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.
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.
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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
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
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
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
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
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.
*Small fee applies at checkout.
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.
Learn More: See the complete schedule of performances
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
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
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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: Certain show tickets at a discount on Goldstar
Tickets: On sale now
*Small service fee applies at checkout.
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.
Learn More: See the full calendar of upcoming shows
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
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
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.
Learn More: Find out more tour details on the webpage
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
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
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
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
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
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 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
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
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
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
Tours Above SF
in North Beach