San Francisco Holiday Events

Looking for some holiday cheer? There’s plenty of Christmas fun happening in this glorious city we call home. Here are five signature San Francisco holiday happenings that are sure to warm the Grinchiest of hearts.

Photo Credit: Connie Perez Wong
1. Holiday Tea at the Top of the Mark 

Who wouldn’t want to enjoy a luxurious tea with a stunning view of San Francisco? At the Top of the Mark, Nob Hill’s historic hotel’s sky-high restaurant and lounge, guests can do just that on the 19th floor. There’s two tea experience options: the first is a classic holiday tea served Monday through Thursdays from 2:30-5 pm. Tea goers can choose from a selection of fine teas and a dazzling array of desserts, scones, and tea sandwiches. There’s cranberry scones with devonshire cream and lemon curd and adorable mini yule logs. For kiddos, the second tea experience option is dubbed the “Magical Tea,” and features a magician and face painter, more expansive menu that includes festive holiday foods from the kitchen (we love the sound of the bacon Monte Cristo finger sandwiches), and elaborate dessert buffet. This tea is served on the weekends in December, Friday and Saturday, from 12-2:30 pm.

Photo Credit: Erik Tomasson

2. San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker

Nothing says Christmastime more than the Nutcracker ballet and San Francisco Ballet’s is one of the nation’s best and most beloved Nutcrackers. SF’s War Memorial Opera House premiered the ballet on Christmas Eve in 1944. It was the first time American’s had ever experienced the dazzling story of a girl, her beloved nutcracker, and their journey to the land of sweets. Opening night of this year’s seasons is this Friday, December 12 and the ballet runs through December 29th with morning, matinee, and evening shows.


CLIFT.Redwood Room JPEGPhoto Credit: The Clift Hotel
3. Hanukkah in Paris

Want to celebrate Hanukkah? Why not do so in Paris? The Clift Hotel is hosting a party this Friday, December 12 at 9 pm called Hanukkah in Paris. La Boulange is providing sweet treats for the event, so come ready for dessert; DJs Ryan Lucero, Frenchy le Freak, and Josh Abrams are providing tunes, so be sure to sport your dancing shoes. Bring a new toy to the party and get past the velvet ropes quicker — a toy guarantees VIP entry.


4. The Guardsmen Annual Christmas Tree Lot Party
Photo Credit: The Gaurdsmen

The Guardsmen Christmas Tree Lot has been a part of San Francisco’s holiday season for over 60 years. The Guardsmen are a Bay Area men’s organization who provide activities and educational programs for inner-city youth. The Christmas Tee Lot is one of their biggest fundraisers as they turn the Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason into a wintery wonderland. The lot has the largest selection of trees in San Francisco and on Saturday, December 20th, they open the lot’s doors for a glitzy and glamorous party complete with hosted bar, dancing, and a spirited crowd.

New Headshot 2012

Photo Credit: Kwaku Alston
5. Seth Macfarlane and the San Francisco Symphony 

On Wednesday December 31st, Academy and Grammy-award nominated vocalist Seth MacFarlane will be joining the San Francisco Symphony for a concert of broadway and jazz hits. MacFarlane released a holiday album this year, Holiday for Swing, so he’s bound to sing some traditional carols as well. Soprano Measha Brueggergosman will also perform an assortment of arias and other songs. The event ends at 10 pm, so symphony goers will have plenty of time to head to some place fun to ring in the New Year.