2020 Event Trends

2020 Event Trends

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The Top 25 San Francisco Venues for Events in 2020

By EventMB Studio Team

Discover the top 25 San Francisco venues for events in 2020. Consider the best options for corporate events, private parties, music venues, and more.

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San Francisco is a place where ideas are born or come to flourish. The city is always changing, and with it, event venues are growing and adapting. The change goes beyond just space. The best event venues in San Francisco are thoughtfully curated and often mission driven. From environmental responsibility to a redefinition of office culture, these top 25 San Francisco venues showcase the diversity the city has to offer.

This post shares the top San Francisco venues for events, as follows:

1. The Best San Francisco Conference Venues

2. The Most Modern San Francisco Event Venues

3. The Best Corporate Venues in San Francisco

4. The Best Small Event Space San Francisco

5. The Best San Francisco Music Venues

6. The Best Private Party Venues San Francisco

7. The Best Warehouse Event Space San Francisco

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THE BEST SAN FRANCISCO CONFERENCE VENUES

The Westin St. Francis Union Square

WHY IS IT COOL? At the Westin St. Francis Union Square, event planners get 5-star value at a 4-star budget. It’s also one of the few luxury properties in San Francisco able to accommodate large conference groups, with 32 meeting rooms and a capacity for 2000.

WHAT TYPES OF EVENTS IS IT MOST SUITABLE FOR? Conferences, galas, meetings, retreats, board meetings.

GENERAL SPACE DESCRIPTION: 56,000 sq. ft. of meeting space across 32 meeting rooms. The Grand Ballroom seats 1,500 theater style.

AV AND TECHNOLOGY: In-house AV through PSAV, and meeting room renovation in 2018 saw installation of modern AV infrastructure.

SUSTAINABILITY: The Westin St. Francis Union Square practices sustainability through energy-efficient heating and its composting and recycling program, which diverts 75% of their waste from landfills. The hotel’s ventilating and air conditioning systems are fitted with occupancy motion sensors, and bathrooms are equipped with low-flow faucets. Energy-efficient lighting has been installed throughout the hotel.

CATERING: In-house catering and beverage services.

TRANSPORT: Convenient to BART, garage parking.

The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco

WHY IS IT COOL? Ritz-Carlton service is unparalleled and the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco is no exception. This property combines that amazing service with a beautiful, historic venue, ample meeting space, and a courtyard perfect for cocktails, meals or parties.

WHAT TYPES OF EVENTS IS IT MOST SUITABLE FOR? Conferences, galas, meetings, retreats, board meetings.

GENERAL SPACE DESCRIPTION: 22,541 square feet of meeting space across 14 meeting rooms. The Ritz-Carlton Ballroom seats 750 theater style.

AV AND TECHNOLOGY: In-house AV provided through PSAV.

SUSTAINABILITY: The Ritz-Carlton San Francisco is a recipient of the California Green Lodgings Certification. The Ritz-Carlton San Francisco practices sustainability in part by utilizing energy-efficient systems throughout the property and recycling kitchen oil for biodiesel. The Ritz-Carlton also has an on-site Ritz-Carlton Environmental Action Conservation Team (REACT) that meets bi-monthly to brainstorm new ways of being environmentally responsible.

CATERING: In-house catering and beverage.

TRANSPORT: Convenient to cable car, valet parking only.

The Ferry Building

WHY IS IT COOL? The Ferry Building is San Francisco’s historic terminal building for boats traveling across the Bay. It’s Grand Hall features skylights and beautiful mosaic tiling. One event option is to incorporate a “Taste of the Ferry Building” event with stalls from selected vendors from the food hall.

WHAT TYPES OF EVENTS IS IT MOST SUITABLE FOR? Galas, large parties, meetings.

GENERAL SPACE DESCRIPTION: Grand Hall offers 6,500 sq ft of open space and banquet capacity for 400.

AV AND TECHNOLOGY: Outsourced AV.

SUSTAINABILITY: Not disclosed on their website.

CATERING: Onsite catering.

TRANSPORT: Accessible to ferries, general paid lot parking.

 

THE MOST MODERN SAN FRANCISCO EVENT VENUES

Hotel Nikko San Francisco

WHY IS IT COOL? The Hotel Nikko is a gorgeous, modern 4-star hotel that has earned top ratings from event planners. The hotel is centrally located on Union Square and has panoramic views of San Francisco Bay.

WHAT TYPES OF EVENTS IS IT MOST SUITABLE FOR? Conferences, galas, meetings, retreats, board meetings.

GENERAL SPACE DESCRIPTION: 25,000 ft of meeting space across 16 meeting rooms; Nikko Ballroom can seat 800 theater style.

AV AND TECHNOLOGY: Cutting-edge AV equipment provided by PSAV.

SUSTAINABILITY: Hotel Nikko San Francisco’s comprehensive green program includes both water and energy conservation efforts, and has earned the hotel an Innovation Award from the Hotel Council of San Francisco. The hotel also offers a Responsible Meetings program, with a wide range of sustainable meeting initiatives like highlighting sustainable menu options, offering pitchers of water to cut down on water bottles, hemp linens and sustainable centrepieces, donating used linens to charity, and more.

CATERING: In-house.

TRANSPORT: Valet parking.

 

THE BEST CORPORATE VENUES IN SAN FRANCISCO

Aquarium of the Bay

WHY IS IT COOL? Aquarium of the Bay offers unique event spaces, including 300 feet of underwater tunnels. Additionally, 88% of their revenue from events goes to support the museum and its educational initiatives.

WHAT TYPES OF EVENTS IS IT MOST SUITABLE FOR? Gala dinners, cocktail receptions, parties.

GENERAL SPACE DESCRIPTION: 4,700 square feet of event space across 4 meeting rooms, with reception capacity for 500 and seated capacity for 270 in its largest space.

AV AND TECHNOLOGY: Not disclosed.

SUSTAINABILITY: Aquarium of the Bay promotes sustainable building use, water conservation, and sustainable fishing programs.

CATERING: Not disclosed.

TRANSPORT: Accessible to BART and MUNI, public and street parking nearby.

Asian Art Museum of San Francisco

WHY IS IT COOL? The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco is a beautiful example of Beaux Arts architecture that offers several functional spaces for event rental. The museum will be opening a new East West Bank Art Terrace in 2020.

WHAT TYPES OF EVENTS IS IT MOST SUITABLE FOR? Gala dinners, cocktail receptions, parties.

GENERAL SPACE DESCRIPTION: 7,577 square feet of meeting space across 5 meeting rooms; outdoor space.

AV AND TECHNOLOGY: Not disclosed.

SUSTAINABILITY: Not disclosed.

CATERING: Not disclosed.

TRANSPORT: Public and street parking nearby.

The Exploratorium

WHY IS IT COOL? The Exploratorium is a fun, interactive science museum with after-hours rent options, including a space for cocktails on the San Francisco Bay.

WHAT TYPES OF EVENTS IS IT MOST SUITABLE FOR? Gala dinners, cocktail receptions, parties.

GENERAL SPACE DESCRIPTION: 54,427 square feet of event space across 10 rooms. The Central Gallery can seat 460 banquet style.

AV AND TECHNOLOGY: Not disclosed.

SUSTAINABILITY: Sustainability at the Exploratorium is based on 5 pillars: 1) green building design, 2) a ‘zero net energy efficiency’ goal that involves using solar panels and efficient energy systems to produce as much energy as they consume, 3) a Baywater heating and cooling system that conserves water and reduces carbon emissions, 4) environmental education for visitors to learn about the ecosystems of the Bay Area and sensors on the building itself that help scientists better understand the impact of climate change in urban settings, and 5) ‘participation,’ which seems to be a catch-all for all their other initiatives like using dual-flush toilets and partnering with BART to provide free access to students who want to learn about their sustainable building.

CATERING: Not disclosed.

TRANSPORT: Discounted public parking available.

The De Young Museum

WHY IS IT COOL? The de Young Museum is a fine arts museum located in Golden Gate Park. It features gallery and garden space for private events, and also rents its Hamon Observation Tower, which offers 360 degree panoramic views of downtown San Francisco, Golden Gate Park, the Bay, and the Marin headlands.

WHAT TYPES OF EVENTS IS IT MOST SUITABLE FOR? Gala dinners, cocktail receptions, parties.

GENERAL SPACE DESCRIPTION: Seated capacity for 640 on its concourse level.

AV AND TECHNOLOGY: Not disclosed.

SUSTAINABILITY: Not disclosed.

CATERING: Not disclosed.

TRANSPORT: Accessible via MUNI and Golden Gate Shuttle; paid and limited street parking.

Merchants Exchange

WHY IS IT COOL? The Merchants Exchange combines the modern with historic. It features the iconic Beaux Arts style Julia Morgan Ballroom, as well as pre-function and breakout spaces in the Merchant Exchange Club.

WHAT TYPES OF EVENTS IS IT MOST SUITABLE FOR? Conferences, meetings, gala dinners, cocktail receptions, parties.

GENERAL SPACE DESCRIPTION: 5,000 square feet of event space across 5 meeting rooms; seated capacity in the Julia Morgan Ballroom is 275.

AV AND TECHNOLOGY: In-house AV.

SUSTAINABILITY: Not disclosed.

CATERING: In-house.

TRANSPORT: Convenient to BART and MUNI; paid and valet parking

California Academy of Sciences

WHY IS IT COOL? Located in Golden Gate Park, this modern science museum offers amazing after hours event options, like a walking tour up through a rainforest canopy, cocktails in the aquarium, and dinner in the African Hall with the gazelles.

WHAT TYPES OF EVENTS IS IT MOST SUITABLE FOR? Gala dinners, cocktail receptions, parties.

GENERAL SPACE DESCRIPTION: 100,000 square feet of event space across 13 meeting rooms.

AV AND TECHNOLOGY: Not disclosed.

SUSTAINABILITY: The California Academy of Sciences offers discounted tickets for guests who walk, bike, or take public transportation. The Cal Academy utilizes green building design and is LEED platinum certified.

CATERING: Not disclosed.

TRANSPORT: MUNI, Golden Gate Park Shuttle, public and street parking.

The Bently Reserve

WHY IS IT COOL? This former Federal Reserve building is LEED certified and perfect for swanky galas, large presentations and product launches.

WHAT TYPES OF EVENTS IS IT MOST SUITABLE FOR? Gala dinners, cocktail receptions, parties, product launches.

GENERAL SPACE DESCRIPTION: 15,000+ square feet of event space across 10 function rooms. The Banquet Hall can seat 350 banquet style.

AV AND TECHNOLOGY: Web-based building management system. External AV providers.

SUSTAINABILITY: The Bently Reserve is LEED and Energy Star certified. The Bently Reserve practices sustainability in part through its passive lighting/daylight harvesting system.

CATERING: Not disclosed.

TRANSPORT: street parking

Palace Hotel, Yerba Buena

This luxury hotel was built in 1875 and maintains its original architecture. The classic design paired with modern decor create a stylish backdrop for your next event.

WHY IS IT COOL? The building was originally constructed in 1875, and while it’s transformed over the years, it hasn’t lost its historical feel. The numerous event spaces feel warm and ornate with their chandeliers, classic paintings, and vaulted ceilings. An in-house event planning team helps organize large-scale corporate events.

WHAT TYPES OF EVENTS IS IT MOST SUITABLE FOR? Corporate meetings, conferences, product launches, private parties.

GENERAL SPACE DESCRIPTION: Palace Hotel has three large ballrooms, four executive boardrooms, 23 meeting rooms, and a self contained conference area. The largest room, Grand Ballroom, holds 1,000 both theater and reception style.

AV AND TECHNOLOGY: Unlimited bandwidth in all meeting rooms, WiFi.

CATERING: An in-house catering team provides food and beverage. There are options for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

TRANSPORT: The nearest public transportation stop is the Montgomery BART station. Valet parking is available at the hotel.

TAGS: boutique, corporate friendly, the age of all-inclusive.

 

THE BEST SMALL EVENT SPACE SAN FRANCISCO


From a phone booth with space for two to a wine bar with one long wood table, these event locations in San Francisco are ideal for small-scale meetings and parties.

The Box SF, South of Market

This letterpress studio doubles as an event and workshop space. Guests are treated to a wealth of printed history, from books to packaging to antiques.

WHY IS IT COOL? Wood ceilings, wood window frames, and wood tables- this venue is rustic through and through. Paired with fairy lights and large windows, The Box SF feels like an artist’s loft with business capabilities. To add to the hipster vibe, the building houses the largest antiquarian paper and advertising archive in the United States.

WHAT TYPES OF EVENTS IS IT MOST SUITABLE FOR? Corporate meetings, luncheons, dinner parties, private parties.

GENERAL SPACE DESCRIPTION: There are four different rooms over two floors. The capacity ranges from two to 50 seated.

AV AND TECHNOLOGY: Projection screen, WiFi.

CATERING: The Box SF has a list of preferred caterers. There is a fee if you prefer to use a caterer not on the list.

TRANSPORT: The nearest public transportation stop is the Civic Center BART station.

TAGS: tapping into local intellectual capital, boutique, experience friendly.

COVO, South of Market

COVO is the quintessential coworking space with event capabilities. Rooms are built around a central coffee shop, abstract paintings line the walls, and small nooks for working are plentiful.

WHY IS IT COOL? Exposed brick and high ceilings give COVO an urban loft atmosphere. Interesting quirks include phone booths for conference calls and an on-site cafe with wine, craft beer, and organic coffee.

WHAT TYPES OF EVENTS IS IT MOST SUITABLE FOR? Business meetings, brainstorming sessions, networking.

GENERAL SPACE DESCRIPTION: There is 7,000 square feet of event space on the ground level along with additional meeting rooms. These include The Amber Room, fitting 8 people, the Saison and Porter Rooms, fitting 12 people, and the Classroom, fitting 25 people.

AV AND TECHNOLOGY: Full AV capabilities, flat-screens in each event room, WiFi.

CATERING: On-site bar and coffee shop provide catering services.

TRANSPORT: The nearest public transportation stop is the Powell St BART and MUNI station. There is ample street parking around COVO. The Fifth & Mission Parking Garage is also one block away.

TAGS: innovative, emerging, human friendly.

Shin Dig, Inner Sunset

If you’re after business with a side of wine, Shin Dig’s high quality, small production wine list curated by an in-house sommelier will do just the trick.

WHY IS IT COOL? Two of Shin Dig’s four walls are lined with bottles of small production wines. On the opposite side, large windows allow ample natural lighting to flood the lofty space. The room is centered around a long live-edge redwood table that can be used for both business meetings and wine drinking.

WHAT TYPES OF EVENTS IS IT MOST SUITABLE FOR? Private parties, board retreats, luncheons, dinner parties, cocktail parties.

GENERAL SPACE DESCRIPTION: The 1,000 square foot space includes a 24 foot table and bar. It holds 50 reception style and 40 for a seated dinner.

AV AND TECHNOLOGY: State-of-the-art sound system, 60” plasma monitor, Apple AirPlay enabled AV capabilities, WiFi.

TRANSPORT: The nearest public transportation stop is at the Irving St & 4th Ave MUNI station. There are also two major parking lots within walking distance (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues and Irving or on 5th Avenue and Kirkham).

TAGS: experience first, bleisure friendly, boutique.

 

THE BEST SAN FRANCISCO MUSIC VENUES 

Bimbos 365 Club

WHY IS IT COOL? Bimbos 365 Club is a historic jazz club with lots of Rat Pack-era personality. It features a large, flexible space with a stage that can be used for parties, meetings, concerts, galas, large corporate events.

WHAT TYPES OF EVENTS IS IT MOST SUITABLE FOR? Parties, meetings, concerts, galas, large corporate events.

GENERAL SPACE DESCRIPTION: Seated capacity for 450.

AV AND TECHNOLOGY: In-house lighting and sound.

SUSTAINABILITY: Not disclosed.

CATERING: In-house beverage, outside catering.

TRANSPORT: Street and garage parking.

SFJAZZ Center

WHY IS IT COOL? This world-class performing arts center is great for conferences, performances, lectures, and product launches. The second floor features the building's famous tiled murals, as well as floor-to-ceiling glass windows, terraces, and built-in bars.

WHAT TYPES OF EVENTS IS IT MOST SUITABLE FOR? Cocktail receptions, parties, meetings, product launches.

GENERAL SPACE DESCRIPTION: 4,700 square feet of meeting space across 4 meeting rooms, seated capacity for 700 in the auditorium, and banquet capacity for 80 in the Joe Henderson Lab.

AV AND TECHNOLOGY: Not disclosed.

SUSTAINABILITY: The SFJAZZ Center is LEED Gold certified.

CATERING: Not disclosed.

TRANSPORT: Paid parking

Credit: SFJAZZ Center

Temple Night Club

WHY IS IT COOL? Located in the SOMA district, this newly renovated nightclub has an energy generating dance floor and an immersive lighting exhibit.

WHAT TYPES OF EVENTS IS IT MOST SUITABLE FOR? Cocktail receptions, parties.

GENERAL SPACE DESCRIPTION: 20,000 square feet of event space across 3 floors and 4 function rooms.

AV AND TECHNOLOGY: State of the art AV and tech.

SUSTAINABILITY: Temple Night Club conserves energy in part through its energy generating dance floor.

CATERING: In-house

TRANSPORT: Paid parking, street parking

 

THE BEST PRIVATE PARTY VENUES SAN FRANCISCO

Lolinda

WHY IS IT COOL? This modern Argentine steakhouse in the Mission District has a buyout capacity for 125 and offers gorgeous leather banquettes and a surprisingly reasonable menu.

WHAT TYPES OF EVENTS IS IT MOST SUITABLE FOR? Receptions, parties, client events.

GENERAL SPACE DESCRIPTION: Buyout capacity for 125.

AV AND TECHNOLOGY: Not disclosed.

SUSTAINABILITY: Not disclosed.

CATERING: In-house.

TRANSPORT: Street and public parking.

Charmaine’s at San Francisco Proper

WHY IS IT COOL? Named one of the best rooftop bars and "the height of cool" by Conde Nast, this bar has panoramic views, tons of personality, and is available for full and partial buyouts.

WHAT TYPES OF EVENTS IS IT MOST SUITABLE FOR? Cocktail receptions, parties, client events.

GENERAL SPACE DESCRIPTION: 1,120 square feet of indoor space and 1,200 square feet of outdoor terrace space. Reception capacity for 200.

AV AND TECHNOLOGY: Not disclosed.

SUSTAINABILITY: Not disclosed.

CATERING: In-house.

TRANSPORT: Valet, street, and public parking

Chambers at The Phoenix Hotel

WHY IS IT COOL? Located in the gritty up-and-coming Tenderloin district, the Phoenix Hotel is the absolute epitome of retro cool. Chambers at the Phoenix Hotel features a lounge space with a record library, a large outdoor courtyard, and a swimming pool (!).

WHAT TYPES OF EVENTS IS IT MOST SUITABLE FOR? Parties, meetings, cocktail receptions, pool parties.

GENERAL SPACE DESCRIPTION: Intimate indoor spaces and outdoor space for 1,000.

AV AND TECHNOLOGY: Not disclosed.

SUSTAINABILITY: Not disclosed.

CATERING: In-house.

TRANSPORT: BART, street and public parking.

Che Fico

WHY IS IT COOL? Housed in a former stable building, this buzzy Italian restaurant is located in San Francisco’s Nopa neighborhood. It offers a private dining room with capacity for groups of 16 or full buyouts for larger groups.

WHAT TYPES OF EVENTS IS IT MOST SUITABLE FOR? Parties, client events, cocktail receptions.

GENERAL SPACE DESCRIPTION: Private dining room with space for 16; full buyouts for larger groups.

AV AND TECHNOLOGY: Not disclosed.

SUSTAINABILITY: Not disclosed.

CATERING: In-house.

TRANSPORT: Street parking.

Credit: Douglas Friedman

Foreign Cinema

WHY IS IT COOL? Foreign Cinema is a perennial San Francisco favorite. This charming restaurant has distinctive private dining spaces available, including gallery spaces and a heated outdoor courtyard space with video screen.

WHAT TYPES OF EVENTS IS IT MOST SUITABLE FOR? Parties, client events, cocktail receptions, product launches.

GENERAL SPACE DESCRIPTION: 5,000 square feet of event space across 4 function spaces. Capacity for 170 seated and 350 standing reception.

AV AND TECHNOLOGY: Projection AV in the courtyard.

SUSTAINABILITY: Not disclosed.

CATERING: In-house.

TRANSPORT: Street and public parking.

 

THE BEST WAREHOUSE EVENT SPACE SAN FRANCISCO

Gallery 308 at Fort Mason

WHY IS IT COOL? The Gallery 308 at Ft. Mason is an open and airy warehouse space with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

WHAT TYPES OF EVENTS IS IT MOST SUITABLE FOR? Galas, parties, meetings, cocktail receptions, product launches, brand activations.

GENERAL SPACE DESCRIPTION: 3,835 square feet, capacity for 240 in banquet seating.

AV AND TECHNOLOGY: In-house AV.

SUSTAINABILITY: Not disclosed.

CATERING: Not disclosed.

TRANSPORT: Paid Parking

The Palace of Fine Arts

WHY IS IT COOL? The Palace of Fine Arts is an iconic arts exhibition center. It offers flexible warehouse indoor space for large events, but the real draw is its Instagram-worthy outdoor space with a Greco-Roman rotunda and gorgeous columns, gardens, and a lake.

WHAT TYPES OF EVENTS IS IT MOST SUITABLE FOR? Galas, parties, meetings, cocktail receptions, product launches, brand activations.

GENERAL SPACE DESCRIPTION: 140,000 square feet of indoor event space across 15 function rooms

AV AND TECHNOLOGY: In-house AV.

SUSTAINABILITY: Not disclosed.

CATERING: Not disclosed.

TRANSPORT: On-site parking.

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