DO Watch the Gray Whale Migration
Gray whales pass by the San Francisco Bay between December and May. These beautiful and huge mammals make a 5,000 mile journey from Alaska’s waters to Mexico to feed and mate. For around $80-$100, San Francisco Whale Tours will take you out to prime whale watching locations around the Farallon Islands on whale-watching vessels.
SF Whale Tours, Pier 39, San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 706 7364
DON’T Go Anywhere Near Union Square
Located in downtown San Francisco, Union Square is the ultimate hub for all things holiday. From the ice skating under the lights of the giant Union Square Christmas tree to the Union Street Fantasy of Lights event to the San Francisco SPCA’s Macy’s Holiday Windows fundraising and adoption event, Union Square must be avoided for anyone who identifies as a Scrooge.
DO Go to the Gym
Beat the New Year’s resolution rush in January by hitting the gym this December. With attendance rates at their lowest this time of year, gyms are a great place to avoid both other people and holiday cheer.
DON’T Visit the Zoo
Each year, the San Francisco Zoo puts up extensive light decorations to mark the holiday season. This year, Zoo Lights is expanding their exhibit and including the Little Puffer Steam Train for guests to ride through the park.
San Francisco Zoo, Great Hwy, San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 753 7080
DO Visit Alcatraz
Since the foggy and cold weather discourages many of Alcatraz’s usual visitors, winter is the best time to visit this historic island to avoid crowds and escape San Francisco’s many holiday celebrations. For $38 or less, Alcatraz Cruises will take you on an unforgettable tour of the prison that housed some of history’s most notorious criminals.
DON’T Go to the San Francisco Ballet
For most San Franciscans, the San Francisco Ballet’s production of Nutcracker is a must-see during the holiday season. Although the SF Ballet and its amazingly talented dancers are relatively safe for most of the year, they must be avoided at all costs for anyone trying not to catch the holiday spirit.
San Francisco Opera, 301 Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 981 7625
DO Go on a Juice Cleanse
If endless candy canes and cookies have you turning green, head to a local juice bar to fill up on healthy and waistline-friendly fruit and vegetable juices. With juice bars on the rise, check out one of San Francisco’s top juice spots and make a toast to your health.
DON’T Go Shopping on Market Street
With holiday shopping at its peak and shoppers running around like mad trying to get last-minute gifts, it is beneficial to your health to stay home. Especially in San Francisco, the buildings from Union Square to Westfield Mall are filled with top retail stores that are dressed to impress with all things holiday. In order to avoid being inspired to do any holiday gifting, make sure to avoid this shopping center entirely.
DO Watch an Anti-Holiday Movie
Winter’s cold weather puts a new spin on ‘Netflix and chill.’ Check out the Christmas-bashing holiday classic Bad Santa on Netflix or new films like In the Heart of the Sea and Concussion — both of which are totally unrelated to the holidays.
By Susan Blick
Susan Blick, a San Francisco Bay Area native, recently graduated from Colgate University where she double majored in Environmental Studies and Sociology & Anthropology. As a proud morning person, she lives by Phil Dunphy’s Phil’s-osophy to ‘Watch a sunrise at least once a day.’