It’s Night Market Season in San Francisco. Here Are 5 of the Best.

When the lights go down in the city, it’s time for a street party

June 11, 2024 6:06 am
a man playing a giant drum outside with tassels hanging from it
A drummer at Bhangra & Beats Night Market
Odell Hussey

San Francisco is deep into a night market renaissance. The trend kicked off in earnest last year when thousands descended on events like the Chinatown Night Market and the Undiscovered SF Filipino Block Party (coming to SoMa later in the year). Now, nearly every week, you can find an event that beckons with live music, stellar food and intriguing opportunities for fun. We’re highlighting five evening events that are especially popular during summer when the longer days and cool nights provide ideal opportunities to explore.

The March installment of the (now monthly) Chinatown Night Market, featuring a Chinatown adorned with paper lanterns and rife with dragons
The March installment of the (now monthly) Chinatown Night Market, featuring a Chinatown adorned with paper lanterns and rife with dragons
Civic Joy Fund

Chinatown Night Market

Modeled after markets in Asia, last year’s inaugural event was such a hit that organizers decided to make it a regular thing. Now, the Chinatown Night Market happens every second Friday of the month, beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Grant Street. Local vendors line the street under swaying red lanterns, selling a variety of delicacies and treats, from dim sum and sushi to milk tea and pastries. As you browse, listen for the clang of symbols and thundering drums as festive dragon and lion dancers sweep through the market. Many of the historic stores in Chinatown stay open late for the event.

Every second Friday, 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Grant Ave. from Sacramento St. to Jackson St. Free

The packed streets of San Francisco's Financial District during May's Bhangra & Beats
The packed streets of San Francisco’s Financial District during May’s Bhangra & Beats
Odell Hussey

Bhangra & Beats Night Market

With DJs, dancing and drum collectives tearing up the streets, Bhangra & Beats never fails to draw a crowd. The night market began in the Financial District last year to celebrate South Asian Bhangra music, blending in other international dance music genres. This year, each Friday brings a theme this year: July 12 incorporates Afrobeats, and September 13 honors Latin Heritage Month. The last date, November 15, culminates with the city’s first-ever Diwali celebration. 

But it’s not all dancing — there’s food and revelry, too. Expect tasty Indian street fare, open-air bars and local merchants selling vintage clothing, jewelry and textiles. Keep the adventure going by getting an intricate mehndi tattoo and check the website for official after-parties at nearby restaurants.

July 12, September 13 and November 14 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Battery St. at Clay St. Free but RSVPs are recommended

Last year's inaugural Sunset Night Market, which drew upwards of 10,000 attendees
Last year’s inaugural Sunset Night Market, which drew upwards of 10,000 attendees
Kevin Kelleher and Emily Trinh

Sunset Night Market

Six blocks of local food, merchants, artists and performances will light up the Sunset District on Fridays once again this year, bringing life to a quieter corner of the city. Inspired by the bustling markets of Taipei, the popularity of last year’s inaugural market blew away organizers, who are feverishly working behind the scenes to bring more of everything, including doubling the size of the event. “As we saw more than 10,000 attendees last year, we want to ensure we can scale up to accommodate the demand,” said Lily Wong, the director of community engagement for Wah Mei, one of the organizers. Though the dates have not yet been set, you can expect a late summer or early fall start.

Fridays, Irving St. Free

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First Thursday Art Walk

Local artists, creatives and performers are venerated at this monthly self-guided walking tour of the galleries in the Tenderloin and Lower Polk neighborhoods. Explore new artistic works while taking in occasional live music, sipping cocktails at openings and experiencing spontaneous performances or whatever intriguing event pops up along the route. This year, the Art Walk (which is organized by Moth Belly Gallery) gets a little spring in its step, thanks to a small grant from the city, which means more collaborations and more art each month. Bookshops, restaurants and other stores along the route often stay open later during the walks.

Every first Thursday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Free

The Midnight Rollers Friday Night Skate

Join a warm-up at Embarcadero Plaza, then cruise along the shoreline and watch the sun dropping toward the horizon as the sky turns dark. While not exactly a night market, we’ll bend the rules for the famous Midnight Rollers Friday Night Skate, a unique way to enjoy the city. Welcoming both inline skaters and classic rollers, the group gathers every Friday night to skate the mean streets of Sam Fran, meeting at the Plaza across from the Ferry Building. The loop route passes by the Palace of Fine Arts and Victorian homes of Union Street before heading through the Broadway Tunnel toward Union Square and back to the Ferry Building. Described as a “12-mile skate tour/party through the City” on its website, this event is not for the timid, but there’s a beginner skate event every Thursday that is shorter and mostly flat.

Every Friday, 8:30 p.m. Ferry Building Plaza at the foot of Market St. at the Embarcadero. Free


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