San Francisco: Free concerts in the parks

Courtesy mholshue/myBudgetTravel
Dolores Park

Grab a picnic blanket and lie back in the grass to enjoy a wide selection of tunes at these outdoor music events.

The annual outdoor Sunday afternoon concert series at Stern Grove features a range of jazz, symphony, opera, pop, and world music. The grove is a natural amphitheater, with redwood and eucalyptus trees, that offers great sound quality in a woodsy setting. Save the dates for the SF Symphony (July 11), Caravan Palace (July 18), Rickie Lee Jones (August 1), and Maceo Parker (August 15). Picnic tables are available by online raffle. Otherwise just show up with your own picnic gear. Sundays at 2 p.m., June 20-August 22, Sigmund Stern Grove, 19th Ave. and Sloat Blvd.

Curious about the indie music scene in San Francisco? Then head down to the Mission Creek Festival's free show at McLaren Park in the Outer Mission. The lineup includes locals like psych-rock band The Fresh & Onlys, all girl pop-punk group Grass Widow, and the New Wave sounds of Brian Glaze and the Night Shift. The concert is part of the annual Mission Creek Music and Arts Festival, which hosts live music and documentary films across the city. Festival July 9-11 in Oakland, July 14-18 in San Francisco, outdoor concert July 17th at McLaren Park.

Yerba Buena Center's grassy lawns and sculptural waterfall provide a welcome respite in downtown. It's also the setting for a summer time concert series. July highlights include the Jewish Music Festival (July 11) and the Merola Opera (July 25, 2 p.m.). Concerts are held on weekends and at lunchtime on Thursdays. Between Mission, Folsom, Third and Fourth Sts.

The San Francisco Symphony heads to Dolores Park in the sunny Mission District for an afternoon concert that pays homage to Mexico's Bicentenial. The symphony will play Márquez's Danzón No. 2, Chávez's Symphony No. 2, Sinfonia India, Rosas's Sobre las Olas, Moncayo's Huapango, and Dvorák's Symphony No. 9, New World. Get there early: the park is a favorite among local hipsters and gets jam-packed, especially on summer weekends. Sunday, July 25, 2 p.m., Dolores Park, between Dolores and Church Sts., and between 18th and 20th Sts.

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