The SF Must-List: What to Do in San Francisco This October

Even though summer is officially Octover,  you can still live like you’re on vacation–which should be particularly easy here in San Francisco considering the gift that is our current Indian summer.

Indeed, Fall has descended upon the Bay Area and the forecast is 70 degrees and spooky. October in San Francisco is a special time, because it means summer weather meets Halloween, bringing the best of 2 worlds together. And like any month, the City is chock-a-block with awesome events to keep you entertained well into the autumnal season. Alas, we’ve done the legwork (and we don’t mean SoulCycle) to locate the best events and entertainment for you this month: from spooky cinema to bluegrass in the park, here’s the Must-List of what to do in San Francisco this October:

Related: Where to Drink Outside in San Francisco for Indian Summer

Cinema & Media

Sparing no fake blood, SpookFest is the film festival that promises to go “bump in the night,” showcasing 13 new spooktacular homegrown shorts about oddball creatures, aliens, and mutant produce. 
| Roxie Theater, 3117 16th Street, San Francisco, CA | Friday, October 13th:  7PM | $13


Related: 7 Best Thrift Stores to Shop for Halloween Costumes in San Francisco 

Screening this month at the Clay Theatre, Loving Vincent is the world’s first fully oil painted feature film, bringing the artwork of Vincent van Gogh to cinematic life in an exploration one of history’s most important artists
Loving Vincent
Clay Theatre, 2261 Fillmore, San Francisco, CA | October 6th-20th: check site for showtimes | $8-$11

In its 21st year, the Annual Arab Film Festival is returning to San Francisco with 25 documentaries and 25 films on the roster. 
21st Annual Arab Film Festival
| Bay Area wide: check site for venue details | October 13th-22nd: check schedule for showtimes | $10-$25. Date night special: 2 for $20. Free screenings at SF Public Library and UC Berkeley.

Frankenstein, 1931. Photo: Insomnia Cured Here, Flickr, Creative Commons

Witness the film reinventions of Mary Shelley’s book Frankenstein in all their campy and horrific glory. 
Frankenstein Triple Feature
| Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street, San Francisco, CA | Sunday, October 15th: 3PM-9PM: check schedule for individual showtimes | $15

Related: 8 Things All San Franciscans Must Watch on Netflix


Photo: Mary Taylor,

San Francisco native Margaret Cho is stopping by the historic Castro Theatre for double whammy night of jokes with her hilarious titled Fresh of the Bloat stand-up tour. 
Margaret Cho: Fresh Off the Bloat
| The Castro Theatre, 429 Castro Street,  San Francisco,  CA | Saturday, October 21st: 7PM & 9:30PM | $35+

Related: 7 San Francisco Bay Area Artists You Need to Know Right Now

Photo: Cobb’s Comedy Club

You probably recognize him by the sound of his yelling. The longstanding, albeit not very tall, comedian Gibert Gottfried is performing 4 performances in 2 nights at the local favorite Cobb’s Comedy Club. 
Gilbert Gottfried
 | Cobb’s Comedy Club, 915 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, CA | Friday & Saturday, October 13th-14th: check site for showtimes | $25

Live Music & Concerts

Photo: Facebook

Head to Golden Gate Park for a free weekend of musical celebrations, featuring 90 artists on 7 stages. 
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Music Festival
 | Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA | Friday-Sunday: October 6th-9th: All Day | Free

The Weeknd returns to the Bay for the second leg of his Starboy: Legend of the Fall world tour. If you missed it the first time, don’t miss your chance to see his hit tour yet again. Maybe you’ll see Selena Gomez in the crowd. 
The Weeknd: Starboy World Tour
| Oracle Arena, 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland, CA | Sunday, October 8th: 7:30PM | $55+ 

Fresh off the release of his new album Flower Boy, rapper Tyler, The Creator is making an appearance at the Warfield Theatre. 
Tyler, The Creator
 | The Warfield, 982 Market Street, San Francisco, CA | Tuesday, October 31st: 8PM | $30-$40

With the dollar sign in her past, a reinvented and anew Kesha is promoting her latest introspective album Rainbow at the Masonic on Halloween night. This is the perfect opportunity to whip out that Ke$ha costume hanging in the back of your closet.
 | The Masonic, 1111 California Street, San Francisco, CA | Tuesday, October 31st: 8PM | $102+


Theatre & Opera


The San Francisco Opera is bringing the canonical classic La Triviata to its stage. This opera is recommended for fans of Moulin Rouge! and Pretty Woman
La Triviata
| War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA | Runs through October 17th: check site for performance schedule | $26-$360+

A.C.T is opening their sharp comedy, Small Mouth Sounds, about a silent retreat that…isn’t so silent.
Small Mouth Sounds | Strand Theatre, 1127 Market Street, San Francisco, CA | October 11th-December 10th: check site for performance schedule | $25+

Award-winning local playwright Eugenie Chan’s show is inspired by her great grandmother, who worked as a brothel madam in Chinatown while simultaneously raising a family in that era of segregation.
Madam Ho
 | Exit Theatre, 156 Eddy, San Francisco, CA | October 5th-12th: Thursdays-Saturdays at 8PM with Saturday 2PM matinee | $20-$25



Cinema and dance collide at the 8th Annual San Francisco Dance Film Festival, featuring over 90 dance films at multiple San Francisco venues. Along with screenings, this year’s festival includes opening and closing receptions, post-screening discussions with filmmakers, live performances, and more. 
8th Annual San Francisco Dance Film Festival
Brava Theater Center, 2789 24th Street, San Francisco | October 19th-22nd: check schedule for showtimes | $15-$25

Point of Dissolve is an evening-length social study that explores, through the medium of dance, the connection between effort and self-worth in modern society.  
Points of Dissolve
ODC, 3153 17th Street, San Francisco, CA | October 19th-21st: 8PM | $18-$38 




Get a head start on Halloween by going on a field trip to the Cal Academy of Sciences. The museum will be transformed into a spine-tingling, supernatural tribute to ’80s horror movies and strange creatures. Curious spirits can learn about spiders, ants, and other creepy creatures while enjoying Halloween-themed spirits and cocktails of their own. Local drag queen extraordinaire  Peaches Christ will deliver a chilling performance. 
Creatures of the Nightlife
| California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA | Thursday, October 26th: 6PM | $15

Head out to the beautiful Marina Green for an exciting weekend of gazing at the Blue Angels aerial spectacular.  
Fleet Week Air Show
| Marina Green, San Francisco, CA | Friday-Sunday October 6th-8th: 12PM-4PM | Free

Come celebrate the joys of food at the San Francisco Street Food Festival. This culinary extravaganza will bring forth over 30 local chefs, so make sure to bring you appetite and stretchy pants. 
San Francisco Street Food Festival
The Potrero Power Station, 420 23rd Street, San Francisco, CA | Saturday, October 15th: 11AM-8PM | $5 pre-sale, $10 at the door 

Related: 6 Alternative Exhibits to the Color Factory in San Francisco 

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