From San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker to The Art of Banksy, Even the Grinch Will Find Something to Celebrate in San Francisco
San Francisco (Nov. 5, 2021) – In San Francisco, the holiday season really is the most wonderful time of the year. The city is aglow with decorations and buzzing with activities and experiences. No matter where you go in San Francisco, you’ll find something to celebrate this season.
The Safeway Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square
Nov. 3, 2021 – Jan. 17, 2022; https://unionsquareicerink.com
What says “the holidays” more than skating under the sun – or the stars – in Union Square? Since 2008, The Safeway Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square has delighted children and adults with its holiday-themed ice park where everyone can enjoy skating in the iconic plaza surrounded by festive lights and Macy’s giant Christmas tree. The Safeway Holiday Ice Rink’s event roster includes the highly anticipated Drag Queens on Ice, Flashback Fridays, and Polar Bear Skate. Admission is $19 and includes skate rental.
San Francisco Fire Engine Tours
Take in the holiday sights and sounds from a vintage, open-air Mack fire engine with San Francisco Fire Engine Tours. Guests can celebrate the season with Christmas Carols and fun facts as you tour downtown San Francisco, The Embarcadero, and Union Square.
HapPIER Holidays at PIER 39
Nov. 23, 2021 – Jan. 9, 2022; https://www.pier39.com/happierholidays/
PIER 39 is spreading Holiday cheer on San Francisco’s Waterfront! Each night, enjoy the PIER’s tree lighting musical moments on its 60’ Christmas tree which will come to life every half hour from 5pm – 10pm, Nov. 23, 2021 through Jan. 9, 2022. Synchronized to holiday music, the tree transforms into a kaleidoscope of swirling colors, adorned with thousands of specialty lights and ornaments.
Thrive City Noon Year's Eve
Looking for family fun on New Year’s Eve? You’re in luck. Head to Thrive City Noon Year’s Eve from 11 a.m to 1:30pm and ring in the new year with the Music of Grateful Dead for Kids and more, presented by the Rock and Roll Playhouse. Enjoy a very special NYE drop at 11:59 a.m., face painting, games, a crafting zone, performers, and holiday treats. RSVP while supplies last.
ARTS & CULTURE
Illuminate SF Festival of Light
Nov. 21, 2021 – Jan. 31, 2022; https://illuminatesf.com
Returning for its ninth year, Illuminate SF Festival of Light shines with more than 40 eco-friendly light installations in 17 of the city’s neighborhoods. The light art installations, created by both local and international artists, come to life at dusk each night, making for an illuminating adventure. Some are permanent, but others are fleeting creations that can only be glimpsed during the festival.
Let’s Glow SF
Dec. 3 – Dec. 12, 2021; https://www.downtownsf.org/events/letsglowsf/
Downtown San Francisco will transform into an enchanting, illuminated journey to a dazzling winter wonderland. Downtown SF Night Lights will cover four towering properties throughout San Francisco's Financial District with first ever multi-night light mapping projection event on the West Coast. This stunning journey of light will feature the works of local artists while celebrating the festive winter season in the heart of San Francisco.
A Christmas Carol at Broadway SF
Nov. 26 – Dec. 26, 2021; https://www.broadwaysf.com
This new imagining of the old Charles Dickens classic recently earned five Tony Awards. The production at Golden Gate Theatre features dazzling staging, moving storytelling, and 12 of your favorite Christmas carols.
San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus Holiday Program
Dec. 24, 2021; Dec. 10 and 11, 2021; https://www.sfgmc.org
Embrace the delights of the season with beautiful music and a jubilant production of “Home for the Holidays” by San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. The show, in its 32nd year, celebrates the with hilarious and heart-warming songs and merriment - and some mischief. The Chorus is also performing “Holigays Are Here...Again!,” featuring something for everyone, including “Festival Gloria”, “Little Drummer Boy,” “Go Tell It On The Mountain,” “Los Peces en el Rio,” and “Over the River” with special guests, SFGMC’s very own - Homophonics and The Lollipop Guild!
San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker
Dec. 10 – 30, 2021; https://www.sfballet.org/productions/nutcracker/
Ever since Nutcracker made its American debut on Christmas Eve in 1944 at San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House, it’s been a beloved holiday tradition. Watch as visions of Sugar Plums—the fairy variety, that is—dance before your eyes when the world-class San Francisco Ballet takes the stage.
San Francisco Symphony’s Holiday Concerts
Throughout December; https://www.sfsymphony.org/Calendar/CYO/Holiday
The acclaimed San Francisco Symphony has something for everyone this season. From traditional performances of Handel’s Messiah and Holiday Brass to a screening of Home Alone with full symphony accompaniment and a New Year’s Eve concert with star of stage and screen Darren Criss, the Symphony is back in a big way.
WHAT’S NEW FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON
The Great Dickens Christmas Fair
Dec. 4, 5, 11, 12, 18 and 19, 2021; https://dickensfair.com
Despite having to cancel its customary Victorian London at the Cow Palace Exhibition Halls, this year you can experience Red Barn Productions’ The Great Dickens Christmas Fair in your car, in your home, and under your tree this holiday season! For three weekends, beginning Saturday, Dec. 4 through Sunday, Dec. 19, fans of this beloved holiday tradition will have three ways to experience the Fair’s Dickensian delights.
The Art of Banksy
Nov. 22, 2021 – Jan. 3, 2022; banksyexhibit.com/sanfrancisco
The Art of Banksy—the largest touring exhibition of authentic Banksy artworks sourced from private collectors around the world—announced the San Francisco exhibition will be held at San Francisco’s iconic Palace of Fine Arts. Ticket prices start at $39.99 ($29.99 for children 16 or younger).
The Art of the Brick
From Dec. 4, 2021; https://artofthebrickexhibit.com
This captivating exhibition features intriguing works of art by renowned contemporary artist Nathan Sawaya. The critically acclaimed collection features more than 70 works of art made exclusively from one of the most recognizable toys in the world—the LEGO® brick. Tickets prices start at $29.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
From January 2022; https://sf.harrypottertheplay.com
It may not open until January, but we can’t contain our excitement for the return of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child to San Francisco’s Curran. An original story conceived by playwright Jack Thorne, director John Tiffany, and J.K. Rowling herself, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the first and only official Harry Potter tale presented live on stage.
20th Anniversary of SF Sketchfest, the San Francisco Comedy Festival
Jan. 7 – 23, 2022; https://sfsketchfest.com
Celebrating its 20th year, SF Sketchfest will again bring an outstanding program line-up and entertainers to the Bay Area. The multi-day festival, the longest-running comedy festival in the U.S., will take place in venues across the city and feature major comedy stars and the best up-and-coming comedic acts from around the world for non-stop entertainment including sketch, stand-up, music, improv, films, tributes, alternative comedy, live podcasts, and panel discussions. The line-up will be announced Nov. 19, 2021.
The Fairmont San Francisco’s hotel lobby transforms into a holiday destination. The highlight of this year’s exhibit is a two-story giant Gingerbread House (22-feet-high and 22-feet-wide) adorned in hundreds of pounds of See’s Candies. Located in the hotel’s grand lobby, the event is open to the public and offers guests the opportunity to enjoy complimentary holiday refreshments and heart-warming music while Santa Claus poses for photos. A seasonal Moët Champagne bar will also be open throughout the festive season. An entrance fee of $10 per adult will be collected from non-hotel guests and those who do not hold dining/holiday tea reservations. Net proceeds from entrance fees will be donated to Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area. Accompanied children will be extended complimentary access.
Fairmont San Francisco’s Gingerbread House
From Nov. 27;
WHAT’S NEW FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON
Hotel Zetta’s Photo Sessions with The Bay Shooters
Guests staying at Hotel Zetta can capture their holiday getaway by booking an in-depth photography and editing session with a local expert. In partnership with Bay Shooters, a community of the country’s most talented and up-and-coming photographers and creative individuals, guests are guided around the city to capture images with their personal cameras. After guests spend the day taking photos of various landmarks and viewpoints, they will head back to the hotel to learn how to professionally edit their images. Pricing starts at $550 per person. Includes a three-hour session with a local professional photographer followed by a one-hour editing session.
HOLIDAY DINING EXPERIENCES
Fall into Winter at alley & vine
Proper Holiday Package
Nov. 1, 2021 – Jan. 22, 2022; https://www.properhotel.com/san-francisco/
The Proper hotel is packaging a holiday treat for guests this season. Stay at the hotel and receive a $50 dining credit at La Bande or their weekend Nutcracker Afternoon Tea, ice skating tickets and a Hot toddy set-up and nutcracker-inspired dessert amenity. alley & vine will be adding an optional caviar component to a new and improved six-course seasonal tasting menu. The luxurious menu on its own will cost $185 and for $95, guests can have a total of one ounce of house-cured and sourced caviar incorporated into each course and can add an optional wine pairing.
Hanukkah at One Market Restaurant
Nov. 28 – Dec. 6; https://onemarket.com
Whether you’re looking to dine in or order delivery, One Market’s Hanukkah menu is perfectly suited form intimate celebrations and larger parties. The three-course menu includes Mark ‘n Mike’s matzo ball soup, optional potato latkes, 12-hour smoked beef brisket and sufganiyot (traditional jelly doughnut).
Craft Cocktail Classes at Dirty Habit in Hotel Zelos
At Hotel Zelos’ onsite sultry restaurant and lounge, Dirty Habit, guests and locals alike can book a private craft cocktail class with mixology maven Mariza Sabino. Craft cocktail classes include a one-on-one cocktail lesson highlighting a spirit of guests’ choosing. Pricing starts at $250 for one hour.
About San Francisco Travel
The San Francisco Travel Association is the official destination marketing organization for the City and County of San Francisco. Tourism is San Francisco's largest industry. More than 25.8 million people visited the destination in 2019, spending in excess of $10 billion. More than 82,500 jobs are supported by tourism in San Francisco.
WHAT’S NEW FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON
San Francisco is one of the metropolitan areas in the U.S. that has consistently kept Covid-19 largely
under control. The COVID-19 Prevention & Enhanced Cleaning Guidelines put forth by the Hotel Council of San Francisco, ensure that our hospitality businesses are adhering to the most elaborate cleaning and safety protocols. San Francisco Travel invites all visitors who are planning to come in 2021 to contribute their part to a safe and enjoyable experience by taking our Safe Travel Pledge.
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About San Francisco International Airport
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