Christmas in San Francisco is a magical time. The air is crisp, but warm enough to walk around and explore this beautiful city. I also love this time of year as the city is full of gorgeous holiday lights.
You will find quite a few things to do this holiday season from theater performances to shopping in Union Square or Pier 39.
Many attractions close on Christmas Day, but you can still find fun activities such as cruising down Lombard Street, visiting the Japanese Tea Garden, or walking through the Mission to see its colorful murals.
You will also find several recommendations on places to eat for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Each section below offers several options at every price point.
Are you looking for a unique way to celebrate the holidays? How about jumping aboard a Hornblower Cruise? You will find cruises each day that include dinner, dancing, and fun on the SF Bay.
Some attractions close early on Christmas Eve, even if they are open the next day. Before you finalize your plans for Christmas Eve Day, make sure to check out the closing times for many of SF's major attractions.
The San Francisco Ballet performs two shows on Christmas Eve in San Francisco. You can catch their interpretation of The Nutcracker at 11am or 4pm at the War Memorial Opera House. This is one of their most popular performances every year and tickets sell out quickly. If you plan to go to one of these performances, I recommend buying your tickets right away.
Buy Tickets: SF Ballet's Nutcracker on Christmas Eve
Learn More: Additional Information on SF's Ballet
On Christmas Eve, you can also catch one of two performances of Cirque du Soleil's Kurios. Step inside an inventor's cabinet of tricks to find out what he might do next. Colorful characters, beautiful costumes, and daredevil acrobatics are again the highlights of this year's performance.
Times: 1:30pm and 4:30pm
Learn More: More Details on This Year's Performances
Buy Tickets: 2014 Performances of Kurios
This Dicken's Christmas classic plays at the American Conservatory Theater on Christmas Eve Day. Follow Ebenezer Scrooge as he gets a second chance to change the way he deals with Christmas each year. It's the perfect way to kick off this special holiday with friends and family.
Buy Tickets: On Sale Now
On Christmas Eve, head over to the Orpheum Theater to see Kinky Boots. It's a charming story about a shoe factory owner that sets his business back on track with the help of a special local entertainer in stilettos. This story will melt your heart as you watch this odd couple teach each other about life and what it has to offer when you just believe in yourself.
Times: 2pm & 8pm
Learn More: Other Performances this Month & Ticket Details
Dozens of restaurants in San Francisco open their doors on Christmas Eve. Most offer special menus so you can sit back, relax, and let the chef do all the work.
Most restaurants have not yet announced their 2014 menus. However, here is a look at the menus from 2013. Many offer a similar deal each year, so this is a good indication of what you can expect again this year.
I will update this list once restaurants begin releasing their menus for 2014.
Even though most have no yet released their menus, they are already taking reservations. Secure your spot early, by booking a table on OpenTable.com.
If you want a unique experience for dinner this Christmas Eve, then check out this dinner cruise offered by Hornblower Cruises:
Are you still looking for the perfect place to stay? Below you will find the best places to stay in Union Square, Fisherman's Wharf, and other fun neighborhoods. You will also find recommendations for luxury accommodations as well as budget friendly options.
Make sure you also check out the selection of hotel specials on TripAdvisor.com too before you book. This is where I always find great deals on hotel rooms including free parking or a discount off the night's room rate. Click here to check out their current selection of offers for the 2014 Christmas holiday season.
Many paid attractions close on Christmas in San Francisco. However, several key attractions are free and open almost every day of the year.
Even though many attractions close this day, you will still find a number of fun tours running. They range from the standard bay cruise to walking tours around SF's top districts. Here are a few of my favorites that plan to run on Christmas Day 2014.
After a fun day in San Francisco, head over to the Orpheum Theater for an 8pm performance of Kinky Boots. It tells the story of two very different people who come together to help each other out and end up teaching each other how beautiful life is when you just believe in yourself.
Learn More: Full December Theater Calendar
As with Christmas Eve, most restaurants have not finalized their menus or hours for Christmas Day. However, many remain open this day and offer an amazing menu for you to celebrate with your family.
The details below are from 2013. However, it will give you an idea on what to expect for 2014 as many of these places offer similar menus from year to year.
I'll update these once the 2014 menus are released.
I recommend you book a table as soon as possible, as restaurants fill up quickly. The easiest way to book your table is through OpenTable.com.
Hornblower also offers a great dinner and supper cruise on Christmas Day 2014. Make sure to book early as they sell out fast.
Many churches throughout San Francisco will offer a Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day Mass. To help you find one, I complied this list of the best churches in the city.
It includes some that you can visit as attractions. Others on the list offer less traditional services. Use it to find the experience you seek during your stay.
Learn More: A List of Churches in SF
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