20+ Cool Things To Do This September — Mark Your iCals!

With all the amazingly cool — and sometimes really weird — events our city ponies up every day (we get it S.F., you’re awesome), it’s hard to wade through and determine which gems warrant gathering your gals or grabbing your guy and hitting the town.
But that's where we come in. To get your Indian Summer off to a stellar start, we've compiled over 20 must-hit events going down in September. From Fashion’s Night Out to Roseanne in drag, this solid list covers it all — so grab your iCal and take a peek. Now, let's paint this town red.
Photos (clockwise from top left): Courtesy of Opera In The Park, Eat Real Fest, Mission Cheese, Cocktail Week, Eat Real Fest, and SFMOMA.

Hard French 2nd Annual Dance Contest
When: September 1, 2 to 8 p.m.

What: Ready to start the holiday weekend off on the right foot? Grab your gals and head over to El Rio for a dance off that's sure to go down in the booty-shaking books. Winner walks with $100 bucks and ultimate bragging rights. Bring it S.F.

Where: El Rio, 3158 Mission Street (between Powers and Precita avenues), San Francisco; 415-282-3325.

Doin' it in the Park 2012

When: September 2, noon to 6 p.m.

What: Want to get in on the Labor Day BBQ action, but have less than stellar organizational skills? Yeah, us too. Well, thankfully there is an epic BBQ taking place in gorgeous Golden Gate Park that will be packed with red-hot DJs and even have a jumping gym on site (umm, for the kids!). Did we mention that it’s totally free?

Where: Marx Meadows, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.

Vertigo in 70mm

When: September 3, 2 p.m., 5 p.m., and 8 p.m.

What: If you’ve taken our first two cues by the time Monday rolls around, chances are it will be time to wind it down. Luckily, one of our absolute faves, the Castro Theater, is celebrating its 90-year anniversary by showing an S.F. film institution, Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, in 70mm for the entire holiday weekend.
Where: Castro Theater, 429 Castro Street (between 18th and 17th streets), San Francisco; 415-621-6120.


Cindy Sherman Exhibit
When: Ongoing through October 8

What: Hailed as one of the most influential photographers of our time, Cindy Sherman delivers in her captivating show at SFMOMA. Her must-see work is wonderfully weird and wild, featuring images of herself morphing into an array of wacky subjects. Hit up the first Tuesday of the month for free, or receive half-off admission on Thursday nights.

Where: San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 151 3rd Street
 (between Minna Street and Masset Place), San Francisco; 415-357-4000.

Fashion’s Night Out

When: September 6, 6 to 9 p.m.

What: Hoping to incite a nationwide shopping frenzy, Fashion’s Night Out is back again with a slew of stylish soirées focused on the city’s fashion epicenter – Union Square. The usual party hopping will center around Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, and Saks Fifth Avenue, but you’ll find the Refinery29 crew taking in Senior Editor Katie Hintz-Zambrano’s fashion and technology musings at a panel at Uniqlo's pop-up shop, from 7 to 9 p.m.

Where: Union Square, O’Farrell and Stockton streets, San Francisco.

Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival

When: September 8 and 9, noon to 5 p.m.

What: All hail the holy S.F. chocoholics shaman, sweet Ghirardelli. Finally, an entire weekend devoted to the important things in life! The perfect excuse for a local to trek over to Fisherman’s Wharf, the cavity-inducing festivities will feature samples galore, choco-themed chef demos, ice-cream-eating contests (we’d obviously win), and live music. If you sample like we sample, may we suggest following up the weekend with our best workouts in S.F.?

Where: Ghirardelli Square, 900 North Point Street (at Larkin Street), San Francisco.

Photo: Courtesy of SFMOMA

Opera in the Park

When: September 9, 1:30 p.m.

What: Let’s face it, when holed up in a stuffy theater, the opera can be somewhat of a snooze-fest. But take those wailing pipes outside, and get ready for an entirely different experience. Grab some wine, pack a picnic, and head out into Golden Gate Park for a slightly more refined Sunday.

Where: Sharon Meadow, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.

Topshop Pop-up Shop

When: September 10

What: The moment we’ve all been waiting for is finally here. Our friends at Nordstrom know what’s up and the proof comes in the debut of the Bay Area’s very first Topshop. The 2,500-square-foot Britain-based shop-in-shop opens its invisible doors on September 10 with a cheeky London invasion event slated for September 15. This. Will. Change. Our. Lives. Cheerio, mate!

Where: Nordstrom, Westfield San Francisco Centre, 865 Market Street (between 4th and 5th streets), San Francisco; 415-243-8500.

Rethinking The Tenderloin

When: September 11, 3 to 5 p.m.

What: We’re incredibly lucky; we can just wander endlessly around the streets of S.F. taking in the awe-inspiring architecture on the daily. So, it seems fitting that the Architecture and the City Festival engulfs the entire month of September. There is a lot to cover! For the peeping Tom in all of us, home tours happen the weekend of September 15, although we recommend the walking tour in the TL for a grittier look at S.F.’s underbelly.

Where: 174 Ellis Street (between Mason and Powell streets), San Francisco.


Fiona Apple

When: September 11, 8 p.m.

What: Seriously, who knew emo could be so damn sexy? Well, sinister songstress Fiona did, and that’s why we’re chomping at the bit to see her perform in one of the best live venues in S.F. The “Criminal” crooner is sure to set hearts aflutter as she serenades the crowd with her passionate lyrics and piercing bright blues. Snatch up tickets while you can, they are sure to sell out.

Where: Warfield Theater, 982 Market Street (at Mason Street), San Francisco; 415-345-0900.

Photo: Courtesy of Opera in the Park

Motown Mondays at Madrone

When: September 11, 8 p.m. to close

What: What on earth could cause a line out the door of a Western Addition art bar on a Monday night? A sweaty, sexy, throwback dance party that is guaranteed to improve your mood the moment you set foot in the door. Motown Monday’s weekly dance party vibe is so infectious, countless self-imposed weeknight curfews have crashed and burned within these four walls.

Where: Madrone Art Bar, 500 Divisadero Street (between Fell and Hayes streets), San Francisco; 415-241-0202.

Beats For Lunch
When: September 12, noon to 2 p.m.
What: A must attend mid-day dance party in SoMA, Beats For Lunch is just what the doctor ordered for a case of the hump-day hiccups. Equipped with one of the best sound systems in the Bay, Monarch pumps out the bass-bumping jams for free allowing partygoers to either work out or do work on the dance floor.

Where: Monarch, 101 6th Street (at Mission Street), San Francisco; 415-284-9774.


Night Cheese: Exploring Terroir at Mission Cheese

When: September 13, 8:30 to 10:30 p.m.

What: Love cheese? Check. Don't know what the heck terrior means? Check. The folks at the stinky (in the best way possible) Valencia Street hang spot Mission Cheese have teamed up with some local dairy connoisseurs to bring S.F. cheese lovers a peek inside how different environmental variables in Northern California affect cheeses. The $48 price tag includes a wine pairing.

Where: Mission Cheese, 736 Valencia Street (between 18th and 19th streets), San Francisco; 415-484-6553.

Killing My Lobster's Quinceañera Prom

When: September 14, 8 to 11:55 p.m.

What: There’s nothing sketchy about this comedy gang who deliver some of the best, wiggle-in-your-seat-uncomfortable moments during their crack-up live performances. We expect this “prom” fundraiser to benefit the troupe to be no different. So don your best cotton-candy-colored dress, rhinestones, and dark lip-liner, pull that hair up in some sweet tendrils, and go awkwardly stand up against the wall until someone asks you to dance.

Where: Verdi Club, 2424 Mariposa St (between Potrero Avenue and Hampshire Street), San Francisco; 415-861-9199.

Photo: Courtesy of Mission Cheese

Cocktail Week
When: September 17 to 23

What: If you’re a sucker for artisanal cocktails and well-made whiskey, this one is for you. There are parties on top of events on top of drinks, all celebrating the fine art of mixology, cocktail culture, and, who are we kidding, getting tore up from the floor up — you know, like a lady.

Where: Various locations around the city.


Indochino Traveling Tailor

When: September 18 to 23, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

What: The geniuses behind online custom-suit company Indochino are hitting the road to help outfit dudes in duds that actually accentuate their assets instead of hiding them. Book an appointment to get your man measured by the brand's traveling tailor, suit up, and look fly, stat!

Where: 710 Market Street (between Kearny and O’Farrell streets), San Francisco.

Hermès Festival des Metiers

When: September 20 to 24

What: In late September, Hermès will host a four-day celebration of its craftsmanship in Union Square. While deets about the event are minimal, this is sure to inspire the style set in S.F. giving us an insider’s look at what happens behind the scenes at the one of the fashion industry’s most-beloved handbag ateliers.

Where: Union Square Park (enter on Powell Street), San Francisco.

Photo: Courtesy of Cocktail Week

Eat Real Food Festival 

When: September 21 to 25

What: Of course there is a local, organic street-food festival in the Bay Area, it’s only natural – a.k.a. we, like, totally rule. In order to celebrate where food comes from and encourage attendees to learn about what they eat, the free block party is lined with yummy food vendors serving up delicious and sustainable fare, all for under $5. 

Where: Jack London Square, 466 Water Street (between Broadway and Washington streets), Oakland.


DIY Desserts: Ice Cream Social
When: September 23, 1 to 2:30 p.m.

What: Leave it to local foodie hotspot 18 Reasons to serve the community up a drool-worthy ice-cream social. It’s clear the owners of Bi-Rite know a thing or two about the frozen sweet stuff, so when we heard they concocted a make-your-own sundae bar, we almost passed the eff out. It’s $5 bucks at the door or fork over $10 to wolf down the tasty treats. Either way you scoop it, sounds like an ice-cream dream come true.

Where: 18 Reasons, 3674 18th Street (between Dolores and Oakwood streets), San Francisco; 415-568-2710.

Roseanne Live!

When: September 27, 7 p.m.

What: If you didn't catch the Sex & The City drag show, first of all, you missed out! But you now have a chance to redeem yourself. The fierce folks are back at it again at Rebel from September 27 through November 14. This time, one of our favorite working-class sitcoms is under fire and you can bet it will be laugh-out-loud funny with Rosanne, Dan, Darlene, Becky, Jackie, and DJ up to their usual antics. Darleeeeeenne!

Where: Rebel, 1760 Market Street (between Octavia and McCoppin streets), San Francisco; 415-431-4202.

Film Night in the Park: Midnight in Paris

When: September 29, 8 p.m.

What: There are more than a few reasons to go catch Woody Allen’s whimsical, fantasy-laden love story. First, unless you live under a rock, you know the famous director is all up in our hoods filming his new flick. Second, it’s S.F. summertime ... finally! Hopefully, the weather will continue to spoil us rotten. Oh yeah, and the movie itself is fabulous!

Where: Washington Square Park, Union Street at Powell Street; San Francisco.

Polk Street Blues Festival

When: September 29 and 30, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

What: A weekend in the city will often chase the blues away, but now you can track them down. The location: Polk Street. Who doesn’t love the sound of a sexy sax among deep, soulful music? The weekend will be filled with gourmet grub, an arts and crafts bazaar, and open cafe seating. This sounds anything but sad!

Where: Polk Street (between Jackson and California streets), San Francisco.

Photo: Courtesy of Eat Real Food Festival

R29 Original Series