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Best Fall Festivals In San Francisco

Fall is a beautiful time of year in the Bay Area, with pleasant temperatures and sun, even in the foggiest and cloudiest corners of San Francisco. If you are looking for some activities to take advantage of fall in San Francisco, read on for a list of five of San Francisco's upcoming fall festivals. There are activities here to suit every family, age or interest.

Ghirardelli Square

Ghiradelli Square Chocolate Festival
900 North Point St.
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 775-5500

Dates: Sept. 14 through Sept. 15, 2013

Everyone knows Ghiradelli as San Francisco's own brand of chocolate. Founded in 1852, Ghiradelli is the second-oldest chocolate company in the United States. Ghiradelli, at its headquarters in Ghiradelli Square, hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including a Chocolate Festival held on the second weekend in September. The two-day event features desserts from local confectioners and bakeries, as well as live music, baking demonstrations and an ice cream eating contest. A $25 fee for 15 chocolate tastings per person benefits Project Open Hand.

Mayor Ed Lee In Chinatown
San Francisco mayor Ed Lee waves to supporters after a campaign stop in Chinatown on November 8, 2011 in San Francisco, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Autumn Moon Festival Street Fair
San Francisco Chinatown
Grant Ave.
San Francisco, CA 91408
(415) 982-6306

Dates: Sept. 14 through Sept. 15, 2013

In Chinese tradition, the autumn moon is an opportunity to celebrate the summer harvest and the moon goddess. San Francisco's Chinatown, the oldest Chinatown in North America, celebrates the coming of fall with the 23rd annual Autumn Moon Festival this year. The weekend event will include many shops and vendors, cultural booths, food, entertainment and activities for children. Food selections include the moon cake – a pastry whose shape follows that of the full moon. The event will open with a parade led by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee (pictured), and close with the appearance of a Chinese dragon Sunday at 5 p.m.

Oktoberfest By The Bay
Pier 48
San Francisco, CA 94107
(888) 746-7522

Dates: Sept. 20 through Sept. 22, 2013

From its roots in Munich, Germany, the Oktoberfest tradition has spread throughout the world. San Francisco's own Oktoberfest will be held in the Mission Bay neighborhood in late September. AOL Travel named it one of the 10 best Oktoberfest celebrations in the United States. Beer (of course) as well as sausage and other German foods will be in hearty supply, as well as German dancers, the famous Chico Bavarian brass band and other entertainment.

Related: Guide To San Francisco's Summer Street Fairs & Festivals

(credit: Heritage Parade and Festival
Columbus Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94111

Date: Oct.13, 2013

The North Beach neighborhood began as San Francisco's Little Italy, and on October 13, the Italian influence will be celebrated in the annual Italian Heritage Parade and Festival. The parade is the oldest Italian heritage parade in the United States, first held in 1869. The parade will start at Fisherman's Wharf and end in North Beach featuring local civic groups and this year's Queen Isabella and her court. The festival features food, entertainment and hands-on activities for kids.

(credit: Steven Restivo Event Services)Fiesta on the Hill
Cortland Ave.
Bernal Heights
San Francisco, CA 94110

Date: Oct. 20, 2013

This year's Fiesta on the Hill in San Francisco's Bernal Heights neighborhood will be the area's 25th annual celebration of the hilly neighborhood. It will include many activities for children, including a petting zoo and pony rides. Live music will be performed and many food and shopping vendors will be on site. Proceeds from the Fiesta will benefit the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center.

Related: 5 Great San Francisco Spring Festivals & Events

Laura Tarwater-Scharp is a freelance writer, editor and historian. Originally from the Midwest, she has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for over a decade. Her work can be found at


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