February is for Lovers — of movement, food & shopping

UPDATE: The 2/14 class has been canceled due to weather. Please join us 2/21!

Original post: Starting Valentine’s Day, LINES Dance Center will host dance and movement classes in UN Plaza every Thursday at 12:30pm. Running for 12 weeks, these free, 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 following these half-hour classes, Alonzo King LINES Ballet Training Program Students will take to the “stage” of UN Plaza and perform.

Also happening on Thursdays is the continuation of the gathering of Off the Grid food trucks from 11am to 2pm — grab a bite before or after dance class. And stroll through the ongoing UN Plaza Gift Gallery (9am-5pm); find something for your Valentine — or something for yourself!

Follow Civic Center Commons on Twitter and Facebook for more details!

Night of Ideas: Inspiring Ideas on the Future of Cities

Can our cities be locally productive and globally connected? Smart, resilient and infused with poetry and empathy? Is an innovating and inclusive city possible?

Featuring community leaders in various fields — food, technology, politics, architecture and more — Night of Ideas is a seven hour event bringing together diverse experts and the public to hypothesize what it’ll take to get to an ideal urban future.

Not just San Francisco-centered, Night of Ideas is taking place in five other cities as well, each reimagining not just how their respected cities will, and can evolve, but all cities. Night of Ideas will culminate at the San Francisco event: Saturday, February 2, 7pm to 2am.

Hosted at the San Francisco Public Library — and inspired by their Public Knowledge and After Tomorrow program — with the French Consulate and SFMOMA, the night will be anything but a snooze; programming and panels will feature not only those adept in their fields, but performances, food, drinks, music, art and yoga!

Civic Center Commons will moderate a panel at 9pm on February 2, focused on the concept of the “Welcoming City” – panelists will discuss how inclusive public spaces can serve as a model for creating a more holistically welcoming city.

Help envision the city of the future and sign up for free tickets on the Night of Ideas Eventbrite page!

Top image: © Elizabeth Leitzell (Courtesy of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and Brooklyn Public Library)

Yoshitomo Nara’s “Your Dog” Sculpture Debuts at Asian Art Museum

The Asian Art Museum has debuted its latest outdoor sculpture on its Larkin street steps: Yoshitomo Nara’s  Your Dog The large, white puppy — installed during the Year of the Dog — greets museum goers, Civic Center Commons visitors, and those who live and work in the neighborhood with its whimsical and cartoon-like qualities. Installed at the top of the Larkin Street stairs, the museum encourages visitors to take a picture of Your Dog with your dog and use the hashtag #Naradog.

Continue reading “Yoshitomo Nara’s “Your Dog” Sculpture Debuts at Asian Art Museum”

2018 Holiday Season in Civic Center Commons


Along with our festive Civic Center Plaza Holiday Tree Lighting on December 5, 5pm-7pm, which includes snow flurries, festive foods and drinks, a toy giveaway from the SFPD for 400 kids, and a wonderful lineup of holiday programming led by Artistic Director Nick A. Olivero — there are an assortment of other wonderful cheerful activities happening in, and adjacent to, Civic Center Commons this holiday season. Here are few highlights:

Continue reading “2018 Holiday Season in Civic Center Commons”

The Inside Scoop: New Bi-Rite Cafe coming to Civic Center Plaza

UPDATE October 2018: The Civic Center Plaza Bi-Rite Cafe is now open!

Original post: As a result of yet another major gift, the Civic Center Commons will soon offer a street cafe to serve as a central gathering space for Commons visitors.

The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department in partnership with The Trust for Public Land and Civic Center Community Benefit District (CCCBD) announced that Helen Diller Family Foundation expanded its $10 million donation (made in 2015 to fund the design and construction of two new vibrant, state-of-the-art playgrounds), with an additional $1 million street cafe, and idea prompted by extensive outreach regarding the playgrounds.

The original gift has served as a catalyst for a renewed focus on improving and activating San Francisco’s central public spaces through the Civic Center Commons Initiative.

CCCBD selected Bi-Rite, a family-owned San Francisco institution since 1940, to be the operator of the cafe, which will provide soft serve ice cream and a variety of fresh foods.

“Creating community through food is why we exist,” said Sam Mogannam, second-generation owner of Bi-Rite. “And we’re honored to be asked to be a part of the fun and togetherness that this project is going to create in the heart of the City.”

The Street Cafe is still in design phase, but shouldn’t be too far behind the completion of the Helen Diller Civic Center Playgrounds set to open in spring of 2018. But that doesn’t mean Commons visitors had to wait to sample some of Bi-Rite’s delicious, world-renowned ice cream.

San Francisco came out in force during the October edition of Commons Thursdays to redeem the several hundred tokens—good for one flavorful cup—Bit-Rite in collaboration with CCCBD donated and distributed ahead of the October event.

The street cafe, to be located at the corner of Grove and Larkin Streets, will offer a variety of food and drink selections as well as movable tables and seating for the public to relax and enjoy recreation activities at Civic Center Plaza.

Currently in the Commons, SF Rec and Parks Department offers Zumba classes, youth soccer, adult bocce ball, adult kickball, and volleyball games as well as food trucks in partnership with Off-The-Grid on a weekly basis.

Art, music, sports, and perhaps most of all, food, are among the things we look toward in bringing people together, illuminating that which we have in common. We hungrily await the arrival of the Civic Center Street Cafe, soon to be yet another vehicle for you to find what #wehaveincommons.

Read more on SF Eater and  SF Weekly.

World Cup 2018 Finals at Civic Center Plaza

Calling all soccer fans! Cheer on your favorite team at Civic Center Plaza on July 15 at 8 am, as the two last teams battle it out on the big screen.

The live and free viewing will also feature bites and drinks from food trucks, and soccer games and activities for all ages. More info can be found at worldcupsf.com.

Please note: The semifinal games on Tuesday, July 10 and Wednesday, July 11 at 11 am have moved to Embarcadero’s Sue Bierman Park (Washington and Drumm Street). These games will also feature food trucks and activities for all!

StreetBeats at the Village Artist Corner

Facilitated by Dr. Elliot Gann, aka Phillipdrummond of Today’s Future Sound, StreetBeats: An Exploration of Culture through Hip-Hop is an intergenerational activation exploring the many different ways to experience and engage with Hip Hop at the Village Artist Corner (aka the Art/Lit Living Innovation Zone) on the first Sundays of March, April and May 2018.

Curated by the Asian Art Museum and San Francisco Public Library, the Village Artist Corner, outside the Asian Art Museum on Fulton Street at Larkin Street, serves as a venue for art to inspire change through shared experiences through rotating murals and monthly participatory programming created by the Village Artist-in-Residence.

The March and April 1st Sunday StreetBeats Workshops brought members of the public together to learn from professionals instructors on the many ways Hip Hop has shaped culture – from mixing songs with Daryl Anthony Mc Gee, Ko Wong-Horiuchi, Mike Maitre’d Cochran aka Maitre D , dance like a b-boy or b-girl with Rahman Jamaal Mc, listen to original beat sets from Knxout, Phillipdrummond aka Philthydrummond aka Pd, and Aye, Yu of The Soul Dojo, and practice how to put together freestyles on the fly with with Marlon Richardson.

Join the Asian Art Museum and StreetBeats at their last of 3 installments of this activation on Sunday May 6th from 11am – 2pm at the Village Artist Corner!

Images by Justin Yee / Asian Art Museum.