If you’re looking for family friendly holiday events in San Francisco, there are plenty to be found. San Francisco is a beautiful place to spend the holidays and there’s always something to do that is fun, educational, cultural or just a little wacky. From music to lights, you’ll find all your holiday entertainment needs met in San Francisco this December.

Events in San Francisco this December

Dickens Christmas Fair
When: Saturdays and Sundays through December 23rd, 2018
Where: Cow Palace
2600 Geneva Avenue
Daly City, CA

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair is a one-of-a-kind holiday adventure into Victorian London – an elaborate party with hundreds of costumed players performing and interacting with patrons in over 120,000 square feet of theatrically-lit music halls, pubs, dance floors, and Christmas shops. It’s a twilight evening in Charles Dickens’ London Town – a city of winding lanes filled with colorful characters from both literature and history. Enticing aromas of roasted chestnuts and hearty foods fill the air. Cries of street vendors hawking their wares ring out above the bustling crowd. Dozens of lamplit shops are filled to overflowing with Christmas gifts. The Dickens Christmas Fair is a treasured Bay Area tradition since 1970 and a splendid way to celebrate the holidays.

12th Annual Gingerbread House Competition & Tour
When: Now through December 31st, 2018
Where: Various locations throughout San Francisco, CA

This December marks the 12th anniversary of the Sausalito Gingerbread House Tour. The tour’s mission is to provide a cost-free way for Bay Area families and residents to capture the magic of the holidays throughout the entire month of December.

Head to Sausalito anytime Dec 1 – 31 to view the gingerbead houses! Pick up a map of the participating businesses.

Be sure to cast your vote for the best gingerbread house by voting at the People’s Choice boxes at each location!

Gingerbread Houses will be judged by our panel mid-December and winners announced at the December Chamber Mixer.

When: Now through December 31st, 2018
Where: Great America
4701 Great America Pkwy
Santa Clara, CA

WinterFest, the Bay Area’s newest and most immersive holiday tradition, brings holiday cheer to California’s Great America select dates November 23 – December 31, 2018. During WinterFest, Great America is magically transformed into a winter wonderland and holiday festival where guests can skate in front of the iconic Carousel Columbia. Holiday activities include magnificent displays of lights and décor, viewing spectacular live holiday shows, experiencing more than 60 rides and attractions, seeing Santa’s workshop and Mrs. Claus’ kitchen, and enjoying scrumptious holiday fare at numerous dining locations.

The winter scene and Christmas celebration is dominated by one of the Bay Area’s tallest Christmas trees adorned with thousands of twinkling lights accompanied by giant toy soldiers greeting guests. This amazing event features millions of lights, creating a holiday event for the entire family.

Union Square Menorah Lighting
When: December 2nd – 9th,  2018
Where: Union Square
333 Post Street
San Francisco, CA

A local miracle happened in San Francisco in 1975 when community leaders joined together to create the first big public menorah and celebration of Chanukah outside of Israel. The San Francisco “Mama Menorah” public celebration has now become a global phenomenon with large menorahs lit annually in over 500 cities worldwide.

Brassy and Sassy Holiday Show
When: December 7-8, 2018
Where: Nourse Theater
275 Hayes Street
San Francisco, CA

Brassy and Sassy brings out the full spectrum of holiday revelry as few other shows can do. Backed by a brilliant brass quintet, we will dash from glorious classical fare to swing to big band…plus a few new twists on holiday classics. Be dazzled and delighted by the breathtaking sound of 250 men’s voices performing favorites from “Silver Bells” to “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” as well as a cutting-edge version of “Silent Night.”

On top of that, we welcome the amazing Marnie Breckenridge to join us in the sublime and the ridiculous. Audiences are encouraged to let their imagination wander as we fill every holiday desire…from classy to sassy and back!

When: December 7th – 23rd, 2018
Where: Oakland Zoo
9777 Golf Links Road
Oakland, CA

Celebrate the holidays at Oakland Zoo amidst a million glowing lights! Soar over the Oakland hills in our festively-lit gondolas and see the Bay Area skyline like never before. New this year, enjoy swirling snowfalls over a dazzling Winter Wonderland attraction featuring Santa in his decked-out workshop for the ultimate holiday experience.
See the Music in Motion laser light shows and stroll through twinkling holiday lights, animal structures and a candy cane lane-themed Adventure Landing with rides your kids will love. Hop on the illuminated Outback Express Train and warm up with hot cocoa and dinner at the Landing Café with a scenic view for miles!

2018 Parol Lantern Festival and Parade
When: December 8th, 2018
Where: Bayanihan Community Center
1010 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA

Join us again for our 16th Year, December 8, 2018! Let’s celebrate a memorable evening of lights and laughter! Our theme for 2018 is A Gathering of Lights. How does your parol design and performance relate to your cultural family traditions? How do you bring your Philippine Traditions to Light?

ZooLights 2018
When: December 14th – 30th, 2018 (weekends)
Where: San Francisco Zoo
Sloat Blvd @ The Great Highway
San Francisco, CA

The best time of year is here as we present our annual ZooLights celebration! Bring your family and friends to be a part of your new holiday tradition. Experience the magic and wonder of the season during this special evening event, featuring bright holiday light displays, Santa Claus and the only place around where you can see Santa’s reindeer!

Plus! Enjoy strolling carolers, sip delicious hot cocoa and tasty seasonal delights, and shop at our Zoo gift store.

SPECIAL MEMBERSHIP BENEFIT: No admission charge for San Francisco Zoo Members and Guardians!

ZooLights takes place from 5 to 8 p.m. on December 14-16, 18-23, and 26-30.

Latka Ball
When: December 24th and 25th, 2018
Where: Oasis
298 Eleventh Street
San Francisco, CA

When the lights go down in the city, and the sun shines on the bay. Do I want to be there in my city?

YES, YES YOU DO! When nightfall hits San Francisco on Christmas Eve, and everything turns dark, there is one place that will shine brightly.

The movie theater? No.

Your favorite Chinese restaurant? Nope.

Your neighbor’s Christmas party? Not a chance.


Why stay in and swipe when you can go out, meet people IRL (perhaps your new Jew-boo?!), and dance to the hottest tunes with your crew. Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, Latke Ball is coming to town.