The Best Things to do in San Francisco in April

The 15 Best Things to Do in San Francisco in April

Spring in San Francisco means blooming flowers, sunny days, some wind, and maybe a little bit of rain and fog. When you’re visiting San Francisco in April, you’ll want to be prepared for some changing weather. Wear layers and pack light jackets and umbrellas, especially because many of the best things to do in San Francisco in April involve being outside.

If you’re planning a trip to San Francisco in April, we’re here to help. We’ve compiled a list of some of the coolest things to do in April in San Francisco, from Earth Day celebrations to exciting ways to enjoy the city’s dining scene. Pick your favorite spring activities from this list, and you’re bound to have a great April trip!

Don’t forget to check out our web story: The 15 Best Things to Do in San Francisco in April

The 15 Best Things to Do in San Francisco in April

1. See the Best in Cinema at SFFILM

Best Things to do in San Francisco in April: San Francisco International Film Festival

The San Francisco International Film Festival, known better as SFFILM, is the longest-running film festival in the Americas, having been founded all the way back in 1957. This festival, which often arrives toward the end of April, is one of the best things to do in San Francisco in April if you’re a film lover.

Take in innovative films from around the world as you learn about different cultures through the power of cinema. In addition to screenings, you can also take part in talks with filmmakers and other creatives, parties, and other in-person events.


2. Attend the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival

Cool Things to do in San Francisco in April: Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival

With events centered around San Francisco’s Japantown, the Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival takes place over the course of two weekends in April. If you’re visiting San Francisco in April, head to Japantown to find Japanese cultural performances, art showcases, the Queen Program, a parade, and much more.

This festival may celebrate the blooming of the cherry blossom trees, but it’s about much more than that. It’s a celebration of Japanese culture and seeks to honor the diverse Japanese American community in San Francisco.


3. Get Artsy at the San Francisco Art Fair

Unique Things to do in San Francisco in April: San Francisco Art Fair

The San Francisco Art Fair, previously known as Art Market San Francisco, has long been one of the most popular San Francisco April events. Over at the Fort Mason Festival Pavilion, you’ll find presentations from 85 galleries from around the globe. 

In addition to the galleries, you’ll also be able to take part in several public events, including talks with experts, daily tours, and live music.


4. Attend the International Ocean Film Festival

Fun Things to do in San Francisco in April: International Ocean Film Festival

For a unique type of film festival, head to the International Ocean Film Festival, another one of the city’s best April events. The festival is dedicated to raising awareness about the health of our oceans and the importance of marine ecosystems. In light of that goal, each film is inspired by the seas and the life beneath them.


5. Celebrate Mother Earth at Earth Day San Francisco

In keeping with the theme of protecting our planet, another one of the best things to do in San Francisco in April is to take part in Earth Day San Francisco. Taking place on or around Earth Day each year, this festival is about bringing people together to celebrate our planet and talk about what we can do to give it a better future. 

Learn about Earth-friendly products, listen to climate experts, see Earth-inspired artwork, enjoy food from local vendors, hear live music, and bring the little ones to take part in interactive activities that help them understand our planet.


6. See the Opening Day on the Bay Parade

Signaling the start of the San Francisco boating season, Opening Day on the Bay is one of the best free San Francisco April events. Typically arriving toward the end of the month, the parade is preceded by the blessing of the fleet. 

Following the blessing, you can marvel at more than 100 historic workboats, fireboats, towboats, and more as they ring in the season, all decked out for the celebration. 


7. Indulge at the San Francisco International Chocolate Salon

San Francisco in April Bucket List: San Francisco International Chocolate Salon

If you’re a chocolate lover, the San Francisco International Chocolate Salon is a must-do while visiting San Francisco in April. In addition to learning about the secrets of a thriving chocolate empire from master chocolatiers, you can also sample your way around some of the world’s best sweets.


8. Take Part in the Bay Area National Dance Week

The Bay Area National Dance Week is a 10-day celebration of movement that invites guests to see breathtaking performances and participate in workshops and classes to learn all about the beauty of dance. 

This festival doesn’t just focus on one type of dance. It instead celebrates dance from all over the world, from Bolivian folkloric dance to ballet. With over 150 free events happening throughout the Bay Area, there’s something for every dance lover.


9. Celebrate Design at the San Francisco Decorator Showcase

If you love the art of interior design, you’ll feel right at home at the San Francisco Decorator Showcase. This month-long celebration of design, which often starts toward the end of April, invites you to step through works of art. You’ll see rooms designed by some of the city’s best design studios. 

Even better, the event is for a great cause, as this showcase has raised more than $18 million since its 1977 inception for the San Francisco University High School financial aid program, helping kids from all over the city prepare for their college education.


10. Celebrate Spring at the California Academy of Sciences

Must do things in San Francisco in April: California Academy of Sciences

Visiting the California Academy of Sciences is one of the best things to do in San Francisco any time of year, but it’s especially the place to be in San Francisco in spring, thanks to their annual Spring Festival. 

Typically running from late March through late April, this kid-friendly festival brings about unique, spring-themed programming, from hands-on workshops to science-focused storytimes.


11. Eat Everything During San Francisco Restaurant Week

What to do in San Francisco in April: San Francisco Restaurant Week

San Francisco has multiple Restaurant Weeks, but their spring version usually arrives in April. During SF Restaurant Week, you can dine at some of the city’s best restaurants as they offer carefully curated prix-fixe menus for a special price. 

Previous restaurant weeks had over 200 participating restaurants, focusing on all different cuisines and offering locations throughout the city’s many neighborhoods.


12. Eat Around Off the Grid

San Francisco in April Things to do: Off the Grid

For another eating adventure, head to Fort Mason Center in April to find Off the Grid. This food truck festival typically opens in late March and lasts through June, making it one of the best things to do in San Francisco in spring. 

Every Friday night throughout this time, you’ll find themed food fests dedicated to all different types of cuisines. In addition to the food trucks, you’ll also find live music, DJs, and dance performances. 


13. Go Looking for Humpback Whales

Best Things to do in San Francisco in April: Humpback Whales

Spring in San Francisco is one of the best times to go whale watching. Up until mid-May, you can typically spot gray whales, but late April is also when you’ll start spotting humpbacks! 

You can take a tour to get up close to these amazing animals, but during this time of year, you may even have luck just whale watching from lookout points around the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands.


14. Root for the San Francisco Giants

Best Things to do in San Francisco in April: Oracle Park

The Home Opener for the San Francisco Giants typically arrives around early April, which means that you should have several opportunities to see a game at Oracle Park throughout the month. Just be sure to get your tickets early, especially if you want good seats for the first home game.


15. Visit the Shakespeare Garden 

Cool Things to do in San Francisco in April: Shakespeare Garden

Golden Gate Park is home to several beautiful gardens, but the best times to visit them vary. For instance, it’s best to visit Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden in early spring. However, the best garden to pay a visit to in April is the Shakespeare Garden. 

With plants featured throughout the works of Shakespeare, like daisies, lilies, and poppies, the garden tends to experience its biggest bloom during this month.

There you have it! The 15 best things to do in San Francisco in April. What’s your favorite spring activity in San Francisco? Let us know in the comments!


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Author

  • Jacqueline Gualtieri

    Jacqueline is a writer and editor pursuing the freelance life to explore the world. Born and raised in New Jersey, she spent her college years in Boston before settling down with her partner and puppy in Monterey, California.

    When she’s not writing, you can often find her planning her next trip. Road trips are her favorite, whether it’s driving across the country or simply exploring a new city in her own backyard. She loves uncovering the history of every new place she goes.

    Jacqueline has a restless passion for learning and makes it a goal to pick up a new skill every year. She’s picked up embroidery, crocheting, knitting, and cross-stitching, but she’s hoping to master more languages to help her in her travels. She’s also a published author, with short stories and poetry appearing in several anthologies.

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