December is here and the Bay Area Kids scene is so busy with all the great activities this month!! I love the holidays, the lights, the music, the sugar; having kids has only made the holidays even better as we venture out and try out all the fun activities the city has to offer. Here are the 36 of the best kid friendly San Francisco events in December 2017 not to miss.
A San Francisco holiday tradition in the heart of Union Square, the Safeway Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square presented by Alaska Airlines offers fun-seekers of all ages a magical adventure beginning on November 1, 2017. From families to friends, and couples to colleagues, everyone can enjoy ice skating in San Francisco’s iconic plaza surrounded by festive lights and the sights and sounds of the season. Novices and naturals, alike, will love the outdoor ice skating experience in the middle of beautiful San Francisco.
Celebrating 31 years of holiday spirit, this rink bills itself as the largest outdoor rink in the Bay Area. Sun.-Thurs: 10am-9:30pm. Fri.-Sat.: 10am-11:30pm. Sessions begin on every even hour beginning at 10am and last 90 minutes.
Executive Pastry Chef Jean-Francois Houdre will unveil two one-of-a-kind handcrafted sugar castles in the Landmark Lobby, featuring grand towers, rooms with illuminated windows, gift boxes, gingerbread trees and more. 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.”
Catch falling snow flurries inside the museum, enjoy festive live performances and glide around a new holiday ice rink with friends and family in the East Garden. There will also be a Snowman Theater, life-size models of polar bears and Antarctic penguins.
December 2: Music for Families: Stringing it All Together: The Elements of Music Making December 3: Deck the Hall December 10: Peter and the Wolf December 14/15: Handel’s Messiah December 16-20: Home Alone—Feature Film with Live Orchestra December 21-24:A Charlie Brown Christmas—LIVE!
Winter Walk SF, a one of a kind holiday pop-up plaza in the heart of Union Square, returns for its fourth year this Holiday season. For 5 weeks (Nov. 25 – Dec. 31), two blocks of Stockton Street (between Geary St. and Ellis St.) will open for winter merriment. Working in collaboration with the SFMTA and in partnership with Off The Grid, you can expect two open air beer and wine gardens, food trucks, live performances, carolers, holiday themed photo opportunities, lots of family-friendly activities, and other wintery surprises! Last year, Winter Walk was attended by over 750,000 locals and visitors and we expect more this year!
Starting on November 25, 2017, the hotel transforms into one of the world’s most beloved holiday destinations, where moments are turned into cherished memories. Fairmont San Francisco’s two-story, life-sized Gingerbread House in the hotel’s grand lobby has become a must-see attraction for guests from near and far. Fairmont San Francisco’s talented culinary and engineering teams have joined forces to meticulously plan construction of this year’s enormous Gingerbread House, which will be even larger than last year’s stunning, two-story-high Victorian! Once complete, the impressive, edible abode will stand more than 25 feet high, 35 feet wide and 10 feet deep and will feature more than 10,250 homemade gingerbread bricks, 1,650 pounds of candy and 3,300 pounds of royal icing. The gingerbread house’s railroad track also delights guests of all ages, who happily gaze upon this favorite feature.
Known for their athleticism and passion, these dancers present this story about the enduring power of love.
This interactive presentation of classics has been customized with on-screen lyrics for all the songs so that audiences can sing along! Your hosts will introduce each performance and warm up the audiences’ vocal chords. In addition to belting out the tunes, goody bags will be handed out to everyone and audience members can add to the fun by dressing up as a favorite character from the ﬁlm!
Opera Parallele, 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: Friday and Saturday, December 1 and 2, at 7 pm and Sunday, December 3, at 2 pm. OP has assembled a signature creative team led by Artistic Director/conductor Nicole Paiement and Creative Director Brian Staufenbiel with illustrations and media design by Matt Kish and David Murakami, respectively, and costumes by Christine Crook. Portman’s lushly composed work is based on the popular novella by Antoine de Saint-Exupery 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.
Each day between Dec. 1 and 24 will highlight merchant events and specials and will feature live holiday entertainment. There will be visits with Santa, hayrides, live reindeer, carolers and live local music. December 1 tree lighting, December 2 Hay ride, Pictures with Santa and more all month long. Click not eh link for more info about all the great events.
Featuring a lively cast of dozens, gorgeous costumes, and those deliciously spooky ghosts, the Bay Area’s favorite holiday tradition returns with a sparkling, music-infused production of A Christmas Carol. Bring your family, bring your friends, and check your “humbugs” at the door!
Among the options for celebrating the season are the free Kid’s Day (December 1) with arts and crafts, cookie decorating, music, and multiple bounce houses (Friday, December 1, 2:00-7:30 p.m.). Check out The Guardsmen Tree Lot Boutique, featuring great gift ideas from vendors such as Bubble (children’s items), India Hicks (accessories), IVI Vision (eyewear), J. Hilburn (men’s apparel), Little Pickle Stories (children’s books), Metro Man (mens’ gifts), and Stella & Dot (womens’ gifts). Boutique hours are: Saturday and Sunday, November 25 and 26, December 2 and 3, and December 9 and 10, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Cultivar Wine offers free daily wine tastingsat the tree lot too.
Brave the Bay, hosted by Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area in parnership with the SFPD, is a community event in three parts, with 100% of proceeds benefiting Make-A-Wish Greater Bay Area. Participants can choose to take part in the Snowflake Shuffle 5K, Polar Bear Plunge into the Bay and Holiday Haul Cable Car Pull (or all three as a Winter Warrior triathlete!) Join us for this festive, family friendly holiday event, and help make wishes come true! Learn more and register today. You can also enjoy the day’s athletic events from the sidelines and head to the Buena Vista Cafe (featuring world-famous Irish Coffee and so much more!) for a relaxing meal as part of the Cops & Coffee Program from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm.
Thousands of holiday lights set off the Victorians on Union Street in this annual celebration which kicks off today. Ornament decorating, free horse-drawn carriage rides from 3-5:30pm and Santa will pose for pictures 5:30-7pm at the Cudworth Mansion, 2040 Union St.
Visitors are invited to see the glittering Holiday Train at one of its station stops, enjoy the entertainment and bring new, unwrapped toys to donate to local, underserved kids. The event will benefit the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots and The Salvation Army’s Season of Giving Program to help local families.
Take a holiday adventure into Victorian London and marvel at hundreds of costumed characters in music halls, pubs and more. Dozens of lamp-lit shots will be stocked with Christmas gifts. Enjoy roasted chestnuts and hearty meals. Kids can enjoy puppet shows, Victorian fairies, interactive theatrical performances and, of course, Father Christmas.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, when the first rains tease up the chanterelles and porcini, fungus lovers head to the Fungus Fair: A Celebration of Wild Mushrooms. Hands-on activities at the Fungus Fair include crafts, mushroom dyes, and do-it-your-self mushroom growing kits.
Don’t miss the 15th Annual Parol Lantern Festival and Parade, a Filipino-American tradition in San Francisco showcasing the beautiful colors of their culture. This year’s theme is “Let Tradition Be Our Light.” Festivities start at 5pm and the parade of star-shaped lanterns and dozens of local organizations takes off from Yerba Buena Gardens at 6:15pm. Leading up to the event, you can make your own parol lantern at the Bayanihan Community Center.
Enjoy a performance by the San Francisco Boys Chorus and jazz singer Veronica Klaus and Tammy Hall at 5:30pm followed by the 7pm tree lighting and 8pm party.
Meet San Francisco Giants legend Barry Bonds, other Bay Area professional athletes and gain access to the Giants’ dugout and batting cages. Activities include storytime with athletes, teddy bear stuffing, holiday cookie decorating and more. Benefits Wender Weiss Foundation for Children.
The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department announced today a free special event, “Winter Lights in Golden Gate Park” that will take place on Thursday, December 7th, 2017. The “Winter Lights in Golden Gate Park” event will begin with the City’s 88th Holiday Tree lighting tradition, and is scheduled to start at 4:00PM at John McLaren Lodge located at the east entrance of Golden Gate Park. There will be many free activities including carnival rides, a cookie factory, arts and crafts for kids, a visit from Santa, music, and live entertainment. Santa will arrive shortly before the official Tree Lighting ceremony currently scheduled to begin at 6:00PM.
Light the tree and sing holiday classics with the Golden Gate Carolers. Light refreshments, kids’ activities and a lantern-lit forest walk will follow.
Sing along with your favorite Christmas carols as the toys of St. Nicholas’ workshop lead you on an extraordinary journey, filling children, young and old, with the joys of the season. Festive for families!
Bay Area Vocal Academy kicks off its public concert season with two sparkling holiday performances. The BAVA Artists will perform selections and scenes from Handel’s Messiah, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, and more. These talented vocalists-many of whom are headed off to study music at universities or conservatories next year-have spent the fall building stage presence, acting skills, vocal power, and the confidence of seasoned classical recitalists and opera singers. Their voices will thrill and inspire you, and fill you with holiday cheer!
This is a 50-minute production of the classic ballet designed for small children and their families. All the favorite characters will perform in colorful costumes to live chamber music accompaniment.
For select songs, a large flashing “Dance Along” sign signals audience members to tug their tutus on and pour on the dance floor to pirouette beneath the spotlight with the cast.
Bring your own camera and take a picture of your little one with Santa. Don’t forget to bring your Christmas wish list.
Celebrate illuminating the darkness with candle lighting, storytelling, singing and festive treats. 4pm storytime, 4:30pm Hanukkah lighting and songs.
The SF Ballet will perform The Nutcracker again this December at the War Memorial Opera House. It was performed here for the first time in the US on Christmas Eve, 1944. Enjoy a performance with your entire family. Shows run from December 13 – 30.
ABS’s annual presentations bring together Handel’s timeless score, outstanding performances and one of San Francisco’s most breathtaking settings. For tickets and information visit americanbach.org or call (415) 621-7900.
Join in this annual lighting of the 9-foot menorah. Includes children’s activities and music.
Join us on December 15-17, 19-23, 26-30 to experience the wonder of the holiday season and enjoy your 100 acre park, conservation center and Zoo under beautiful and bright lights. ZooLights 2017 takes you on a magical trip to a destination like no other – with Santa Claus, reindeer and seasonal delights. Lovely music will fill the air and bright lights will shine the way as you leave the city behind and retreat to a holiday hideaway. This annual favorite is free for SFZS Members in good standing.
Gather around the piano to share music and holiday cheer, led by performers from 42nd Street Moon. Festive drinks will be available for purchase.
The Lighted Boat Parade has been a holiday tradition and one of the popular San Francisco events in December since 1994. It is a unique event that brings the holiday spirit out onto the bay and invites everyone to enjoy San Francisco’s waterfront. Watch the decorated boats parade past Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, Fort Mason, and Crissy Field. It runs from 6pm to 8pm.
Little Folkies Family Band will be spreading holiday cheer by performing Little Folkies original songs, a collection of traditional folks songs for children, and sweet sing-along arrangements of holiday tunes. Creator Irena Eide will be accompanied by bass player Danny Vitali (Okee Dokee Brothers) and fiddler Emily Mann (Crooked Jades), playing a repertoire of joyful and spirited tunes enjoyable for children & grown-ups alike.
The musicians will celebrate Dizzy Gillespie’s 100th birthday. The one-hour show will also feature audience participation and a Q&A.
Light up the Holidays in partnership with Chabad of Pacific Heights, with live entertainment and traditional Chanukah treats.
What are your favorite kid friendly San Francisco events in December 2017? Last year was our first year at the Fairmont gingerbread house thanks to a Facebook post of a friend, we would love to add more new traditions to our rotation. What are your favorites?
Curious what were last year’s best kid friendly San Francisco Events in December, click here for 2016.
After the hub-bub of the holidays, quieter days have returned, but there are still…
This post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated for 2018. I love…