How To Celebrate Thanksgiving In San Francisco

Golden Gate Park © Michael Fraley/Flickr
Golden Gate Park © Michael Fraley/Flickr
Photo of Courtney Holcomb
22 November 2016

As Thanksgiving Day quickly approaches, families are looking for ways to spend time together in celebration of everything they are thankful for. Whether you’re hoping to explore the local nature, enjoy a delicious meal, or get a jump on your holiday shopping, check out our favorite ways to celebrate Thanksgiving in San Francisco.

Participate in the Turkey Trail Trot

Map View
Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park | Golden Gate Park
This Thanksgiving, start your day by burning off the calories you’ll be ingesting throughout the holiday and take part in San Francisco’s Turkey Trail Trot. This event will take place in Golden Gate park, offering a variety of participation options including the five mile Turkey Trail Trot Run, the three mile Pilgrim Promenade walk, and the 100 meter Kids Gobbler Chase. If you’d prefer something less strenuous, why not sign up to volunteer at the races?

Trying one of SF’s Fall Foodie Treats

We already know that San Francisco is a city full of foodies, but as the weather cools down, the seasonal goods become more enticing than ever. If you’re looking for the best spots to take advantage of the pumpkins, sweet potatoes and other crops reaching their prime this season, we’ve got you covered with a list of the best spots to indulge. These treats include the likes of SusieCakes’ Caramel Apple Cake, Boudin’s Butternut Squash Soup, and Flour & Co’s Brown Sugar Nut Pie.

Pumpkins | © Aaron Harmon/Flickr

Try a New Restaurant

Tons of incredible restaurants opened up around San Francisco throughout the summer and fall of 2016 – this is your chance to try them before they become so popular you have to wait in line to get a table. Check out this list of our favorites, including unique new concepts like the Tartine Manufactory – from the owners of the incredibly popular Tartine Bakery – and Merchant Roots, tying together a craft grocery store with an intimate restaurant.

Restaurant | © Pexels

Enjoy The Natural Beauty

One of the best reasons to explore San Francisco in Thanksgiving season is to catch a glimpse of its beautiful fall colors. The city is filled with countless incredible parks for you to visit, giving you the chance to enjoy all the outdoor activities your heart desires. The best and biggest is Golden Gate Park, easily the best spot in the city to watch the leaves turn. Other great spots to enjoy a picnic or just relax outside include Dolores Park in the Mission District and Washington Square Park in North Beach.

Rancho San Antonio Preserve | © iris/Flickr

Holiday Shopping

Midway through the fall, San Francisco turns into a mecca for holiday shopping. The most popular shopping district is the area surrounding Union Square, featuring the massive Macy’s holiday tree. (As a bonus, you can attend the Union Square Tree Lighting the day after Thanksgiving, too.) The streets are full of huge department stores, all filled with decadent, festive window displays, and the Westfield Centre is just three blocks south. If you’d prefer to avoid the crowds, check out some of San Francisco’s other crucial shopping districts. Alternatively, find something unique at one of the city’s awesome independent bookstores and record stores.

Union Square Macy’s | © kennejima/Flickr

Illuminate SF

Thanksgiving marks the start of Illuminate SF, a series of light-focused art installations that transform San Francisco into a gallery of light at night. These installations will be up from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, with offers of free guided tours and illuminated bike rides to help you get the most out of them. The installations will be up all around the city, so be sure to check out this map to find the ones nearest you, or to design a self-guided tour and hit them all!

Lights | © Pexels