Things to Do in San Francisco this March
Everyone loves a parade and St. Patrick’s Day in San Francisco is a showstopper. Off the Grid is returning to the Presidio and Fort Mason Center, and it is time to spring forward. Here are some ideas to make the most of the merry month of March and be sure to read our spring guide to all things San Francisco for more inspiration.
Off the Grid Returns to Fort Mason Center and the Presidio
Off the Grid is returning to Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture and the Presidio of San Francisco. From now through the end of October, every Friday, 5-10 p.m., guests should head to the Marina District for food and drink from some of the Bay Area’s favorite eateries. Beginning Sunday, March 18 through Oct. 7, every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., join San Francisco’s largest community picnic. The Presidio Picnic combines the best of the international food scene with the best of this national park. Leave the car at home and venture to the city’s most sustainable picnic on the PresidiGo shuttle.
On March 1, 2018, the Exploratorium’s Cinema Arts Program explores future and past film technologies at the “After Dark” series of adult-only evening programs. At the San Francisco Opera, see three “Opera in an Hour” favorites on March 10, 2018, starting with “The Magic Flute” at 10 a.m. Other March film fests include the 15th annual International Ocean Film Festival, March 8-11, 2018 at Fort Mason’s Cowell Theater. As ephemeral as its name, submissions are still open for the Disposable Film Festival at the Castro Theatre on March 29-April 1, 2018, where innovative stories are produced at “the intersection of art and technology.” On April 4-5, 2018 watch Tim Burton’s “Batman” on the big screen with the score performed live by the San Francisco Symphony. Don’t forget Friday nights at PIER 39, too. On April 6, they will be screening “The School of Rock” at 8 p.m. Be sure to take advantage of Movie Night discounts and download coupons from their website.
Taste Bud Ticklers
Some delectable food festivals are on the menu in March. Kids’ zone, dancing, a soul food contest, marketplace and live music are among the draws at the annual Black Cuisine Festival on March 3, 2018. Cochon555 returns to San Francisco on March 4, 2018. The all-inclusive feast hosted at AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, will feature hundred-plus prominent chefs, farmers, sommeliers, distillers, brewers, and barkeeps all working in concert to create luxurious moments that educate the palate. Those with a yen for chocolate can indulge in artisan, gourmet and premium chocolate from more than 50 chocolatiers and confectioners at the San Francisco International Chocolate Salon on March 11, 2018. Non-chocolate exhibitors and artisans will also be on hand as well including wineries participating in the San Francisco Invitational Wine Salon. Coming up on March 24, 2018, the Bay Area Brew Festival at Pier 35 features more than 70 breweries, 200 beers and ciders, and some of San Francisco’s best food trucks.
Here’s what you’ll be seeing on marquees this month: Terrence McNally’s comedy, “It’s Only a Play” will give the audience a glimpse of opening night jitters at the New Conservatory Theater Center, March 2-April 1, 2018. The hit Broadway play, “Heisenberg,” comes to A.C.T.’s Geary Theater, March 14-April 8, 2018. John Cleese welcomes only absurd and ridiculous questions during his appearance at SHN Orpheum, March 27 and 29, 2018. “Head Over Heels” at the Curran, April 10-May 6, 2018, features the iconic songs of The Go-Go’s, considered one of the most successful female rock bands of all time. Through April 22, 2017, “Vietgone,” a contemporary twist on the classic story of boy-meets-girl that finds three Vietnamese immigrants on an eye-opening road trip across America, unfolds at A.C.T.’s Strand Theater.
Women’s History Month
More timely than ever, Women’s History Month became official in 1987 when Congress passed a resolution which has been renewed annually. A number of events are planned throughout San Francisco. Join editor Deborah Santana and contributing authors for a presentation on “All the Women in My Family Sing,” a new collection of poetry and prose by women of color on March 3, 2018 at the Museum of the African Diaspora. Also coming up are a program on female maritime pioneers on March 10, 2018 at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park; a special commemoration, “Women on the Edge,” of International Women’s Day at the Presidio Officers’ Club on March 10, 2018; and films and activities at the San Francisco Public Library.
Keen on Keane
The Walt Disney Family Museum's latest original exhibition, “Make Believe: The World of Glen Keane,” showcases the Disney animator and artist's career and work from “The Fox and the Hound” (1981) to “Tangled” (2010). Keane was the artist behind many favorite characters, including Tarzan, Ariel, Pocahontas, Rapunzel and the Beast. “Make Believe” is on view from March 8 to Sept. 3, 2018.
Two museums in the city are gearing up for exhibits with a lot of moving parts. At the Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM), “Contraption: Rediscovering California Jewish Artists” continues through July 29, 2018. This group show presents the work of 16 artists whose work refers to the machine either literally or metaphorically. Also at the CJM from March 15-July 8, 2018 “The Art of Rube Goldberg” explores the career of this native San Franciscan. One of the most celebrated and influential cartoonists of all time, Goldberg was also fascinated by overly complicated chain-reaction machines which as he put it were a “symbol of man’s capacity for exerting maximum effort to achieve minimal results.” More than 30 original drawings are dedicated to these iconic inventions. Suggesting possible parallels to the tech industries of Silicon Valley, “Cult of the Machine” opens at the de Young Museum on March 24, 2018. Through paintings, photography, film, and design, the exhibition reflects on the impact of urbanization in the 1920s and ‘30s.
Put these on your list, too:
- Bringing historical paintings and sculptures from mainly Hindu and Buddhist traditions together with contemporary photo-based work, “Divine Bodies,” March 9-July 29, 2018, ponders the power of transformation, the possibility of transcendence and the relationship of the body to the cosmos at the Asian Art Museum. While there, check out the new café from the founders of Bobo Guys.
- Among several shows opening at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is “The Train: RFK’s Last Journey” on March 17, 2018. Bringing together works by artists Paul Fuscon, Rein Jelle Terpstra and others, this multidisciplinary exhibition sheds light on the journey of Robert F. Kennedy’s funeral chain from New York City to Arlington National Cemetery on the occasion of the 50th anniversary. Four exhibitions of contemporary art, media arts and architecture and design will also open in March.
- “After the Thrill is Gone: Fashion, Politics, and Culture in Contemporary South African Art” “Digitalia: Art and the Economy of Ideas,” and work by emerging artist Andrew Wilson in “Equivalencies: Abandoned Bodies” open March 28, 2018, at the Museum of the African Diaspora.
Walls Do Talk
Some provocative new exhibitions have recently opened in San Francisco. Visit the San Francisco Arts Commission Galleries, 401 Van Ness Ave., to see “The Retrieval,” the first solo exhibition in the new Main Gallery. Featuring work by Bay Area artist Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle through April 7, 2018, the drawings and sculptures in the show respond to the disappearance of black women and female-identifying women due to abuse and human trafficking. “Alcatraz: Life of the Rock,” at the Parc 55 Hotel, 55 Cyril Magnin St., will also include “alumni” who once lived on the prison island. “The Imagination of American Poets” offers portraits by Christopher Felver at the Main Library, March 24-June 24, 2018.
Oh to Be Young!
On Saturday, March 10, 2018, the first ever Mission Youth Arts Festival will transform Potrero del Sol Park into a high energy stage for some of the neighborhood’s finest youth performing groups, and young and old alike are invited to this free, outdoor festival that celebrates the voices and talents of young artists. On March 14-22, 2018, the Asian Art Museum teams up with the San Francisco Unified School District to present a celebration of student creativity and arts education showcasing visual and performing arts by 11,500 students from 250 schools.
Out of Site: Queer History Where It All Began
A two-part performance event interpreting San Francisco’s rich queer history on the sites where it all began, “Out of Site” features a variety of people, places, and events from San Francisco’s queer history from its Spanish colonial days to the 1970s. Presented by Shaping San Francisco and Eye Zen Presents, “Out of Site” occurs in North Beach, March 10-25, 2018, and the Tenderloin, May 12-27, 2018.
Sundays Won’t Be the Same
For its 10th anniversary, Sunday Streets is adding two Sundays to its schedule. On 10 Sundays beginning March 11 in the Mission District and ending on Sept. 23 in the Tenderloin, main streets throughout the city will be closed to traffic as part of the Sunday Streets program and transformed into car-free community spaces for kids to play, seniors to stroll, organizations to connect and neighbors to meet.
“Bouquets to Art” returns to the de Young Museum, March 13-18, 2018. Florists from San Francisco to Tokyo breathe new life into the collections, creating their own masterpieces inspired by the works of art. From March 25-April 8, 2018, Macy’s Union Square will be transformed from the Cellar to the top levels with thousands of blooming plants. There will be special events and in-store promotions all built around a vibrant “Once Upon a Springtime” theme and the windows will be transformed into special gardens.
C’mon, you remember this from fifth-grade math! The Exploratorium will be celebrating this never-ending number as well as Einstein’s birthday on March 14, 2018. Participate in pi-related activities in the afternoon and enjoy a piece of the pie. Founded at the Exploratorium by the Prince of Pi, physicist Larry Shaw, PI Day has become an international phenomenon. Here’s a peek at the festivities.
40 Years of Dancing
The 47th season of ODC/Dance culminates at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, March 15-18, 2018, with the premiere of Brenda Way’s “News of the World” and a reprise of last season’s prescient work, “What we carry, What we keep.
Here Comes the Parade
The West Coast’s largest event celebrating Irish history and culture, the 167th annual San Francisco St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival will take place on Saturday, March 17, 2018, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The parade will start at 11:30 a.m. from the corner of Market and Second Streets, where colorful floats, Irish dance groups, and marching bands will wend their way to Civic Center Plaza. A full day of festivities at the Plaza will showcase Irish history and culture. Transit tip: BART is one of the easiest ways to get to the parade and festival. San Francisco is known for giving traditions a twist. Say what? Check out the seventh annual LepreCon St. Paddy’s Pub Crawl and the Brides of March Wedding Dress Pub Crawl.
Deep Dive at the California Academy of Sciences
Beginning March 18, 2018 “Expedition Reef” at the California Academy of Sciences embarks on a journey into the hidden world of coral reefs in this new, all-digital planetarium show exploring some of Earth’s most biodiverse ecosystems. Dive into the heart of the Academy’s iconic Philippine coral reef tank as thousands of tropical fish flutter by. Travel the globe to explore coral reefs teeming with life and learn how scientists are racing to develop sustainable solutions to protect these vitally important ecosystems for the future. Along the way, discover how corals live, breathe, and reproduce.
Sonoma International Film Festival Opens March 21, 2018
Now in its 21st year, the Sonoma International Film Festival takes place in the heart of Northern California's wine country, March 21-25, 2018. Featuring more than 100 hand-selected films, it includes independent features, documentaries, world cinema and short films. All films are shown in intimate venues and within walking distance of Sonoma's historic plaza. The festival is dedicated to promoting independent film, supporting filmmakers around the world and inspiring film lovers – all in the heart of Northern California’s famous wine country.
San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus
On March 29, 2018, the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus presents “Bridges,” a homecoming concert centered around music’s ability to move hearts and minds and make a momentous change. The performance at Davies Symphony Hall shares stories and experiences from the Chorus’ recent Lavender Pen Tour which journeyed to five southern states. Joined by the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, the Oakland Interfaith Community Choir and the Oakland Interfaith Youth Choir more than 500 singers will be on stage at one time. “Bridges” will also feature a special performance of “Singing for Our Lives,” a protest folk song written by activist and singer/songwriter Holly Near and first performed in 1978 by SFGMC at the candlelight vigil mourning the assassination of Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone. Near will join SFGMC to perform this iconic song.
Celebrating Japan Center
On March 28, 2018, the Japan Center in the heart of San Francisco’s historic Japantown will celebrate its 50th anniversary. A ceremony will be held in the Peace Plaza on March 28, 2018, and more festivities are planned throughout the year including cultural entertainment on Oct. 20, 2018. Be sure to put the upcoming Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival on your calendar, too. The taiko drums will be pounding come April 14-22, 2018.