Check out a Christmas Speakeasy and More Things to Do in San Francisco This Weekend

Plus, the AAPI Holiday Makers Market.

Tinsletown Speakeasy
Photo courtesy of Tinsletown
Photo courtesy of Tinsletown

It’s time to pull out your heaviest hoodies and puffy jackets as winter has arrived in San Francisco. With the slightly cooler temperatures, there’s also a lot less fog, which means plenty of sunshine-filled days and clear nights to enjoy the abundance of fun things to do in San Francisco, including checking out excellent neighborhoods and going on outdoor adventures, followed by warming up with great coffee or a drink at fabulous bars with amazing cocktails. You can also eat your way through all of the best food festivals, go to concerts, and more, which we’ll write about here every week. Okay, okay, the National Weather Service is possibly predicting “above normal” levels of rain, but even if that’s right, it’s not going to stop us from nonstop carousing and consumption. After all, if not during winter, then when? Keep reading for the most fun things to do in San Francisco this winter. 

Where to Eat and Drink in San Francisco

Friday, December 1
Financial District, Free admission; other prices vary 
Christmas is coming to the 130-year-old Bavarian beer hall on Friday with a day-long holiday celebration, including the ceremonial tapping of the keg with a new winter “Everyday’s A Holiday IPA” (East Brother Beer Company), festive tunes, holiday photos with a Schroeder’s beer boot, and appearances from the SFFD. Bring an unwrapped toy for a free order of tots and enjoy other food and drink specials all day long.

Saturday, December 2–Sunday, December 3
SoMa, $22
Every day is Christmas at this holiday pop-up bar, where you’ll find more holiday cheer than you ever knew you wanted. There will be elves, tinsel, decorations, presents, hanging trees, plus lots of winter and holiday cocktails. Your ticket includes entry and a themed drink upon arrival, with more drinks available for purchase. Tinsletown runs through December 30 if you can’t make it this weekend.

Sunday, December 3
Silicon Valley, $75
The best thing about the holidays is all of the eating and drinking, so why not kick it off with an evening of sips, bites, and sweet treats—Italian-style? Tickets include eight food tokens to use at the counters for holiday bites, two drink tokens for a glass of selected holiday wines or non-alcoholic beverages, and access to a pasta-making station. You can also buy additional tokens during the event, which runs from 6 pm to 8 pm.

Fun Festivals in San Francisco

Friday, December 1
Hayes Valley, Free
Take a stroll around Hayes Valley from 5 pm to 9 pm to enjoy holiday lights, live music, activities, wine and treats, drag queen ambassadors, carolers, a photo booth, an appearance from the Sugar Plum Fairy, kid-friendly activities, and special promotions from a ton of stores, bars, and restaurants.

Saturday, December 2–Sunday, December 3
Muir Beach, Free
Eat, drink, and shop at this art fair inside the Muir Beach Community Center overlooking Muir Beach and the ocean. Over 40 local artists will sell jewelry, ceramics, textiles, woodworking, home & fashion accessories, wreaths, ornaments, children’s books, and more. Plus, the Muir Beach Volunteer Firefighters will be there selling their clothing and accessories, which will help fund the department. There will also be food and drinks to purchase, and a portion of the proceeds will go toward helping support various community events.

Saturday, December 2–Sunday, December 3
Golden Gate Park and Inner Sunset, Free
Eat, drink, shop, and be merry at this two-day holiday market featuring local makers, merchants, artists, live music, lots of food, beer and wine tastings, activities for the kiddos, storytelling, and more. On Saturday, it takes place indoors at the County Fair Building; on Sunday, it’s outdoors on 9th Avenue and Lincoln Way.

Sunday, December 3
Castro, Free
Drag queens, story hours, a petting zoo, photos with Santa, sexy elves, costume contests, and even an appearance by the Grinch … Sounds like the annual Castro Winter Wonderland party is back! Be sure to grab your Winter Passport and visit shops for stamps that will win you treats and prizes.

Sunday, December 3
SoMa, $3 to $5
AKASSA and Kapwa Gardens are partnering for a magical holiday market featuring AAPI and women creators. There will be many crafts and other goods perfect for under the tree, snacks, sips, and more.

More Fun Things to Do in San Francisco

Friday, December 1
Civic Center, $32.50 and up
Will Jack Skellington be successful in his plot to take over Christmas? Find out in this Tim Burton stop-motion classic with live accompaniment from the SF Symphony, who will perform Danny Elfman’s delightful, if not a little macabre (in a good way) score.

Friday, December 1–Sunday, December 3
Downtown SF, Free
Let’s Glow SF, the country’s largest holiday projection event, is lighting up downtown through December 10. For 11 days, you’ll be able to see large-scale art concepts from 13 artists at iconic locations, including The Ferry Building, One Bush Plaza, and Sales Force Tower. On the first night,  the show will go from 7 pm to 10 pm and from 5 pm to 10 pm every night after that.

Friday, December 1–Sunday, December 3
Civic Center, $26 and up
People, even those who don’t usually make the opera a priority, are raving about this performance from the San Francisco Opera about a quest for romance in which a poor, young waiter wants to win the hand of a wealthy hotel owner on the Riviera with the help of, you guessed it, a magic elixir.

Saturday, December 2–Sunday, December 3
Berkeley and the Mission, Free tickets for the community; other ticket prices vary 
The IOCSF is performing a holiday concert for the first time in 20 years with a “freshly squeezed take” on all the classics you love. There’s a concert in Berkeley on Friday and in the Mission on Saturday, and the price of tickets helps the IOCSF cover the costs of their productions, including commissioning new works and ongoing operational costs.

Saturday, December 2–Sunday, December 3
Various locations around SF, Free
The media is always dragging San Francisco, so why not lean into it with a fabulous and formidable drag performance with 100 Queens and Kings all performing throughout the city simultaneously? From 12 pm to 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday, you’ll be able to see shining stars doing their thing everywhere, from Fillmore and Bush Streets to 12th and Folsom. Check the maps to see performance locations and times.

Saturday, December 2
Mission, $10 and up
Calling all naughty children (so probably anyone who is reading this). Who will be this year’s winning Krampus? Thanks to the generosity of El Rio and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, you can find out on Saturday at the annual Krampus Pageant. The event runs from 4 pm to 8 pm, and there will be plenty of entertainment, as well as the costume contest. Think you have what it takes to win? Sign up to compete, but be warned, not only must your costume be amazing, but you’ll also need to show off a talent and answer a few questions from the judges.

Sunday, December 3
Civic Center, $45 and up
Nothing will get you in the holiday spirit faster than a concert of holiday favorites and sing-alongs with members of the SF Symphony, special guests, and even a few costumed characters. This is definitely a family-friendly event, but it’s also for kids at heart who love holiday music, including “The Chipmunk Song” and the greatest Christmas anthem of all time... from Mariah Carey, obviously.

Monday, December 4
North Beach, $60 and up
Last week, we encouraged you to see the award-winning musical Disney’s The Lion King (playing through December 30), but if you want even more music from the touring cast, get tickets to a special one-night-only benefit show where the cast will sing holiday songs and more. The performance benefits The Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation of San Francisco and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Sure, it’s technically on a Monday, but isn’t all of December basically one long weekend?

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTikTokTwitterFacebookPinterest, and YouTube.

Daisy Barringer is a San Francisco-based freelance writer with over 15 years of professional experience as a copywriter and editorial journalist. Her areas of expertise include hamburgers, road trips, the 49ers, and anything and everything NorCal. She grew up in San Francisco and has a BFA in Dramatic Writing from New York University and an MFA in Creative Writing from UNC Wilmington, the latter of which she commonly refers to as “the time she spent three years at creative writing summer camp.” Follow her on Instagram @daisysf, where you’re guaranteed cute pics of her 160-pound Saint Bernard named Monkey.