15 Festive, Fun and Foodie Ways to Celebrate the Holidays Virtually in San Francisco This Year

We’re not going to lie—this new stay-at-home order has put a crimp in our holiday fun. But because the Bay Area is a crafty bunch always ready to adapt, there are still plenty of ways to get in the spirit. We’ve rounded up 14 virtual ideas—symphony singalongs, online wreath-making workshops and going behind the scenes with the SF Ballet—plus a self-guided driving tour that will have you feeling just as festive.

RELATED 9 Places to Get the Best Ramen in San Francisco (Plus One in Oakland)

virtual holiday things to do san francisco 1
SF Symphony / Facebook

1. have A Sing-along

Round up the family for the SF Symphony’s virtual Deck the Hall celebration (December 19 and 25) with a concert program featuring holiday favorites, like “White Christmas” and “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” plus an audience singalong.

2. Make a festive wreath

Take your holiday decorating to the next level by attending Workshop SF’s Holiday Wreath Making class (December 17 to 21), an annual favorite for the local DIY set that’s gone virtual this year.

3. Take a moment and breeeeaaaathe

After such a trying year, we could all use some Zen. Sign up for a virtual Winter Solstice Sound Bath hosted by the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden on December 21 and let the meditative effects of quartz crystal singing bowls and finely tuned gongs bring you clarity and focus as you head into 2021.

virtual holiday things to do san francisco 2
The Civic Kitchen S.F. / Facebook

4. whip Up A Classic Holiday Treat

The holiday season wouldn’t be complete without indulging in sweet treats. On December 21, Civic Kitchen will teach you how to make a beautiful Bûche de Noël (aka yule log) to give as a gift or save for yourself. (We recommend the latter.)

5. Tune in to The Golden Girls Live

Golden Girls Live: The Christmas Episodes drag send-up, our only-in-SF holiday tradition, goes online this year for a livestream event (December 17 to 21) that will be full of laughs.

6. Take a journey back in time

Learn how to make a proper Christmas pudding from a Victorian cooking video, discover the London home of Charles Dickens and scroll through a gallery of Victorian-era Christmas cards—all part of the Great Dickens Christmas Fair at Home.

7. Try a taste of something new

Try a Venezuelan holiday tradition by ordering hallacas (similar to a tamale) and pan de jamón (like a savory cinnamon roll) from Arepas en Bici for delivery by bicycle anywhere in SF.

virtual holiday things to do san francisco 3
San Francisco Ballet / Facebook

8. learn How To Dance ‘the Nutcracker’

Culture is not cancelled. The SF Ballet brings the Nutcracker online (through December 31) with an HD streaming of the company’s past performances, plus interactive experiences like a virtual tour of the opera house and learning steps from the dance’s choreography.

9. Make a bowl of comfort

This time of year, matzo ball soup soothes the soul. Learn how to make your own during a virtual Jewish Comfort Food cooking class hosted by 18 Reasons on December 20.

10. Have some laughs for a good cause

Jewish comedy on Christmas served up in a virtual Chinese restaurant—that’s what’s in store for this year’s 28th Annual Kung Pao Kosher Comedy (December 24 to 26), with proceeds benefiting Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Teaching Tolerance” and Helen and Joe Farkas Center for the Study of the Holocaust.

virtual holiday things to do san francisco 4
Manual Cinema / Facebook

11. enjoy A Night At The Theater

Here’s one for the times: Arts collective Manual Cinema reimagines Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (December 17 to 19) as a tale based in our current pandemic world using paper puppets and an original musical score.

12. Take a trip around the world without leaving your house

TheatreWorks Silicon Valley’s Simple Gifts celebrates multicultural holiday songs and traditions for Kwanzaa, Christmas, Hanukkah, Noche Buena, Diwali, and Las Posadas.

13. Go see a light show

But not your typical holiday light show—Illuminate SF’s Festival of Light is a showcase of 40-plus installations across 17 neighborhoods, featuring more than 30 artists. Grab everyone in your household, hop in the car and do a drive-by. And be sure to include stops in Golden Gate Park to see Entwined, Revival, and Night Bloom.

virtual holiday things to do san francisco 5
San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus / Facebook

14. sip Your Way Through A Performance

Score VIP tickets for SF Gay Men’s Chorus: (At) Home for the Holidays livestream performance (December 24) and you’ll get a delivery of wine and treats for the big show.

15. Check out some holiday improv

Catch a holiday Hallmark movie, done improv style with a BATS Improv livestream show as part of their Staying Home for the Holidays series (December 18 to 19).

allison mccarthy
Allison McCarthy

San Francisco Editor

Allison McCarthy is a writer and editor with 15 years of experience in the industry. She's currently the San Francisco editor at PureWow, where she covers the best of what's...
read full bio