Photo by Markus Spiering

It’s the ninth month and we’ve got nine things picked out for you to do: 

Architecture and the City Festival

Celebrating San Francisco’s unique built environment and design community, Architecture and the City offers tours, film screenings, exhibitions, design lectures and more through Sept. 30.  Presented by the American Institute of Architects and the Center for Architecture + Design, the festival theme “Unbuilt San Francisco” explores a parallel history of this ever-provocative city. More than 40 festival programs throughout the month will address varying aspects of the design and planning process. 

Eastern Persuasions

East meets West here there and everywhere in San Francisco. There’s a double-header the weekend of Sept. 14-15 with the Autumn Moon Festival in the heart of Chinatown and San Francisco International Dragon Boat Festival on Treasure Island. Later in the month four-time U.S. Sumo Champion Kelly (and holder of the Guinness World Record for heaviest human to ever run a marathon) and Byamba, a three-time World Sumo Champion, participate in live matches in Japantown’s Peace Plaza Sept. 22.  Just a few weeks later the third annual Hong Kong Cinema festival Oct. 4-6 at the Vogue Theater includes a screening of the essential kung-fu film, The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, made in 1977.

Free, Free, Free – Yerba Buena Family Day

Downtown San Francisco’s biggest free family block party is back for its sixth year on Sept. 15. Yerba Buena Family Day is a non-stop day of free indoor/outdoor family fun with free admission to local museums for all ages, hands-on art making activities for kids and special family-friendly performances throughout the neighborhood. Visitors get in free to the Contemporary Jewish Museum, the Museum of the African Diaspora, and Children’s Creativity Museum. In addition, SFMOMA On the Go will pop up in the neighborhood to let families roll up their sleeves with creative construction activities, and Yerba Buena Gardens Festival serves up a lively afternoon under the sun with 2013 Grammy winner Lila Downs, plus other family-friendly performers.

Rites of Passage: Bill T. Jones 30th Anniversary

In honor of Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company’s 30th anniversary, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is hosting a month-long celebration, Sept. 20-Nov. 3 which includes /Time: Study I, a site-specific performance at CounterPULSE; the West Coast premiere of A Rite, the collaborative dance theater piece with Anne Bogart’s SITI Company that celebrates the 100th anniversary of Igor Stravinsky’s groundbreaking The Rite of Spring; and Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company 30th Anniversary Exhibition, a survey exhibition of costumes, photographs, sculptures, videos and backdrops that have played an integral role in the company’s performances since the early 1980s. Over the past 30 years, the Bill T. Jones/ Arnie Zane Dance Company has shaped the evolution of contemporary dance through the creation and performance of more than 140 works. 

Live Blues on Polk Street

The 2013 Polk Street Blues Festival will feature live blues music along Polk Street, between Pacific and Union streets, Sept. 21-22, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  The weekend event will present continuous live blues performances on two stages, a merchant marketplace with arts, crafts and other items for sale, as well as local food vendors offering mouth-watering barbecue and other tasty treats.

Strut Your Mutt

San Francisco is known as a fido-friendly destination and this new event is a real tail-wagger. Come out to Treasure Island on Sept. 21  for Strut Your Mutt and help raise funds to save the lives of shelter pets in the San Francisco Bay Area. There will be everything from doggie speed dating with your pet, sponsored by, to “pawdicures” for participating mutts. Registration required to attend. 

Great American Songbook

If the songs of George Gershwin and Cole Porter pop up on your Pandora frequently, here’s some perfect picks for your musical taste. At the Fairmont’s Venetian Room Megan Hilty of the TV series, Smash, opens Bay Area Cabaret’s 10th anniversary season on Sept. 21 with a program of Broadway showstoppers. Starting Sept. 29, Alfred’s Steakhouse, 659 Merchant St., debuts a new cabaret. The opening act is Mark Robinson in a one-man show, A Tribute to Tony Bennett. Accompanied by Dave Austin’s Trio de Swing, Robinson draws his inspiration from the Great American Songbook. If you miss the debut, return on Oct. 26 for this new monthly event. This month Feinstein’s at the Hotel Nikko welcomes Jack Jones, Sept. 19-21, and Tommy Tune, Sept. 26-28. And just when you think it couldn’t get any better, 42nd Street Moon opens its 2013-14 season Oct. 2-20 with It’s a Bird … It’s a Plane … It’s Superman at the Eureka Theatre. 

Consider the Alternative

Sam Shepard, Bill Nighy, and generations of UK theater fans agree: the world of alternative theater would be quite different without People Show, the troupe founded in 1966 and now the longest-running alternative theater company in Britain. And from Sept. 26-Oct. 5, Bay Area audiences can experience People Show 121: The Detective Show in the group’s first Bay Area performance since 1989 at the Southside Theater, Fort Mason Center, and at the Cameo Cinema, St. Helena, on Oct. 1. These are People Show’s only U.S. performances. 

Fog Festival 

Celebrate the enigmatic and ever-changing nature of fog and explore the science behind what is one of San Francisco’s most salient meteorological phenomena at the Exploratorium’s first-ever Fog Festival from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013 inside the museum and in its Outdoor Gallery. From the science behind water vapor to cinematic and artistic explorations of fog, this all-ages event is included with museum admission and invites visitors to explore the complexities of the Bay Area’s dynamic weather. It’s also a chance to bid adieu to Fog Bridge, the immersive outdoor art installation by Japanese interdisciplinary artist Fujiko Nakaya, slated to close Oct. 6. Cap the day off with a visit to Fog City, the reincarnation of Fog City Diner, 1300 Battery St., slated to open in mid-September.