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August 3, 2022

Your Guide to Summer Arts in San Francisco

When the weather warms up, it’s time to let your calendar fill up! San Francisco’s arts and culture scene is as vibrant as ever, with big names you already know and love and emerging players you’ll want to keep on your radar for years to come. Here’s our list of can’t-miss happenings in the Bay. 

As always, schedules and protocols may change, so be sure to confirm details ahead of time. 

Arts & Experiences

Double Horizon by Lia Halloran at Exploratorium (Pier 15, San Francisco)

When artist Lia Halloran was learning to fly, she captured incredible footage of Los Angeles and its surrounding areas via mounted cameras on the plane. The result is a massive three-screen video installation that immerses viewers in a stunning view. Buy tickets. Through August 7.

Hung Liu: Golden Gate at de Young Museum (50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco)

Painter Hung Liu explores her Chinese heritage while reimagining archival images of displaced people often left out of history through large-scale works of art. This site-specific exhibition considers the lives and circumstances faced by migrants in California. Buy tickets. Through August 7.  

The Cockettes: Acid Drag & Sexual Anarchy at San Francisco Public Library (100 Larkin, San Francisco)

The Cockettes were an avant-garde psychedelic theater troupe that left their mark on San Francisco for over five decades. Celebrate their legacy through a variety of events and programming. View schedule. Through August 11. 

The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited at The Contemporary Jewish Museum (736 Mission St, San Francisco)

Puppeteer Jim Henson was more than an entertainer; he was a trailblazer. Head to the Contemporary Jewish Museum for a look back at the life and work of the man behind The Muppets, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, and much, much more. Buy tickets. Through Aug. 14.

Still Lifes in Contemporary Art at Museum of African Diaspora (685 Mission St, San Francisco)

MoAD brings together 15 artists to rethink still lifes within the frame of Black diasporic identities through paint, sculpture, installation, photography, and more. Buy tickets. Through August 21.

Song at Creativity Explored (3245 16th St, San Francisco)

Inspired by the work of Walter Kresnik, Song is about the joys of discovering something new that resonates with you and features drawings, sculptures, and other music-evoking art. Plan your visit. Through September 3.

Seeing Gender at the Asian Art Museum (200 Larkin St, San Francisco)

Four emerging curators compare and contrast representations of gender in Asian art with pieces ranging from modern-day to 1,000 years old. Buy tickets. Through September 5. 

Iris Eichenberg: Where Words Fail at the Museum of Craft and Design (2569 Third St, San Francisco)

Catch the first comprehensive mid-career survey in the United States of German artist Iris Eichenberg. Best known for her jewelry creations, Eichenberg explores new territory with installations, objects, and more exploring gender, identity, and safety. Buy tickets. Through October 30.

Shifting the Silence at SFMOMA (151 3rd St, San Francisco)

SFMOMA’s “Shifting the Silence” brings together 32 women artists from various mediums to explore radical abstract art. The boldly experimental exhibition includes sculpture, photography, video, textile, and more. Buy tickets. Through Sept. 5.

Interior Garden at The Chinese Cultural Center (750 Kearny St 3rd Floor, San Francisco)

The Chinese Cultural Center continues its decade-long XianRui series featuring “pioneering yet under-recognized artists of Chinese descent” with an exhibition by Cathy Lu. Catch Lu’s large-scale ceramic installations through the end of the year. Free, but appointments are recommended. On display through Dec. 17. 

David Johnson: In the Zone at San Francisco Arts Commission Galleries (1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Pl, San Francisco)

Photographer David Johnson studied under Ansel Adams at what’s now known as the San Francisco Art Institute. He went on to chronicle the Black experience in the Bay Area through his striking work from behind the lens. Catch photos from his storied archive at City Hall. Free. Through January 6.

Yerba Buena Gardens Festival at Yerba Buena Gardens (750 Howard St, San Francisco)

From poetry readings to puppet shows to dance sessions and lunchbreak DJ sessions, the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival features a little bit of everything for everyone just about every single day. Enjoy art and entertainment in the open air in one of SF’s most lovely and accessible urban gardens. Free. Through October.

MYR at McEvoy Foundation for the Arts (1150 25th St Building B, San Francisco)

What does the imminent future look like? What could it look like? Explore the possibilities at a multimedia exhibition that examines humans and our relationship to time and space. Free. Through August 27.

The Healing Project at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (701 Mission St, San Francisco)

Composer and artist Samora Abayomi Pinderhughes seeks understanding in America through music, film, visual art, and language. Free. Through September 4. 

Guo Pei: Couture Fantasy at The Legion of Honor (100 34th Ave, San Francisco)

The Legion of Honor celebrates China’s first couturier with an incredible collection of more than 80 works by Guo Pei. Get up close to the designer’s fantastical runway looks from the past two decades and marvel at the craftsmanship that is just as exquisite as it is unconventional. Buy tickets. Through Sept. 5

Diego Rivera’s America at SFMOMA (151 3rd St, San Francisco)

Don’t miss the largest exhibition of Diego Rivera’s stunning works in 20 years. With more than 150 pieces inspired by his travels through Mexico and the United States, SFMOMA spectacularly showcases Rivera’s art spanning from the 1920s through the 1940s. Buy tickets. Through January 2, 2023.

Walt Disney's The Jungle Book: Making a Masterpiece at the Walt Disney Family Museum (104 Montgomery Street in the Presidio, San Francisco)

Celebrate 55 years of Disney’s The Jungle Book with over 300 rare sketches, posters, photos, and much more, as curated by legendary animator Andreas Deja. Buy tickets. Through January 8. 

XOXO: An Exhibit About Love at Children’s Creativity Museum (221 Fourth St, San Francisco)

Communicate in creative new ways with your kids at Children’s Creativity Museum. This interactive exhibit invites children 2 to 12 to spark creativity, conversation, and important emotions through play. Buy tickets. Ongoing.

NightLife at the California Academy of Sciences (55 Music Concourse Drive)

Thursdays in Golden Gate Park can only mean one thing: NightLife at the Academy! Enjoy drinks with the fishes and say hi to Claude the albino alligator while learning about a new theme each week. 21+. Buy tickets. Ongoing. 

Theatre & Cinema

The Code at American Conservatory Theater (1127 Market St, San Francisco)

A.C.T.’s Young Conservatory presents The Code—the story of seven students who unearth the rebellious history of their uptight prep school and piece together a mystery. Buy tickets. August 4 through 7.

Oklahoma! at Golden Gate Theatre (1 Taylor St, San Francisco)

The Rodgers & Hammerstein classic musical is back with a fresh new take. Without changing the text, this revival pulls Oklahoma! into modern-day life for a funny, sexy reimagining that took home a Tony Award. Get tickets. August 16 through September 11. 

Dear San Francisco at Club Fugazi (678 Green St, San Francisco)

Club Fugazi, one of San Francisco's oldest and most iconic theaters, is now home to an all-new resident production from the acclaimed circus group, The 7 Fingers. "Dear San Francisco: A High-Flying Love Story" is an intimate, immersive experience that celebrates everything people love about San Francisco. The story is told told through original music, breathtaking choreography, and death-defying acrobatics. To purchase tickets, visit Ongoing.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Curran (445 Geary St, San Francisco)

Harry Potter lives on in this magical and award-winning stage show. Revisit Hogwarts with a night of family-friendly theatrical adventure. . Buy tickets. Ongoing. 


Audium 11 Redux at Audium (1616 Bush St, San Francisco)

Audium is back with a new sound system. Immerse yourself in a pitch-black room surrounded by 176 speakers playing a symphony of familiar and abstract sounds. Buy tickets. Ongoing.

Let There Be Summer at San Francisco Symphony (Various locations)

Enjoy summer at the symphony with their signature live scores to legendary films, featuring The Goonies and The Matrix, as well as appearances by fan favorites Bernadette Peters, Pink Martini, tributes to Selena and Judy Garland, and much more! Buy tickets. Through August 7.  

Summer at SFJAZZ at SFJAZZ (Various locations)

SFJAZZ pulls out all the stops for their summer lineup and the San Francisco Jazz Festival with performances around the Bay from modern greats like Gregory Porter and tributes to legends like Peggy Lee and Nina Simone. Buy Tickets. Through August 14. 

Stern Grove Festival at Stern Grove (19th Avenue and Sloat Blvd, San Francisco)

Find out why San Franciscans love summer Sundays: Stern Grove’s beloved festival is back for its 85th season and touting a stacked lineup with legends like Liz Phair, Taj Mahal, Leann Rimes, and the Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh. The festival is free, but advanced reservations are required. Reserve tickets. Through August 14.

Flower Piano at SF Botanical Gardens (1199 9th Ave, San Francisco)

Summer wraps up in spectacular style with the return of one of Golden Gate Park’s most cherished traditions: the Flower Piano. Enjoy planned and impromptu concerts among the flowers and maybe even tickle the ivories yourself. September 16 - 20.

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