Lifestyle

All of San Francisco's best holiday events, in one calendar

Published On 11/26/2014 Published On 11/26/2014
Drew Altizer
James Hall Photography

Date

Event

Location

Nov 28 Fri

Ghirardelli Square Tree Lighting It’s the 50th anniversary of this annual tree lighting ceremony. There will be live music, a pop-up holiday market, and, of course, a visit from Santa. It all goes down from 4-9pm, but the actual lighting of the tree is at 5:30pm.

Ghirardelli Square

Ghirardelli Square Tree Lighting Ghirardelli Square It’s the 50th anniversary of this annual tree lighting ceremony. There will be live music, a pop-up holiday market, and, of course, a visit from Santa. It all goes down from 4-9pm, but the actual lighting of the tree is at 5:30pm.

Date

Event

Location

Nov 28 Fri

Union Square Tree Lighting Macy’s 25th Annual Tree Lighting ceremony will take place in Union Square at 6pm. The actual tree lights up at 6:40pm, but you’ll want to find your spot early to see all of the musical acts.

Union Square

Union Square Tree Lighting Union Square Macy’s 25th Annual Tree Lighting ceremony will take place in Union Square at 6pm. The actual tree lights up at 6:40pm, but you’ll want to find your spot early to see all of the musical acts.

Date

Event

Location

Nov 29 Sat

A John Waters Christmas This one-man show is everything you’d expect from John Waters, including him sharing his "compulsive desire to give and receive perverted gifts" and oh, so, so, SO much more.

Great American Music Hall

A John Waters Christmas Great American Music Hall This one-man show is everything you’d expect from John Waters, including him sharing his "compulsive desire to give and receive perverted gifts" and oh, so, so, SO much more.

Flickr/Colby Palmer

Date

Event

Location

Dec 4 Thu

The Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes If you go to one Christmas show this year, let Trannyshack’s performance of classic Golden Girls Christmas episodes be it.

Victoria Theater

The Golden Girls: The Christmas Episodes Victoria Theater If you go to one Christmas show this year, let Trannyshack’s performance of classic Golden Girls Christmas episodes be it.

Date

Event

Location

Dec 5 Fri

A Christmas Carol It’s not Christmas without A Christmas Carol. This music-infused Charles Dickens classic is the perfect way for even the Scroogiest Scrooge to get their Santa panties unbunched.

American Conservatory Theater

A Christmas Carol American Conservatory Theater It’s not Christmas without A Christmas Carol. This music-infused Charles Dickens classic is the perfect way for even the Scroogiest Scrooge to get their Santa panties unbunched.

Date

Event

Location

Dec 6 Sat

Union Street Fantasy of Lights Jugglers, a Snow Queen, "reindeer" (okay, fine: ponies dressed as reindeer, but STILL), and free horse-drawn carriage rides (3-5:30pm) are all part of the festivities leading up to the lighting of Union Street.

Union Street between Van Ness and Steiner 

Union Street Fantasy of Lights Union Street between Van Ness and Steiner  Jugglers, a Snow Queen, "reindeer" (okay, fine: ponies dressed as reindeer, but STILL), and free horse-drawn carriage rides (3-5:30pm) are all part of the festivities leading up to the lighting of Union Street.

Date

Event

Location

Dec 6 Sat

The 12th Annual Elf Party The Regency Ballroom is transformed into the North Pole for this massive party that helps benefit local charities. Elf and Santa costumes are encouraged. Sexy ones are HIGHLY encouraged. Doors open at 8:30pm.

The Regency Ballroom

The 12th Annual Elf Party The Regency Ballroom The Regency Ballroom is transformed into the North Pole for this massive party that helps benefit local charities. Elf and Santa costumes are encouraged. Sexy ones are HIGHLY encouraged. Doors open at 8:30pm.

Date

Event

Location

Dec 6 Sat

Nightmare Before Xmas Ball You’ll have to don a costume for this evening of skeletons and sugarplums, which you'll gladly do when you find out about the "spooky burlesque"...

Chez Poulet

Nightmare Before Xmas Ball Chez Poulet You’ll have to don a costume for this evening of skeletons and sugarplums, which you'll gladly do when you find out about the "spooky burlesque"...

Fisherman’s Wharf

Date

Event

Location

Dec 11 Thu

Holiday Bazaar Nightlife The California Academy of Sciences NightLife turns into a holiday bazaar in the middle of December. Sip on cocktails while you shop and get your science on. Then head to the Piazza for a silent disco. 6-10pm.

The California Academy of Sciences

Holiday Bazaar Nightlife The California Academy of Sciences The California Academy of Sciences NightLife turns into a holiday bazaar in the middle of December. Sip on cocktails while you shop and get your science on. Then head to the Piazza for a silent disco. 6-10pm.

Date

Event

Location

Dec 12 Fri

San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker Yes, it’s ballet, but c’mon. It’s The Nutcracker! All of the five-year-olds in the US can’t be wrong about this national holiday tradition.

War Memorial Opera House

San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker War Memorial Opera House Yes, it’s ballet, but c’mon. It’s The Nutcracker! All of the five-year-olds in the US can’t be wrong about this national holiday tradition.

Date

Event

Location

Dec 12 Fri

Elf the Musical It’s based on the movie Elf, but with songs. BYO spaghetti with maple syrup.

SHN Curran Theater

Elf the Musical SHN Curran Theater It’s based on the movie Elf, but with songs. BYO spaghetti with maple syrup.

Date

Event

Location

Dec 12 Fri

Hanukkah in Paris DJs, drinks, free admittance, probably some yarmulkes (?), and... berets (???). Bring a toy for VIP entry.

The Clift Hotel

Hanukkah in Paris The Clift Hotel DJs, drinks, free admittance, probably some yarmulkes (?), and... berets (???). Bring a toy for VIP entry.

Date

Event

Location

Dec 12 Fri

Lighted Boat Parade Starting at 5:30pm, more than 60 boats decked out in festive lights and holiday decorations will parade along the waterfront from PIER 39 past Fisherman's Wharf, to Fort Mason and the St. Francis Yacht Club, and then turn back around at Crissy Field. 

Watch at Aquatic Park, PIER 39, the Marina Green, or Crissy Field

Lighted Boat Parade Watch at Aquatic Park, PIER 39, the Marina Green, or Crissy Field Starting at 5:30pm, more than 60 boats decked out in festive lights and holiday decorations will parade along the waterfront from PIER 39 past Fisherman's Wharf, to Fort Mason and the St. Francis Yacht Club, and then turn back around at Crissy Field. 

Date

Event

Location

Dec 13 Sat

Jingle Beer Run You can run, jog, or walk (and even bring your dog), but just know that beers and Bloody Marys await you when you cross the finish line. Bet your time just got a whole lot faster.

Monkey Bars on the Marina Green

Jingle Beer Run Monkey Bars on the Marina Green You can run, jog, or walk (and even bring your dog), but just know that beers and Bloody Marys await you when you cross the finish line. Bet your time just got a whole lot faster.

Date

Event

Location

Dec 13 Sat

SantaCon Throw on a Santa (or elf) costume that you can find/make/probably-just-buy-at-Walgreens and head out to the streets. Just beware of angry non-Santas who don’t understand that sometimes you just have to drink your holiday spirit.

Much to the chagrin of most of SF: everywhere

SantaCon Much to the chagrin of most of SF: everywhere Throw on a Santa (or elf) costume that you can find/make/probably-just-buy-at-Walgreens and head out to the streets. Just beware of angry non-Santas who don’t understand that sometimes you just have to drink your holiday spirit.

Date

Event

Location

Dec 13 Sat

Unsilent Night So this is weird and kind of awesome: it's a parade through SF wherein you play one of four provided tracks on your boombox, JAMBOX, or anything else that amplifies music, and, all combined, they sound pretty cool. The 45-minute procession starts at 7:00pm.

Dolores Park (corner of Dolores and 18th St)

Unsilent Night Dolores Park (corner of Dolores and 18th St) So this is weird and kind of awesome: it's a parade through SF wherein you play one of four provided tracks on your boombox, JAMBOX, or anything else that amplifies music, and, all combined, they sound pretty cool. The 45-minute procession starts at 7:00pm.

Presidio of San Francisco

Date

Event

Location

Dec 18 Thu

Holiday Sing-Along Gather around the piano from 7-8:30pm in the Presidio’s living room to sing along to your favorite holiday songs. Festive drinks are available for purchase. You’re probably going to want a few of those to really get into the holiday spirit.

Presidio Officers' Club

Holiday Sing-Along Presidio Officers' Club Gather around the piano from 7-8:30pm in the Presidio’s living room to sing along to your favorite holiday songs. Festive drinks are available for purchase. You’re probably going to want a few of those to really get into the holiday spirit.

Date

Event

Location

Dec 19 Fri

A Charlie Brown Christmas -- Live! A live-action performance of one of your all-time favorite Christmas shows with accompaniment by the symphony, chorus, dancers, and narrators. Oh, and there’s a sing along.

Davies Symphony Hall

A Charlie Brown Christmas -- Live! Davies Symphony Hall A live-action performance of one of your all-time favorite Christmas shows with accompaniment by the symphony, chorus, dancers, and narrators. Oh, and there’s a sing along.

Date

Event

Location

Dec 20 Sat

The Guardsmen Tree Lot Party Put on your fancy clothes (no costume required!) and head to this annual party with a hosted bar, DJs, and dancing. All proceeds go to benefit at-risk Bay Area youth.

Fort Mason Festival Pavilion

The Guardsmen Tree Lot Party Fort Mason Festival Pavilion Put on your fancy clothes (no costume required!) and head to this annual party with a hosted bar, DJs, and dancing. All proceeds go to benefit at-risk Bay Area youth.

Latke Ball

Date

Event

Location

Dec 24 Wed

Latke Ball Gentiles and Jews alike are welcome to this Christmas Eve/December 24th dance party. All proceeds are reinvested in the local and global Jewish community. Whether you have to get up early to unwrap presents or sleep in and then order Chinese food, there’s no reason you can’t be on the dance floor between 9pm-2am.

Ruby Skye

Latke Ball Ruby Skye Gentiles and Jews alike are welcome to this Christmas Eve/December 24th dance party. All proceeds are reinvested in the local and global Jewish community. Whether you have to get up early to unwrap presents or sleep in and then order Chinese food, there’s no reason you can’t be on the dance floor between 9pm-2am.