Most popular event spaces in San Francisco, CA
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Our guide to event space rental in San Francisco, CA
San Francisco is a big city with a small-town feel. It’s diverse, eclectic, and a place of contrasts. When you’re thinking of San Francisco, you’re probably picturing the Golden Gate Bridge, snazzy tech companies and rows of charming, colorful Victorian houses. Beyond that: water views, steep rolling hills and a moody fog that has its own Twitter account.
There are plenty of things to do and see in the City by the Bay, so if you’re looking to rent an event space here, you’re in luck! San Francisco is where nature and culture blend together. There’s an abundance of parks and walking trails, as well as fine restaurants, vibrant coffee shops, fabulous theaters and live music venues, and so much more!
I want to book a San Francisco venue for my event. Where should I start?
Planning an event can be fun and exciting, but it can also be a drag. But as with so much in life, everything depends on your approach! We have a bunch of handy tips up our sleeves that should make the task easier. Let’s start by answering the three key questions:
- What type of event are you organizing? – This is the first and most important question to ask. Different event types require different kinds of spaces: is it a formal dinner, a business meeting or a relaxed gathering of friends and family? Are you looking for a fancy restaurant, an elegant banquet hall or a laid-back neighborhood bar? Let the event type guide you in your search.
- What is your budget? – The next crucial thing is your budget. What amount of money are you prepared to spend on the venue? Do you need a place with catering included in the price or do you need a separate budget for that? Do you also need to set aside some funds for renting some decorations or paying for the DJ or a live band? Once you’re clear on the figures, Tagvenue will help you find an event space that won’t drain your wallet, simply use our filters to browse venues that fit your price range.
- How many guests are you expecting? – Think about how many guests you’d like to invite to your event. Is it going to be a small gathering or a lavish affair? Knowing the estimated number of people you’re expecting to show up will help you choose a perfect-sized venue and avoid overpaying for a place that’s too big. While you’re creating your guest list, take some time to also figure out the preferred layout. Is it going to be a standing or a seated event? Would you prefer to seat your guests boardroom- or classroom-style? Tagvenue lets you easily filter venues by capacity and layout to help you find exactly what you need.
Once you’ve gone over the basics, you can consider a few other important elements:
- Catering – Food and beverages are the center of a great number of events. Whether you’re looking into a three-course dinner for a wedding reception or lunch and some snacks for conference delegates, there are a few details to think about. Do you want to rent a venue that provides on-site catering or are you going to take care of that part of your event yourself? If you’re considering using external caterers, make sure you book a venue that allows you to do so. The same goes for alcohol: buying in bulk from external suppliers can be a budget-friendly option, but first, you should check your chosen venue’s policy on BYOB. Also, remember to ask your guest about their dietary restrictions and provide alcohol-free options for non-drinkers.
- Ambiance – Pick a venue with the right mood. Of course, this will depend to a large extent on what type of event you’re hosting and who you’re inviting. Take some time to come up with your vision, then look for a venue that best matches your conception. Remember that ambiance is made up of so much more than just the design. The space can be completely transformed with decorations and the mood can be impacted by lighting, music or even the quality of service. The best way to judge whether the place has the right vibe for your event is to see it in person, so get in touch with the venue manager and schedule a viewing!
- Location – Narrow your search to a specific location. Your choice can be guided by the type of event you’re organizing. If it’s a wedding reception, perhaps consider the proximity of a beach or a park for beautiful wedding photographs and if you’re looking for a space to work on a creative project, maybe you’d like an artsy area to keep you inspired? Try to pick a location that’s convenient for everyone participating in the event and easy to get to. Luckily, this shouldn’t be a problem – it’s easy to move between San Francisco’s neighborhoods, regardless of your mode of transportation.
A brief San Francisco area guide
San Francisco is home to many diverse neighborhoods that offer something for everyone, from great multicultural restaurants and live music venues to laid-back cafes and plenty of chilled outdoor spaces. It’s easy to move around the city and jump from one area to another, whether it’s on foot, by bike or by Uber. If you’re searching for an event venue in San Francisco and wondering which location to pick, check out our breakdown of the city’s most popular areas:
Bustling with activity
If you want to rent an event venue in the center of all activity, these are the San Francisco neighborhoods to consider:
- The Mission District – From lively coffee shops, bars and restaurants to thriving live music venues and nightlife spots around Valencia Street, this Latino-infused area is especially popular with the young crowd. If you’re looking for a breather from the plethora of attractions, check out Dolores Park with its beautiful views and picnic spots.
- Cow Hollow – Known for its trendy brunch places lined along Union Street, upscale restaurants and popular yoga studios. There’s something for everyone: easy-going bistros, elegant wine lounges, energetic sport bars and more! The neighborhood also offers direct bus connections to downtown.
- Union Square – An upscale area filled with fine restaurants and exclusive hotels such as The Grand Hyatt or Westin St. Francis Hotel. Cultural offerings include Marines' Memorial Theater, A.C.T.’s Geary Theater and the Curran.
- The Financial District – San Francisco’s business center is dominated by skyscrapers, and is sometimes described as the West Coast’s Wall Street. But it’s not all business, finance and corporate events, there’s also room for entertainment. Check out the area’s popular bars and elegant restaurants!
If you’re a creative soul and thrive in artsy environments, check out the venues in these areas:
- Haight Ashbury – Ready to be transported back to the 1960s? Top coffee shops, hip restaurants and vintage vibes – that’s what you’ll find in the Haight area. Slow-paced during the day, the neighborhood turns into a nightlife mecca when the sun goes down.
- North Beach – Formerly home to the Beat Generation’s famous writers such as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsburg, today the area boasts murals, art installations and an array of lively bars and music clubs on Broadway. Numerous great cafes and restaurants were established by members of the neighborhood’s strong Italian-American community, which is why the neighborhood is also referred to as “Little Italy.”
- The Castro – Jovial and colorful, home to a large LGBT community and jam-packed with activity, The Castro is definitely one of San Francisco’s fun neighborhoods. It offers legendary bars, raving dance clubs and the famous Castro Theater.
- Hayes Valley – This San Francisco neighborhood combines a cool, haute couture vibe with a true sense of community. Filled with art galleries, London-inspired bars and pubs, award-winning restaurants, trendy nightlife spots and laid-back beer gardens.
- SoMa – Formerly an industrial district, diverse SoMa is filled with converted warehouses, artisan coffee shops, music venues, great dining spots and thrilling night clubs. Easily accessible via public transportation.
Although you’re more likely to see people walking dogs than pushing strollers in San Francisco, the city does have a few family-friendly neighborhoods.
- Cole Valley – Green outdoor spaces, tree-lined streets and old Victorian houses are dominant in this area. Though Cole Valley is San Francisco’s smallest neighborhood, it still boasts a selection of great brunch places and friendly cafes.
- Noe Valley – Even though it’s located just south of the bustling Mission District, Noe Valley has a suburban feel to it. Apart from rows of elegant Edwardian and Victorian houses, you’ll also find plenty of restaurants, bars and cafes along 24th Street, the neighborhood’s beating heart.
If you fancy some bay views and waterfront venues, you’ll find them in these areas:
- The Marina District – Situated on San Francisco’s northern shore, the Marina has a lot to offer. There are many popular bars and restaurants lined along Chestnut Street, and even more fabulous eateries located in Union Street’s gorgeous Victorian buildings. Marina Boulevard boasts views of the Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, and the nearby Palace of Fine Arts is a popular event venue and a dream backdrop for wedding photography.
- Pacific Heights – An upscale area known for its sweeping views, quiet streets, hilltop parks, opulent architecture and trendy cafes centered around lively Fillmore Street. You won’t find much nightlife in this part of town, but there are still some bars and restaurants to choose from.
- Fisherman’s Wharf – Popular with tourists for its stalls selling Dungeness crab chowder, amazing seafood restaurants lined along PIER 39 and great views over the bay, Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. There are also a number of old red-brick factories that now serve different purposes, including the famous former chocolate factory at Ghirardelli Square, now home to restaurants and boutiques.
- Embarcadero – A waterfront area with gorgeous views of the Bay Bridge. Especially famous for the iconic Ferry Building, which boasts cafes, innovative restaurants and wine bars.
- The Richmond and Sunset Districts – Located further away from downtown, these two neighborhoods separated by The Golden Gate Park are quieter and more relaxed. Locals refer to these areas as “The Avenues.” They’re known for their selection of restaurants serving Russian, Burmese or Indian cuisine, among others. The Richmond District offers some budget-friendly eateries as well!
Perhaps you’re envisioning a location with some old-world vibes, historic buildings and leafy streets? Look for venues in these neighbourhoods:
- Telegraph Hill – A small district very close to North Beach and The Embarcadero, it’s filled with Victorian architecture, wild parrots, as well as restaurants and bars centered around Filbert Street.
- Russian Hill – An upscale neighborhood featuring a variety of old-school eateries and trendy bars situated along lively Polk and Hyde Streets. The area’s steep hills guarantee great views of the city’s landmarks.
- Alamo Square – A beautiful neighborhood and park with green hills, water views and pretty architecture. But don’t mistake the area’s peaceful vibe for boring! There’s a great deal of restaurants, bars and nightlife spots within walking distance.
If you’re into Asian cuisine, you should also check out these areas:
- Chinatown – Get lost in the maze of streets and alleys in one of the oldest Chinatowns in the US and prepare for a unique dining experience provided by authentic eateries. If you’re looking for a place to party, there’s also a great selection of cocktail lounges and karaoke bars.
- Japantown – Sushi, ramen or shabu-shabu? The historic Japantown, or Nihonmachi, is filled with large indoor/outdoor complexes that host a variety of amazing restaurants.
On a tight budget and want to go easy on your wallet? We’re not going to lie to you: this isn’t an easy task in San Francisco. However, there are some areas that are considered more affordable than others.
- The Tenderloin – A laid-back, funky area in downtown San Francisco with underground art venues, concert halls, theaters and a selection of great restaurants, dive bars and speakeasies.
- Visitacion Valley – A working-class neighborhood with Latino and Asian restaurants centered around Leland Avenue. There are also plenty of parks; however, if you’re looking for nightlife, try other SF areas.
Want to dig even deeper? Have a look at these frequently asked questions:
How much does it cost to rent an event space in San Francisco?
San Francisco is known to be quite an expensive city. Prices can vary widely depending on the venue’s standard, capacity, facilities, etc. Smaller event spaces typically range from around $200 to $1000 per day. If you’re hosting a large-scale event, expect to pay around $10000 per day or more.
How can I save some money while hosting an event in San Francisco?
If you’re planning an event in San Francisco but your budget is rather tight, there are a few ways to save some money:
- Look for venues that charge per hour – this way, you can rent the space for the exact amount of time that you need.
- Rent a place that allows you to bring your own food and beverages. External catering can sometimes be more affordable than options offered by the venue.
- Get a package deal! Wedding venues, conference venues, restaurants, etc. often offer packages with prices per person. These typically include the costs of venue rental, catering and other options.
- Host a cash bar, which means each of your guests will be paying for their own drinks. If you want to be a little more generous, you can hold a happy hour and pay for everyone’s drinks for a limited time.
- Be flexible on the date and day of the week. This can get you some great deals. Some venues even charge less for events that take place in the middle of the week instead of on the weekend. Also, remember that you can always try to negotiate with the venue manager!
What types of event venues can I find in San Francisco?
Diverse San Francisco has a little bit of everything. There are places for an elegant dinner party and a wild night out: from Union Square’s fancy restaurants and Cow Hollow’s popular brunch spots and trendy cafes to downtown’s dive bars, speakeasies and raving night clubs. If you’re a creative person, you’ll be thrilled by the city’s cultural offerings and artsy spaces, from numerous theaters such as Marines' Memorial Theater and the Castro Theater to famous live music venues to converted warehouses in places such as SoMa. And if you’re here to do business, SoMa, The Financial District and other San Francisco areas boast an abundance of conference venues, meeting rooms and hotels perfect for corporate events too!
Can I host an outdoor event in San Francisco?
There are plenty of outdoor event venues in San Francisco! Many restaurants and cafes have a patio or a terrace that you can rent out for your event. There’s also an abundance of beautiful parks with lots of greenery and great views, such as the Grandview Park, the Corona Heights Park or the hilltop Lafayette Park with plenty of picnic spots. However, if you decide to host an event in a public space, make sure you have all the necessary permits. Also, keep in mind the San Francisco weather. With a mild climate, the city’s much cooler than the rest of California, so always have a light sweater or a jacket!
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