But also better things. Like: unlimited pours from the best purveyors of drinks from across the Bay Area. Or happy hour with the city’s best designers. Or an audience with some spectacularly attractive Nordic Noir writers.
Festivals make summer awesome. But they require some planning if you don’t want to miss the boat.
Which is why we’ve got it all — music in the streets, drinking in the daytime, and a glutton’s favorite S.F. feast — in our guide to the city's don’t-miss summer fests.
For the reformed day drinker who likes the smell of exercise early in the morning: Bay to Breakers
Who doesn’t love Bay to Breakers? Or even the Zappos.com Bay to Breakers? It’s a 12-kilometer race, a slow-moving parade and now on the wagon. (As to why the famously wet race is now (at least officially) dry: the 2010 “tipping point” edition, at which “26 people were taken to the hospital for alcohol poisoning and neighbors had to cope with revelers vomiting or urinating in their front yards.” Regardless of Sunday-morning intoxication levels, it’s our favorite municipal event of the year. If you’re not running, get to clapping. (May 15)
For design fans who like a bit of meet-and-greet: San Francisco Design Week
Get tickets now for the week’s events, which span from San Jose to Oakland and include innumerable happy hours with design firms and tech startups, “meet the makers” mixers, 826 Valencia fundraisers and the we’re-definitely-going-to-this 30 Years of Woodworking with master craftsman David Welter. Just pick out your favorite black-rim glasses and skinniest darkest jeans, and they’ll let you in anywhere. (June 2-9)
For ambitious eaters not opposed to some light gluttony : Eat Drink SF
Put this on your calendar, people: tickets go on sale May 9. As this is a city that rewards planners — witness the quick-as-lightning sell-outs on our top music festivals, Outside Lands and its warmer, inland alternative, BottleRock — you want to be on top of this, lest you miss out on the nightly grand tastings: One ticket buys you access to a smorgasbord of bites, unlimited pours and firsthand access to our local talent. Not to be missed. (August 25-28)
For jazz lovers who also love America: Fillmore Jazz Fest
Do you love jazz? Do you love listening to jazz in the street? Expect to start your day early — 10:30 — during the two-day festival that leads quite nicely into our Fourth of July Monday. It’s all pleasingly low-key; by the time it rolls up, Sunday evening, with Soul Power’s tribute to Earth, Wind & Fire, nobody will want the music to stop. (July 2-3)
For anyone who loves a beautifully constructed sentence: Bay Area Book Festival
There are some big, big names showing up for the Bay Area Book Festival this June, including but not limited to: Richard Russo, Jonathan Lethem, two key Daniels (Clowes and Handler), Rebecca Solnit and Sherman Alexie. Spoken word legend Saul Williams will commandeer the main stage for two new works; also keep an eye out for a number of pleasingly statuesque Swedish noir writers — they’ll be the ones who look like models from a Volvo campaign. (Officially June 4 and 5, though note Williams performs June 2)
This is the first installment of 37 Things a Man's Gotta Do This Summer, our annual compendium of everything worth seeing, doing, eating, drinking and generally making time for in your neck of the woods between now and September