If you’re coming to the Bay Area in October, you are a wise, lucky person. By this point in the year, the deluge of fog and clouds have pretty much cleared and it actually feels like quasi-summer. Music, street fairs, conferences, exhibits are in full swing and the city is buzzing with energy. Hopefully you are in town because you’re attending Amplitude’s product conference, Amplify on Tuesday, October 9th. But if not, we still love you and hope you enjoy this list of 10 great things to see and do in the Bay Area in early October.
1. Fleet Week—Oct. 1-8
San Francisco Fleet Week is the Bay’s annual celebration of our Nation’s armed forces. Almost all of Fleet Week’s activities are along the northern waterfront of Fisherman’s Wharf where you can catch the airshow, ship tours, live music, and so many more events all week long - for free! Be sure to catch the air show on Saturday and Sunday at 3pm sharp, when the Blue Angels can be seen soaring directly over the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s visible all along the waterfront, but to watch the Blue Angels fly directly overhead, Crissy Field is the place to go.
Here’s where you can learn more about Fleet Week.
2. Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Oct. 5-7
This year marks the 18th anniversary of the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, a free music festival in Golden Gate Park featuring over 90 artists across seven stages. A few highlights from this year’s lineup include Alison Krauss, Ani DiFranco, Deer Tick, Gomez, Graham Nash, Trampled by Turtles, Vetiver, and tons more. More than 50 food vendors offering up some of the Bay’s best bites will be set up, but no alcohol is sold at the festival. Don’t fret though, you can bring in beer and wine as well as your own food. So grab some friends, a few blankets, and your own provisions and head into the park for some bluegrass tunes. You might even catch the Blue Angels tearing through the blue skies above.
Here’s where to check out the lineup.
3. Amplify, the product conference by Amplitude—Tuesday, Oct. 9
Amplitude, the product analytics company based here in SF (yes, you’re reading our blog) is hosting its first conference for product and growth folks—and it’s going to be a day to remember. The speakers tailored to inspire and educate product and growth leaders with practical wisdom on building better products. The agenda includes speakers from Netflix, Google, Uber, Amazon, Pinterest, Atlassian, and more.
Here’s a bit more of why we think folks in the product manager/growth community should attend Amplify.
4. Alameda Point Antiques Faire—Sunday, Oct. 7
On the first Sunday of each month, antique vendors from all over the West Coast flock to an expansive parking lot just across the Bay Bridge in Alameda for the largest antiques show in Northern California. You can wander the aisles for hours visiting the 800+ booths and be amazed at the breadth and quality of finds—from vintage furniture, to clothing, books, collectibles and more. Plenty of food trucks show up to serve the hungry shoppers.
- Take the ferry from SF Ferry Building to Alameda and use ride or bike share to cover the rest of the distance.
- Take BART to 12th Street Station in Oakland
- Rideshare or rent a car
- Directions here
5. Miss Saigon and On Your Feet! at the SHN Orpheum
In the first two weeks of October alone, two Broadway shows are playing in San Francisco.
From October 9th through November 4th, the classic show, Miss Saigon plays at the Orpheum theater in downtown San Francisco. Miss Saigon is the story of a young Vietnamese woman orphaned by war who meets an American G.I. and falls in love. The show is a stage spectacle and a revival of a classic.
On Your Feet! is based on the story and music of 26-time Grammy Award winning artists, Emilio & Gloria Estefan. The show is a celebration of their history, arriving in the United States from Cuba and defying stereotypes to lead incredibly successful careers.
Take BART to Civic Center station
6. Motown Monday at Madrone—Monday, Oct. 8
A Monday-night institution for SF locals, Motown Monday at Madrone Art Bar is a guaranteed dance party. It’s the one party that makes starting the work week actually something to look forward to. If you go, don’t stay out too late so you can be fresh for Amplify the next morning ;)
Getting there: Take the bus, bike or rideshare to the corner of Fell and Divisadero. Arrive before 9pm for a shorter line and no cover.
7. Castro Street Fair—Sunday, Oct. 7
The Castro Street Fair started in 1974 when Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in the history of California, founded it as a celebration of community. Today, the fair includes hundreds of local vendors, artists and community organizations. Come explore the most colorful neighborhood in San Francisco and plug into the community that makes it thrive.
Take MUNI to Castro Street stop
8. Free Museum Weekend for Bank of America Cardholders—Oct. 6 & 7
Bank of America credit card holders, it’s your lucky weekend! Folks with a Bank of America credit or debit card can enjoy free admission to seven Bay Area museums on October 6th and 7th. Take this chance to stroll through the trees of Golden Gate Park and explore the tucked away de Young Museum. Wander into the Contemporary Jewish Museum located right in downtown SF. Or make a trip into the Presidio to discover the classics at the Legion of Honor.
Participating Museums in San Francisco and Oakland
9. Oakland First Fridays—Oct. 5
The first Friday of every month, the KONO district of Oakland hosts a festival of artists, performaers, musicians, DJs, culinary artisans and more. Telegraph Avenue from West Grand to 27th street turns into a giant, open air experience. Attendees stroll the street, dance, eat, check out all the stimulating art. You can find more info here.
Take BART to 19th street Oakland station
10. Go hiking, literally anytime, anywhere
Go north, across the Golden Gate Bridge and zip up to Mt. Tamalpais for gorgeous trails. Here are some great loop hikes. Saunter around the Marin headlands for breathtaking views of the bridge and valley. If you don’t want to leave the city, never fear, plenty of booty-busting hikes right in San Francisco. Walk up Mt. Sutro, Bernal Hill or Mt. Davidson. You can even hike staircases in San Francisco.
We recommend using the excellent app, AllTrails.