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.
Details for 2015 are still in the works. Read on for information on 2014 to get an idea on what to expect again this year. Also, stay tuned for updates as I'll provide details on what to see and do this holiday season once they are available.
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.
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
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.
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
On Christmas Eve at 2pm, you can catch the Smuin Ballet's performance of Uncorked: The Christmas Ballet. The show includes a mix of music. You will hear Mozart, Elvis, and even Irish folk band music. It's a fun way to kick off your Christmas holiday.
Head over to the Curran Theater at 2pm for Elf, The Musical. It's a funny tale about a young orphan named Buddy that ends up in Santa's bag. He is a strange character that does not realize he is human. During the performance, he goes on a journey of self-discovery including how he can help others rediscover Christmas.
Another funny performance on Christmas Eve is Santaland Dairies. It's a comedy by award winning writer David Sedaris. Local artist David Sinaiko plays Crumpet the Elf. This one-man performance shows you the funny side of being an elf in shopping mall Santalands.
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.
Here are some places to check out this Christmas Eve in San Francisco.
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.
Hornblower also offers two great cruises on Christmas Day 2014. Make sure to book early as they sell out fast.
Many restaurants open on Christmas Day also feature a special menu. Here are some of the places to try in 2014.
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.
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.
Head over to the Tides Theater on Christmas evening at 7pm for It's a Wonderful Life. This Radio Play is one of the all time Christmas classics that comes to life in a live radio style broadcast from the 1940s. It follows the story of a down on his luck man, George Bailey, and the angel that shows him what his city would have been like without him.
Enjoy live music on Christmas night at Biscuits and Blues in Union Square. Lance Canales and the Flood take the stage at 9:30pm. This roots-blues influenced Americana trio is from Fresno and will keep your toes tapping all night long.
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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