Best Things to Do in the San Francisco Bay Area This May

“M” is for May and this month means Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, Major League Baseball, and Memorial Day Weekend to mark the unofficial start of summer. And there’s more… museum exhibitions and music festivals, too.

Featured Photo: Ragnar Vorel on Unsplash

San Francisco

bay area, sf giants
Photo: Robert Bye on Unsplash

San Francisco Giants | Oracle Park

Various dates

Fourteen home games bring fans to the stadium this month when the Giants go up against the Washington Capitals, St. Louis Cardinals, Colorado Rockies, San Diego padres, and New York Mets.

bay area, henson exhibit
Photo: The Jim Henson Exhibit

The Contemporary Jewish Museum | The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited

Through August 14

Explores the social impact Henson made on popular culture and reveals how the popular Sesame Street and The Muppet Show were brought to life.

bay area, stern grove festival
Photo: Stern Grove Festival

Stern Grove Festival | Sigmund Stern Recreation Grove

Sunday afternoons at 2pm

From late June through late August, the 85th season of this popular outdoor music series is always free and always fun. The 2022 lineup announcement comes on May 3.

Bay Area, San Francisco Symphony
Photo: Laurie JM Farr

San Francisco Symphony | Davies Symphony Hall

Various dates

There are more than a dozen performance dates throughout the month, including chamber music, SF Symphony Chorus, a mixed media concert, guest conductors, and more.

Bay Area, Bay to Breakers
Photo: Phloating man / Wikimedia Commons

Bay to Breakers

May 15

It’s back! Starting at the Embarcadero and ending at Ocean Beach, the annual costumed 12K “race” (many walk it) has been a San Francisco fixture since 1912.

East Bay

bay area, oakland athletics
Photo: Rick Rodriguez on Unsplash

Oakland Athletics

Various dates

MLB is in full swing. Oakland As will play 17 home games at Oakland Arena during the month. They’ll take on the Cleveland Guardians, Tampa Bay Rays, Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels, Minnesota Twins, Texas Rangers, and Houston Astros.

bay area, book fest
Photo: Freestock on Unsplash

Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley

May 7-8

The 8th Annual Bay Area Book Festival has both indoor and outdoor venues over two days attended by authors giving talks, readings, and an opening night gala. In partnership with the San Francisco Chronicle.

bay area, oakland zoo
Photo: Wilkins Morales on Unsplash

Oakland Zoo

May 14

Brunch for the Wild Bunch: A rare opportunity to place food around habitats before the animals go out for the day. Also this year, the opportunity to feed a giraffe!

bay area, oakland museum of california art
Photo: Tim Griffith

Oakland Museum of California

Through 2023

“You Are Here: California Stories on the Map.” One of the Bay Area’s best art, history, & science museums, admission is free on May 1, and thereafter on the first Sunday of each month. 

Bay Area, Chabot Science
Photo: Chabot Press

Chabot Space & Science Center

Various Dates

Seeing the planets and stars. Free telescope viewings every Friday and Saturday night at 7:30pm to 10:30pm. Join astronomers at the three large historic telescopes on the Observatory Deck 1,500 feet above the bay. Free. 

North Bay

bay area, doclands
Photo: Tommy Lau / @doclands / instagram


May 5-11

DocLands Documentary Film Festival tickets are now available to purchase online or at the Smith Rafael Film Center. Presented by the California Film Institute, DocLands Documentary Film Festival brings compelling stories and the provocative insights behind them. Get ready for the year’s best documentary films, along with special events, and discussions with filmmakers.

bay area, mill valley music festival
Photo: @millvalleymusicfest / instagram

Mill Valley Music Festival | Friends Field North

May 7

Live music, art, food, drink, and entertainment for all ages at this new one-day outdoor event presented by the Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce. Headliner: Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals.

bay area, car show
Photo: May Madness Facebook

32nd Annual Greg Borrelli's May Madness Car Show in Downtown San Rafael

May 7

It all started in 1986 with a small gathering of Greg Borrelli’s Hot Rod friends. Today there are several hundred classic cars and hot rods from the early 1920s to muscle cars of the early ’70s. Downtown San Rafael restaurants will be open for outside dining. Feel free to take a break and grab a bite!

bay area, american graffiti

Petaluma’s Salute to American Graffiti

May 21

Filmed in 1972, director George Lucas used Petaluma streets for many of the iconic movie’s most memorable scenes. Now these same streets draw thousands of visitors from across the country and the world to Petaluma for the family-friendly, alcohol-free car show… and it’s all for a good cause. More than 400 classic American cars with hoods open and polished chrome sparkling in the sunlight will line downtown streets.

South Bay

bay area, Half Moon Bay Wine and Jazz Fest
Photo: Courtesy of Dry Creek Valley

Half Moon Bay Wine & Jazz Fest | Main Street

May 15

Wines by 50 California vintners, food by local restaurants, live performances by Bay Area jazz greats: Paula West, Marcus Shelby, and the Bobby Hutcherson Tribute Band in this first-time event.

Bay Area, Stanford
Photo: Robbie Shade

Art For All Family Day at the Museums at Stanford

May 15

It’s the first Family Day since 2020. Hands-on art making, kid-friendly student guided tours, and interactive outdoor performances. Reserve free admission for the morning or afternoon sessions at Cantor Arts Center and Anderson Collection at Stanford University.

bay area, baseball
Photo: Mick Haupt on Unspash

USC Trojans at Stanford Cardinal Baseball

May 21

Batter up! Klein Field at Sunken Diamond at 12pm.

bay area, travel adventure
Photo: @traveladventure / instagram

Bay Area Travel & Adventure Show 2022 | Santa Clara Convention Center

May 21-22

Get expert packing tips and budget travel hacks. Attend speaker sessions, talk to 250+ destination experts, get a taste of far away cultures and feel the rhythm and vibes of distant lands onstage.

bay area, california great america
Photo: Oleg Alexandrov / wikki commons

South Bay Shores Opening Day | California’s Great America

May 28

New attraction. A dozen waterslides and aquatic attractions, featuring the nearly vertical plunge of Pacific Surge and the kid-friendly Tide Pool. Two parks for the price of one.

Looking for more things to do in the area?

Visit our What to Do in Northern California page!

More Activities in Northern California

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