Deck the Halls With These San Francisco Holiday Delights

When you think of holiday activities, you probably imagine sleighs whisking over snow-covered streets, or carollers belting out their best yuletide hymn, despite the chilly weather.

In San Francisco, however, the weather is usually within sight of fifty degrees. Day or night, Christmas or the summer equinox, the temperature gauge doesn't budge too much.

In fact, as Mark Twain famously noted, the real winter comes in the dead of July. That's when the Central Valley area just east of the Bay Area really heats up, which draws the cold Pacific fog right over San Francisco. It's amazing how cold that wet fog can make a person feel...!

But seventy degrees and sunny is not out of place during the winter months. In addition to the extra options that such moderate weather brings, the incredible diversity of San Francisco offers many different ways to celebrate the holidays.

If you feel like sticking with traditional entertainment, we've got your Christmas Carol and Dickens Fair all lined up. But if you're daring enough to think outside of that nicely gift-wrapped Christmas box, you can spend a wonderful day with the family both around and inside the Exploratorium, which always has some interesting, holiday-themed exhibits.

If you find yourself in San Francisco during the holidays, our list below will make sure it's a holiday to remember.



If the kids have been on their very best behavior and deserve a real treat, take the time to cross the Golden Gate Bridge and visit the Bay Area Discovery Museum. This premium stretch of real estate just below Sausalito and right on the bay...  Read More



The Exploratorium believes the fundamental childhood traits of being playful and curious should be fostered for a lifetime. Founder Frank Oppenheimer believed in intertwining art and science to make learning attractive and memorable through...  Read More



What would the holiday season be without the beloved tales that are passed from generation to generation " the ones that never grow old? For San Franciscans, attending A Christmas Carol is a highlight of each December. Actors of all ages bring...  Read More



A holiday favorite, Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker is a classical ballet that brings fantasy to life. Dancers of all ages, cast as fairies, mice, soldiers and even flowers and candy canes, perform this show that never fails to delight children (and...  Read More



Nothing quite symbolizes San Francisco as much as her famous beer, Anchor Steam. Locals always anticipate the brewery's "holiday brew," which includes secret ingredients that change every year. And both tourists and locals have made the tour...  Read More

Ghirardelli Square


Ghiradelli Square might just be the best example of an adult-friendly and a child-friendly San Francisco activity. For the adults, Ghirardelli Square is the place to go when you're seeking top-tier San Francisco malls. The open-air complex...  Read More



Though the fifty foot fir is lit with great fanfare the Friday after Thanksgiving, its stately presence is ablaze with lights throughout December. Stroll by and see the spectacle of sparkle any night of the week. Festivities occur that lead...  Read More



As the third largest Episcopal Cathedral in America, Grace Cathedral is worth a visit at any time of the year. Located in the ritzy Nob Hill neighborhood, it's within walking distance of some of the city's fanciest (and priciest) cafes and...  Read More



Spend a day preparing for the holidays and soaking up seasonal cheer in the streets of Victorian England. Actors dressed in period costume, authentic specialty stores, strolling musicians and other live entertainers make the Dickens Fair a...  Read More



This event has it all. You've got the traditional elements of the lighting of the Christmas Tree, as well as the familiar sight of an iceskating rink. And the sound of holiday music is wafting through the air, so it has all the makings of a...  Read More


Meet Tom Molanphy

The only thing that Tom Molanphy loves more than the food, art, music, and culture of San Francisco is sharing it with others. San Francisco never gets old for Tom.

Tom has lived in the San...  More About Tom