Fun & Free: The Yerba Buena Gardens Festival is the Place to Be!

in Art, Classes, Culture, Entertainment, Events, Recreation

Event Details

July 13 - October 28, 2023

Fun & Free: The Yerba Buena Gardens Festival is the Place to Be!

The Yerba Buena Gardens Festival

The 23rd Yerba Buena Gardens Festival has you covered this summer and fall season with free outdoor programming nearly every day of the week through the month of October in the Yerba Buena Gardens. With live performances from international and Bay Area artists on weekends, lunchtime events bringing fresh culture to the city during the week, and children’s entertainment on Friday, this all-ages festival is sure to delight everyone.


After a hiatus during September, the YBGF kicks back up on September 23rd and 30th with the Yerba Buena Gardens ChoreoFest and concludes with the Halloween Hoopla, a children’s show, on October 28.


Weekend Sessions

Saturdays (and sometimes Sundays)




The Embodiment Project closes their Get Free Festival with “Timing is Synchronicity,” a show featuring street dance battle culture, spoken word, improvisation, and live music. Photo courtesy


The weekend sessions at the YBGF comprise some of the Festival’s most exciting events. Typically beginning Saturdays at 1:00 (check the calendar here for variability) in the Esplanade, and going for 90 minutes, these sets spotlight both touring and local Bay Area artists from all manner of performance disciplines—theater, circus, and  music and dance. Seating is mostly open lawn, with some chair seating available. Audience members are encouraged to bring their own low lawn seats and to take advantage of the many great restaurants and cafes in the area.  The mutable San Francisco weather being what it is, it is advisable to dress in layers. 


Poetic Tuesdays

2nd and 4th Tuesdays


Jessie Square


During lunch hour in Jessie Square on Tuesdays (from 12:30-1:30), adjacent to the Contemporary Jewish Museum on Mission St., bask in the distinctive styles and rhythms of curated poets. Second Tuesdays are co-presented by the YBGF and Litquake, a San Francisco based literary festival. Fourth Tuesdays are fruits of a collaboration with the Museum of the African Diaspora. Whichever Tuesday it is,  the event is sure to be a burst of expression liable to liven up your afternoon.


Yoga In the Gardens

Tuesdays through June 27




Bring your mat to connect and flow with some revitalizing Purusha yoga, brought to you by a partnership with Purusha Yoga, 111 Minna Gallery, and the YBGF. The last class of the season is on June 27 and you can sign up here.


Dance Outdoors with Rhythm & Motion

Wednesdays through June 28




On Wednesday mornings through June 28, join the YBGF and Rhythm & Motion for an uplift —of the heart rate and also of the spirit—in this hour long dance class beginning at 11:00 in the Esplanade, the central lawn in the Yerba Buena Gardens. RSVPs are encouraged!


Salsa at Jessie

Third Thursdays


Jessie Square


Join the party and dance into the dusk in Jessie Square every third Thursday this season. Photo courtesy


Mambo and more in Jessie Square from 6:00-7:30 on the third Thursdays of the month through August 17, to the bright tones of live salsa music.


Thursday Lunchtime





Come half-past noon on Thursday afternoons, find a lively musical performance  in the Esplanade: the Thursday Lunchtime series,  a diverse display of talent from all over the world. On June 22, The Honorary Consulate of Sweden unites with the YBGF to bring you The Jenny Lind Concert, and features  acclaimed youth soprano Josephine Mindus. The following week, ASTU takes the stage. The Eritrean singer-songwriter is a former minister in the Charismatic church turned R&B/Soul singer with a sultry vibe. See the entire season’s calendar here.


Children’s Garden Series


11:00-11:30 & 12:15-12:45

Children’s Garden


Illusionist, magician, and clown extraordinaire Calvin Kai Ku explores the wonder of human connection in his show “In Search of Astonishment” on July 28. Photo courtesy


At the Children’s Garden across Howard Street on Friday mornings and afternoons, professional artists razzle-dazzle the under-10 crowd and their adults.


Salsa Workout with Rueda Con Ritmo

Friday mornings




Sidney Weaverling and Ryan Mead, co-founders and co-directors of the salsa dance company Rueda Con Ritmo, lead this fun workout class set to excellent Cuban music. RSVPs are appreciated!