San Francisco International Airport

SFO Airport Celebrates Dia de los Muertos

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is sharing how the city’s Mission District is marking the Dia de los Muertos holiday.

Passengers will be treated to live music, dance, and cultural performances from San Francisco-based Latino artists.

The Dia de los Muertos celebration originated in Mexico and is now observed worldwide as a time for the living to pay tribute to those who have passed away. In San Francisco, the holiday celebrations center around the city’s Mission District, especially the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts (MCCLA).

And this year, the MCCLA is presenting a spectacular Dia de los Muertos shrine in SFO’s Harvey Milk Terminal 1.

The shrine can be seen through November 10. Passengers will also be treated to music performances celebrating from October 26 – 28 and from November 2 – 4. The bands will perform multiple sets between 11 am and 3 pm each day.

Here are some details about the performers:

Wednesday, October 26: La Melodía de Cristo 
Representing Guatemala with joy and love in Cumbia, Merengue, Salsa, and Bachata.
Thursday, October 27: Colectivo CalleSon
A community of musicians, singers, dancers, cooks, and poets that uphold and help sustain southern Mexico’s Son Jarocho tradition.

Friday, October 28: Tradición Peruana Cultural Center 
Music and dance celebrating the rich diversity of art from Peruvian cultures in the Bay Area and beyond.

Wednesday, November 2: Anthony Blea Afro-Cuban Quartet
Violinist Anthony Blea and his talented bandmates play danceable, infectious Afro-Cuban beats. 

Thursday and Friday, November 3 and 4: Cascada de Flores
A bi-national collection of musicians who find the joy of creation, individual expression, and musical communication within Mexican and Latin traditions.


Unpacking SFO’s Dia de los Muertos altar

Dia de los Muertos marks a trio of events during which it is believed the spirits of children, adults, and all the dead return.

To welcome those spirits, the living create “ofrendas” or altars with items representative of the deceased person’s favorite foods and activities. Items to help the spirits continue their journeys are added as well.

SFO Airport and San Francisco’s Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts share these tips on how to ‘read’ the three-tier altar, which represents three planes of existence: the sky, the earth, and the underworld.

The heart: The heart is a sacred symbol in Mexican art, representing divine love.

Marigolds: These bold, orange flowers are sometimes called “Flor de Muerto” or “flowers of the dead.” Their scent helps to attract souls to the altar. 

Papel picado: Beautiful and intricately cut tissue paper banners are light enough to blow in the breeze when spirits arrive in this world. Their delicate nature symbolizes the fragility of life.

Alebrije animals: Traditional in Mexican art, these fantastical creatures combine the features and characteristics of various animals.

Photos and personal items: Photos of the deceased draw their spirit to the altar, as do personal items that were important during their lives on earth. 

Water, pan de muerto, and other food:  “Bread of the Dead” (pan de muerto) in the shape of bones or skulls is included with the deceased’s favorite foods to nourish their spirit upon return to the land of the living. Water is placed on the altar to quench their thirst after a long journey.

Candles: Candlelight illuminates the path home for returning spirits.

Salt: Often shaped into a cross, salt purifies spirits as they cross into the realm of the living. 

Copal incense burner: Derived from the copal tree, the incense purifies spirits and elevates the prayers of the living.

Airport Amenity of the Week: SFO’s Golden Gate Park ‘activation’

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has an ongoing program celebrating the city’s neighborhoods and cultural events.

The newest activation shines a light on the rich history of live music performances in Golden Gate Park with a photo essay, live performances, and a photo station in Terminal 3, Boarding Area F.

“From Jimi Hendrix in the 1960s to Lizzo in the 2020s; from the Summer of Love to Outside Lands and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Golden Gate Park has long been a Bay Area epicenter of music and culture,” SFO reminds us.

The new activation, SFO Celebrates: Music in Golden Gate Park will feature live music performances on August 26th and September 1st & 2nd.

On a stage near the F Food Court, there’s a two-sided backdrop where travelers can put themselves into the picture with the Grateful Dead in the 1960s or with Billie Eilish today.

And there’s a photo Exhibition in the F Concourse along the moving walkway, featuring photos of memorable performances in Golden Gate Park that have taken place over the past 60 years.

Airline aprons. The kind you wear.

We’re big fans of the treasures in the collection of the SFO Museum at San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

And of the museum’s searchable online database.

This tweet, about the museum’s collection of more than 100 flight attendant smocks and aprons sent the Stuck at the Airport fashion reporter down a very deep rabbit hole checking out the fashions.

We love this 1980s-era apron from Japan Airlines

And this one from Western Airlines. Also from the 1980s.

And check out this Delta Air Lines apron from 1973.

Fun photo op at SFO Airport: Castro Theatre

The “SFO Celebrates” program has been running at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) since April.

The entertainment and engagement series brings a taste of the city’s diverse culture and neighborhoods into the terminals with live music, dance, arts & crafts, and demonstrations.

We snapped this fun photo during SFO’s Cherry Blossom Festival in April.

This month, SFO Celebrates Pride in the Harvey Milk Terminal 1 – the first terminal in the world named for a LGBTQ+ leader – with a photo opp and stage based on the iconic Castro Theatre.

Located post-security across from the iStore, this month’s Pride events feature live entertainment on Thursdays and Fridays between 11 am – 3 pm. Passengers may snap selfies with a version of the iconic Castro Theatre backdrop, enjoy live music, meet the Wag Brigade stress relief animals, and more.

Travelers can also celebrate Pride in other spots in the SFO Terminals.

Welcome back SFO Aviation Museum & Library


As fans of airports, libraries, aviation history, and museums, we’re delighted that San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has reopened the Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum & Library after a two-year closure.

The facility is named after a former airport director and sits pre-security in the Main Hall of SFO’s International Terminal.

The retro look intentionally evokes the airport’s passenger lobby from the 1930s.


The museum is home to more than 150,000 objects related to the histories of commercial aviation and San Francisco International Airport. And during the facility shutdown, SFO Museum staff spent time doing an extensive digital construction of the museum’s Aviation Collection.

Aerial view of SFO – 1966

Now there are more than 40,000 objects accessible online. And more material is being added each week. Online highlights include the history of SFO airport; material relating to major airlines such as Pan Am and United Airlines; and photographs, uniform pieces, and other aviation memorabilia, such as Junior Pilots Pins and airsickness bags.

If you know exactly what you’re looking for, the collection is easily searchable.

But if you’re just interested in poking around, beware.

We started this post three hours ago and went down a serious rabbit hole once we started clicking on the “random object” button.

Visit the Aviation Museum & Library in person

With its reopening, the Aviation Museum & Library is also launching a series of new exhibitions that passengers may visit in person. Exhibits include:

Going the Distance: Endurance Aircraft Engines & Propellers of the 1910s & 20s.

This exhibit includes two groundbreaking engines, the V-8 Curtiss OXX-6 and the Wright J-5 Whirlwind radial engine, two related propellers, photographs, and more.

Jet Mainliner in Miniature: the United Air Lines Douglas DC-8 Cutaway Model

This exhibit shows off a late-1950s United Airlines cutaway model of a DC-8. Historical photographs, promotional materials, and video clips from United’s promotional film ‘Jet Mainliner Flight 803’ are also on display.

There are also several other new exhibits in the reopened aviation museum at SFO, making this a great time to schedule a long layover to take in these and some of the 20 exhibits the SFO Museum presents throughout the terminal buildings.

All photos and images are courtesy of the SFO Museum.