Crowds are nothing new for San Francisco. The city is accustomed to hosting large events, such as the Cherry Blossom Festival or OysterFest, on a regular basis, so your event will fit right into the city’s calendar. But running a large event is always a many-step process. Also, while it may seem daunting to organize one, don’t worry! The good news is that here at Tagvenue, we know a thing or two about event organization, so we have some tips to help you plan the best event.
When organizing an event, no matter how big or small, there are a few must-do things:
- Draw up a plan - Don’t start any planning without a clear guide on what you’re going to do. Look at the type of event you’re planning, and then decide what you want to get out of it and how to achieve it. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and forget about all the planning that needs to be done, but without a clear plan, you’ll end up running around stressed that you forgot about something.
- Set up a budget - Once you know what you expect from your event, see how much you can actually spend on it. The budget will help you plan the event better and avoid unnecessary costs. You can set up a simple spreadsheet or use an online tool to help you manage it. Remember to allocate a sum to unexpected expenses as well.
- Gather the team - However good of an event planner you are, to have the best event experience, you need a good team working with you. Be sure each person knows exactly what they are doing and that no responsibilities overlap. With a good plan in place, organizing the team’s work and the event itself will be much easier.
What other things should you keep in mind when organizing a large event in San Francisco?
- Keep an eye on dates when booking venues. With so many events happening, large venues can get booked pretty fast. To make sure you have yours secured, try booking at least 12 months in advance.
- Make sure your guests know how to get to your event location, especially if your venue is located outside the city center. If the venue is best reached via public transportation, make sure you include all the necessary info in your invitation. You can also provide maps of the area for better navigation.
- If you're planning an outdoor event (e.g., a concert or a wedding), be sure to check the weather conditions beforehand, or book a venue where an indoor area would be available for you, so you can use it in case the weather gets bad.
- Make sure your venue has enough parking space. If not, consider finding another venue with enough parking spaces or one that can be easily reached via public transportation. Adding shuttles from local hotels or public transportation hubs nearby can be an option for your event as well.
- Depending on the event, consider using a venue with multiple event spaces. This can make it easier to manage sessions, breaks, and meals during the event.
- Consider hiring security guards. Large events, especially those where people come in and out of the venue all the time, might need a security guard or two to keep an eye on things. The guards can also act as an extra set of eyes for any problems that might arise. Some venues may offer security, so make sure you talk about it with the venue manager.
- Have someone greet guests at the door once they arrive at your venue, so they don't have to ask where things are located or which door leads into the actual event space. This person should also be able to answer any questions about the event itself and the parking or public transportation options available nearby.
- Consider hiring additional staff members who can help direct traffic in case anyone gets lost or confused about where they need to go inside the venue itself. If you don’t have a budget for an extra person, at least invest time and money in preparing signs and guides that can help your guests navigate the event and the venue.
- Plan your menu carefully. A good caterer should be able to provide options that fit with your theme as well as choices for those with dietary restrictions or allergies. Make sure there's enough variety, so everyone has something they like, especially if there are children or seniors attending the event who may have special needs or preferences (e.g., gluten-free).
- Think about entertainment options before you make your final booking. Is there live music? An MC or coordinator? Do you need speakers? What about games or activities? Whatever you plan for, make sure the venue has space and amenities for it, so that you can have the entertainment you have planned.
Large Event Venues in San Francisco FAQ
How much does it cost to rent a large venue in San Francisco?
The most popular price option for large events in San Francisco includes per person packages, with prices starting at $29. You can also expect hourly hire rates starting at $625. Per session rates start at $3,000. Remember that prices may vary depending on the number of people attending, the day and time of the event, as well as elements included in packages. (All data from Tagvenue.)
Which areas of San Francisco are best for a large event?
Depending on the type of event you’re organizing, you should look in different areas of the Golden City for a different vibe. The city’s business center, The Financial District, will make for a great background for your business event. If you’re looking for a more artsy vibe, head to SoMa. With many refurbished warehouses, the area is sure to offer a large venue for your artistic event. Fisherman’s Wharf is where you will find an amazing view of the waterline, as well as venues ideal for big events. The Tenderloin is where you should look for more affordable venue options.
Can I host a large outdoor event in San Francisco?
Yes, you can host a large outdoor event in San Francisco. Many venues offer outside locations as well. Even with slightly cooler temperatures than the rest of California, the city’s mild climate is still one that allows for outdoor activities. Surprisingly, the best weather for outdoor events in the Golden City is from September to November. If you want to guarantee your event is safe from the elements, find a venue that has both indoor and outdoor spaces for rent.
Can I hire a large venue in San Francisco on a budget?
Although hiring a large venue will usually cost quite a lot, it’s still possible to do so without breaking the bank! There are a few things you can do to cut down on your venue hire:
- Look for package deals - Paying for the whole package, with per person rates, can come out cheaper than paying separately for venue hire, catering, and other options
- Be flexible with time and dates - Very often, off-peak hours and dates can be easier on the budget
- Look for venues outside the city center - Locations that are a bit further away will usually cost cheaper
- Hire venue by the hour - If you’re not planning a whole day event, then pay only for the hours you will actually use the venue