in the commons
In San Francisco’s central civic spaces you’ll find art, events, places to eat
and people to meet. Experience what #wehaveincommons.
For 12 weeks, LINES Dance Center is hosting free, 30-minute dance fitness classes in UN Plaza every Thursday at 12:30pm. These outdoor classes — weather permitting — are for everyone, novice and professional alike! With fun beats and talented instructors, these energizing dance fitness classes will help slough off the mid-day slump and re-energize the rest of the afternoon.
Additionally, once a month — Feb 21, March 21, and May 16 — following these half-hour classes, Alonzo King LINES Ballet Training Program Students will take to the “stage” of UN Plaza and perform.
Classes run through May 16, 2019.
Location: Civic Center Plaza
On sunny days in Civic Center Commons look for games from the Downtown Streets Team’s Tuk Tuk, a motorized cart packed with fun! Rolling out on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 11 am-3 pm and Thursdays 1-5 pm in Civic Center Plaza, the Tuk Tuk features free games such as giant Jenga, darts and corn hole.
Rally the office crew or grab a few friends, enjoy your lunch in the sun, and see who really excels at lawn games.
The free, Tuesday (12-1pm), Wednesday (12-1pm), Thursday (12-1pm) and Friday (8-9am) Zumba in the Parks classes hosted by San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department features lively music and heart-pumping moves with a talented instructor. The one-hour class, happens every week in Civic Center Plaza, year-round, weather permitting.
Location: FULTON STREET
Designed by San Francisco public high school students with Youth Art Exchange’s architecture program in collaboration with the Asian Art Museum and the San Francisco Public Library, this dragon-inspired structure serves as a dynamic canvas for local artists and is host to monthly, all-ages programming as part of the Museum’s Free Target First Sunday. The design of this structure and ongoing use celebrate a mythical creature that is found throughout both artwork and literature, spanning many cultures. Sited in between the two institutions, the project intends to serve as a literal and symbolic link between the Museum and Library.
The Art / Lit LIZ is temporary, it was initially installed in May 2017.
Find out about upcoming Art/Lit LIZ events here.
Location: Civic Center Commons
Knitting the Commons is an art installation that spans trees throughout the three public spaces in an effort to “knit” the Commons together. Throughout phases of this project, select trees have been wrapped in one-of-a-kind, whimsical styles and patterns, created by artist-sister duo Knits for Life. In June of 2017, the neighborhood community was invited to vote on themes for the knitted sculptures. In line with the selected theme of “Land, Sea and Air Creatures,” installations in 2018 included giraffes, sea otters, and chameleons in Civic Center Plaza, parrots on Fulton Street, and octopuses UN Plaza. Knits for Life is currently installing a new set of animal clusters for 2019 – look for elephants in Civic Center Plaza and parrots back on Fulton, with flamingos coming soon to UN Plaza. Please do hug the trees! (Image by Jill Watt)
Visit the project website here.
Location: CIVIC CENTER PLAZA
Opened in February of 2018, the Helen Diller Civic Center Playgrounds offer one of San Francisco’s most unique playscape experiences. The playgrounds were inspired by the city’s foggy climate and feature a “cloud forest,” climbing features and a dynamic lighting feature. This project is managed by the Trust for Public Land in partnership with San Francisco Recreation and Parks.
around the commons
Bordering the Commons are museums, cultural institutions, historic
concert halls and architectural wonders. Here are some places of interest
you’ll find around the Commons.
A San Francisco treasure, this historic landmark is boasts the largest (or 2nd largest) free-standing dome in North America. The offices of our city government and host to countless ceremonies, City Hall’s distinct features can be found inside and out. City Hall’s ground floor serves as an art gallery, curated by the San Francisco Arts Commission . The exterior of the building is illuminated every evening and often features colors to celebrate or honor an event, cause or the life of someone who has passed. To find out What Color is City Hall Tonight, Click here.
Tours offered Monday through Friday, 10am, noon, and 2pm. For more info on City Hall tours, visit here.
City Hall is open to the public, Monday through Friday, 8am to 8pm. Closed on Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays.
The neon light art on the west side of Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, W.F.T (San Francisco), by acclaimed conceptual artist Joseph Kosuth, “reflects the historical significance of the Auditorium while also demonstrating how words reveal relationships to cultural and social realties,” according the San Francisco Arts Commission. The piece, Kosuth’s first permanent public artwork on a landmark building in the US and the San Francisco’s first major project funded by the City’s Public Art Trust, involves large-scale neon light typeface on the exterior of building and employs words and definitions that are synonymous with Bill Graham Auditorium and Civic Center.
The piece is funded by the Emerald Fund, through the Public Art Trust.
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, operated by Another Planet Entertainment, is a multi-purpose venue used for corporate events, trade shows, sports, and most notably, live music concerts. The historic venue has hosted countless monumental acts, from groundbreaking legends such as The Grateful Dead, The Who, and Janice Joplin to their contemporaries, including Red Hot Chili Peppers, Gorillaz, and Lady Gaga.
Initially conceived as the grand hall for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, this treasured landmark eventually became a stand-alone musical venue and was renamed as the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in 1992 to honor the late San Francisco concert promoter.
Find out about upcoming events here.
The Asian Art Museum is located within the Commons, and houses one of the most comprehensive Asian art collections in the world. The Museum curates internationally-renowned work and offers a variety of workshops as well as other experiences. It is also home to a new and updated cafe – Sunday at the Museum. The Museum’s mission extends beyond its four walls, featuring a growing outdoor exhibit of local artists on the museum’s entrance terrace on Larkin Street, and at the Art / Lit Living Innovation Zone on Fulton Street at Larkin .
Open Tues-Sun 10am-5pm, Closed Mondays
Visit the Asian Art Museum website here.
The Main Library is located within the Commons and is San Francisco’s oldest library. The Library serves as an essential community space for the greater neighborhood. As the resource center for the entire San Francisco Public Library system, its extensive collection and diverse programming draw residents from across the city on a daily basis. In summer of 2016, the Library and Mayor Lee opened the Library’s digital technology center for teens: The Mix at SFPL.
Sun 12pm-5pm, Mon-Wed 9am-8pm, Fri 12pm-6pm, Sat 10am-6pm
For upcoming events, click here.
The SHN Orpheum Theatre was built in 1926 as a showcase for theatre magnate Alexander Pantages, and in the past showed vaudeville, silent films, and motion pictures. The interior features a vaulted ceiling complete with a masterfully ornate chandelier, while the facade was patterned after a 12th-century French cathedral.
Today it is where SHN showcases world-renowned theater productions including The Lion King, Wicked, and most recently, a six-month tour of Hamilton (returning 2018).
Just a bit further, but still walking distance, SHN also owns and operates the Golden Gate Theatre .
Visit SHN Orpheum Theatre website here.