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San Francisco Bay Area Holiday Events

This is our first holiday season living in San Francisco and we are very excited for the myriad of holiday events! As I research holiday events in and around the city, I will add them to the list below. Please, let me know if you have any other suggestions I should add to the list! Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Multiple Dates

  • November 19 – December 18
    The Great Dickens Christmas Fair
    Cow Palace Exhibition Halls, San Francisco; Weekends 10:00 am – 7:00 pm

    A one-of-a-kind holiday adventure into Victorian London. Costumed players performing, music halls, pubs, dance floors, and Christmas shops.
  • Wednesday, November 23 – Sunday, January 8
    ‘Tis the Season for Science
    California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco
    Interactive exhibit about reindeer adaptation, festive performances, live reindeer, and a Snowman Theater with a planetarium-like show about the northern lights.
  • Thursday, November 24 – Sunday, January 1
    Illuminate SF Festival of Light
    Multiple Locations, San Francisco
    35 Installations. 31 Artists. 12 Neighborhoods. View the website for more information on the illuminated installations throughout San Francisco.
  • Friday, November 25 – Sunday, January 1
    Winter Walk
    Union Square, San Francisco
    A pedestrian-only pop-up plaza in Union Square on Stockton Street between Geary and Ellis. Food vendors, live music & carolers, beer & wine garden, and other wintery surprises
  • Friday, November 25 – Sunday, January 1
    Christmas in the Park
    Plaza de Cesar Chavez, San Jose; 9:00 am – midnight
    The two-acre park is transformed with over 60 musical and animated exhibits, glittering lights and a 60-foot Christmas tree.
  • Thursday, December 1 – Saturday, January 7
    Winter Nights Holiday Bazaar
    Westfield Centre, Under the Dome, San Francisco; Monday – Friday 4:00 pm-8:00 pm, Saturday – Sunday 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm
    Featuring the Bespoke Marketplace. Unique gifts from local artisans, Holiday Tree, food and libations, holiday entertainment, and Santa. Musical performances Thursday – Saturday.
  • Friday, December 2 – Sunday, January 1 (closed December 24 & 25)
    Oakland Zoo Lights
    Oakland Zoo, Oakland; 5:30 pm – 9:00 pm
    LED lights throughout the Oakland zoo. Highlights include candy cane themed rides area, a nighttime adventure on the Outback Express train, rocking around the Christmas trees and a light show.
  • Monday, December 12 – Saturday, December 31
    Christmas Tree Lane
    Fulton Street, Palo Alto; 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm
    A row of lighted trees and decorated houses on Fulton Street off Embarcadero Road in Palo Alto.
  • Friday, December 16 – Friday, December 30 (closed December 24 & 25)
    San Francisco Zoo Lights
    San Francisco Zoo, San Francisco; 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm
    Bright lights throughout the zoo, Santa Claus, reindeer, carolers, and a holiday marketplace with food and seasonal delights.
  • Wednesday, December 21 – Wednesday, December 28
    Otter Gifts
    Aquarium of the Bay, San Francisco
    The river otters will be showered with “fun presents, like fish-stuffed stockings, festive trees, gift-wrapped toys, ice wreaths, and more”
  • Saturday, December 24 – Sunday, January 1
    Billy Graham Menorah Project
    Union Square, San Francisco
    Celebrate Chanukah at lighting ceremonies at 5 pm each day, except for Saturday, December 24 (7:30 pm) and Friday, December 30 (3:00 pm).
  •  Monday, December 26 – Sunday, January 1
    Kwanzaa S.F.
    Multiple Locations, San Francisco
    15 Kwanzaa celebrations throughout the city presented by the Village Project and community partners. The Nguzo Saba will be highlighted with the lighting of a candle followed by a feast and a myriad of artistic performances.

Holiday Calendar

Thursday, December 8

  • Build It! Lego Club and Holiday Card Making
    North Beach Library, San Francisco
    “Legos for architects, engineers and artists of the future. Parents and caregivers are welcome to build with their child! Bi-weekly program. And we’ll have supplies on hand for you to make a magical holiday card! Get creative building with LEGO. We provide all the pieces you’ll need to create vehicles, robots, castles, and more.”

Friday, December 9

  • Free Holiday Fanfare Concert
    6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
    In front of the Opera House | San Francisco War Memorial & Performing Arts Center
    Free holiday concert by the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Brass Quintet

Saturday, December 10

  • Winterfest
    Noon – 5:00 pm
    Avaya Stadium, San Jose
    San Jose Earthquakes are hosting their first Winterfest. Will feature more than 10 tons of snow and holiday-related activities ahead of a viewing party for MLS Cup 2016
  • Parol Lantern Festival & Parade
    5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
    Jessie Square, San Francisco
    Parol lantern parade followed by a festival and Tala awards in Jessie Square
  • Free Holiday Fanfare Concert
    6:30 pm – 8:00 pm
    In front of Davies Hall | Davies Symphony Hall
    Free holiday concert by the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Brass Quintet

Tuesday, December 13

  • Holiday Nights at the Academy
    California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco
    Members experience indoor snow flurries, live reindeer, Snowman Theater, carolers and live entertainment, Polar Night Sky planetarium show, and see the rainforest and aquarium after dark.

Wednesday, December 14

  • River Otter Snow Days
    Aquarium of the Bay, San Francisco
    Over 1,000 pounds of snow will be added to the river otter habitat for the otters’ enjoyment.

Thursday, December 15

Friday, December 16

  • Lighted Boat Parade
    6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
    Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco
    Boats festooned with lights and holiday decorations will parade along the waterfront near Aquatic Park, Pier 39, the Marina Green, and Crissy Field

Wednesday, December 21

  • River Otter Snow Days
    Aquarium of the Bay, San Francisco
    Over 1,000 pounds of snow will be added to the river otter habitat for the otters’ enjoyment.

Friday, December 23

  • Holiday Card Making
    Mission Bay Library, San Francisco
    “Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or just want to spread some cheer this winter, come celebrate with us and make your very own holiday cards. All materials will be provided. Space is limited.”

Sunday, December 25

Wednesday, December 28

  • River Otter Snow Days
    Aquarium of the Bay, San Francisco
    Over 1,000 pounds of snow will be added to the river otter habitat for the otters’ enjoyment.
  • Festival of Lights
    5:00 pm – 7:00 pm 
    Westfield Centre, Level 4 Under the Dome, San Francisco
    A Festival of Lights Hanukkah Celebration in partnership with the Bill Graham Menorah Project. Holiday treats, live music and family activities

Sunday, January 1

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