2015 Holiday Events in San Francisco

The holidays are my absolute favorite time of the year. I’m one of those annoying people that turns up the Christmas music once Halloween is over and done. I had so much fun doing research for this blog post and if you need some cheering up, why not stop by one of the events below to get into the holiday spirit?


Tree Lighting Ceremonies and Holiday Celebrations

Embarcadero Center – Friday, Nov 20, 2015

You don’t have to go to Disneyland to see Mickey and friends! Stop by the financial district this Friday for the family-friendly 29th Annual Embarcadero Lighting Ceremony & Carnival. Starting at 4pm, there’ll be games, face painting, cookie decorations, arts & crafts booths, and guest appearances (Mickey, Santa Claus, etc.). At 6pm, walk to the ice skating rink for a Frozen performance and fireworks show. If you didn’t get enough of the Elsa costumes on Halloween, she’ll be back at the Embarcadero Center.

Pier 39 – Sat & Sun, Nov 21-22, 2015

STILL didn’t get your Disney fix? Well, well, well, Mickey seems to really want to see you this year as he’ll also be at the Pier 39 Tree Lighting Celebration. Meet your favorite Disney characters from noon-3pm and stay for the tree lighting that starts at 6pm.

Ghirardelli Square – Friday, Nov 27, 2015

Your favorite chocolate headquarters is kicking off the holidays with music, entertainment and a festive 60’ Christmas tree.

Union Square – Sat, Nov 28, 2015

Stop by Union Square to see San Francisco’s famous 83’ holiday tree brighten up with 33,000 lights and 1,100 ornaments. There will also be a performance by Jordin Sparks, Vocal Rush (Oakland School of the Arts), the Transcendence Theatre Company, and the Contra Costa Children’s Chorus. Union Square will also have Off the Grid, carolers, and more special holiday events throughout December.

Union Street Fantasy of Lights – Sat. Dec 5th, 2015

Don’t forget Union Street and its beautiful display of lights! Make plans to stroll this pretty neighborhood on Dec 5th from 3pm-7pm. There’ll be free horse-drawn carriage rides, Santa and his reindeers, jugglers, live ponies dressed as reindeer, face painters, balloon artists, costumed characters, singers, and other fun entertainment.

More Holiday Cheer

Visit Santa

Click on the link above to see where Santa will be visiting during his San Francisco tour. Ol’ Saint Nick will be stopping by the San Francisco Zoo, the Westfield Mall, Japantown, and more!

Don’t Forget the Reindeers

Randolph will be prepping for Christmas in the North Pole but swing by the Academy of Sciences to say “hello” to Frosty and Holiday. These reindeers will be visiting the museum from Nov 25th-Jan 3rd. While you’re there, enjoy the interactive holiday exhibit and the Snowman Theater too. Don’t forget that the San Francisco Library offers free passes through its Discover and Go program.

The San Francisco Zoo will also have their reindeer visitors. Belle, Holly, Peppermint, and Velvet arrive on Nov 21st and will be camping out on the Playfield Lawn.

Hungry for Gingerbread?

The iconic Fairmont Hotel unveils its two-story gingerbread house on Sat., Nov 28th. Come by between 11am-3pm and enjoy free holiday treats, music, and a visit from Santa Claus, a Balloon Elf, and a Christmas Fairy. If you can’t make it that day, you can still see the gingerbread house in the hotel lobby and write a letter to Santa until Jan 1, 2016.

Ice Skating

If your children are old enough, why not stop by one of San Francisco’s ice rinks? Yerba Buena takes children as young as three and their daytime public sessions even sets aside a toddler zone which is slower and safer for this young crowd. Otherwise, make sure to try the Embarcadero or Union Square for an amazing outdoor experience.

Macy’s Holiday Lane

A quick and fun way to experience some seasonal magic is to stroll down Macy’s Holiday Lane. See all the lights and decorations without having to spend a penny. This is great for newborns or young babies!

I’m sure there are so many more San Francisco events that I didn’t mention. Let me know what your favorite is by sending me a note or commenting below.

Whatever your winter plans may be San Francisco is a magical place for kids during this time of year. I wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday!


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