The Bay Area is filled with fairs, festivals, races, wonderlands, light displays, and craft events to celebrate the giving (and eating) season. On second thought, that doesn’t sound so different from the rest of the year in the Bay Area, but during these winter months, a few more Santas are running around. The brisk winds and pretty lights that adorn the Bay Area come wintertime make for a perfect family getaway.
Here are the San Francisco Bay Area’s events and festivals for your family!
San Francisco Turkey Trot
Thanksgiving isn’t about eating the turkey anymore. Here at the Bay Area, you even enjoy chasing them! This walk in the park and fun run includes a 3-mile walk, a 5-mile run, and a kids’ 100-meter Gobbler Chase. You can join the fun bright and early on Thanksgiving morning, wear a festive costume and head to the park!
Illuminate SF Festival of Light
San Francisco has a year-round event for the city’s thriving artists, installation, and light. During the winter months, they host the Illuminate SF Festival of Light, which highlights special events, studio visits, tours, and artist talks you don’t get during the summer, fall, and spring. From Thanksgiving until New Year’s Day, you can join in its winter festivities and engage in several free nighttime light art walking tours!
Macy’s 28th Annual Great Tree Lighting Ceremony
With more than 33,000 twinkling energy-efficient LED lights and 1,100 shining ornaments, this towering, and a reusable tree is placed directly across San Francisco’s Union Square every year. To close the lighting ceremony, around 6:40 in the evening the tree will be lit for the season and illuminate the square all season long. Then, you can stop by Macy’s Santaland November 24 through December 24 to meet St. Nick himself!
San Rafael Parade of Light and Winter Wonderworld
Although there aren’t a bunch of places around San Francisco for snow sledding, you can take a look at the San Rafael Parade of Lights and Winter Wonderland! There are attractions like snow activities for children, a marketplace for holiday shopping and an evening parade for the whole family. This Downtown San Rafael event is an excellent way for the entire family to ring in the holiday period!
The Elf Party
The Elf Party is one of the most exciting holiday parties in San Francisco for people who are 21 years of age and above. In recent years, the event has served local charities like BayKids, Family Giving Tree, My Two Front Teeth, SF Education Fund, Women’s Community Clinic, San Francisco Child Abuse Prevention Center and The Princess Project. Wearing costumes are required and will be the best way to celebrate the evening during your photos with Santa, your trips to the cash bar and your wild dances on the dance floor.
Lighted Boat Parade
Lighted Boat Parade is one of the bay area festivals this weekend. The largest and oldest lighted holiday boat parade on San Francisco Bay is coming back to the waterfront on December 15. Join the St. Francis Yacht Club and The Fisherman’s Wharf Community Benefit District as dozens of boats illuminate the Bay to commemorate the holidays.
This festive pop-up market highlights makers, crafters, artists, food artisans, local merchants, small businesses, and causes alongside children’s activities, entertainment, shopping, and delicious food. Stop by for the largest market yet! Don’t worry! Admission is free, and you get passage to over 75 vendors, beer, food trucks, and wine tastings and children’s activities.
Don’t miss these bay area attractions for families! Get into the holiday spirit with these can’t-miss events, Christmas tree, and festive lightings, outdoor ice skating, sparkling light displays, whimsical holiday markets, and more! If you want your home professionally cleaned, you can hire our San Francisco house cleaning service to make it spotless for the upcoming holidays.