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What’s On In San Francisco In December
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What’s On In San Francisco In December

Picture of Courtney Holcomb
Updated: 1 December 2016
This December, explore San Francisco through the best events the city has to offer, such as holiday celebrations, film festivals, concerts and art, fashion and food events. Read on to browse through our top picks for this month and mark your calendars with your favorites!

Thursday December 1st – Sunday December 4th

FESTIVAL | The Great Dickens Christmas Fair

Sat Nov 19th – Sun Dec 18th

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair is quite a unique event, bringing old English Victorian Christmas traditions to life at the Cow Palace. The event will feature theaters, a music hall, dance parties, taverns, shops, stalls, food, street vendors and period costumes. Explore it all through offerings of unique holiday gifts and festive treats accompanied by the sounds of holiday carolers.

Cow Palace, 2600 Geneva Ave, Daly City, CA, USA

ART | Illuminate SF

Thurs Nov 24th – Sun Jan 1st

The end of November marks the beginning of Illuminate SF, a series of light-focused art installations that transform San Francisco into a gallery of lights at night. These installations will be up from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, with offers of free guided tours and illuminated bike rides to help you get the most out of them.

Various locations

THEATER | A Christmas Carol

Fri Nov 25th – Sat Dec 24th

If you’re looking for a festive and traditional way to celebrate the holidays, buy tickets to go see the annual performance of A Christmas Carol at ACT’s Geary Theater. This play is directed by Domenique Lozano, features a lively cast, authentic costumes, spooky ghosts and sweeping music by Karl Lundeberg. The performances are expected to sell out quickly, so buy your tickets ASAP.

ACT’s Geary Theater, 415 Geary St, San Francisco, CA, USA

HOLIDAY | Fairmont Gingerbread House

Sat Nov 26th – Sat Dec 31st

Every year, the Fairmont Hotel opens up a giant Gingerbread House inside its lobby for the holidays. Enjoy two stories of gingerbread bricks decorated with tons of icing, which will be open through New Year’s Eve. Visiting the gingerbread house is free, and there will be gingerbread holiday tea available, as well.

Fairmont Hotel San Francisco, 950 Mason St, San Francisco, CA, USA

FOOD | Noe Valley Holiday Wine Walk

Thurs Dec 1st

On the first of December, enjoy a foodie and wine lover’s heaven at the Noe Valley Holiday Wine Walk. The event will take place on 24th Street between Diamond and Church from 4 pm. to 8 p.m., and will feature wine samples, finger foods and more. Advance tickets are $20 and include a wine glass and map outlining all of the tasting locations.

24th Street, Noe Valley, San Francisco, CA, USA

HOLIDAY | Union Street Fantasy of Lights Kick Off

Sat Dec 3rd

The Union Street Fantasy of Lights will light up tons of Victorian houses on Union Street between Van Ness and Steiner for a month long holiday celebration. The event kicks off on December 3rd, featuring jugglers, costumes, singers, face painters, carriage rides, reindeer and Santa himself.

Union Street between Van Ness and Steiner, San Francisco, CA, USA

FUN | Run Wild San(ta) Francisco

Sun Dec 4th

Strap on your Santa hat for Run Wild San(ta) Francisco, a Santa hat 5K. The main race, kids’ dash and post-race expo will take place at Crissy Field. The course is a flat loop out to Fort Point, giving runners gorgeous views of the bay and the San Francisco skyline. The main race will start at 8 a.m.

Crissy Field, San Francisco, CA, USA

FUN | ZooLights

Sat Dec 4th – Tues Jan 3rd

Visit the San Francisco Zoo this month to experience the annual ZooLights tradition. This event will feature trees covered with lights, Santa, reindeer, an indoor tropical rainforest, games, nightly shows, costumes, the Education Open House and a train ride. Purchase ZooLights tickets here for $8 general admission.

San Francisco Zoo, Sloat Blvd. at the Great Highway, San Francisco, CA, USA

Monday December 5th – Sunday December 11th

FUN | SantaCon

Sat Dec 10th

Celebrate SantaCon this month, one of San Francisco’s most beloved traditions. The event will feature thousands of people dressed up as Santa all over the city, especially concentrated in the bars around Union Square and Polk Street. The official event starts at noon, and big crowds are to be expected.

Union Square, 333 Post St, San Francisco, CA, USA

FESTIVAL | Parol Lantern Festival and Parade

Sat Dec 10th

This year’s Parol Lantern Festival and Parade will take place at Jessie Square, St. Patrick’s Church and the Yerba Buena Gardens. This Filipino festival will feature more than 1,000 lanterns in addition to music, games, prizes and more family fun. You can even participate in the parade yourself by joining a lantern-making workshop. The parade will start at 6:15 p.m.

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St, San Francisco, CA, USA

MUSIC | Unsilent Night

Sat Dec 10th

Unsilent Night is a boombox and smartphone concert that will take place this December, starting at the Civic Center Plaza promenade at 4:45 p.m. To participate, download the event music, an original composition by Phil Kline; play it when cued at the event and join the gathering as it walks through the city streets.

Civic Center Plaza, 355 McAllister St, San Francisco, CA, USA

Monday December 12th – Sunday December 18th

HOLIDAY | Lighted Boat Parade

Fri Dec 16th

This year’s holiday Lighted Boat Parade will take place on December 16th from 6 to 8 p.m. The parade will feature 60 boats decorated in holiday goodies and bright lights traveling through the bay alongside Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, Fort Mason, the Marina Green and more. The event is free to come watch from any of the locations mentioned.

Pier 39, Beach Street & The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA, USA

HOLIDAY | SFMade Holiday Gift Fair

Sun Dec 18th

The SFMade Holiday Gift Fair is a craft fair hosting 60 local artisans and manufacturers. Come buy your holiday gifts at this fair on December 18th between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., hosted at California College of the Arts. Enjoy the accompanying food trucks, wine, beer, music and art exhibits. All of the artisans here make their wares right in San Francisco.

California College of the Arts, 1111 8th St, San Francisco, CA, USA

Monday December 19th – Sunday December 25th

FOOD | All-You-Can-Eat Crab Feast

Sun Dec 20th

This year marks the third annual All-You-Can-Eat Crab Feast. Tickets are available on Eventbrite, offering you unlimited Dungeness crab, garlic noodles, freshly baked sourdough bread, salad, draft beer or house made sangria and live music. The event will take place from 12 to 3 p.m. at SoMa StrEat Food Park.

SoMa StrEat Food Park, 428 11th St, San Francisco, CA, USA

FUN | Jingle Ball

Sat Dec 24th

Put your dancing shoes on and make your way out to the Grand Nightclub for the fifth annual Jingle Ball, a huge holiday dance party featuring electronic dance music, hip hop and pop. This event is for people 21 years and older, and attendees are encouraged to show off their holiday spirit by wearing read and green. Bottle service and tables are available.

The Grand Nightclub, 520 4th St, San Francisco, CA, USA

HOLIDAY | Community Menorah Lightings

Sat Dec 24th – Sat Dec 31st

Celebrate Hanukkah at one of San Francisco’s Community Menorah Lightings. The lightings are often accompanied by live music, food and crafts. One of the most popular is the Bill Graham Menorah, located in Union Square, which was the first giant menorah to be built in the country. The first lighting will take place on December 24th.

Union Square, 333 Post St, San Francisco, CA, USA

HOLIDAY | Jewish Christmas

Sun Dec 25th

Enjoy a multi-holiday celebration at the fifth annual Jewish Christmas, which will fill the Make-Out Room with a selection of holiday entertainment. At the event you can expect a Chinese buffet, comedy, burlesque, Woody Allen movies, a Hanukkah bush and a DJ. This event is 21+ and will take place from 6 to 11 p.m.

Make-Out Room, 3225 22nd St, San Francisco, CA, USA

Monday December 26th – Sunday December 31st


Sat Dec 31st

Celebrate New Year’s Eve at the San Francisco NYE Massive. This party will feature five dance floors, each themed like a different city, including Las Vegas, New York, Hollywood, Miami and San Francisco. Plus, there will be huge balloon drops, casino-style games, party favors and massive video screens. The event will take place at the Parc 55 Hilton Hotel, just off of Union Square.

Union Square, 333 Post St, San Francisco, CA, USA

HOLIDAY | NYE Fireworks

Sat Dec 31st

San Francisco’s New Year’s Eve Fireworks will be launched from the barges to the south of the Ferry Building. One of the best spots to catch a great view of the show will be on the Embarcadero between Mission and Folsom Streets. This is a family friendly event, and will be completely free.

The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA, USA

HOLIDAY | Streets of San Francisco

Sat Dec 31st

Celebrate New Year’s Eve at Streets of San Francisco, the eighth annual EYE HEART NYE event. This party will take place at the Fort Mason Festival Pavilion, offering all attendees an open bar, art installations, interactive displays and live music. This year’s lineup features Klingande, and there will even be a ferris wheel.

Festival Pavilion, 38 Fort Mason, San Francisco, CA, USA