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Being a native San Franciscan makes me somewhat of an expert on the events, the people, and the pulse of one of the most traveled cities on the planet. In the month of June, in the “City By The Bay,” marks the beginning of what I call “Street Fair Season.” Almost every week in June in San Francisco neighborhoods celebrate the arrival of summer with blocked off streets, arts and crafts, and just about every imaginable type of succulent street food. Get your groove on at these “San Fran” block parties.
Here are three San Francisco street fairs not to miss.
Charming, Tree Lined – Union Street
The 36th annual Union Street Fair – June 2nd and 3rd
Always San Francisco’s first festival to kick off the summer season. Perhaps San Francisco’s most popular street fair. The street closures for the festival encompass Gough to Steiner Streets along pretty, Victorian-style Union Street, a popular visitor destination. Located in San Francisco’s posh, chic and affluent Pacific Heights and Marina Hollow neighborhoods Union Street has a nice collection bars and restaurants as well. Sadly, this year, there will be no alcohol served on the fair premises. However, bars and restaurants such as The Bus Stop, Perry’s, Brixton, Bar None, The Blue Light, Des Amis, Bettlenut, Marengo, to name a few, will be packed with party revelers. The Pacific Heights, Cow Hollow, Marina crowd and visitors from throughout the Bay Area and the world, make this quite a lively event. The crowd perhaps is the most upscale of any of the San Francisco street festival revelers. I live a block off the fair, so for one weekend every year, the world invades my desirable living quarters.
Relive the 60s in the Haight
The 35th annual Haight Ashbury Street Fair – June 10
If you want to relive the 60s and get a whiff of “Ganga” in the air, this is your festival. Once a year, on the second Sunday in June, the Haight-Ashbury community hosts a special celebration and everyone in the World is invited. Music is in the air; people dance in the streets; a festive atmosphere springs up; and Haight Street, once again, becomes the center of Peace, Love and Happiness. This annual event is the Haight-Ashbury Street Fair, one of the most highly anticipated public events in San Francisco. A variety of activities will be taking place including three stages offering live entertainment; a six-block Vending Area featuring arts & crafts, food and other merchandise; an area dedicated to the entertainment of families with children; and an opportunity to celebrate with many other like-minded people. Slide into a cool Haight Street bar such as Magnolia’s Brew Pub ,Zam Zam, Hobson’s Choice, Trax, The Gold Cane, Martin Mack’s. Eat Thai food at Ploy 2, try the tapas at Cha Cha Cha. And be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.
Washington Square Park – Overlooking Saints Peter and Paul Church
The 58th Annual North Beach Festival – June 16-17
San Francisco’s longest running street festival, and many locals and tourists call San Francisco’s very own “Little Italy,” San Francisco’s finest neighborhood gathering. This is my personal favorite. Featuring over 150 arts and crafts booths, 20 gourmet food booths, live entertainment, Italian Street Painting, beverage gardens, local non-profit organizations and the blessing of Saints Peter and Paul Church, where Marilyn Monroe and Joe Dimaggio got married. Truly one of San Francisco’s great parks in Washington Square Park. The North Beach Festival takes place on Grant Avenue (the oldest street in San Francisco) between Columbus and Filbert; Columbus Avenue between Broadway and Green; and Vallejo and Green Street between Grant Avenue and Columbus. It’s the vibrant location that makes this festival such a blast. Try the Pizza at Golden Boy and North Beach Pizza. Sip an espresso at famous Cafe Trieste. Have a cocktail at Vesuvio’s. Live, “La Dolce Vita” in San Francisco’s North Beach. The original “Beat Generation” writers met in New York, but ended up in San Francisco’s North Beach.
About the Author: Nick Kontis – Travel Expert and Founder of the World Travel List
Nick Kontis started out as a world traveler at an early age traveling back and forth between California and Greece every summer. But it was a backpacking trip around the world at age 24 that proved to be a life changing experience. After traveling by car, train, plane, bike and, boat around the world, it would be this trip of a lifetime that would lead to a life as a travel entrepreneur and world traveler. Nick has been on both radio and television. Featured on Arthur Frommer’s television show, and referred by Lonely Planet writers. Frequently mentioned as the “father of around the world airfares.” Arthur Frommer once said, “If Jules Verne were alive today he would use Nick to go around the world in 80 days.” Nick and his various travel companies have sent over 10,000 people taking their dream trip through airfare discounts of as much as 50% off the airlines published fares. Now Nick promotes travel through his World Travel List and ‘Trip Rambler’ by World Travel List. Having traveled to over 80 countries Nick hopes to inspire others to travel the world. 80 countries visited and counting follow Nick’s “passion for travel” on the World Travel List. Nick resides in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.