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San Francisco Shines Bright: Holiday Lights, Sights and Decorations

San Francisco lights up this holiday season with decorations and activities that add to the city’s stunning and magical atmosphere.


Nov. 13, 2017 -San Francisco Travel offers a complete guide to San Francisco during “the most wonderful time of the year” at  Here you’ll find trip ideas and tips including:

  • Five Reasons Why San Francisco is Always Awesome During the Holidays
  • Ten New Holiday Treats
  • Eight Must-Sees in San Francisco This Holiday Season
  • 12 Unusual, Quirky Gifts You Can Only Find in San Francisco
  • Fifth Annual Illuminate SF Festival of Light

Here are some highlights of the festive lights, sights and decorations in the City by the Bay

The Safeway Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square presented by Alaska Airlines                

Nov. 1, 2017 - Jan. 15, 2018, Union Square Park, 333 Post St.

San Francisco’s favorite holiday tradition, The Safeway Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square presented by Alaska Airlines, is celebrating 10 years of outdoor ice skating in the bustling and festive locale that is quintessential San Francisco. Featuring new events and holiday festivities, the anniversary season kicks off on Nov. 1, 2017 at 9:30 a.m. with a fun-filled opening day ceremony.

Embarcadero Center Holiday Ice Rink and Building Lighting Ceremony & Carnival

Nov. 3, 2017 - Jan. 7, 2018, Ice Rink Open, Justin Herman Plaza

Nov. 17, 2017, 4 - 7 p.m., Lighting Celebration

Embarcadero Center is brightening the holidays this year with the 31th Annual Building Lighting Ceremony & Carnival. The festivities begin at 4 p.m. with the Carnival that includes children’s activities, entertainment, visits with Santa and a very special appearance by Mickey Mouse. The Building Lighting Ceremony at Embarcadero Center kicks off at 6:00 p.m. with live performances from Disney On Ice. The countdown to the official lighting leads up to the illumination of One, Two, Three and Four Embarcadero Center featuring 17,000 lights - followed by a grand fireworks display.  Make the holidays merry and bright with a San Francisco tradition at Embarcadero Center – an unforgettable destination where you get it all - skating, shopping, dining and more. And parking is free for skaters.

Steve Silver’s Beach Blanket Babylon Holiday Extravaganza.

Nov. 15 - Dec. 31, 2017, Club Fugazi, 678 Beach Blanket Babylon Blvd. (formerly Green St.)

Featuring a chorus line of tap dancing Christmas trees, parodies of traditional Christmas carols, hilarious spoofs of pop culture and political characters, and the legendary gigantic Yuletide Hat, Beach Blanket Babylons Holiday Extravaganza is sure to delight everyone ... even the biggest Scrooge. The world’s longest running musical revue rings in 2018 with two special performances on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017. Both the 7 and 10:15 p.m. New Year’s Eve shows will feature a pastiche of the best and worst of 2017 — Beach Blanket Babylon style.

Macy’s Union Square Holiday Window Unveiling with SF SPCA       

Nov. 17, 2017, 5 p.m., Macy’s Union Square, Corner of Stockton and O'Farrell St.

The San Francisco SPCA traditionally unveils the Macy’s Union Square Holiday Windows with adorable and adoptable animals.  Last year 257 animals found forever homes, bringing the total Holiday Windows adoptions to more than 9,000. Join the SF SPCA on the corner of Stockton and O’Farrell Streets on November 17 as they begin the holiday season with the unveiling of lovable animals. Plus, San Francisco pastry chef Yigit Pura partners with Snoopy to kick off the celebrations with a special performance by the De Marillac Academy Choir, and much more. The excitement continues to dazzle as Snoopy and guests open the curtains together.

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair & Victorian Holiday Party

Nov.18 - Dec.17, 2017 (including Friday, Nov. 24, the day after Thanksgiving), 10 a.m. - 7 p.m., Cow Palace, 2600 Geneva Ave., Daly City

Under colorful swags of Union Jacks and boughs of holly, a cherished Bay Area tradition returns for five weekends amid the theatrically-lit halls of the historic Cow Palace to offer visitors a delightfully immersive holiday experience unlike any other. An annual tradition for Bay Area natives and visitors alike, The Great Dickens Christmas Fair’s 800 Victorian charactersfrom waltzing royals to scrappy chimney-sweeps, populate over three acres of twilight-lit shops, pubs, stages, and dance halls. This season’s event will debut an expansive new children’s area, new juried crafts, and the premiere of Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta “Trial by Jury” – the perfect setting to revel in the joy of the season.

PIER 39 Tree Lighting Celebration

Nov. 19, 2017, PIER 39

PIER 39 invites you to join their special friends from the Disneyland Resort at the annual PIER 39 Tree Lighting Celebration. Experience the magic — sing songs, see your Disney friends, and welcome the Holiday season with a day of holly-jolly magic for the entire family. The fun culminates at 6 p.m. as the Disneyland Resort helps illuminate PIER 39’s majestic 60-foot tree against a stunning backdrop of the San Francisco city skyline.

San Francisco's Market Street Snowflake Lighting

Nov. 20, 2017, 6:30 p.m., Powell and Market St., Cable Car Turnaround  

The Path of Gold lights that run the length of Market Street from Steuart to Castro Streets were originally installed in 1916

and cast a distinctive amber glow on one of the city's main thoroughfares. This year 26 new snowflakes were added to these historic lampposts, illuminating 162 lampposts stretching from Main to Ninth Streets, with a total of 324 snowflakes. Additional snowflakes are to be added in years to come. The public is invited to the lighting ceremony at Powell and Market Streets near the cable car turnaround on Monday.

Westin St. Francis – Two Spectacular Sugar Castles

Nov. 22, 2017, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m., The Westin St. Francis – Landmark Lobby, 335 Powell St.

Join Executive Pastry Chef Jean-Francois Houdré and his team as they unveil two spectacular

one-of-a-kind handcrafted castles in the lobby of The Westin St. Francis. This annual holiday tradition began in 2005 with the stunning Medieval Sugar Castle, a life-like French Chateau that becomes more extravagant with each passing year. In addition, the St. Francis Enchanted Castle features a winter wonderland of elaborate gift boxes, gingerbread trees and brilliantly colored candies, all intricately handmade with sugar and pastry.

Fifth Annual “Illuminate SF Festival of Light” Shines a Spotlight on San Francisco as a Gallery of Light Art

Nov. 23, 2017 - Jan. 1, 2018

Now in its fifth year, “Illuminate SF Festival of Light” shines a light on 36 dramatic, eco-friendly light art installations and a variety of other light-related events and activities.  All are accessible by public transport and many are free for all to view. From Thanksgiving 2017 through New Year’s Day 2018, art lovers are invited to embrace the power of light and tour San Francisco’s art installations by a diverse range of local and world renowned light artists. “Illuminate SF Festival of Light” has grown to include intimate artist talks, museum tours and a myriad of other light art activations across the city. Dates and details for these events will be announced in November and will be available at More events will be added to the website as they are confirmed.  

Ghirardelli Square’s 53rd Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony       

Nov. 24, 2017, 4 - 8 p.m., Ghirardelli Square (West Plaza and Fountain Plaza), 900 North Point St.      

The annual tree lighting ceremony will take place in the West Plaza and Fountain Plaza with free kid’s activities like face painting, henna, and caricatures; live music; snow; Santa; and more.

Macy’s Annual Great Tree Lighting          

Nov. 24, 2017, 5:30 p.m., Union Square Park, Geary/Post/Powell/Stockton St.

Celebrate the 28th Annual Great Tree Lighting.  Enjoy live performances from San Francisco Boys’ Choir, Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir and performers from San Francisco Playhouse’s “A Christmas Story, the Musical.” Plus, join Snoopy and Santa as they countdown to light the tree.

Fairmont San Francisco Presents its Largest-Ever Giant Gingerbread House

Nov. 25, 2017, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., 950 Mason St.   

Fairmont San Francisco invites guests from near and far to celebrate holiday festivities at the iconic hotel, which has delighted guests with dazzling festivities for more than a century. This year, Fairmont San Francisco’s world-famous, life-sized gingerbread house is bigger and better than ever, featuring thousands of house-made gingerbread bricks and gallons of royal icing adorned by hundreds of pounds of candy.  On Nov. 25 the hotel lobby will transform into one of the world’s most beloved holiday destinations, welcoming guests to take photos with Santa that day.  Visitors can also enjoy the lobby’s 23-foot Christmas tree and a nearby Moet & Chandon Champagne Bar as well as a Gift and Hot Cocoa Pop-Up Shop. Fairmont San Francisco’s talented culinary and engineering teams have partnered with Santa’s Elves to meticulously plan and build the enormous Gingerbread House, which now features a semi-private extension.  This new space seats up to 12 and is ideal for a Gingerbread Holiday Tea, dinner or a special occasion. For more information on reservations, contact the Laurel Court Restaurant and Bar at 415-772-5411.           

Westin St. Francis Sweet Boutique

Saturdays and Sundays from Nov. 25 – Dec. 23 ,2017; 11 a.m.-4 p.m., The Westin St. Francis - Landmark Lobby, 335 Powell St.

Satisfy your sweet tooth at the St. Francis Sweet Boutique, where a delectable selection of freshly baked decorative cookies, orange-scented shortbread, gingerbread men, holiday Parisian macarons and rice crispy treats are all available for purchase. Boxes of macarons and assorted holiday cookies are also available for visitors who want to take some of the magic home, including a surprise “special of the day.”

Carousel Light ing at Yerba Buena Gardens

Nov. 25, 2017, 5 - 7 p.m., Yerba Buena Gardens, 221 Fourth Street

Celebrate the lighting of San Francisco's historic carousel. Enjoy free carousel rides and ice skating at the Yerba Buena Ice Skating Center

Holiday Lights Tour  

Nov. 25 - Dec. 30, 2017 (Tour times start at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.) Pick-up location: 2899 Hyde St.

Experience the magic of San Francisco’s festive Christmas season on a two-hour Holiday Lights Tour by San Francisco Love Tours. Enjoy the best holiday lights views and Christmas displays, while singing along to holiday-themed songs. Cuddle up with friends and loved ones as you hitch a ride through San Francisco. The unique VW Hippie buses are even more festive and decorated with holiday cheer. See amazing views of the city, Macy’s tree lighting, Fisherman’s Wharf holiday lights and so much more. Six people maximum per VW Bus and up to five buses can go out at once, making this a great intimate setting holiday experience, even in large groups.

ODC/Dance's Presents “The Velveteen Rabbit” 

Nov. 25 - Dec. 10, 2017, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater, 700 Howard at Third St.

ODC/Dance is pleased to announce the 31st season of “The Velveteen Rabbit,” KT Nelson's now classic dance theater interpretation of Margery Williams' beloved children's book. This year's production features "Open Curtain - a behind-the-scenes journey," the "Seventh Inning Artistic Stretch," and ODC/Dance unplugged - all offering insight into how this holiday production comes to life. Featuring dancing by ODC/Dance world-class dancers, recorded narration by legendary actor Geoff Hoyle, costumes and sets by world-renowned children's illustrator Brian Wildsmith and musical score by composer Benjamin Britten. Suitable for ages three and up. For groups of 10 or more to weekday matiness, contact ODC/Dance Group Sales at

Castro Merchants Holiday Tree Lighting            

Nov. 27, 2017, 6 - 7 p.m., at the big 28' Holiday Tree, (Castro at 18th Streets), 501 Castro St.

A tree lighting event with Santa and his Elf will be emceed by First Lady of the Castro, Donna Sachet and include a Holiday sing-along with Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band, Lesbian/Gay Chorus, Gay Men's Chorus, Golden Gate Chorus and brief remarks by local officials.  Castro Merchants will be open late, with holiday specials.  During the Holiday season lighted sidewalk trees along Upper Market from Castro to Dolores are proudly sponsored by PG&E and local merchants, bright red and silver bows will adorn Upper Market median palm trees; and a Hanukkah Menorah Lighting with Sha'ar Zahav will take place on a mid-December evening at Jane Warner Plaza.

San Francisco Symphony Holiday Decorations         

Nov. 27- Dec. 31, 2017 Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave.

Throughout the month of December, the lobbies of Davies Symphony Hall are transformed into a holiday wonderland, complete with towering trees decorated with handmade ornaments made by children and volunteers from local schools and community groups.

Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s Tony Award® Nominated New Musical “Bright Star”

Nov. 28 - Dec. 17, 2017, the Curran, 445 Geary

The Curran’s 2017 holiday season offering will be the Tony Award® nominated new musical “Bright Star” from Grammy® and Emmy® winner Steve Martin and Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Edie Brickell. Original “Bright Star” lead Carmen Cusack will revive her role, for which she received universal raves and a 2016 Tony Award nomination. With direction by Tony Award® winner Walter Bobbie.

Michael Feinstein – “Home for the Holidays”                

Nov. 29 - Dec. 3, 2017, Feinstein’s at the Nikko, 222 Mason St.

Two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy Award-nominated Michael Feinstein returns to San Francisco—the city where he launched his career—with “Home for the Holidays.” In this all-new show celebrating the magic of the season, Feinstein will perform classic standards from the Great American Songbook, along with a selection of holiday favorites.

Santa Paws Is Coming to Town

Nov. 30, 2017, 5 p.m., Macy’s Union Square, Holiday Lane, Level 6, 170 O’Farrell St.

Macy’s and the San Francisco SPCA share a special holiday event - Santa Paws. Bring your pooch and get a photo with Santa as well as meet Santa and the beloved Cocoa, the mini horse and LiLou the Pig.  Treats will be served for both dogs and humans.  Tickets are $45 (admits up to two people and two dogs with one photo) and includes a printed photo with Santa. Portion of the proceeds benefits the SF SPCA. RSVP at Macy's and SF SPCA - Santa Paws Event.

The San Francisco Symphony Announces Its Annual Holiday Concert Season

Nov. 30 - Dec. 31, 2017, Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave. 

The San Francisco Symphony’s (SFS) 2017 holiday season at Davies Symphony Hall offers a festive array of

concerts for all ages, from traditional Christmas classical concerts including Handel’s “Messiah,” J.S. Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio” and Holiday Brass to family-friendly events including “A Charlie Brown ChristmasLive,” the circus feats of Cirque de la Symphonie, the Orchestra’s annual Deck the Hall concerts, and the SF Symphony Youth Orchestra’s annual performance of Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” with Zachary Quinto narrating. Beloved comedy classic “Home Alone” is projected on the big screen with the SFS performing the score live. British soul singer Seal performs selections off his new album, Mariachi Sol De México® de José Hernàndez presents A Merry-achi Christmas, the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir brings an uplifting program of gospel, soul, and jazz favorites in Holiday Soul, and Armistead Maupin is the featured guest artist in Holiday Gaiety with the SFS. On Dec. 31, Seth McFarlane joins the San Francisco Symphony to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Tickets for all holiday concerts are on sale now at, by phone at 415-864-6000, and at the Davies Symphony Hall box office on Grove St. between Franklin Street and Van Ness Ave.

PIER 39 Winter Wine Pour

Dec. 1, 2017, 4 - 8 p.m.

Round up your friends and head to The PIER for an evening of wine, music and fun at the PIER 39 Winter Wine Pour. Stroll The PIER and stop by participating businesses to enjoy wine tastings, exclusive discounts, and live music and entertainment. Attendees will receive wine tastings, discounts at participating businesses, a commemorative wine glass and more

Something New for the Holidays: Opera Parallèle Opens Season with Rachel Portman’s “The Little Prince”
Dec.1-3, 2017 at Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture

Opera Parallèle, the Bay Area’s innovative contemporary opera company, is pleased to bring a fresh new addition to the holiday entertainment calendar in the form of a colorful and engaging production of Rachel Portman’s “The Little Prince,” which will be given three performances at the Cowell Theater:  Dec. 1 and 2, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 3, at 2 p.m.  Portman’s lushly composed work is based on the popular novella by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and features a libretto in English by Nicholas Wright. There will be pre-performance, interactive activities for families and children including an invitation to join the cast in the final chorus of the opera. Tickets, priced $25-$75, may be purchased at

 Old First Holiday Concerts                        

Dec. 1 - Dec 17, 2017, Old First Church, 1751 Sacramento St.

Holiday concerts for the entire family including Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choirs, Ragazzi Boys Chorus, new and old a cappella music with Gaude and Lacuna Arts, energetic klezmer music from Veretski Pass and Kugelplex, Celtic Christmas with Golden Bough,and Kitka’s magical Wintersongs.  Come celebrate with the beauty of live music in acoustic splendor.

 American Conservatory Theater presents “A Christmas Carol”             

Dec. 1 - 24, 2017, A.C.T.’s Geary Theater, 415 Geary St.

Featuring a lively cast of dozens, delightful music, gorgeous costumes and those deliciously spooky ghosts, the Bay Area’s favorite holiday tradition returns with American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.)’s celebrated production of the Charles Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol.” Now in its 41st year, this version of “A Christmas Carol” - adapted by Paul Walsh and Carey Perloff - stays true to the heart of Dickens’s timeless story of redemption and brings a playful sensibility to his rich language.

 “Avenue Q” Returns to New Conservatory Theatre Center for Fifth Anniversary

Dec. 1, 2017 - Jan. 21, 2018 in NCTC's Decker Theatre, 25 Van Ness Ave at Market St.

Ushering in the furriest holiday season ever, New Conservatory Theatre Center presents its fifth annual production of the hit Tony Award-winning musical “Avenue Q.” The show, now a San Francisco holiday tradition, is a laugh-out-loud musical that tells the timeless story of a recent college grad named Princeton who moves into a shabby New York apartment all the way out on Avenue Q.  Once there, he meets Kate (the girl next door), Rod (the Republican), Trekkie (the internet sexpert), Lucy the Slut (need we say more?) and other colorful types who help Princeton finally discover his purpose in life. Information and tickets at

Holiday Lights Double Decker Night Tour

Dec. 1 - 30, 2017, City Sightseeing Tour starts at Fisherman's Wharf - Leavenworth and Beach St.  

Get the best views of San Francisco's holiday lights from a top of a brightly decorated Double Decker bus. Feel the magic of the season, sing along to your favorite holiday songs with the entertaining tour guides while exploring sights of San Francisco. This 90-minutes tour takes you around all the main decorated areas of the city: Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 39, Union Square, Embarcadero, Bay Bridge and Treasure Island. Complimentary hot chocolate and festive gifts are included for everyone.

 Union Street Fantasy of Lights

Dec. 2, 2017, 3 - 7 p.m., along Union Street between Van Ness and Steiner and Fillmore Street between Union and Lombard St.

Ring in the holidays with a twinkle and glow at Union Street’s Fantasy of Lights celebration. This annual event welcomes winter and kicks off a month-long celebration of festive holiday happenings in San Francisco’s historic Cow Hollow neighborhood. The Fantasy of Lights celebrates the season with thousands of twinkling white lights illuminating the Victorian houses and shops along Union Street. The event takes includes a festive lineup of family-friendly activities and events including photos with Santa, horse drawn carriage rides, costumed characters, face painting, seasonal sweets and more

Rapture and Remembrance - A Joyous Holiday Concert 

Dec. 3, 2017, 2 p.m., Clarion Music Performing Arts Center, 2 Waverly Place  

Teatro Mistral presents a joyous concert event illuminating the many facets of love in the holiday season.
The Rapture of Romance, the remembrance of family, the poetry of the spirit all bind our hearts to the shared humanity and generosity of the holidays through music and poetry. Visit Chinatown San Francisco's newest destination the Clarion Music Performing Arts Center. Hear Songs, arias and ensembles by Mozart, Puccini, Nin-Culmell and others
performed by Clarion's resident opera company: Teatro

 Holiday Lighting San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

Dec. 5, 2017. 5 p.m.
The illumination of exterior lighting at SFO has been a holiday tradition for more than 10 years.  A ceremony, open to media and the public, will be held on Dec. 5 at 5 p.m. to turn on the holiday lighting.  The event will be held on the connecting bridge between Garages “A” and “G.”  Pedestrian access is available from Level 3 of Garage “G.”  For a video of the SFO holiday lighting program, visit

Wag to The World – Happy Howlidays from the SFO Wag Brigade, Including Lilou the Pig
Look for festive Wag Brigade photo stations throughout San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and snap a selfie with one of the Wag Brigade members.  Wag Brigade members dressed in festive sweaters, bells and antlers will patrol the airport, spreading holiday cheer.  Launched four years ago, the SFO Wag Brigade brings trained animals to the terminals to make travel more enjoyable.  The San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SF SPCA) certifies all participating animals through their Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) Program.  The team includes LiLou, a three-year-old Juliana breed pig, who has become a social media favorite.  To view profiles of each animal,

San Francisco’s Fiercest Drag Queens Return to the Safeway Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square for the Eighth Annual Drag Queens On Ice

Dec. 7, 2017 from 8 - 9:30 p.m., Union Square Park, 333 Post St.  

The Safeway Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square presented by Alaska Airlines is thrilled to announce the return of Drag Queens On Ice, San Francisco’s most fabulous holiday tradition. Now in its eighth year, Drag Queens On Ice will feature San Francisco’s fiercest drag queens, including Mutha Chucka, Paju Munro, Kylie-Pop and Mahlae Balenciaga as they don their most gay apparel for an evening of special performances. Legendary San Francisco drag personality Donna Sachet will return to serve as Mistress of Ceremonies. Special guests for this year’s event includes the return Sister Roma of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and Queen Dilly Dally, the queen of make believe. To celebrate this annual event and the tenth anniversary of the Holiday Ice Rink at Union Square, Humphry Slocombe will serve its commemorative limited-edition flavor, “Chocolate Peppermint Death Drop,” an homage to the daring move known by both ice skaters and drag queens alike. The event is open to all ages and free to watch. Tickets to skate alongside the queens and have the best seat in the house for the performances are $25 for adults and $20 for children. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at or at the ice rink ticket window in Union Square Park.

Holiday Lights: The Presidio’s Annual Tree-Lighting Ceremony

Dec. 8, 2017, 5 - 6:30 p.m., Main Post, across from Presidio Community Y (corner of Lincoln and Funston)

Gather at the tree and sing holiday classics along with the Golden Gate Carolers—the tree lights up right at 5:30 p.m. Light refreshments and kids activities will follow in the Presidio Community Y gymnasium, and don’t miss the lantern-lit evening forest walk at 6:30 p.m. Partners include the Presidio Y, National Park Service, US Park Police, SF Fire Department, Presidio Residences, and Art Seed. The event is free.

 “Norm Lewis Wishes You a Swingin’ Christmas”

Dec. 8, 2017, 8 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 9 at 8 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017 at 5 p.m., Feinstein’s at the Nikko, 222 Mason St.

Tony Award Nominee Norm Lewis rings in the holiday season at Feinstein’s at the Nikko with “Norm Lewis Wishes You a Swingin’ Christmas” for three performances only. Directed by Richard Jay-Alexander, the evening features Lewis’s unique spin on holiday favorites, as well songs from throughout his career that have made him one of the most sought-after leading men on Broadway.

Dance-Along Nutcracker and “Nutcrackers of the Caribbean”

Dec. 9 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., Dec. 10 at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Forum, 701 Mission St.

The Dance-Along Nutcracker® is one of San Francisco’s most celebrated holiday events.  Each year, the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band selects a theme to blend with Tchaikovsky’s classic “Nutcracker Suite.” The result: a fun-filled musical production brimming with wit, artistry and ingenuity. The talented cast sings and dances their way through a parody version of the “Nutcracker.” And when the “Dance-Along” sign flashes, the audience is invited to

tug on their tutus and pirouette along with the cast. Even landlubbers who don’t want to dance have a blast. “Nutcrackers of the Caribbean” takes the audience on a high seas adventure with Clara, Fritz and Captain Drosselmeyer as they seek out the buried treasure of Peg Legs Tchaikovsky. Jump out of your seats and do a pirate’s jig to the Nutcracker Suite.

Ring in the Season with Fauxgirls

Dec. 9, 2017, Encore Lounge, 1550 California St., Second floor

Fauxgirls, one of the longest-running drag shows in San Francisco history, presents its 16th Annual Holiday Show.   Seating begins at 7 p.m., and the 90-minute show begins at 8 p.m.   Don’t miss this uniquely San Francisco holiday celebration featuring the city’s finest female impersonators.  Must be 21. 

Music, Art and More – Christmas at Grace Cathedral

Dec. 9 -23, 2017, Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St.

Grace Cathedral’s Christmas concerts are a San Francisco tradition.  The 13 performances this season feature everything from classic Christmas carols with Grace Cathedral’s Choir of Men and Boys, the nostalgic brass and organ sounds of Bay Brass, the American Bach Soloists’ performance of Handel’s timeless “Messiah,” to the festive, family-friendly sing-along Christmas show “Sing You a Merry Christmas.” Sparkling stained glass and Christmas decorations set mood at all Christmas services, the music is free and everyone is welcome.

Bay Area Cabaret presents Jane Lynch in “A Swingin' Little Christmas” with Special Guests Kate Flannery, Tim Davis and the Tony Guerrero Quintet
Dec. 10, 2017, 7:00 p.m., Venetian Room at Fairmont Hotel, atop Nob Hill
Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winner Jane Lynch makes her Venetian Room debut.  The star of “Glee” and host of NBC’s “Hollywood Game Night” will be joined by special guests Kate Flannery (NBC's “The Office), Tim Davis (“Glee”), and the Tony Guerrero Quintet. In an eclectic evening of music and humor, they’ll be performing songs from their Top 20 Billboard album “A Swingin’ Little Christmas." Enter through the life-sized gingerbread house and magical holiday decor of the Fairmont Hotel and then you will be swingin' in the holidays at Bay Area Cabaret.  For more information and tickets for “A Swingin' Little Christmas” at

San Francisco Ballet’s “Nutcracker”        

Dec. 13 - 30, 2017, War Memorial Opera House 301 Van Ness Ave. 

San Francisco Ballet’s “Nutcracker,” set in 1915 San Francisco, is a rich and spell-binding production. Travel with Clara as she journeys to the Land of Snow and beyond.

Light the Menorah at Ghirardelli Square

Dec. 14, 2017, 4 - 6 p.m., Ghirardelli Square (Upper Plaza and Fountain Plaza), 900 North Point St.

Light the Menorah will take place in the Upper Plaza and Fountain Plaza with free children’s activities, music and lighting of the menorah by Rabbi Peretz Mochkin.

Old First Concerts at Old First Presbyterian Church

Dec. 16, 2017, 8p.m., 1751 Sacramento St.

“Wintersongs” is Kitka's critically acclaimed and wildly popular holiday program showcasing seasonal music from a wide variety of Eastern European ethnic and spiritual traditions. The repertoire ranges from rousing Slavic folk carols to lush meditative Eastern Orthodox sacred choral works; from Baltic pagan incantations for the return of the Sun Goddess to Caucasus Georgian Alilos (hallelujahs); from Yiddish, Sephardic and Hebrew songs for Chanukah to Bosnian-Muslim ilahijas (devotional hymns); and much more. Traditional pieces are woven together with new folk song arrangements.

“Amahl and the Night Visitors” by Gian Carlo Menotti

Dec. 16, 2017, 7- 8 p.m. and Dec. 17, 2-3 p.m., Clarion Music Performance Arts Center, 2 Waverly Place

The first opera written for American TV and televised annually since 1951 for more than a decade, “Amahl and the Night Visitors” is a family-friendly holiday opera written in English. Find out what happened to the three kings on their way to seek the special child. It is a story of generosity and love .

Live Music at SFO
Dec. 20-22, 2017, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

SFO will offer live music in the terminals for travelers. For a full schedule of artists and locations, visit

The 25th Anniversary of Kung Pao Kosher Comedy™

Dec. 23 - 25, 2017, 5 p.m. Dinner Show (seven-course meal: $72) and 8:30 p.m. Cocktail Show ($52: veggie dim sum), New Asia Restaurant, 772 Pacific Ave.

The 25th Anniversary of Kung Pao Kosher Comedy™ (Jewish comedy on Christmas in a Chinese restaurant) will feature a “Best of Kung Pao” with 3 headlining comedians: Cathy Ladman, Gary Gulman, and Wendy Liebman, and MC Lisa Geduldig. Partial Proceeds Benefit: Jewish Family and Children’s Services Sonoma County Fire Relief 

AND Jewish Community Center Puerto Rico Hurricane Maria Relief Fund Kung Pao is San Francisco’s longest running comedy show. Fortune cookies with Yiddish proverbs.

Holiday Lights Tour 2017

Dec., 2017, Big Bus Visitor Center, 99 Jefferson St.

Ring in the season aboard a special Open Top Holiday Lights Bus Tour of San Francisco. You’ll see San Francisco’s festive holiday trees, trimmings and twinkling lights decorating the city for the winter season. Enjoy jovial jingles along with a complimentary seasonal treat from Ghirardelli Chocolate. This tour will cross the illuminated Bay Bridge and make a stop at Treasure Island where guest can take in the views of the sparkling city lights. Explore Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square, North Beach and many other festive neighborhoods. Conclude this holiday experience with a complimentary souvenir.

The San Francisco Travel Association is the official destination marketing organization for the City and County of San Francisco. For information on reservations, activities and more, visit, read the Visitors Planning Guide or call 415-391-2000. 

San Francisco Travel operates Visitor Information Centers at Hallidie Plaza, 900 Market St. at the corner of Powell and Market streets, and on the lower level of Macy’s Union Square.  San Francisco Travel is also a partner at the California Welcome Center at PIER 39. 

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San Francisco International Airport (SFO) offers non-stop service by 41 international carriers serving 49 international cities and connects non-stop with 83 cities in the U.S. on 13 domestic airlines.  SFO offers upgraded free Wi-Fi with no advertising. For up-to-the-minute departure and arrival information, airport maps and details on shopping, dining, cultural exhibitions, ground transportation and more, visit Follow SFO on and

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