The best things to do after dinner in San Francisco range from Broadway-level plays to live music bars, and from musicals to improv comedy. As one of Northern California’s most vibrant cultural cities, there are plenty of activities to enjoy if you want to see another side of the city, especially after the sun goes down.  

    This list of San Francisco’s exciting night-time activities seems endless – you can experience a walking performance of Shakespeare that takes you through the city, engage in audience participation improv, and go roller skating in an old church. Evening tours of Alcatraz are available if you’re curious about the infamous prison and the paranormal. Read on to find the best things to do after dinner in San Francisco. 

    What are the best things to do at night in San Francisco?

    1

    Orpheum Theatre

    See a Broadway show in a historic theatre on the West Coast

    The Orpheum Theatre is a historic building showcasing large-scale, live shows ranging from concerts to comedy shows to touring productions of Broadway musicals. The theatre was built in 1926 and was originally called the Pantages Theatre. Its vast hall is a cathedral-like setting, and the architecture is a stunning example of French Gothic design with ornate decor inside. The Orpheum has played host to some of the most iconic shows in history, including "Miss Saigon," "Phantom of the Opera," and "Hamilton." It's located right in the heart of the city's theatre district and is a locally designated San Francisco Landmark.

    Location: 1192 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102, USA

    Open: Hours vary by performance

    Phone: +1 888-746-1799

    Map

    photo by Joe Mabel (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    2

    Circus Centre

    Take an actual ride on the flying trapeze

    • Families
    • Unusual

    Circus Centre is open after hours on certain Fridays and Saturdays for the over-21 crowd to watch clowns and flying trapeze artists, and even to join in on the circus. The centre is a circus school where all the artists you see learn their trade. It was founded in 1984, and today, the adult nights combine performances with cocktail-hour fun. Circus Centre is famed for offering one of the most comprehensive programmes for Chinese acrobatics outside of China. It's located city centre, not far from the stadium on Frederick Street.

    Location: 755 Frederick St, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA

    Open:  

    Phone: +1 415-759-8123

    Map
    3

    Alcatraz night tours

    Walk the ghostly halls of The Rock in the dead of night

    Alcatraz night tours give you a chance to visit one of the most infamous prisons in history, and you'll get access to areas of the prison closed to day tours. The tours present a bone-chilling look at the history of the prison, from its famous prisoners like Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly to its use as a military fort and the Native American occupation during the 1960s. The tour is accessible via a short ferry ride that sets out from San Francisco and is rated as amongst the most popular attractions in the city. It's a fun, creepy, and sometimes chilling look at the infamous prison once touted as "escape-proof."

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    Location: 1806 Belles St, Suite 5 B, San Francisco, CA 94129, USA

    Open: Hours vary by tour

    Phone: +1 415-429-4947

    Map
    4

    Endgames Improv

    Get involved in hilarious live-improv shows

    Endgames Improv offers live comedy shows 6 nights a week offered up by experienced and professional improvisational artists and theatre gamers. It's located right in the heart of the Mission district at Stage Werx Theatre. Here, you can see the latest up-and-coming comedians. Even better, they hold regular theme nights, like SF Tonight where they turn newspaper articles into improv scenes, or the Thunderdome competition, which pits 2 teams against each other with the audience acting as judges. One of the most popular events in the city involves improv scenarios inspired by audience tales of love gone wrong.

    Location: 446 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA

    Open:  

    Phone: +1 415-854-2262

    Map
    5

    Church of 8 Wheels

    Go roller skating in an old church

    The Church of 8 Wheels is a former church that now serves as a retro-style roller rink with adults-only skate sessions offered on weekend nights. A visit here offers a groovy vibe as you skate hand-in-hand with your loved one to the sounds of old-school disco and funk music provided by live DJs. One of the best things about the Church of 8 Wheels is that it's something of a hidden gem that's known to locals but not as much to visitors to the city. It's a great way to get down and boogie with the coolest local crowd. It's located just streets away from Alamo Square Park in the city centre area.

    Location: 554 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA

    Open:  

    Phone: +1 415-752-1967

    Map
    6

    Tenderloin Night Moves

    Visit former speakeasies, brothels, and gambling establishments

    The Tenderloin Night Moves is an adults-only walking tour of the 31-block Tenderloin area, hosted by the Tenderloin Museum. The night tour is different from the day one and takes you to see some of the hidden history of the area, including speakeasies, brothels, gambling establishments, and clubs. In the old days, the Tenderloin area was the vice capital of the city, and these tours let you see the places where it all happened. The tour begins at the museum at the corners of Eddy Street and Leavenworth Street.

    Location: 398 Eddy St, San Francisco, CA 94102, USA

    Open: Hours vary by tour

    Phone: +1 415-351-1912

    Map
    7

    Odd Salon

    Take in a lecture about unusual stories from history

    • Unusual

    Odd Salon is an unusual lecture event held twice a month by Public Works SF in the Mission district to explore extraordinary chapters from history, science, art, and adventure. These lectures look at more adult topics, such as animals behaving badly, stories of historic and tragic bad luck, the greatest jerks in history, and others. Cocktails and beer are served at these lectures, which makes some of the darker and more graphic stories easier to swallow. This is an unusual way to explore distracting delights, compelling curiosities, and odds and ends with cocktails and fun.

    Location: 161 Erie St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA

    Open: Hours vary by event

    Phone: +1 415-496-6738

    Map
    8

    Bay Lights

    See one of the largest LED light installations in the world

    The Bay Lights is one of the world's largest light art installations and turns the Bay Bridge into a shining canvas of brilliant lights for 1.8 miles. The lights are the tour de force of creator Leo Villareal, who created the display of 25,000 individually programmed white LED lights that shine nightly from dusk till dawn. The installation was originally intended to be temporary when it first lit up in 2013, but after being dismantled for bridge maintenance, it was reinstalled in 2016 and has been a permanent fixture ever since. You can see it from the shores on either side of the Bay Bridge or via a tour that takes you across and to unique vantage points.

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    Location: Bay Bridge, San Francisco, CA 94111, USA

    Open: Daily from dusk to dawn (exact hours change seasonally)

    Phone:  

    Map
    9

    We Players

    See Shakespeare that takes you all through the city

    • Unusual
    • Adventure

    We Players is a unique theatre company that performs audience-participation-style theatrical shows in outdoor public places. At these shows, you'll engage directly with the performance on stage, and you'll even walk through town, following the performers as they go. Past performances have included "Macbeth," which took audiences through chambers and corridors and ended under the Golden Gate Bridge, and "Hamlet" on Alcatraz Island. The group is nominally based on Pier 54, but performances could take place anywhere in the city.

    Location: Pier 54, San Francisco, CA 94158, USA

    Open: Hours vary by performance

    Phone: +1 415-547-0189

    Map
    10

    Tourettes Without Regrets

    Explore subversive comedy, rap, poetry, and performance

    • Unusual

    Tourettes Without Regrets is an underground performance art venue that specialises in comedy and performances that are subversive, unusual, and some might even say vulgar. It's named for the founder, whose propensity for cursing resulted in accusations of having the disorder. Here, you can experience freestyle rap, comedy, poetry, and all forms of performance art. It's held in Oakland, CA, just about 20 minutes from city centre San Francisco across the bridge. The best part is, the events always include open mics and audience participation, so you can get directly involved in the fun.

    Location: 522 2nd St, Oakland, CA 94607, USA

    Open:  

    Phone: +1 510-763-1146

    Map

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