Where to Celebrate the Day of the Dead in the Bay Area

Pay tribute to the deceased with these Día de los Muertos events around San Francisco

While the Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is known for its colorful displays, eye-catching skeletons and elaborate face painting, it is so much more than the fanfare might suggest. Celebrating Día de los Muertos or the Day of the Dead is a time of remembrance and a celebration of lost loved ones. This joyful Mexican tradition brings families and communities together to eat, sing, dance, celebrate culture and more. Grab your friends and family and get ready to join in on the fun at one of these Bay Area festive celebrations.  

San Francisco Day of the Dead Events

day of the dead festivals san francisco

Day of the Dead Masks with Presidio Trust: From face painting and paper flowers to decorating your very own skulls, families are in for a treat at the Día de los Muertos art festival with the Presidio Trust. There is a rich history between Mexico and the Presidio that dates back to the 1800s. This historical connection will be represented in the form of two altars in the park—one at the Presidio Visitor Center honoring people from the Presidio's past and the other located at the base of the Presidio Steps next to the Outpost and Field Station in Presidio Tunnel Tops honoring endangered and extinct park species. Both altars will be interactive and visitors are encouraged to add to them by sharing messages to loved ones who they wish to honor. Event details.

When: Nov. 1; noon- 3 p.m & Nov. 2; 3 p.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: Free

The Presidio Tunnel Tops
50 Moraga Ave.
San Francisco
Online: presidio.gov

SF’s Day of the Dead Procession 2022: Hosted by the Marigold Project, the 30th annual Day of the Dead celebration is sure to have something for all ages. Families can celebrate in skeletal style with a parade that culminates in a community Day of the Dead altar show. Added Bonus: you can sign up to create your own altar. Many participants bring candles or instruments and pictures of their lost loved ones. Event details.

When: Nov. 2; 2 p.m.-11 p.m.
Cost: Free

Potrero Del Sol Park (La Raza Park)
25th Street & San Bruno Ave.
San Francisco

Community Concert at the SF Symphony: Music can easily spark memories and is a true mark of celebration. This annual concert with the San Francisco Symphony is no different and will be a vibrant celebration of Latin American music and culture. Conducted by Carlos Miguel Prieto, the event will feature a mix of music, lobby installations by local artists and a post-concert reception and dinner. Event details.

Good to Know: The symphony recommends ages 7 and up, but younger kids are welcome!

When: Nov. 5, 2 p.m.
Cost: $22.50–$110 depending on seats

Davies Symphony Hall,
201 Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco
Online: sfsymphony.org


day of the dead events san francisco
SOMArts by J. Astra Brinkmann 

23rd Annual Day of the Dead Show at SOMArts: Marking its 23rd year, SOMArts’ annual Día de Los Muertos exhibition is one of the most internationally diverse Day of the Dead celebrations in the United States. Founded by beloved San Francisco artist and curator René Yañez, the event merges traditional altars with contemporary multi-faceted art installations. Bring the family to explore this year’s exhibition To Love and Be Loved in Return: Día de Los Muertos 2022, a presentation exemplifying how the love between us and our dead continue to help us to navigate the world. Event details.

When: Now through Nov. 4
Cost: Free

934 Brannan St.
San Francisco


Day of the Dead Festivals on the Peninsula

Redwood City Improvement Association

Redwood City’s Casa Círculo Cultural’s Day of the Dead Event: Redwood City’s Courthouse Square will be transformed into a play, where musicians, dancers, artists and family altars are all on display. Families can decorate sugar sugar skulls and get creative with marigolds and more. Catrinas (elegantly dressed skeletons) will be walking around the plaza greeting visitors, and a procession will walk through downtown Redwood City. The community event is a collaboration between Casa Circulo Cultural, the San Mateo History Museum, Friends of the Redwood City Library and the Redwood City Parks & Arts Foundation. Event details.

When: Nov. 5
Cost: Free

Redwood City Courthouse Square
200 Broadway
Redwood City
Online: casacirculocultural.org 

Day of the Dead Events in Oakland

day of the dead events near san francisco
OMCA by Odell Hussey Photography

OMCA’s Día de Los Muertos Festival: Various art forms will be in abundance this year at OMCA’s 23rd annual Day of the Dead Festival. From folkloric ballet to poetry readings, kids crafts and more, the community event is sure to help families remember their loved ones while celebrating life. Event details.

When: Oct. 23, noon-4 p.m.
Cost: $10 for general public and free for members (festival access only)

Oakland Museum of California
1000 Oak St.
Online: museumca.org

Fruitvale Día De Los Muertos Festival: This vibrant outdoor community festival will celebrate its 27th year with world-class live music, Aztec rituals, and artistic installations to commemorate the Day of the Dead. Honoring essential workers this year, the event will feature family-friendly games, carnival rides and festival food favorites from local vendors. Event details.

Fun Fact: This Día de los Muertos Festival was inducted into the U.S. Library of Congress by Congresswoman Barbara Lee as a "Local Legacy."

When: Oct. 30; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. 
Cost: Free

International Blvd. & Fruitvale Ave.
Online: unitycouncil.org


Day of the Dead Events in Santa Clara County

Fili Santillán on Unsplash

Community Day: El Día de los Muertos: Celebrate the Day of the Dead with the San Jose Museum of Art. Guaranteed to be a day packed with fun including live entertainment, cultural demonstrations and an eclectic mix of art-making, the event will have something for all ages to enjoy. Get ready to decorate calaveras de azúcar (sugar skulls), make monarch butterfly bookmarks and get creative with marigolds, a popular flower during the holiday. Event details.

When: Oct. 29; 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
Cost: Free but order tickets ahead

San Jose Museum of Art
110 South Market St.
San Jose
Online: sjmusart.org

Celebrate Your Ancestors with Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose: Families are invited to a joyful Día de Los Muertos program honoring the lives of departed ancestors and loved ones. Translated "The Day of the Dead" the Mexican holiday is traditionally celebrated on Nov. 1 and 2. The special event is part of the museum’s Cultural Celebration Series, a regional diversity effort to help families of all backgrounds explore the many cultures and traditions in Silicon Valley. Event details.

When: Nov. 5; 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.; 1:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m.
Cost: $15 for non-members and free for members

180 Woz Way
San Jose
Online: cdm.org

Día de los Muertos in Gilroy: The Gilroy Downtown Business Association is hosting a celebration of Día de los Muertos on Oct. 30th from 2 p.m.-6 p.m. Get ready to dance and feast on local goodies from vendors in a fun-packed cultural celebration. The event will be held in Gourmet Alley between 4th and 5th Streets. There will be folkloric dancing, mariachis, vendors, food, and more! Event details.

When: Oct. 30
Cost: Free

Downtown Gilroy (Gourmet Alley) between 4th & 5th Street
Online: visitgilroy.com 

Santa Cruz Day of the Dead Events

day of the dead event in san francisco
Santa Cruz MAH

Día de los Muertos Community FestivalRoad trip anyone? Journey south to Santa Cruz for a community celebration of traditional music, dance, and art at Evergreen Cemetery. Attendees can enjoy live performances by Senderos’ Centeotl Danza y Baile and Ensamble Musical de Senderos. Families can also stroll through the cemetery in a self-guided presentation of community altars. Event details.

When: Oct. 29, noon-4 p.m.
Cost: Free

Evergreen Cemetery
261 Evergreen St.
Santa Cruz
Online: santacruzmah.org

Day of the Dead Events in Marin

Día de Los Muertos with Bolinas Community Center: The Bolinas Community Center will host a Day of the Dead altar in its main hall. Following the Mexican tradition of honoring lost loved ones on Nov. 1 & 2nd, they will host their altar on these two days. The event will also feature food from Mirta, a local favorite whose posole is unmatched! The center is requesting donations of marigolds for the event. Event details.

When: Nov. 1-2
Cost: Free

Bolinas Community Center
14 Wharf Road
Online: bocenter.org 

San Rafael’s Day of the Dead Celebration: Take it to the streets of San Rafael for a 34-year-old community-wide Day of the Dead tradition. Festivities include cultural performances by Danza Aztec Mixcoatl and Ballet Folklórico Netzahualcoyotl, live music, art workshops, a car procession and more. New this year, participants are invited to display their cars in the reserved parking lot of the Multicultural Center of Marin, located at 709 Fifth Ave. in downtown San Rafael. Event details.

When: Nov. 5; 3-9 p.m. Procession starts at 3 p.m.
Cost: Free

Albert J. Boro Community Center
50 Canal St.
San Rafael

Online: dayofthedeadsr.org

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