December is a popular time to visit San Francisco. The weather is cool, yet perfect for both indoor and outdoor fun.
One of the reasons I love this time of year is that many of the attractions, shops, and other buildings around town are draped in gorgeous holiday lights.
It's also an amazing time to visit as there are tons of great San Francisco events in December 2014. Highlights include the Nutcracker performed by SF's famed Ballet Company, Cirque du Soleil's Kurios under the Big Top near AT&T Park, and several holiday festivals.
You will also find dozens of events to celebrate both Christmas and New Years. You will find temporary ice skating rinks around SF as well as thousands of Santa's taking over the city for this year's SantaCon.
Save money on your tours, activities and other events by purchasing your tickets through Goldstar. On their site, you will find tickets to amazing theater performances, popular bay cruises, and daily walking tours.
Here are just a few tickets for activities and events with dates in December.
*A small additional fee applies
Let's start with one of the two big holidays this month. On Christmas Eve and Day, you will find dozens of activities, tours, and fun things to do. Many restaurants also open their doors and prepare amazing meals so you can sit back and relax. Other top events these days include Cirque du Soleil performances, the SF Ballet's Nutcracker, and more.
Dates: December 24 & 25
New Year's Eve & Day also draw a large crowd into San Francisco. This is when you can catch the large fireworks display over the SF Bay, attend a glamorous 21+ NYE party, or hop aboard a cruise for an evening of celebration on the water.
Dates: December 31 & January 1
This month's biggest theater production is Kinky Boots. It tells the story of a shoe factory owner that saves his business with the help of a woman known for her stilettos. It's a heart warming story of this odd couple who teach each other that you can do anything you want as long as you believe in yourself.
Dates: December 2 - 28
Learn More: Full December Theater Calendar
In December, the San Francisco 49ers host both the San Diego Chargers and the Arizona Cardinals in their new stadium in Santa Clara. Both are afternoon games and start around 1:30pm.
Dates: December 20 & 28
Learn More: Full 49ers Schedule for 2014
The most popular places to stay in San Francisco are Union Square and Fisherman's Wharf. They are both close to the action and offer dozens of options from two-star budget hotels to five star luxury resorts. Click the links below for my recommendations in each district.
Join the American Conservatory Theater for their annual performance of A Christmas Carol. This holiday classic follows old Ebenezer Scrooge as he is forced to look at life in a different way. This year's show runs most nights between December 5 - 28.
Dates: December 5 - 28
Are you in a search for Santa in San Francisco? This holiday season he will make dozens of appearances all over the city from Ghirardelli Square to the SF Zoo. He will also offer you the chance to take his picture at the Japantown Center Malls, Stonestown Galleria, and Westfield Center Mall.
This November and December step inside an inventor's cabinet and see his bag of tricks during Cirque du Soleil's Kurios. This year's show will make you wonder if you could alter the course of reality at will. It also features gorgeous costumes, an amazing set, and daring acrobats.
Dates: November 14 - January 18
Learn More: Cirque du Soleil's 2014 Performances of Kurios
Don't wait until the end of the month to start celebrating the holidays. Instead, head out to one of these holiday festivals. You will find several within SF, but also a number of other fun events all around the SF Bay.
Dates: All Month Long
Learn More: Full Holiday Festival Schedule
All month long, you can catch performances by SF's world-renowned Symphony. All shows are at Davies Symphony Hall in SF's Civic Center District. Top shows this month include Deck the Halls on December 7, Peter and the Wolf on December 14, and Handel's Messiah on December 18 - 20.
Dates: Various Dates Throughout December
Learn More: Full December Calendar for the SF Symphony
In both November and December, you will find a few temporary skating rinks in San Francisco. One of them is in Union Square and the other is near the Embarcadero Center. Stop by to enjoy some skating during these cool SF winter days.
Dates: All Month Long
Head into some of SF's most luxurious lobbies in Nob Hill and Union Square to see their gorgeous holiday lights. As you check out the colorful lobbies, your guide will tell you more about each location and important events that took place there. The tour lasts just over 2 hours and includes stops at four to five locations.
Date: Sunday, December 21 at 1pm
One of the best evening events in SF is the California Academy of Science's NightLife. Every Thursday from 6pm to 10pm, they host a themed evening in the museum for those 21 and older. It includes special presentations, cocktails, and the opportunity for you to check out the exhibits with fewer crowds.
Dates: Most Thursday Nights at 6pm
Learn More: Details on What It's Like to Visit the Academy
Celebrate the 10th Annual SF Bal-Swing Fest on December 20. This one-day event features 1930s Swing. On Saturday afternoon, enjoy workshops to help you improve your steps. In the evening, head over for some great dances as well as a few contests.
Date: Saturday, December 20
Ghost Brothers of Darkland County is a collaboration by Stephen King, John Mellencamp, and T Bone Burnett. It a haunting story of fraternal love, jealousy, and revenge. It's performed by 15 actors and a four-piece live band. This thought-provoking piece is recommended only for those in their teens and older. It's plays at the Curran Theater for just one night only.
Date: Friday, December 5 at 8pm
See all of your favorite Star Trek characters at this year's San Francisco Star Trek Convention. For three days, gather with other fans to listen to guest speakers, participate in a video contest, and show off your costume in the Creation Costume Parade.
Dates: December 12 - 14
If you plan on visiting many of SF's top attractions, then I recommend checking out the SF CityPass Discount Card. It includes admission to the California Academy of Sciences, the Aquarium of the Bay, and the Exploratorium. It also includes a seven day Muni Pass Ticket, where you get an unlimited number of rides on SF's buses, light rail trains, street cars, and cable cars. You also get tickets to the 60-minute SF Bay Cruise. The pass includes all of this and more at a fraction of the cost.
Dates: All Month Long
Learn More: Details on the CityPass Discount Card
If you are looking for unique gifts for your friends and family, then head over to the Fort Mason Center for this December's Craft Fairs. On December 6 and 7, enjoy the West Coast Craft Fair which includes items from artists living on the west coast. The next weekend, head back to the Fort Mason Center for the SF Bazaar Holiday Show. This one features handmade goods from more than 150 local artists.
Dates: December 6 & 7; December 13 & 14
Learn More: More Information on the Fort Mason Center
This annual event is over five weekends in November and December. During these days, you can enjoy music on a variety of stages, shop the streets of Dicken's London, and savor foods from the British Empire and beyond. It's fun for the entire family and a great way to celebrate the season.
Dates: Weekends from November 22 - December 21
This December, you will find a number of top SF museums offering free admission days. Most of these free days are toward the beginning of the month. On this one day, you can visit attractions such as the Conservatory of Flowers, the Asian Art Museum, and the Legion of Honor at no cost.
Learn More: Calendar of Free Museum Days in SF for December
This month is full of amazing concerts throughout the city. On the schedule this month, you will find the Suicidegirls at the Regency Ballroom, American Football at The Fillmore, and Moby at the Fort Mason Center.
Learn More: Full List of Concerts this December in SF
Get ready for the oldest and largest lighted boat parade on the San Francisco Bay. This year's parade is on December 12. Expect more than 60 boats with lights and holiday decorations. You can see this free event from Aquatic Park, Pier 39, the Marina Green and Crissy Field.
Date: Friday, December 12
It's the time of year with the community starts making their parol lanterns and other decorations for the upcoming holiday season. This year's festival starts with a series of parol lantern workshops at the Bayanihan Community Center. The parols are made during the workshop and are paraded down Yerba Buena Lane, Jessie Square, and near St. Patrick's Church.
Date: Saturday, December 13
the Haight Ashbury
Things to Do