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November 15, 2019

How to Do Thanksgiving Weekend in San Francisco

Whether you have been to San Francisco dozens of times or you are planning your first trip, the holiday season is a great time to visit. Spirits are high, hotel rates are low, and there is plenty for visitors to experience. Here is everything you need to know to make the most of Thanksgiving weekend in the Bay Area.

Wednesday Evening: Drinks

The night before Thanksgiving is traditionally a time to reconnect with friends and family outside of the kitchen. Fortunately, San Francisco offers an endless array of options for a memorable night out. San Francisco's many neighborhoods all host a wide variety of great bars, from the elegant to the kitschy to the grungy. Enjoy wine from local vineyards, craft beer, and signature cocktails before the hustle and bustle of the big feast.

  • Don’t miss the San Francisco Brewing Company, an amazing new pub that features self-serve taps. Fill your glass with craft brew that comes directly from the on-site temperature-controlled tanks where it was finished.
  • Step back to the 1920s, when Prohibition was in full swing, at Bourbon & Branch. A century ago, this was the site of a popular speakeasy. Today, much of that ambiance remains intact.
  • San Francisco’s oldest comedy club is a favorite stop for some of the biggest names in stand-up. Spend your evening at the Punch Line Comedy Club for lots of laughs.
  • There is no better way to spend your first evening in the Bay Area than a visit to Top of the Mark. Some of the best cocktails in the city are enhanced by wraparound views of San Francisco.
  • If peace and quiet isn’t your goal, check out Audio Discotech. This venue boasts a one-of-a-kind sound system that is so powerful, music becomes a full-body experience.


Thanksgiving Day: Dinner

San Francisco is a top foodie destination, which means there is no need to cook your own Thanksgiving meal. Skip the long grocery store lines and huge piles of dishes to try one of the area’s world-class restaurants instead. These locations plan to be open for guests on Thanksgiving Day.


Black Friday: Shopping

San Francisco is a shopper's paradise, so do Black Friday right. The city features an extraordinary collection of local makers, as well as luxury flagship retail.

  • If you are looking for unique, handcrafted gifts, start your day in the Mission District. This neighborhood is chock-full of boutiques and shops featuring small designers and emerging international brands.
  • There are just three Japantowns left in the United States, and the oldest is in San Francisco. One of the most interesting shopping experiences can be found at The Japan Center. Every nook and cranny of this multi-level shopping mall shows off imported merchandise you can’t find anywhere else.
  • The Fillmore neighborhood is known best for its music scene, but its shopping comes a close second. You could spend days looking at everything from clothing and accessories to housewares and gifts.
  • Vintage outlets and novelty shops set Haight Street shopping apart. For example, Wasteland offers a massive selection of pre-owned designer clothing, and Love on Haight features the grooviest styles.
  • Don’t leave the Bay Area without a visit to the Napa Premium Outlets. More than 50 premium brands have storefronts here, selling your favorite items at 25% to 65% off.


Saturday & Sunday: Exploring

There is so much to see and do beyond the bridge. Why not rent a car and visit some of our neighbors in the Bay Area?

  • Golfers won’t want to miss an opportunity to visit Monterey County. Pebble Beach attracts enthusiasts from around the globe, and Spyglass Hill may be the most challenging course you will ever play. Spend some time on the gorgeous 17-Mile Drive and be sure to stop for a glass of wine from one of the local vineyards. Plan about two hours to get there by car.
  • Everyone has heard of Napa Valley, and wine lovers will want to make this their first stop. For a truly spectacular experience, reserve your spot on the Napa Valley Wine Train. The drive is about an hour from the city.
  • If you want a true California beach experience, you have plenty of options. Try Half Moon Bay for an artistic vibe, or Santa Cruz for immersion into surfing culture. Half Moon Bay is about 45 minutes from the city, while the trip to Santa Cruz is closer to an hour and 15 minutes.
  • If it's winter weather you're after, visit Tuolumne County. Three hours from San Francisco, this is where you can let your inner snow bunny loose with skiing, sledding, snowshoeing, and more.

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