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San Francisco’s Best January Events

There’s no shortage of annual events in the Bay Area – San Franciscans continue to celebrate these hotly anticipated events year after year. Join us as we observe these long-standing festivities in January.


  1. Martin Luther King Jr. Festival & Parade

Celebrate the life and work of prominent social activist Martin Luther King, Jr. during this weekend-long festival. The festivities include a parade, a health and wellness festival, film screenings, and art exhibitions.

The parade traditionally starts at the SF Caltrain station, passes over the Lefty O’Doul Bridge, and ends at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and Gardens.

The contingents pause briefly at the Edmunds Pettus Bridge to commemorate the Selma-to-Montgomery March of 1965, during which MLK led non-violent protesters on a five-day march to the state capital of Montgomery in Alabama.

The highlights of the 2018 MLK Festival & Parade include:

  • MLK Interfaith Commemoration (January 12 – February 17)
  • Black Comix Arts Festival (BCAF) (January 13 – 15)
  • Liberation Film Festival (January 14 –15)
  • Labor and Community Breakfast (January 15)
  • Music festival (January 15)

Click here to find out how you can be part of this tradition.


  1. The Edwardian Ball

Watch your fantasies come to life at the Edwardian Ball – this costume ball is reminiscent of the Carnival of Venice. It brings you some sumptuous visuals and a surreal atmosphere that calls to mind the works of the late illustrator Edward Gorey.

This two-day affair features live music, stage shows, ballroom dancing, art exhibits, and an award-winning bazaar. Have some cocktails, play parlor games, and enjoy the fantastic sideshows. The ball attracts some of the finest performers from all over the country, from musicians to puppeteers.

Co-presented by Vau de Vire Society and Rosin Coven, the ball celebrates its 18th year in 2018. The festivities will take place on January 26 and 27. The featured Gorey tale of the season is “The Raging Tide: or, The Black Doll’s Imbroglio”, a choose-your-own-adventure story that appeals to both children and adults.  An original stage performance of the featured tale is among the season’s highlights.

Come in your best Edwardian era costume. If you don’t feel like wearing a top hat or a corset, an elegant black number will do.

Get your tickets here.


  1. Chinese New Year Festival & Parade

The SF Chinese New Year Festival is the largest and most magnificent of its kind outside of Asia. The parade is also one of the last few lighted night parades in the United States, which only adds to its allure.

Get ready to be amazed as Chinatown gets decked out in red. Lion and dragon dancers take to the streets, and firecrackers go off left and right.

2018 celebrations will take place from February 10 until March 4. Highlights include:

  • Mini-procession and ribbon cutting
  • Flower Market Fair
  • Golden Dragon Unveiling and Eye-dotting Ceremony
  • SF Chinese Chamber of Commerce – Southwest Airlines Basketball Jamboree
  • Miss Chinatown U.S.A Pageant and Coronation Ball
  • Chinese New Year Community Street Fair
  • CCHP – Chinatown YMCA Chinese New Year Run

Be part of the festivities as the Chinese community ushers in the Year of the Dog.  Click here to get tickets and updates on the events.

Read more:
January Events in San Francisco Part 1
January Events in San Francisco Part 2
January Events in San Francisco Part 3