No matter which holidays you celebrate, you can find an event for them in San Francisco. Here's our guide for enjoying a diverse holiday season.

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November 5, 2018

How to Enjoy San Francisco's Diverse Holiday Celebrations

San Francisco is the kind of city where the holidays are celebrated with a diversity found nowhere else in the country. No matter who you are, where you hail from, or what you believe, you will be welcomed to the City by the Bay with open arms and an invitation to join our extensive holiday celebrations. Check out our favorite holiday happenings. 

Santa Con SF

Here in San Francisco, we take the "Saint" right out of "Saint Nick" by dressing up as old Kris Kringle himself, parading around town, and then going on an extensive bar crawl through the city’s top drinking dens. Meet up at Union Square on Dec. 8 at noon to get in on the wildness. 

The Dance-Along Nutcracker 

The annual production of this San Francisco tradition takes place on Dec. 8 and 9 at the Yerba Buena Gardens Center for the Arts. Join the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band as they marry Tchaikovsky’s famous "Nutcracker Suite" with J.K. Rowling's wizarding world. Be prepared to shake your own rump when the “Dance Along” signs lights up.

Celebrate Kwanzaa in San Francisco

The Village Project will present their 13th annual Kwanzaa celebrations throughout San Francisco, with seven days of community events in venues such as The Jazz Heritage Center and the Museum of the African Diaspora. Striving to heal, unite and strengthen the family, community, and nation, the community celebrates each of the seven principles of Kwanzaa (the Nguzo Saba).

Hanukkah in Union Square

From Dec. 2 to 9, there will be candle lighting ceremonies on a giant mahogany menorah in Union Square to celebrate Hanukkah, which commemorates the rededication of the Holy Temple in the Jewish tradition. Kid-friendly activities will begin at 2 p.m. ahead of the first night of Hanukkah, Dec. 2.

Parol Lantern Festival and Parade

Held at the Yerba Buena Gardens every holiday season for the past 15 years, the Parol Lantern Festival and Parade on the evening of Dec. 8 is one of the largest Filipino American celebrations in the Bay Area. Live bands, delicious home-cooked food and a colorful competition of handmade lanterns round out the event. For those who want to try their hands at making a lantern themselves, workshops are held in the weeks leading up to the event at the Bayanihan Community Center on Mission Street. 

San Francisco Bazaar Holiday Nightlife 

A handmade arts market, indie music fest and DIY extravaganza all under one roof, the San Francisco Bazaar showcases all that is uniquely San Francisco and is the perfect place to shop for those loved ones back home. Taking place at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park on Dec. 13, this event mixes shopping and nightlife in one fun-filled holiday-themed party not to be missed. 

The Santa Skivvies Run

Get into your sexiest red and green undies and take a one mile run through the Castro District to raise money for AIDS treatment and research in this sexy holiday tradition. The Santa Skivvies Run starts at 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 19 at the Lookout Bar and ends at the Santa Village Block Party, where you can dance the afternoon away in your undies as well.

Kung Pao Kosher Comedy

Serving up Jewish comedy in a Chinese restaurant is about as San Francisco as it gets and in fact, the Kung Pao Kosher Comedy show is the City by the Bay’s longest running comedy show ever. Taking place at the New Asia Restaurant in Chinatown, Dec. 23-25, this event will knock your socks off with laughs and fill your belly with real Chinese fare at the same time.

Brassy & Sassy with the Gay Men's Chorus

Just when you thought the holidays couldn’t get any more San Francisco, along comes "Brassy & Sassy". Put on by the internationally acclaimed San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, this outburst of fabulous holiday spirit takes place at the Nourse Theater on Dec. 7 and 8 only.


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