1) Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park
The Gist: This festival unites over 75 bands for three music-filled days in Golden Gate Park with over 60,000 people a day. There's nothing like it. And this year the headliners on multiple stages run from Kanye West to the Killers to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Best of all, OL has upped the game for festivals everywhere, proving that you can eat and drink well at massive music events.
Eat: With over 200 menu items, OL's food line-up is stellar - a benchmark on how it's done for the best music festivals out there. The 2014 food line-up was just announced today and it's another killer army of SF greats, including Azalina's chicken curry nachos and Rich Table's porcini doughnuts. Exciting newcomers include AQ, serving "highbrow spaghetti" and Sloppy Joe’s, while Humphry Slocombe is creating a signature Outside Lands ice cream served only at the festival. Here's the entire food line-up.
Drink: Dave McLean (Smokestack, Magnolia) has once again assembled a strong beer menu for Beer Lands and there will be over 120 small production Northern California wines in the festive Wine Lands tent.
Dates: August 8 - 10
2) Eat Drink SF at Fort Mason Center
The Gist: Formerly SF Chefs, the popular food and drink festival which has taken over Union Square for the last five years now has a new name, a shorter date span - three days instead of a week - and a new home base across town at massive Fort Mason Center. It remains to be seen whether the new iteration will be as much of a special party as SF Chefs was taking over Union Square but the lineup includes similar grand tastings, cocktail and wine tastings, demos and special events that will now be accessible to a larger crowd.
Eat & Drink: As with past years, you can expect bites from dozens of notable restaurants at each of the grand tastings held Friday-Sunday. Chefs from Napa to the East Bay are here, with dozens of chefs from new SF hotspots to classics, serving unlimited bites next to a range of wineries and cocktails. A list of events and participating restaurants is here.
Dates: Aug. 1 - 3
3) San Francisco Street Food Festival in the Mission
The Gist: SF's biggest street food festival from inspiring local business La Cocina is gearing up for it's 6th annual year on the streets of the Mission. Multiple streets are closed off to thousands sampling world-class street food from not only La Cocina-launched food businesses, but popular SF food trucks, shops and restaurants.
Eat & Drink: This year's food and drink line-up has not yet been announced but past years have included delicious eats from the likes of Michelin-starred State Bird Provisions to fascinating street food like protein-rich, fried bugs from Don Bugito.
Date: August 16
4) San Francisco Cultivate Festival in Golden Gate Park
The Gist: Sponsored by Chipotle, the second San Francisco Cultivate Festival in Golden Gate Park’s Hellman Hollow, is a one-day festival of cooking demos by celebrity chefs, live music, and regional foods, beer and wines. This year's bands include the Neon Trees, American Authors and Andrew McMahon.
Eat & Drink: TV chefs and chefs from NY, Chicago and SF will host demos, including Graham Elliot (“Iron Chef” and “Top Chef Masters”), Amanda Freitag (Empire Diner, “Chopped” and “The Next Iron Chef”); Sarah and Evan Rich (Rich Table), Dennis Lee (Namu Gaji, Smokestack), Nick Balla and Courtney Burns (Bar Tartine), and Minh Tsai (Hodo Soy Beanery). Besides a special Chipotle menu, an Artisan Hall showcases bites from local greats like 4505 Meats, El Porteño Empanadas, Nana Joes Granola, Pop Nation and many more. The drinks-focused Tasting Hall will be pouring everything from Magnolia and Almanac beers to Bluxome Street Winery wines and Two Rivers Cider.
Date: June 7, 11 AM - 7 PM
5) Bottle Rock in Napa
The Gist: In its second annual year, Napa's answer to Outside Lands, Bottle Rock, hits the Napa Valley Expo with over 45 bands on 4 stages. This year's bands include The Cure, Weezer, Heart, LL Cool J and Outkast.
Eat & Drink: Though criticized by some for last year's food foibles, this year's food line-up is strong. Favorite Napa restaurants are there, including Morimoto Napa with last year's popular sticky rice, The Thomas, La Condesa, Nick's Cove, Mark's the Spot, and Angele, to name a few. It being Napa, wine dominates (alongside some beers) with wines from local wineries including Cakebread, Miner Family Vineyards, Del Dotto and Schramsberg.
Dates: May 30 - June 1