Rock out in dingy dive bars or dance the night away in swanky clubs – San Francisco’s famously liberal and laid-back attitude makes it one of the best nightlife destinations in the world. From an international club scene and world famous DJs to retro roller discos and cultural evening attractions – there’s a huge choice of things to do in San Francisco at night.
1) Hang out with hippies on Haight Street
Looking for an alternative night out? Then head straight to the Haight. This legendary street was the epicentre of the global hippie culture of the 1960s – and in some ways it still is. Around the junction of Haight-Ashbury you’ll find plenty of alternative bars and cafes where you can still find the occasional original hippie chilling out. Duck into dive bars, find a booth and stick some rock’n’roll on the jukebox for an authentic San Francisco evening experience.
2) Cool kids at the Mission
Love an off-the-wall night out? Then the Mission is definitely the place to go. A unique mixture of Latin influences, retro style and an artsy crowd mean you can find it all here. There’s the city’s biggest choice of food and flavours, plus bars that cater for all tastes. Dance to impromptu Mariachi bands, get your groove on at a rock show or discover underground clubs where the city’s best DJs are on the decks.
3) Travel back in time at the roller disco
Swirl around the floor on your skates like a scene straight from a 70s movie. The Church of 8 Wheels – so called because it’s located in an old church building – offers the authentic roller disco complete with hot pants, knee high socks and bell bottom trousers. You can hire skates and then hit the floor to work on your moves. One of the most unusual but fun things to do in San Francisco at night. Located on Fell Street and Fillmore.
4) Ghost hunting and prison visits
San Francisco may have some of the best bars and clubs in the world but it’s not all about partying at night here. The San Francisco Ghost Hunt hopes to introduce you to the city’s most famous night-time residents. In the mood for something else spooky? Then take the night tour of Alcatraz. Less busy than during the day and with special programs of events, you can explore this legendary prison after the sun has gone down.
5) Hit the clubs
Discover one of the best club scenes in the world. San Francisco nightlife covers all the genres and generations, with legendary spots like End Up running since the late 1970s. With everything from Balearic Beats to rap – and plenty in between – if you love to dance then you can hit the floor in a huge choice of nightspots. Top names include Mighty, Mezzanine, Public Works – where you’ll find the best international and local DJs spinning the wheels.
6) Shout it from the rooftops
Enjoy views of one of the most distinctive and iconic skylines in the US while sipping a cocktail from a choice of rooftop bars. Elevate your evening out at El Techo de Lolinda, Dirty Habit and Jones, where al fresco drinks and brilliant atmospheres are the norm. If you can get there for sunset, then you’ll get some of the best views in the city.
7) Stick to a theme
Like to enjoy a drink with a theme? Then you’re in luck. The city is home to some superb bars that come with a distinct flavour and atmosphere. Check out Smugglers Cove if you want to warm up your evening in an inviting Caribbean environment. Or for a taste of prohibition-era speakeasy, head to Bourbon & Branch where you’ll be transported back to the 1920s.