We finally made it to that true milestone of late summer known as Labor Day Weekend and there’s no shortage of opportunities to celebrate throughout the Bay. Take in an innovative art exhibit, hit the festival grounds for a serious dance party, or just kick back and enjoy free tunes in the City or on the Peninsula. There’s something for everyone, so make sure to soak up that last bit of summer sunshine (even if Karl the Fog is out to play).
Admire the photos of park lovers in the Presidio
In preparation for the 2022 reveal of the Presidio Tunnel Tops — a new area within the Presidio national park site — visitors are invited to stop by the Presidio this week to admire the works on display at the My Park Moment photo show. The free outdoor event is presented in collaboration with New York–based nonprofit Photoville and more than 400 images will be on display in four locations (easy to access on foot, bike or car), showcasing people from all backgrounds across America enjoying their favorite parks. If you’re unable to attend in person, you can still take in the event online.
Wednesday, September 1, 10 a.m.
See a unique new exhibit examining the experience of workers
San Francisco’s EUQINOM Gallery presents a solo exhibition from Chilean artist Rodrigo Valenzuela. The Los Angeles–based Guggenheim fellow will be sharing his most recent photographic series, Afterwork, made from 26 installations created in his studio. Like much of Valenzuela’s work, the series focuses on the experience of the working class, but this series also incorporates elements of science fiction and fierce imagination.
Wednesday, September 1, through Saturday, October 30
Get into the music festival spirit in Napa Valley
It’s officially BottleRock weekend! If you haven’t already secured your tickets to this legendary Napa Valley Festival, you can still snag a spot. This year’s lineup includes serious star power, with bands like Guns N’ Roses and the Foo Fighters, and artists like Miley Cyrus and Megan Thee Stallion, taking the stage. There will also be plenty of delectable local cuisine, wine and art to enjoy.
Friday, September 3, through Sunday, September 5
Explore decades of abstract art from a pioneering creator
Don’t miss your chance to see the legendary creative works of artist Joan Mitchell, up close and personal in a new SFMOMA exhibition. The self-titled comprehensive retrospective features more than 80 works from the artist who spent over three decades in France creating abstract paintings known for their distinctive color and energy. This series includes paintings, sketchbooks and drawings, plus a selection of Mitchell’s letters and photographs.
Saturday, September 4, through Monday, January 17, 2022
Dig deep into this disturbing, symbolic universe
If dystopian urban images speak to you, you’ll be stoked to see David Bayus’ latest film, The Virion Transit, presented by Telematic Media Arts. The artist is inspired by imaginative concepts of mutant life forms and the notion of a disjointed, failed future civilization. Bayus drew inspiration from the anxiety of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting isolation. Stop by the opening reception on Saturday, from 6 to 9 p.m.
Saturday, September 4, through Saturday, October 2
Enjoy outdoor music from two South Bay classical music organizations
Celebrate Labor Day with Strike Up the Band!, a two-day, outdoor free concert series presented by Symphony Silicon Valley and Opera San Jose. Taking place on the Tower Lawn at San Jose State University, the 75- to 90-minute programs will feature full symphony orchestra, operatic soloists and piano accompaniment from San Jose local Jon Nakamatsu, whose many accomplishments include a gold medal from the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.
Saturday, September 4, 7 p.m. and Sunday September 5:30 p.m.
Scope out a futuristic exhibit blending art and tech
Stanford’s Cantor Arts Center presents the latest exhibition from artist Ian Cheng, titled Emissary Sunsets The Self. Created with a video game engine, the show explores the evolution of cognition and is presented in a format that Cheng refers to as “live simulation.” The work is set thousands of years in the future and imbued with ideas about the rise of artificial intelligence.
Eat, drink, dance, and explore art in the Peninsula
If you haven’t checked out First Fridays, presented by the San José Museum of Art, now’s your chance to score free admission to all exhibits and programs and enjoy food, music and open-air dancing in the Circle of Palms, courtesy of San Jose’s CityDance. This week, celebrate the opening of Wayfinder: Clare Rojas, a public art project that encourages locals and visitors to see all that downtown San Jose has to offer.
Friday, September 3, 6–9 p.m.
Hit the dance floor and party with these electro-funk stars
No one does it quite like Chromeo and if you haven’t seen this mega talented (and hilarious) Canadian electro-funk duo dominate the stage, get yourself to San Francisco’s August Hall for one of BottleRock’s After Dark shows. Formed in 2002 by musicians David “Dave 1” Macklovitch and Patrick “P-Thugg” Gemayel, Chromeo’s sound samples flavors of dance, jazz, blue-eyed soul, disco and so much more.
Thursday, September 2, 8:30 p.m.
Pack a picnic and listen to sweet symphonies in the park
Everyone loves a free concert at the Music Concourse in the heart of Golden Gate Park, and nothing beats a Labor Day celebration. Enjoy the sounds of the Golden Gate Park Band, a spirited institution made up of professional musicians, in the swing of its 139th season. Yes, the free concerts have been taking place in Golden Gate Park for more than 100 years! This year, the band has already hit the stage to present musical selections from Disney, video game history, Hungarian culture and more.
Saturday, September 4, and Sunday, September 5, 1 p.m.