August is peak summer season, packed with street fairs and outdoor events. We’ve rounded up the top 12 happenings of the month, and there’s something for everybody. From a Renaissance fair and a matchup between football giants AC Milan and Barcelona, to Desi Comedy Fest and classical Indian performing arts, there is plenty to do. Bookmark this page and keep this list handy throughout the month – you will thank yourself later!
1. Shakespeare in the Park
August 2 to 26
Presented by the San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, this FREE event has multiple performances throughout the month in Redwood City on the grounds of Sequoia High School. In September, performances continue in San Francisco’s Presidio and McClaren Park. The play is one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’ Bring a blanket and a picnic and enjoy the antics of some bumbling young lovers, mischievous fairies, and aspiring actors.
2. 2018 International Champions Cup: AC Milan vs Barcelona
Santa Clara’s Levi’s Stadium will host the 2018 International Champions Cup, right on the heels of an exhilarating World Cup. This is an opportunity to see some of the stars you’ve been watching all July in person, like Ivan Rakitic from 2nd place Croatia, and Lionel Messi, both of whom play for Barcelona. Tickets are on sale now, and suite rentals and group tickets are still available.
3. San Jose Renaissance Faire
August 4 to 5
Everyone’s favorite medieval cosplay is back in town at the Discovery Meadow Park in San Jose. This full scale, interactive experience will take you back to the days of Queen Elizabeth I, complete with jesters and expertly staged battles. Jewelry, artwork, ceramics and leather goods will be on sale, as well as ale and turkey legs.
4. Desi Comedy Fest
August 10 to 19
An evening spent laughing is always a good evening. Why not support artists of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Irani and Syrian descent in the same breath? Featuring more than 30 comedians that have been on Comedy Central and Late Night Talk Shows, this is the biggest South Asian Comedy Festival in America. With 11 consecutive nights of comedy all over the Bay Area, from San Francisco to Dublin to Santa Cruz, there’s no excuse to miss Desi Comedy Fest! Subscribe to our friend Samson Koletkar‘s Comedy Oakland to get a special discount code.
5. Laurel Street Fair
Oakland’s Laurel District is a little rough around the edges, delectable in the middle, and on its way to being the next Temescal. Gentrified or no, you can’t beat the vibe of an Oakland street fair. Open containers, dogs on leash, and independent businesses everywhere. Be sure to check out RBA Creative, the first ever art gallery in the neighborhood featuring amazing work by local artists. This is a FREE event but bring cash because tacos.
6. Botanicals and Brews
The San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers is well worth a visit on any day, but on August 17, FDR Brewery and HenHouse Brewing join in for a 21+ night. General admission is $27 and includes a complimentary craft brew. Drop $55 for a Master Brewer ticket and you get a guided tasting with expert beer makers, along with a souvenir glass and $10 of food credit that can be redeemed at the food trucks in the beer garden.
7. AR Rahman Live in California
Catch the maestro live in the Oakland Arena Coliseum. This event is like The Nutcracker during holiday season, except that even the nosebleed seats are sold out. You can still get a ticket for about $300, and anyone who has been to an AR Rahman concert the other times he has performed in the Bay Area will tell you it was worth it. Other performers include Udit Narayan, Jonita Gandhi, Haricharan and Javed Ali.
8. FOG India Day Parade (and mela)
August 18 to 19
Like with the subcontinent, it can be difficult to figure out what’s going on with this event, but it’s HUGE. The streets of Fremont are shut down for blocks around the epicenter, and over 150,000 people witness the grand parade. It’s essentially a celebration of India’s Independence Day, which falls on August 15. But each year the event is held on the nearest weekend and is all-inclusive. This FREE event is the 26th such parade and mela, with over 250 booths of delicious food, fashion, dance competitions and celebrity MCs.
9. ICC Sevathon
This is another massive gathering, held annually at the Arena Green in San Jose. Support a nonprofit of your choice (there are more than 100 to choose from) and run, walk, or do yoga for the cause. If you’re a marathon runner gearing up for the big SF Marathon later this year, boost your practice by doing a 10k here. Not a runner? Try walking a 5K or join the yogathon that starts early in the morning. Or just show up, for free, and wander around the booths to get freebies. This event has over 5,000 participants, 1,000 volunteers, and reaches about 500,000 people in all – chances are, everybody you know is here this Saturday morning.
10. Drive East
August 22 to 26
Presented by the Consul General of India and Navatman, this is the go-to classical Indian performing arts company in North America. The opening night in San Francisco features Alam Khan’s Sarode (a sitar-like instrument) Recital, and an Odissi (classical dance from eastern India) Recital by Arushi Mudgal. Performances continue daily until the closing night on Sunday, August 26th. An NYT review calls this festival “a tiny jewel box” with “dazzling gems.” Get your tickets now!
11. Oakland Chinatown Streetfest
August 25 to 26
Here’s another Oakland street fair for you, celebrating the Year of the Dog. In addition to the usual spread of food stalls and merchant booths, you will also see folk dance troupes performing, as well as Jest Jammin’ aka “Chinatown Soul Band” which has entertained the public for 40 years. And of course, Chinese dragon dancing!
12. Palo Alto Festival of the Arts
August 25 to 26
Over 300 fine artists and crafters display their work in booths lining University Avenue for this community-friendly event. Some highlights this year include the Italian Street Painting Expo featuring chalk artists, and a Kids’ Art Studio where your little one can make an artsy mess with paint and clay. The Kiwanis Club of Palo Alto will be managing beer and wine at the event. Keep in mind that plastic bags are banned, and dogs are not encouraged.