Find out where to sample some singular San Francisco dishes during the holiday season.

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November 1, 2018

8 Tastes of the Holidays in San Francisco

Forget turkeys and hams. Starting in November and lasting into the New Year, San Francisco is packed with a plethora of holiday treats. Here are a few ways you can get a taste of the holidays in San Francisco.


You can combine two holiday treats — chocolate and holiday lights — on Gourmet Walks Holiday Lights and Chocolate Tours. The downtown walk, which has seven stops, runs during the month of December. See the lights of Union Square, Embarcadero Center, the Palace Hotel and Westfield San Francisco Centre while sipping hot chocolate and nibbling a peppermint truffle.

Peppermint Bark

If Gourmet Walks isn't enough for you chocoholics, Ghirardelli Chocolate will be selling their traditional holiday peppermint bark. Visit their Ghirardelli Square location along Fisherman's Wharf. There's plenty to see, including their Christmas tree, and plenty to eat, in case you didn't want to fill up on sweets.

Teddy Bear Tea

Check out the Teddy Bear Tea at The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco on Nob Hill if you’re out with the kids and need to rest tired feet. This charming holiday show stars an entertaining elf and his animated helper and boasts a giant teddy bear. Every child gets a photo with the giant teddy. And it’s for a good cause: a portion of the proceeds goes to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, benefitting children with life-threatening medical conditions. Shows happen each weekend in December. Visit their website for a complete schedule.

Gingerbread Houses

The Fairmont San Francisco showcases an enormous holiday-time gingerbread house made with thousands of ginger bricks baked by the hotel, adorned with icing and candy, and displayed in the Fairmont’s splendid main lobby. The life-sized gingerbread house is just for looking, but when it premieres, complimentary hot chocolate and cookies will be served. The Fairmont’s annual Gingerbread Holiday Tea is served Nov. 23, 2018 through Jan. 1, 2019, in the Laurel Court Restaurant & Bar just off the lobby.

Chinese Food

If you like Chinese food and you like to laugh, don’t miss “Kung Pao Kosher Comedy." Held Dec. 23-25 in Chinatown, diners savor a Chinese restaurant meal at New Asia Restaurant while Jewish comedians serve up jokes and stories. The event was started in 1993 by San Francisco comedian Lisa Geduldig to give the Jewish community something to do on Christmas. It’s expanded since then to dish out entertainment to a diverse audience. Food and fun are the common denominators. If you want the food without the laughs, we have plenty of options, neighborhood by neighborhood, whether it’s phò or dim sum.

Museum of Ice Cream

Few things deserve to be as thoroughly commemorated as ice cream. Now you can celebrate one of the greatest sweet treats by visiting the Museum of Ice Cream, currently the only one of its kind in the world. If you can’t get tickets during your stay, San Francisco is full of many other places to get a delicious scoop.

Clam Chowder in a Sourdough Bread Bowl

This isn't necessarily a holiday dish, but can you think of a better way to warm up on a windy winter day by the water? We recommend going to PIER 39 for this traditional San Francisco dish, where the seafood is always fresh and the bread is freshly baked.

Fresh Fish

We don't mean to be vague; it's just that there's no telling how much variety will be served up at Pesce e Riso! From Dec. 18-24, Chef Joe Lin will be honoring the Southern Italian holiday tradition of the Feast of the Seven Fishes with a tremendous menu, featuring fresh oysters, Dungeness crab, and even some sashimi. Make your reservations now so you can experience the bounty for yourself.

Want some more ideas? We asked a number of locals where they would go if they were planning their last meal in San Francisco. See which places and dishes they chose. And don't forget to check out all the reasons why San Francisco is so delicious.


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