Where to Celebrate Juneteenth in the Bay Area

Where to Celebrate Juneteenth in the Bay Area

Juneteenth, the United States’ youngest federal holiday, has long been celebrated in the African American community as a day to honor progress and remember Black ancestors. This Black Independence Day is celebrated across the country, and the Bay Area’s Juneteenth happenings are no exception. 

The first Juneteenth was celebrated on June 19, 1865, when Union general Gordon Granger and his troops marched into Galveston, Texas, to liberate over 250,000 enslaved Black people in the state. Two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, and 246 years after slavery began in America, Black Americans were free. Today, Juneteenth remains an important day and an opportunity to honor the past, present and future of African Americans. 

Featured photo courtesy of Washington State Archives via Wikimedia. 

San Francisco

A historic building with intricate architectural details is seen from below. The facade features ornate designs, arched windows, and a sign that reads "South San Francisco Opera House" under a sign noting the year 1888. The door is partially open, inviting you to discover the rich Juneteenth history of the Bay Area inside.

All month

Over the whole month of June, San Francisco’s Ruth Williams Opera House in the Bayview neighborhood hosts a number of shows. Film screenings, play readings, community dinners and more. These events embrace San Francisco’s Black community and history. Learn about the 1966 uprisings in the Hunters Point neighborhood in the play 3rd and Palou. Or, listen to the music of composer Florence Price as performed by a piano quintet. These shows are just a taste of the art and music coming out of the Opera House.

June 8

Every second Sunday of the month, the Museum of the African Diaspora collaborates with Kaiser Permanente’s Thrive City to offer free admission. June’s free community day features special programming for Juneteenth. Enjoy family-friendly fun, including art activities, a drag story hour and a family-oriented tour of the museum. The day will also include a screening of the documentary ​​City of a Million Dreams: Parading for the Dead in New Orleans, along with a discussion with the film’s protagonist Dr. Michael White. 

June 14–15

Thousands of attendees and hundreds of vendors turn out for this free, eight-block festival in the historic Fillmore District. A carnival will spring up, complete with a Kids Zone, games and rides, along with plenty of activities for adults. Did I mention that there will be pony rides?

A spacious park with a prominent arched structure in the background, celebrating Juneteenth with vibrant events. The foreground features people walking and sitting on benches under the shade of neatly trimmed trees. A central fountain adds to the serene atmosphere, embodying the Bay Area's inclusive spirit.
Photo by Joe Mabel.

June 16

In the Golden Gate Park Music Concourse, enjoy a free concert from an orchestra in the bandshell. The day’s program will consist of music by modern and classic Black composers, like Katahj Copley, William Grant Still, Duke Ellington and more. The concert runs from 1–2:30 p.m.

June 16

Celebrate both Juneteenth and Father’s Day at this event in the Bayview neighborhood. Look forward to delicious food, a packed schedule of music from local artists and plenty of shopping from Black businesses.

East Bay

Three women stand together outdoors at a Bay Area Juneteenth event, wearing matching brightly colored traditional tops and black pants. They each hold one fist raised in unity. The background features other people, tents, and a vibrant blue sky with light clouds.
Photo courtesy of Berkeley Juneteenth Festival Facebook.

June 16

Berkeley’s festival, now in its 37th year, will cover the five-block Alcatraz–Adeline corridor and include two musical stages for performances of drumming, jazz, R&B, reggae and many more styles. Family-friendly activities abound, with science-themed activities, arts programs, facepainting and more all happening at the KID/STEM zone.

June 22

The Richmond Juneteenth parade starts at the Booker T. Anderson Community Center; expect live music, food, and more. The event is hosted by The Neighborhood Block Association (NBA), an organization created to save Richmond’s Juneteenth celebrations after city officials canceled all festivals due to financial hardships in 2004.

North Bay

June 15

Hosted in downtown Tiburon from 3:30–6:30 p.m., the city of Tiburon’s annual Juneteenth celebration will include live music, poetry readings, guest speakers and the Buffalo Soldiers motorcycle club (and their horses!). Acclaimed drummer and Marin County resident Harold Jones will perform with his 18-piece band.

A performer sings passionately on an outdoor stage surrounded by tall trees during a Juneteenth celebration in the Bay Area. The artist is dressed in vibrant green and yellow clothing. Nearby, a person operates sound equipment under a blue tent with "Hip Hop" written on it. Red ropes mark the stage area.
Photo courtesy of the city of Mill Valley.

June 15

In an effort to promote a more diverse, equitable and inclusive Mill Valley, the City and Mill Valley Recreation are hosting a Freedom Festival: a celebration of African American Independence Day with live music, food, activities for all ages and more at Mill Valley’s Downtown Plaza.

June 15

54 years ago, the Martin Luther King Community Festival Celebration of Diversity and Inclusion was born out of a protest to save a community park from being destroyed by the development of a new street. Since that day, the third Sunday in June has served as a day of community gathering to celebrate diversity, equity and Juneteenth. Have fun with music such as gospel, jazz, rap and R&B, along with children’s games, a basketball tournament, arts & crafts, speakers and a whole lot of food.

Two women smiling outdoors. The younger woman has dark skin, red braided hair, and is wearing a yellow shirt and dark overalls. The older woman has gray hair, dark sunglasses, and is wearing a purple scarf over a turquoise top. Trees are in the background, capturing the vibrance of Juneteenth in the Bay Area.
Photo courtesy of Marin City Arts and Culture.

June 22

Say hello to the Good News Bear, the mascot of Marin City’s annual Juneteenth community festival. Marin City’s Juneteenth celebration has been going strong, running for eight years and counting. It was born out of a community tradition of festivals, like the Marin City Community Festival which ran during the ‘70s and ‘80s. Now, this Juneteenth festival hosts one of Northern California’s largest markets of African goods, and many families come out to commemorate the day with food, music and pride.

South Bay

June 15

Santa Clara County was the first county in the state to recognize Juneteenth, and San Jose’s Juneteenth street festival has lots of years under its belt. For over 40 years, the Festival has celebrated African American heritage through their partnerships with local vendors, artists, musicians and more. This year, the event presents marching bands from historically Black universities, singer Marsha Ambrosius and more in San Jose’s SoFA District.

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