Christmas Events in San Francisco

Published Nov 21, 2017 | Updated Apr 17, 2018

San Francisco, an always-brilliant city, will be even more beautiful in just a few short weeks as holiday cheer spreads through our fine city!

Holiday Ice Skating

November 1-January 18 in Union Square

A holiday tradition, ice skating in Union Square promises to bring a smile to everyone’s face. Plan your visit to the Safeway Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square presented by Alaska Airlines – the coolest place to be this winter!

Macy's 28th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony

November 24 at Union Square

Macy's 28th Annual Tree Lighting will take place in Union Square Park between Sutter & Geary streets and Powell & Stockton Streets. San Francisco's most recognized Christmas tree will be lit at the end of the ceremony, around 6:50 p.m.

Holiday Carousel Lighting and Festival

November 25 at the Children's Creativity Museum

Celebrate the lighting of the LeRoy King Carousel at the Children's Creativity Museum and festivities in the Yerba Buena Children's Garden!  Activities include carnival games, snow play, an ice skating recital, and carousel rides.

Kids Day at The Guardsmen Christmas Tree Lot

December 1 at the the Guardsmen Christmas Tree Lot

Activities include arts and crafts, cookie decorating, multiple bounce-houses music!  All ages are welcome, and complementary snacks and beverages will be provided.

Reindeer Visit The Bay Area Discovery Museum

December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23 at the Bay Area Discovery Museum

Welcome Snowflake and Blizzard, two live reindeer who will be visiting the BADM in Lookout Cove, and learn about how reindeer migrate in different environments.

SF Youth Ballet Presents The Nutcracker

December 2-3 (2 shows each day) at Mercy High School Theatre

Celebrate the San Francisco Youth Ballet Theatre's 17th Annual performance of "The Nutcracker", featuring guest artists, and local talent from the SF Youth Ballet Academy.  Tickets are available in advance or at the door, but reserve your tickets early, as tickets are sold out every year.

River Otter Snow Days

December 7, 14, 21, and 28 at the Aquarium of the Bay

Come visit the river otters as they play in their snowy winter wonderland habitat at the Aquarium of the Bay.

The otters' visiting hours are on Thursdays, 10am-6pm on December 7th and 14th, and 9am-8pm on December 21 and 28th.

Harvey Milk Center Holiday Craft Fair

December 10 at the Harvey Milk Center for the Arts

This event will include numerous local artists offering their unique handmade holiday gifts for sale to the public. The event is FREE to attend and will also host family friendly activities for all ages including music, popcorn, art projects and a photo booth!

Peter and the Wolf

December 10 at the San Francisco Symphony

Watch and listen as the internationally acclaimed San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra brings this delightful fairytale to life, illustrating each character with a particular instrument and melody. Then, stay for a sing-along featuring your favorite holiday songs.

Soulful Christmas - A Gospel Holiday Concert

December 14-17, 21-23 (multiple shows) at the African American Art & Culture Complex

Gospel solo artist, Yvonne Cobbs, directs the legendary Lorraine Hansberry Gospel Choir with inspirational holiday music both old and new, sacred and secular. The show is guaranteed to be a roof-raising, hand-clapping, joyful good time for all ages.

SF ZooLights 2017 

December 15-17, 19-23, 26-30

Experience the wonder of the holiday season and enjoy your 100 acre park, conservation center and Zoo under beautiful and bright lights. ZooLights 2017 takes you on a magical trip to a destination like no other – with Santa Claus, reindeer and seasonal delights.

Home Alone - Feature Film with Live Orchestra

December 16, 17, 20 at Davies Symphony Hall

See the beloved holiday hit Home Alone on the big screen like you never have before, with John Williams’ exuberant score performed live by the San Francisco Symphony and unforgettable carols sung live by three children’s choruses.

Meet Santa 

December 16-17 at the Bay Area Discovery Museum

Meet the big fellow at the Bay Area Discovery Museum on Saturday afternoon, 1pm-4:30pm, or on Sunday morning 9am-12pm.  He's on a busy schedule, so make sure you plan early!

Charlie Brown - Live!

December 21-24 at the Davies Symphony Hall (multiple shows)

The show begins with your favorite characters dancing along to holiday classics and colorful video. Then, the gang returns to the stage to bring A Charlie Brown Christmas to life! With singers, dancers, and actors performing in front of an animated background, and Vince Guaraldi’s timeless music performed live by the Symphony, this beloved holiday classic is sure to bring festive cheer to people of all ages. Come early and enjoy a family-friendly reception featuring a host of activities to keep your kids entertained.

32nd Annual Japanese New Year's Bell-Ringing Ceremony

December 31 at the Asian Art Museum

Ring in the New Year by taking a swing at a 2,100-pound, 16th-century Japanese temple bell. Led by Rev. Gengo Akiba, with opening remarks about the Japanese New Year by community leader Yoshie Akiba, this inspiring ceremony will include a purification ritual and chanting of the Buddhist Heart Sutra.

See more wonderful Christmas and other Winter Holiday Events in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area!

Francesca Stahl
By Francesca Stahl
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