The Ultimate Holiday Checklist: 23 Things to Do in San Francisco
And that includes kosher comedy, because why not?
In case the giant tree in Union Square and steady rain haven’t tipped you off, it’s holiday season in San Francisco. From your tried-and-true traditions—like the Macy’s tree and The Nutcracker—to new activities you’ll want to make seasonal rituals (hello there, kosher comedy), here’s our list of 23 must-do December happenings.
1. Deck the halls after you take this holiday wreath-making class at Workshop SF on December 16.
2. Have a spot of tea with Mom at Top of the Mark (through December 30).
3. Sing along with the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus during Home for the Holidays at the Castro Theatre on December 24.
4. Make a reservation at Zuni. Order the roast chicken with your significant other. And definitely share a bottle of wine.
5. Haven’t done your holiday shopping yet? Make DIY gifts instead at the San Francisco Botanical Garden’s crafting workshop on December 18.
6. Take any Scrooge in your life to the Tom and Jerry House in Noe Valley (21st and Church streets). No one can stay grumpy after seeing all that holiday flair.
7. Jewish comedy on Christmas in a Chinese restaurant. Need we say more? Get your tickets to the 24th Annual Kung Pao Kosher Comedy show (December 23 to 25) now.
8. Get yourself to David Sedaris’s Santaland Diaries at the Eureka Theater (December 17 to 26) if you’re feeling naughty this year.
9. The Sugar Plum Fairy won’t stop dancing through your head once you bring your niece to see The Nutcracker at the San Francisco Ballet (through December 29).
10. Get props from Martha for the best-looking holiday spread after taking a whimsical winter tablescape class at Farmgirl Flowers (December 18).
11. Treat everyone in the family to a steaming bowl of matzo ball soup (and a piece of chocolate babka, of course) at Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen.
13. Channel Kimmy Schmidt at the San Francisco Symphony’s New Year’s Eve celebration with Jane Krakowski and Tituss Burgess. That’s one NYE party we’d happily attend.
14. Take your visitors to do something super touristy—like riding the Hyde Street cable car while it’s dressed up in festive wreaths and garland.
15. Pet some real live reindeer at the California Academy of Sciences (through January 8). Velvet and Tinsel call the museum’s East Garden home for the holidays.
16. Get to the Walt Disney Family Museum early in the morning so your nephew can be first in line to flip the switch on a model train that’s decked out with holiday lights.
17. Do your good deed and bring an unwrapped gift for Roka Bar’s Holiday Toy Drive on December 18. Bonus: For each item you donate, you'll get a handcrafted cocktail—for free.
18. Duck into the Fairmont Hotel lobby for a peek at its two-story, life-size gingerbread house, made entirely of edible parts. Then order a mug of hot cocoa so you’re not tempted to sample a piece of the display.
19. Finally watch It’s a Wonderful Life on the big screen.
20. Snow may not be in the forecast for San Francisco, but it is at Aquarium of the Bay. Every Wednesday throughout December, the aquarium’s river otters get a snow day when a thousand pounds of powder is poured into their habitat for play.
21. Go back in time at the annual Great Dickens Christmas Fair (through December 18). We’ll give you extra credit if you dress the part at this Victorian holiday affair.
22. Mummers, carolers and bardic storytelling—it’s a regular Welsh holiday at this year’s Oakland Christmas Revels (through December 18) at the Scottish Rite Theater on Lake Merritt.
23. Get all weepy over Tiny Tim at the American Conservatory Theater’s annual production of A Christmas Carol (through December 24).