Fillmore Jazz Festival
The largest free jazz festival on the West Coast takes place over Fourth of July weekend in the Fillmore, and features locals like Crystal Monee Hall and Kim Nalley. It's a great place to savor the old flavor of the neighborhood. July 6-7 on Fillmore Street between Jackson and Eddy, S.F.; FillmoreJazzFestival.com.
Spend a laid-back Sunday afternoon bundled up against the fog and backed up against one of the city's prettiest hillsides, all while taking in performances from Deltron 3030, Shuggie Otis, or the San Francisco Symphony. And you might as well bring along champagne and caviar, because all these shows are free. June 16-Aug. 18 in Stern Grove, S.F.; SternGrove.org.
Phono Del Sol
In which rock bands of both local and national reputation gather at Potrero Del Sol park for a (hopefully) sunny day of music, food, and comfortably chilling in the grass. Put on by local music blog the Bay Bridged, people rave about this event year after year. July 13 at Potrero Del Sol Park, S.F.; PhonoDelSol.com.
You can pack about three months' worth of good eating and great music into three days at this Golden Gate Park fest, which is big but definitely not unmanageable. Even if you're not psyched about everyone on the bill, seeing Paul McCartney live is guaranteed to be one of the best things you'll do this summer. Aug. 9-12 in Golden Gate Park, S.F.; SFOutsideLands.com.
First City Festival
This is the first year for First City, a two-day, indie-rock affair at the Monterey County Fairgrounds that booked a very solid batch of bands: Modest Mouse, MGMT, Passion Pit, and Beach House are just a few of the larger acts performing. Carnival rides and a reasonably close proximity to S.F. make this a good late-summer way to get your festival feet wet — or just an excuse for a weekend getaway. Aug. 24-25 at Monterey County Fair and Event Center, Monterey, CA; FirstCityFestival.com.