Dance, Theater, and Music

American Conservatory Theater
Preeminent resident theater led by artistic director Carey Perloff; works by classic and contemporary playwrights (from Moliére to David Mamet); performances in historic Geary Theater or Zeum Theater. Tickets from $10. 415 Geary St.; tel. +1 415 749 2228. www.act-sf.org

Beach Blanket Babylon
Steve Silver's musical revue spoofs current events and celebrities; opened in 1974, with packed performances ever since; outrageous costumes featuring towering hats; no minors allowed except for Sunday matinees; performances at Club Fugazi. Tickets from $25. 678 Green St.; tel. +1 415 421 4222. www.beachblanketbabylon.com

Intersection for the Arts
"Extraordinary socially relevant theater."—David Wiegand, executive datebook editor, San Francisco Chronicle. Theater, music, and dance performances, art exhibits, and literary series spotlighting emerging artists; performances in small Intersection for the Arts theater. Tickets from $5. 446 Valencia St.; tel. +1 415 626 3311. www.theintersection.org

San Francisco Ballet
One of the nation's oldest ballet companies; directed by Helgi Tomasson; repertoire includes works by George Balanchine, Mark Morris, and Christopher Wheeldon; performances in War Memorial Opera House. Tickets from $10. 301 Van Ness Ave.; tel. +1 415 861 5600. www.sfballet.org

San Francisco Opera
Critically acclaimed performances directed by David Gockley; traditional works (Mozart's "The Magic Flute") and contemporary American opera (the world premiere of Philip Glass's "Appomattox"); performances in War Memorial Opera House. Tickets from $25. 301 Van Ness Ave.; tel. +1 415 864 3330. www.sfopera.com

San Francisco Symphony
"One of the world's greatest symphonies; really inventive."—David Wiegand. Led by Michael Tilson Thomas; featuring superstar musicians (violinist Itzhak Perlman, soprano Renée Fleming); performances in Davies Symphony Hall. Tickets from $25. 201 Van Ness Ave.; tel. +1 415 864 6000. www.sfsymphony.org

Nightlife

Bimbo's 365 Club
"You walk in and expect to see Tony Bennett standing in the corner."—Aidin Vaziri, pop music critic, San Francisco Chronicle. 1930s-style venue; pop and indie rock (The Flaming Lips); comedy (Robin Williams); only open during performances. Tickets from $15. 1025 Columbus Ave.; tel. +1 415 474 0365. www.bimbos365club.com

Biscuits and Blues
"Old blues players, old-Southern food, very comfortable."—Paula Tevis, author, San Francisco for Dummies. Local and touring jazz and blues artists (Grammy-winning guitarist Joe Louis Walker); intimate venue with full-service restaurant. Two-drink minimum. 401 Mason St.; tel. +1 415 292 2583.

Café du Nord
"With its red velvet walls and mahogany bar, it feels a bit like stepping back in time—until the music kicks up."—Aidin Vaziri. Cozy venue in subterranean former speakeasy; rock, electronic, folk, and jazz acts from up-and-coming artists (The Ravonettes) and established performers (Dramarama, The Samples). Tickets from $8. 2170 Market St.; tel. +1 415 861 5016. www.cafedunord.com

The Fillmore
"The walls are dripping with history, and the sound is huge."—Aidin Vaziri. Famed for 1960s concerts (Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead); breakthrough bands and international rock stars (Coldplay, The Smashing Pumpkins); standing-room-only concert hall. Tickets from $20. 1805 Geary Blvd.; tel. +1 415 346 6000. www.thefillmore.com

Great American Music Hall
Diverse lineup featuring big-name rock bands (Maroon 5), children's programs (Hip Hop Harry), and singer/songwriters (Joan Armatrading); former bordello theater with tables rimming balcony and stage. Tickets from $12. 859 O'Farrell St.; tel. +1 415 885 0750. www.musichallsf.com

Tosca Café
"Crimson red booths, a juke box that plays Frank Sinatra and opera, and a back room that's known for attracting celebs."—Melissa Goldstein, arts and culture editor, 7x7 San Francisco magazine. Mostly locals' bar in North Beach; known for its antique espresso machines, Wurlitzer, and brandy-spiked house cappuccino. 242 Columbus Ave.; tel. +1 415 986 9651.

Festivals

Carnaval
Memorial Day Weekend. Annual event in Mission District celebrates Latin American and Caribbean culture. Samba dancing, live music, arts and crafts, food, and parade showcasing colorful costumes with feather headdresses. Tip: Purchase grandstand seat online before parade. Tel. +1 415 920 0122. www.carnavalsf.com

Cherry Blossom Festival
Mid- to late April. Annual Japanese cultural event in Japantown District. Traditional dancing, Asian food and cooking demonstrations, tea ceremonies, taiko drumming, parade, and crowning of Cherry Blossom Queen. Tel. +1 415 563 2313. www.nccbf.org

Chinese New Year Festival and Parade
January through March, depending on lunar calendar. Series of events honoring Chinese culture culminates with nighttime parade featuring 201-foot dancing dragon. Tip: Bird's-eye views of parade from windows of Macy's department store. Tel. +1 415 982 3071. www.chinesparade.com

Cinco de Mayo
First weekend in May. Yearly celebration in Mission District of 1862 Mexican victory over French forces. Mexican food, mariachi music, and dance performances in Dolores Park. Rowdier festivities in local bars. Tel. +1 707 644 4218. www.sfcincodemayo.com

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration and Parade
Third weekend in June. Huge crowds gather in Castro District and Civic Center for annual event commemorating struggle for LGBT rights. Food, music performances, elaborate costumes, and big parade. Tip: Pick up free Inside Pride guide for full events calendar. Tel. +1 415 864 3733. www.sfpride.org

Precious Cheese North Beach Festival
Mid-June. Annual street festival celebrating district's Italian culture and Beat movement history. Pizza tossing, swing dancing, arts-and-crafts booths, poetry readings, street-chalk art, and Italian food booths. Tel. +1 415 989 2220.

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