Christmas in San Francisco

Things to Do in San Francisco on Christmas Eve & Day 2013

Christmas in San Francisco is a magical time. The air is crisp, but warm enough to walk around and explore this beautiful city.

You will find quite a few things to do from theater performances to shopping in Union Square or Pier 39. Although many attractions close on Christmas Day, 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 one cruise each day that includes dinner, dancing and fun on the SF Bay.

Christmas Eve in San Francisco

Christmas Eve Dinner Recommendations

These are some of my favorite restaurants in the city that offer a special menu on Christmas Eve.

  • A16: 5 course, seafood inspired, prix fixe dinner for $80 per person, Marina District

  • Baker and Banker: 5 course tasting menu with choices of appetizers, entrees and desserts, Pacific Heights

  • Bisou: Four course special dinner menu, Castro

  • Bob's Steak & Chop House: Special Christmas Eve dinner, Financial District

  • Bourbon Steak: Regular dinner menu or a four course tasting menu, Downtown

  • Campton Place: 5 course prix fixe for $115 per person, Downtown

  • Frances: 4-course prix fixe for $90, additional wine pairing for $40 per person, Castro

  • Jardiniere: $110 prix fixe menu with an optional $45 for wine pairing, Civic Center/Hayes Valley

  • Maruya: Two prix fixe menus for $125 or $150 per person, Mission

  • Michael Mina: 3-course prix fixe menu for $90 per person or their 8-course tasting menu for $150, Financial District

  • Parallel 37: Four-course plated menu at $95 per person, additional courses available as well as a beverage pairing, Nob Hill

  • Trace: 4-course meal for $85, additional $35 for their cocktail and wine pairings

Seats are filling up quickly, so book your table today on OpenTable.com.

Hornblower Supper Cruise

At this time, Hornblower Cruises is offering one Christmas Eve Supper Cruise. Here are the details:

  • 3 hour cruise
  • Holiday supper buffet with gourmet selections
  • Live entertainment and dancing
  • Wine and cocktails available for purchase
  • Cruise leaves at 3:30 pm and returns around 6:30 pm
  • Dress code is upscale casual to business casual. Jeans are not allowed
  • Tickets are now on sale: Starting at $122.50 per person
  • For a limited time, find these tickets for just $73.49 (plus a small fee) on Goldstar

They are also offering a Christmas Day Supper cruise (learn more about this cruise).


SF Ballet's Nutcracker on Christmas Eve in San Francisco 2013

The San Francisco Ballet performs three shows on Christmas Eve in San Francisco. You can catch their interpretation of The Nutcracker at 11am, 2pm 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


Cirque du Soilel's Amaluna

On Christmas Eve, you can also catch one of two performances of Cirque du Soleil's Amaluna. Set on a mysterious island, Amaluna follows the story of the queen's daughter who falls in love with a sailor that lands on the island after a terrible storm. Colorful characters, beautiful costumes and daredevil acrobatics are again the highlights of this year's performance.

Times: 1:00pm and 4:30pm

Learn More: More Details on This Year's Performances


Beauty and the Beast

On Christmas Eve, head over to the Curran Theater for a live performance of Beauty and the Beast. This classic Disney movie and Broadway smash hit follows the love story of a small town girl and a beast. Little does she know, the beast is a handsome prince with a curse. To break the curse, he must find a way to truly fall in love before time runs out.

Time: 2pm

Learn More: Other Show Details & Ticketing Information


A Christmas Carol

This Dicken's Christmas classic plays at the American Conservatory Theater at 1pm 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: Find a Great Selection of Seats on TicketLiquidator.com


Attraction Schedules for Christmas Eve

Some attractions close early on Christmas Eve. Click here to find schedules for all of the top SF attractions on Christmas Eve.


Top Lodging Recommendations

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.


Christmas Day in San Francisco 2013

Brunch & Dinner Recommendations

Here are some of the top places open for Christmas Day.

  • 1300 on Fillmore: 3-course prix fixe dinner for $65, seatings at 2pm, 4pm and 6pm; Pacific Heights

  • Ame: 5-course holiday inspired tasting menu for $112 per person, wine pairings for an additional $68, seating from 4pm to 8pm; SOMA

  • Americano Restaurant: 3-course manu for $75 or $105 with wine pairing; Embarcadero

  • ANZU: Christmas Buffet with prime rib, roasted turkey, salads, traditional sides and lavish desserts from 3pm to 8pm; Union Square

  • Campton Place: 5-course menu at $125 per person; Downtown

  • L'Olivier: Four course prix fixe with dessert for $52; Financial District

  • Luce: Bubbly brunch breakfast from 11am to 2:30pm for $45 per person; four course menu for dinner for $85 per person with a wine pairing for $130; SOMA

  • The Oak Room at the Westin St. Francis: Christmas Buffet with a plated entree for $89 per person; Union Square

I recommend you book a table as soon as possible, as restaurants are filling up quickly. The easiest way to book your table is through OpenTable.com.


Supper Cruises

Hornblower Cruises offers one cruise on Christmas Day.

  • Christmas Day Supper Cruise
    • 3-hour cruise on Wednesday, December 25, 2013
    • Holiday supper buffet with gourmet selections
    • Live entertainment and dancing
    • Wine and cocktails available for purchase
    • Cruise leaves at 3:30 pm and returns around 6:30 pm
    • Dress code is upscale casual to business casual. Jeans are not allowed
    • Tickets are available now: Starting at $122.50 per person
    • Book tickets now
They are also offering one Christmas Eve cruise (find out more about them).

Attraction Schedules for Christmas Day

Many paid attractions close on Christmas in San Francisco. However, several key attractions are free and open almost every day of the year. Click here for a full Christmas Day schedule of SF's top attractions.


Tours Operating on Christmas Day

Here are just some of the tours running on Christmas Day in San Francisco 2013.

  • Golden Gate Bay Cruise
    • Cruises depart several times this day between 10am and 3:45pm
    • One hour cruise on the SF Bay
    • Starts at Fishermans Wharf, sails under the Golden Gate Bridge, around Alcatraz and many other attractions along the bay
    • Narrated tour, available in several languages, where you will learn all about SF's history and these famous attractions
    • Full bar with drinks and snacks
    • Book your tickets online today

  • San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge Bike Tour
    • 3 hour guided tour from Fishermans Wharf to Sausalito
    • Bike along SF's waterfront and over the Golden Gate Bridge
    • After the tour, you can continue biking or explore Sausalito
    • Ticket includes a ferry ride back to SF from Sausalito
    • Tours offered at both 10am and 1pm on Christmas Day
    • Tickets start at around $60 per person
    • Book your tour tickets today

  • Chinatown Walking Tour
    • Two to three hour walking tour of the famous Chinatown Neighborhood
    • Highlights include a stop at an Herbal Pharmacy, the Fortune Cookie Factory, and a Chinese Temple
    • You'll also walk past and learn more about other historical landmarks throughout the district
    • Walk through the Stockton Street Food Market
    • Tour starts at 10am
    • Tickets start at around $30 per person
    • Book your tickets today

Christmas Eve & Christmas Day Mass

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


Other Events in December

sf symphony new years eve ice skating
SF Symphony Performances
New Year's Eve Events
Full December Calendar

> > Christmas & Christmas Eve 2013

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