Things to Do in San Francisco this Holiday Season 2022
April 28, 2023
Christmas in San Francisco is a magical experience!The city's beautiful weather, rich history, stunning architecture and waterfront views, vibrant nightlife scene, and diverse culture make it a perfect destination for anyone looking to enjoy the holidays. If you want a little extra holiday spirit, there are plenty of Christmas-y things to do in San Francisco, too! Catch the San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker at the War Memorial Opera House. Check out the San Francisco Symphony’s shows at the Davies Symphony Hall. Or meander through the Christmas light displays at Union Square. Whether you're looking for an exciting adventure or if you’re looking for a nice, relaxing time, you’ll find it in San Francisco.
The San Francisco Ballet's NutcrackerHow to get here - 5-6 minutes from the Golden Gate Hotel Superb dancing, stunning choreography, gorgeous sets, and Tchaikovsky's classic scores performed by the Grammy-winning San Francisco Orchestra, don’t miss San Francisco Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker this 2022. One of the most anticipated Christmas events in San Francisco, the San Francisco Ballet was the first to perform The Nutcracker in the US in 1944. This Christmas tradition continues today. The San Francisco Ballet is the oldest ballet company in the United States, and a classic performance like this is a must-see when spending the holidays in San Francisco. See it at the War Memorial Opera House in the Civic Center District from December 8 to 27, with a show on Christmas Eve. You can get your tickets here.
The San Francisco SymphonyHow to get here - 5-6 minutes from the Golden Gate Hotel You haven't truly experienced San Francisco until you've seen a performance by the San Francisco Symphony. It’s one of the oldest orchestras in America, founded in 1886 by German immigrant Otto G. Klemperer. Each year, the Symphony puts on an amazing series of shows for the holidays, and it's an excellent way for locals and visitors alike to celebrate Christmas in San Francisco. Their holiday shows provide a mix of classical music and holiday favorites, and the vibe is always festive and fun. Catch the following performances by San Francisco Symphony at the Davies Symphony Hall:
- Beethoven 9 - a homage to Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony on December 1, 2, & 3, 2022, at 7:30pm.
- Deck the Hall - a holiday concert and sing-along on December 4, 2022, at 11am and 3pm.
- The Colors of Christmas - your favorite Christmas songs and greatest hits sung by legendary artists Oleta Adams, Peabo Bryson, Ruben Studdard, and Jody Watley, accompanied by the SF Symphony on December 6 and 7 at 7:30pm.
- Handel’s Messiah - a baroque choral concert on December 9 and 10 at 7:30pm.
- Peter And The Wolf with the SF Symphony Youth Orchestra - a classic musical fable narrated by stand-up comedian Kamau Bell plus other holiday hits on December 11, 2022, at 2:00pm.
- Cool Yule Christmas - holiday hits and jazz standards by Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and more sung by Capathia Jenkins and Tony DeSare on December 13, 2022, at 7:30pm.
- Holiday Gaiety - a drag holiday variety show on December 15, 2022, at 7:30pm.
- How The Grinch Stole Christmas - Jim Carrey as the Grinch on the big screen with the San Francisco Symphony performing the score live on December 16, 2022, at 7:30pm and on December 17, 2022, at 2:00pm.
- Holiday Brass - the SF Symphony brass section playing a medley of classical and contemporary holiday tunes on December 20, 2022, at 7:30pm.
- Elf—In Concert - this holiday classic Elf on a giant screen with the SF Symphony playing the incredible score live on December 21, 2022, at 7:30pm and on December 22, 2022, at 2:00pm.
- A Merry-Achi Christmas - a tribute to Mexico’s Christmas traditions on December 23, 2022, at 7:30pm.
Christmas Tree and Holiday Light DisplaysHow to get here - 4-minute walk from the Golden Gate Hotel There are plenty of things to do in San Francisco this season, but a stroll along Union Square while marveling at the Christmas tree light display and doing some holiday shopping is a must. Eating is also one of the best things to do in San Francisco, and these 10 amazing restaurants near Union Square are a must-try for your gastronomic adventure. There are plenty of other Christmas light displays in the city: The Pier 39 Christmas tree will be lit from November 22 to January 8, with shows every half an hour from 5pm to 10pm. The City Hall will glow in red and green lights the entire December. You can also go check out the Sugar Castle display at The Westin on St. Francis, the Gingerbread House at the Fairmont on Nob Hill, and the Tom & Jerry’s Christmas tree display at Castro Hill. Of the many holiday events in San Francisco this season, you can always count on the Christmas trees and holiday displays to light you up.
A Christmas Carol at the American Conservatory TheaterHow to get here - 5 minutes walk from the Golden Gate Hotel A Christmas Carol is an adaptation of Charles Dickens's novel, which tells the story of Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas Eve. After he is visited by three spirits that tell him about his life, Scrooge changes his ways and helps others throughout the rest of his life. It's a fantastic story that will entertain kids and adults alike with its humor and heartwarming message. If you're a fan of this classic film, it doesn't get much more festive than catching the American Conservatory Theater’s production of this holiday classic, adapted by Paul Walsh and Carey Perloff. The show runs from December 1st through December 24th at The Toni Rembe Theater, so there are plenty of opportunities to see this highly-anticipated production when in town this season.
Great Dickens Christmas Fair 2022How to get here - 15 minutes from the Golden Gate Hotel Take a trip back to Victorian London at The Great Dickens Christmas Fair. This holiday season, the Cow Palace Exhibition Hall will transform into an incredible reenactment of the bygone era. Every inch of 140,000 square feet hall will be decked out in Victorian style with thousands of decorations and lights. Over 800 people will be in full costume as Dickens characters, so there will be plenty of opportunities to take photos with your favorite character! Stroll through the Christmas shops, skate through the ice rink, grab a beer at the pub, listen to music, and dance on the dance floor. One of the best things to do in San Francisco this holiday season, the Great Dickens Faire has been a Bay Area tradition since 1970, and it’s guaranteed to be like no other Christmas fair you've seen before. The fair will run for 5 Weekends from November 19th until December 18th from 10am to 6pm. The general admission ticket for adults is $45. You can also get season tickets and other special ticket pricings. Visit their website for more information about the tickets and admission.
San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus’ Holiday SpectacularThe SFGMC is pretty much synonymous to Christmas in San Francisco. The Holiday Spectacular is an annual tradition in the Bay Area. Add this to your things to do in San Francisco this holiday season, and your vacation is set. It’s a night of singing and dancing in a joyous Christmas spirit! Watch the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus’ performances at the following dates and venues this 2022:
- San Francisco’s Sydney Goldstein Theater on Friday, December 2 at 2pm and Saturday, December 3 at 3:30pm and 8pm
- Berkeley’s Freight & Salvage on Sunday, December 11 at 7pm
- Rohnert Park’s Green Music Center on Saturday, December 17 at 5pm
- Castro Theatre on Saturday, December 24 at 5pm, 7pm, and 9pm