Hi Guys! Hope you had a restful and festive Thanksgiving holiday (those of us living in the USA). The rest of you, I hope you had a great weekend. Lastly, I hope you are all enjoying and loving the new look of the All About Sana website. Trust me, it took hard work, and loads of proverbial blood, and sweat, and tears to achieve this. I don’t think I could have done this without the support of my big sister and of course, meditation.
Anyways, I know that a lot of folks come to the Bay Area around the holidays and for some off-peak season traveling. So I thought, today, instead of recommending the usual, touristy sights, I would do a post on the holiday season and the activities around this time. Think of it like a San Francisco/Bay Area bucket list for the holidays 2017 (although I am embarrassed to admit, I haven’t partaken in all the activities).
For families, this is a great resource (See HERE). Some of the additional things you can do with children are to visit the Oakland Zoo and San Francisco Zoo or even the California Academy of Sciences, which touts having reindeer only on the holiday season.
Plan around where you are going to stay. I have detailed different locations in the Bay Area so you can plan accordingly. So here goes:
Bucket List Item # 1: Attending Holiday Shows and Festivals
November 19 – December 18
Immerse yourself in the world of Victorian London in San Francisco where it’s always Christmas Eve. Three acres of vintage exhibition halls are transformed into lamp-lit lanes, pubs, theaters, dance floors and music halls, tearooms, and shops–with hundreds of costumed characters to bring it all to life! Costumes are optional.
- The 33rd Annual Cable Car Caroling
Cable Car Caroling, now a 33-year tradition in San Francisco, is a multicultural event that includes Hanukkah songs and Hispanic Christmas carols. This annual fundraising songfest brings holiday cheer to isolated older adults and adults with disabilities at assisted living centers, skilled nursing facilities and individual homes across San Francisco. Last year was a sold out record-breaking success with over 500 carolers on 15 motorized cable cars reaching more than 1,000 seniors and disabled adults. Get your tickets in advance!
- SantaCon San Francisco
The world’s most confusing (for kids, of course, so not recommended for families) makes its return. Don your best Santa or Mrs. Claus getup, and meet 100’s of other Santas all there to have a jolly ol’ time. There’s caroling; and drinking, which I will happily sidestep. Don’t forget to bring a toy to Union Square to donate.
San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker
December 10 – 29
A holiday classic and must in my book. Tickets can get pricey, so if you want to save a couple of dollars consider going on an “Extra Value” weeknight performance.
Bucket List Item # 2: Attending a Tree Lightening Ceremony
- Presidio Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony
Crafts, caroling, and a guided lantern walk through the forests (in San Francisco).
Holiday music, live reindeer, and tap dancing Christmas trees (in Oakland).
- Tiburon Holiday Festival
Tree lighting, horse-drawn wagon rides, Santa, and gingerbread house decorating (North of San Francisco).
- Chanukah Festival of Lights in Union Square
Spanned over eight days to commemorate the miracle, each of the giant menorah’s candles are lit. Enjoy the sights and shopping of the Union Square at the same time (in San Francisco).
- Rainbow World Tree of Hope at SF City Hall
Submit wishes (online) that will be put on cranes that decorate the tree, then enjoy a concert by the Grammy Award-winning SF Boys Choir.
Bucket List Item # 3: Buying From Holiday Markets and Fairs
Forgo the big department stores and shop local for your last-minute holiday gifts this season.
- San Rafael Parade of Lights and Winter Wonderland
November 25 – 26
There will be a marketplace open for holiday shipping, snow sledding, a parade of lights (think knock-off Disney), and more.
- San Jose’s Christmas in the Park
November 25 – January 1
I have personally seen this and it is absolute holiday magic. San Jose’s Downtown’s two-acre park is transformed into a holiday fantasy with over 60 musical and animated exhibits, glittering lights, and the 60-foot Community Giving Tree.
Bucket Item # 4: Seeing the Holiday GingerBread Houses or Drinking Holiday Tea
Seeing the gingerbread houses is one of the most fun things I have ever done during the holidays. I usually don’t partake in the holiday tea because the rates for those are off-the-roof. But, for a small family event the favorites include Teddy Bear Tea at the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco where children (and their adults) are entertained by an elf and his teddy bear sidekick, Holiday Gingerbread Tea at The Fairmont San Francisco featuring the famous two-story gingerbread house, Princess and Prince Tea at the Palace Hotel San Francisco, and Holiday Tea at the English Rose in Pleasanton.
Bucket Item # 5: Ice Skating
With this one, I feel I like I am betraying my readers since I don’t know how to ice skate, however, my two attempts to learn ice skate over the holidays have made me into a more determined and strong person… when it comes to other things. Glide or stumble (like me!) through the holiday season at these outdoor ice skating rinks and on-ice events!
- Holiday Ice Rink at Embarcadero Center, San Francisco
- Union Square Ice Rink, San Francisco * A Personal Favorite
- Walnut Creek on Ice, Walnut Creek
- Winter Lodge, Palo Alto * A personal favorite
- Downtown Ice, San Jose
So well guys, here are five things you can cross of your holiday bucket list this year. Let me know what you think about my recommendations. Happy Traveling!!