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San Francisco Events in November 2016

Thanksgiving Day, Holiday Lights Celebrations & More!

Enjoy the best San Francisco events in November 2016. This month, you will find dozens of fun activities from free walking tours to holiday lights celebrations.

Other highlights this month include the Great Dickens Fair, SF 49ers games, and Thanksgiving Day and Weekend activities. You can also enjoy a night out at the theater, opera, or symphony.

Union Square November

In addition, you will find two special ice skating rinks in the city this time of the year. One is in Union Square and the other is near the Embarcadero Center.

For some of the links on this page, I receive a small commission when you purchase. You don't pay more when you buy through me and it gives me the chance to offer you all this great content for free!

SF Theater: The Lion King

The biggest theater performance this month is Disney's incredibly popular Broadway sensation The Lion King. With unforgettable scenes of the Serengeti that burst to life on stage with stunning animal costumes and music, it's no wonder the "World's #1 Musical" has come back to San Francisco by high demand. Catch it while you can!

Dates: November 2 - December 31

Tickets: On sale now for all dates

Learn More: Get theater performance details

Holiday Ice Rinks in SF

Though it doesn't snow in San Francisco, the city has ways of bringing wintry fun right to the heart of downtown. People of all ages love the holiday ice rinks installed at the Embarcadero (right across from the Ferry Building) and Union Square (right next to the giant Christmas tree and the stores all decked out to the nines). 90-minute sessions are affordably refreshing and a great break from all the hustle and bustle of this part of town.

Dates: November 2 - January 8

Learn More: Get details on the Union Square ice rink

Learn More: Find out more about the Embarcadero ice rink

Day of the Dead in SF

SF's Mission District has been celebrating Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) since the 1970s. Every year, the community sets up a festival of altars in Garfield Park from 4pm - 11pm, and holds a procession at 7pm starting from 22nd and Bryant. If you want to see what this Latin American tradition is all about, head over to check out the art and music. If you want to honor a deceased loved one yourself, feel free to bring flowers, mementos, and candles.

Dates: November 2

Learn More: Read more about the SF celebration

American Indian Film Festival

If you are curious about American Indian culture, traditions, and current struggles, join the American Indian Film Festival in its 40th year this November. This festival lasts over a week, showing a variety of short stories, documentaries, and feature films, several of which have been directed by American Indian filmmakers. All films will be screened at the AMC Metreon Theater in downtown SF.

Dates: November 4 - 12

Learn More: Find more details and the schedule of screenings

Discovery Day at AT&T Park

A great outing for the whole family, Discovery Day at AT&T Park is a free event that transforms the ballpark into a science wonderland. This event draws thousands each year to conclude the larger Bay Area Science Festival. Ignite the inner scientist in you with over 150 hands-on exhibits all over the field.

Date: Saturday, November 5

Learn More: Find out more on the Bay Area Science Festival website

Half-Priced Tickets for November 2016

The first place to look for discounts is on Goldstar. They offer deals on tickets to tours, the theater, and more. These are just a few of the discounts you will find this month.

  • San Francisco Bay Cruise: 60-minute cruise around the bay, leaves from Fisherman's Wharf several times every day, Full price $30, Goldstar price $15*

  • Chinatown Food Tours: Saturday and Sundays in November, a chance to sample a variety of tasty Chinese dishes, Full price $60, Goldstar price $39*

  • Twilight Cruise: 2-hour evening cruise around the bay, includes a hearty appetizer buffet, Full price $64, Goldstar price $32*

*Small fee applies at checkout.

SF Symphony

Spend an evening at the elegant Davies Symphony Hall, steps away from City Hall, for a performance of the world renowned San Francisco Symphony. Among the many shows you can enjoy this month are: Yuja Wang plays Chopin, Warsaw Philharmonic plays Beethoven, and For Ella: Patti Austin sings Ella Fitzgerald with the San Francisco Symphony.

Dates: Several

Learn More: See the complete schedule of performances

Golden Gate Half Marathon

The Golden Gate Half Marathon is an annual event that takes runners over the Golden Gate Bridge during the race. Your run starts near Fisherman's Wharf at the Municipal Pier. You will then run along the waterfront, up and over the Golden Gate Bridge, and return back to San Francisco. The race ends in the beautiful Presidio.

Date: November 6

Learn More: Click here to visit their site and to register today

San Francisco International Tea Festival

This year's International Tea Festival is scheduled for Saturday, November 6 at the Fort Mason Center. At this event, you will get the chance to sample a variety of teas from around the world. You will also receive your own teacup to sample during the event. All of the teas will be on sale too, so you can easily pick up anything you want!

Date: November 6

Learn More: Visit their site for ticketing information

Top Hotel Deals in San Francisco

Are you still looking for a great place to stay during your visit to San Francisco? If so, I recommend starting your search on one of these three hotel sites. The links below will take you immediately to the deals section so you can find a great rate for your stay!

49ers Football

Head over to Levi's Stadium to watch the San Francisco 49ers play their third season at this new stadium in Santa Clara. This month, the 49ers will be taking on the New Orleans Saints and the New England Patriots at home. Go Niners!

Dates: November 6 & 20

Learn More: Click here for the full schedule and links to tickets

SF Opera: Madame Butterfly

Head over to the SF Opera House in the Civic Center District to see Madame Butterfly. It follows the heartbreaking story of a young geisha and the American naval officer she marries. Performances run from November 6 to December 4.

Dates: November 6 - December 4

Learn More: Visit the SF Opera page for more information

Transgender Film Festival

Each day of this annual film festival offers a different program that includes four to seven films selected from independent filmmakers internationally. These works of art showcase and raise awareness about the transgender community. The films will be screened at the Roxie Theater in the Mission District, and at the Castro Theater on Castro Street.

Dates: November 10 - 13

Learn More: Get detailed information about this film festival

South Asian Film Festival

This film festival is a can't-miss event for anyone intrigued by South Asian cultures--including stories from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Tibet, and Afghanistan. Enjoy everything from documentaries to Bollywood over four days of screenings in SF's Japantown and Castro Districts, plus one day in Palo Alto. You can buy tickets to individual movies or a pass to see all SF or Palo Alto films.

Dates: November 10 - 13, 19

Learn More: Get ticketing information and more about this film festival

SF International Hip Hop Dancefest

This year marks the 18th annual SF International Hip Hop Dancefest, the first festival of its kind to honor the artistry of hip hop in a non-competitive environment. The festival features performances by professional dance companies from all over the world. This all-ages event takes place at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater over the course of three days.

Dates: November 11 - 13

Learn More: Check out the festival website for details

Il Divo Live in Concert

Head over to the Nob Hill Masonic Center on Sunday, November 13 to see Il Divo live in concert. This award winning classical vocal group was named "Artist of the Decade" at the Classic Brit Awards in 2011. This internationally known group has nine albums and this is your chance to hear their best hits, as well as some of their newer material.

Date: November 13 at 8pm

Tickets: On sale

Learn More: Discover a full calendar of live music performances this month in SF

SF Urban Film Fest

We all know San Francisco is a big, beautiful, complex city. But what does that mean? Let yourself delve deeper into this urban world with the 3rd annual week-long SF Urban Film Fest, whose film screenings, panel discussions, and storytelling workshops are designed to inspire and awaken civic engagement.

Dates: November 14 - 20

Learn More: Find out more on their website

Cirque du Soleil in SF

The world-famous acrobatic extravaganza Cirque du Soleil is in town this year with Luzia: A Waking Dream of Mexico. This show will take you on a magical, mystical journey through Mexico's natural and built landscape, accompanied by fantastic music. Head over to the parking lots near AT&T Park where you can't miss the big, beloved circus tent.

Dates: November 18 - January 8

Discounted Tickets: Find tickets at up to 50% off for select dates

Tickets: On sale now

Learn More: Get the complete SF show schedule, and buy your tickets today!

Discounts on Other Shows in November

*Small service fee applies at checkout.

Additional Things to Do in SF in November

In addition to all of our fun San Francisco events in November, you will also find a variety of other fun things to do. These include cruises, tours, and free activities. You can also head out on a day trip, visit one of our top museums, and shop at some in some of our most popular districts.

More: Find 50+ fun things to do this month

SF Comedy Shows

San Francisco has a fantastic comedy scene. You can enjoy live performances of improv or standup nearly every night of the week. This month, you can catch Steve Rannazzisi, Jay Pharoah, Ali Wong, Dana Gould, and many more on stage at SF's biggest comedy clubs. In addition, this is the home of the famous Beach Blanket Babylon, a long-running, ever-changing satirical musical with fabulous hats.

Dates: Several

Learn More: See the full calendar of upcoming shows

San Francisco Auto Show

This is the 59th year for the San Francisco Chronicle International Auto Show. In 2016, it will once again be held at the Moscone Center in SF's SOMA District. Stop by to see the latest trends in the auto industry and some of the newest models on the market.

Dates: November 19 - 27

Learn More: Visit their site for the full schedule of events and ticketing info

Daily Free Walking Tours

Do you love history? Are you interested in hearing more about San Francisco's unique districts and culture? If so, then check out one of the free walking tours offered by SF City Guides (part of the SF Library). Every day of the week, you will find five to ten tours available all around SF. There is no cost to join a tour, but they do request a small donation at the end to keep their program running strong.

Dates: Every Day

Learn More: Click here for a schedule of tours each day in SF

Shark Diving Adventure

Take an adventure of a lifetime and come face to face with some of the world's largest great white sharks in their natural habitat. During this season, the famous Farallon Islands just of the coast of San Francisco offer incredible opportunities to view sharks feeding on local seals. You can watch them from the boat, or get up close in the underwater shark cage.

Dates: Weekends

Learn More: Find out more tour details on the webpage

Save the Waves Film Festival

If you are fascinated by the ocean, its wildlife, surfing, or coastal communities, you will appreciate the Save the Waves Film Festival. Not only do you get an evening full of shorts, documentaries, and feature films about the sea--you also help raise money for a good cause. The San Francisco event takes place at the Victoria Theater in the Mission District.

Dates: November 19

Learn More: Get the details about this ocean-themed film festival

Tree Lighting Ceremonies

This November make sure to check out one of the tree lighting ceremonies and/or holiday celebrations in San Francisco and beyond. They range from the popular tree lighting celebration at Pier 39 to the lighting of the menorah at Union Square. Click the link below for this year's schedule of events.

Dates: Several in November and December

Learn More: See the entire schedule of events this year

Renegade Craft Fair

This year's holiday Renegade Craft Fair is on November 19 and 20 at the Fort Mason Center. More than 300 artists will be on hand showing and selling their handmade goods. The event is free to enter and lasts from 11am to 6pm both days.

Dates: November 19 & 20

Learn More: Find out more about this November's event

Free Museum Admission Days in November

This is your chance to visit some of SF's top museums for free! Toward the beginning of the month museums such as the Asian Art Museum, the de Young, and the Conservatory of Flowers invite you to visit their exhibits for free.

Dates: Several dates in November

Learn More: Discover the schedule of free days for November

Museum Exhibits in SF

Take advantage of SF's world-class museums, each offering unique exhibits throughout the year. November is your last chance to see Native Portraits: Contemporary Tintypes by Ed Drew at the California Historical Society, and Typeface to Interface: Graphic Design from the Collection at the SF MOMA. And if you're looking for something new, opening this month at the de Young is Frank Stella's Prints, and at the Legion of Honor, Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection.

Dates: Throughout November

Learn More: See the full list of top museums and their exhibits

Great Dickens Fair

Celebrate the holiday season at this unique festival. The Great Dickens Fair is a recreation of Victorian London and includes costumed characters, lively entertainment, and food and drink. It's a great place to also pick up some interesting holiday gifts for those on your list. The event is held at the Cow Palace.

Dates: Weekends from November 19 - December 18, plus the day after Thanksgiving

Learn More: Visit their site for more event details

Santa Claus in SF

Santa Claus is coming to town! He will be making his way all around San Francisco in both November and December. Some of his most popular stops are at the Westfield Mall, the Japantown Center Malls, and the SF Zoo.

Dates: Various Dates in November and December

Learn More: Uncover a list of places Santa plans to stop in 2016

Thanksgiving Day and Weekend Activities

You will find dozens of fun events this Thanksgiving in San Francisco. Use my planning guide to find the best places for a traditional or not-so-traditional holiday meal. Head out on a tour, visit some of SF's famous attractions, or cruise around the SF Bay. My guide also gives you recommendations on what do to all weekend long.

Date(s): Thanksgiving Day is November 24; Weekend is November 25 - 27

Learn More: Find out what to do on Thanksgiving Day & Weekend in 2016

A Perfect Day in Chinatown

Enjoy a perfect day in Chinatown with my self-guided tour. Stop by historic temples, learn more at the Chinatown Museum, and sample dim sum. You will also get the chance to get in a little shopping for yourself or anyone on your list. In one day, you will see all of the best of this interesting SF District.

Dates: Any day of the week

Learn More: Check out my perfect day in Chinatown itinerary

SF Bal Fest

Calling all ballroom and swing dancers! If you like to get your jitterbug, lindy hop, balboa, and shag on, this weekend is going to be a blast. From Friday to Saturday, you have the chance to attend workshops and classes on these particular styles of dancing, as well as a contest, dance party with live band, and Q&A with championship dancer Patti Lacey.

Dates: November 25 - 27

Learn More: Find out more on the SF Bal website

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