Film Night In The Park
When: June 14th - September 27th
Where: Dolores Park, Union Square, Washington Square Park
First Ghostbusters in Dolores Park on June 14th, then Frozen (!!!!!) July 12th in Union Square -- basically, this lineup is gonna require at least one blanket-equipped outing. Get there early for sure. We would tell you to bring a coat, but the cold never bothered you anyway.

What: Get your free outdoor concert on at Stern Grove
When: June - August
Where: Stern Grove
Check out the just-released schedule (which includes Rufus Wainwright, Smokey Robinson, and the SF Symphony), pack a BYOB picnic, and get ready to get shinsplints as you descend down the winding road into the acoustically perfect Concert Meadow.

What: Eat and drink at... Eat Drink SF
When: August 1st-3rd
Where: Various Spots
The epic food fest formerly known as SF Chefs is back with a new name and just-as-delicious food and drink samplings, which you can get your hands on at a bunch of events all over the city, featuring chefs and bartenders from basically any good/great/Michelin-starred restaurant in the 7x7.

Joe Starkey is Thrillist's San Francisco Editor and may or may not be at all of these events. Come say "hi" if you see him (don't actually though, we hear he's super weird). Follow him on Twitter instead.

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1. Aquarium of the Bay Pier 39, San Francisco, CA 94133 (Fishermans Wharf)

Get a look at the deep sea at this aquarium via walk through tunnels were octopuses, bat rays and sharks swim over head as well as touch pools to get a feel of some of the creatures. While it's not the biggest aquarium out there, with some rare animals like three 40 pound octopuses from the deep end, it'll certainly leave you satiated.

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2. Golden Gate Park 501 Stanyan St, San Francisco, CA 94117 (Golden Gate Park)

Over 1,000 acres with a Conservatory of Flowers, Japanese Tea Gardens, dog parks and museums guarantees that you could spend all day here at this urban parks. And if you're one of many just hoping to relax, bring your hamburgers and hot dogs to grill out on one of their many BBQ grills.

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3. The Armory Club 1799 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94103 (The Mission)

From the people behind Kink.com (Warning: not a website about your neck after sleeping on the sofa), AC's chock-full of surprisingly not-x-rated, actually high-class decor: there's an ornate metal-worked ceiling, Victorian-y wallpaper, an electric fireplace within a fireplace, and framed flatscreens depicting everything from a hanging chain to a woman in full-body latex and a gas mask because... oh, yeah, this is run by a p*rn site.

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4. Clay Theatre 2261 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115 (Pacific Heights)

Think of this like a mom-and-pop of movie viewing experiences. When you head to this theatre you're not going to get lost trying to find which screen your movie is playing on and you're definitely not going to have too many options to choose from as there's only one screen.

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5. Mission Dolores Park Dolores St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (The Mission)

Dolores Park in The Mission is home to a ton of hipster-esque commodities. From an Easter Hunky Jesus party to different sections of the park producing extremely different clientele, there's seriously never a dull moment. Also, the food surrounding the park is some of the best in the entire city.

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6. Union Square Union Square Park, San Francisco, CA 94108 (Union Square)

Home to beautiful shops, the W Hotel with the famed Clock Bar inside, a heart sculpture that gets more international action than any other spot in SF, and floods of tourists, Union Square is the spot to be when visiting from out of town. In the Winter, the plaza turns into an ice skating haven.

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7. Washington Square Park Washington Square, San Francisco, CA 94133 (North Beach)

If you're grabbing lunch at one of the many sidewalk cafes that are on its periphery, get it to go and lay out here, at one of the city's first parks. when night falls and the lights turn on at Saint Peter and Paul's church, we're sure you'll have another #nofilter Instagram to post.

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8. Sigmund Stern Grove 2750 19th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94132 (Parkmerced)

Stern Grove, home to some of the best musical guests every Summer in SF, is a little venue within the city that's pretty magical. The SG Festival is free every single year, so be sure to head there with some cheap brews and delicious grub.

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9. Thai Stick 925 O'Farrell St, San Francisco, CA 94109 (Pacific Heights)

This Thai joint is one of many chains around the city, but its superb noodles, curries, and meat dishes are something to head in for repeatedly.

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10. Mezzanine 444 Jessie St, San Francisco, CA 94103 (Soma)

SoMa’s Mezzanine is the premier spot for dancey DJ sets and late-night dance parties. Stocked with a full bar, disco ball, and fog machine, Mezzanine is a popular venue to catch local talents, as well as gigs from national names like Big Freedia, Mos Def, and many more. Be sure to check its calendar, AND check the dress code before heading over!