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Thanksgiving in San Francisco 2016

Things to Do on Thanksgiving Day & Weekend

Are you spending Thanksgiving in San Francisco? If so, you will be excited to learn that there are a lot of fun events scheduled on Thanksgiving Day and throughout the weekend. In 2016, this popular holiday falls on November 24.

Several restaurants open their doors to serve up a variety of gourmet dishes. You can also do something a little different and enjoy your meal while cruising around the bay. In addition, many tour companies run most of their fun adventures throughout the day.

thanksgiving dinner

The rest of the weekend is also full of activity including the lighting of the Union Square Holiday Tree and Black Friday Shopping.

Details for Thanksgiving Day

Holiday Attraction Schedule

The best place to start your planning for 2016 is to check out the opening and closing times for all of SF's main attractions. While many museums and a handful of attractions close this day, you will still find several that open their doors to visitors.

>> Click Here for a Detailed Attraction Schedule for Thanksgiving 2016

Lunch & Dinner Recommendations

You will find dozens of restaurants open on Thanksgiving in San Francisco. Many will offer a prix-fixe meal with turkey, dressing, and all of the fixings. Some also offer you the chance to choose a meal from their menu.

>> Find my top picks for lunch or dinner this Thanksgiving

Cirque du Soleil's Luzia

Enjoy a performance of Luzia, this year's Cirque du Soleil show under the Big Top near AT&T Park. Luzia is a Walking Dream of Mexico. Watch talented acrobats perform in colorful costumes as they tell the story of a dreamy Mexico. There is one performance on Thanksgiving Day at 8pm. You will also find other performances all weekend long.

Tickets: On sale now for Thanksgiving night

Tickets: Other performances this weekend

More: Learn more about this show here

Events & Tours at Up to 50% Off on Goldstar on Thanksgiving Day

  • SF Bay Cruise Adventure: Leaves several times on Thanksgiving Day, 60-minute cruise around the bay, starts and ends in Fisherman's Wharf, Full price $30, Goldstar price $15*

  • Escape from the Rock Cruise: Leaves at 11am and 3:45pm from Fisherman's Wharf, cruises around the Bay with special attention to Alcatraz Island (does not stop on the island), Full price $36, Goldstar price $18*

*Small service fee at checkout.

Additional SF Cruises & Tours Running on Thanksgiving Day

  • Twilight Cruise with Hearty Appetizers
    • Relaxed, casual two-hour cruise with views and hearty appetizers
    • Enjoy live guitar music as you ride around the bay
    • Heated indoor viewing area as well as plenty of outdoor space
    • See the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge and Alcatraz Island
    • Hearty appetizers will fill you up and offer almost a full meal
    • Starts and ends on Pier 43 1/2
    • Leaves at 5:30pm
    • Full price $64, Goldstar price $32*
    • Buy your tickets online today

  • Thanksgiving Day Buffet Cruise
    • 3-hour cruise leaving Pier 3 at 3:30pm, boarding begins at 2:30pm
    • Gourmet Thanksgiving Day Dinner Buffet
    • Live band & cash bar
    • Views of the San Francisco Bay
    • Leaves from Pier 3 at Embarcadero at Washington Street
    • Dress code is business casual to dressy casual
    • Price is around $135 per person including taxes and fees
    • Book your tickets today!

  • Sunset Segway Tour
    • 2-hour tour around North Beach and Fisherman's Wharf
    • Cruise past top attractions such as Coit Tower and Ghirardelli Square
    • See the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz from the shores of Fisherman's Wharf at night
    • Guided tour with knowledgable guide
    • Starts with a 45 minute training session, so entire tour is around 3 hours with training
    • Book your tickets today on Viator

Find other top walking tours for Thanksgiving Day

Hotel Recommendations

Book your hotel early and save! Click the links below to find the best deals currently running during your stay.

TripAdvisor: What's the #1 hotel in San Francisco? Read reviews & find hotel deals on TripAdvisor!

Bookings: Save on your Hotel with, Planet Earth's #1 Accommodation Site. No booking fees ever!

Are you visiting with kids? Here is a quick guide to the 25 most kid friendly places in the city. All offer a fun experience for both your kids and you!

Shopping Options for Thanksgiving Day 2016

If you plan on going shopping, I recommend heading over to the Fishermans Wharf area. Most shops in that area are open this holiday.

Chinatown is another great option as most of the shops and restaurants run their regular hours.

If you head to Union Square, plan on most shops being closed as they prepare for Black Friday.

  • Ghirardelli Square: The management here lets the shops decide if they want to open or not on Thanksgiving Day. However, they did confirm that at least some of the shops will be open on Thanksgiving Day.

  • Pier 39: About 75% of the shops and restaurants on the pier are open

  • Union Square: A few shops in Union Square area also open, but it's more hit or miss in this neighborhood.

  • Chinatown: Here you will find inexpensive items such as San Francisco gifts, clothing and jewelry.

Other Events on Thanksgiving in San Francisco 2016

San Francisco Turkey Trot: This annual event only takes a limited number of entrants, around 1,400, and registration is open for 2016. The cost is $38 per person. The run takes place in Golden Gate Park. The kids race is at 8am and the Turkey Trot starts at 8:40am on Thanksgiving morning. The course is mostly flat.

Date & Time: Thursday, November 24 at 8:30am

Location: Polo Fields in Golden Gate Park

Learn More: Visit their website to register today

Thanksgiving Day 5k: Starts at 8am at AT&T Park and runs along the waterfront. Registration is open and it starts at around $20 per person. It benefits the San Francisco and Marin Food Banks.

Date & Time: Thursday, November 26 at 8:00am

Location: AT&T Park

Learn More: Visit their website to register today

Indigenous People's Sunrise Gathering at Alcatraz, also called Unthanksgiving Day: This one day event is to commemorate the 1969 - 1971 occupation of Alcatraz by the "Indians of All Tribes." This sunrise celebration includes traditional Native American dancing, singing, and other performances.
  • Boats leave Pier 33 every 15 minutes between 4:15am and 6am
  • Everyone must return from Alcatraz on the last boat at 8:45am
  • Tickets are $14 per person, kids under 5 are free
  • Get tickets by calling 415-981-7625 or from the ticket booth at Pier 33 Alcatraz Landing, the ticket booth opens that morning at 4:15am

Details for Thanksgiving Weekend

All museums and attractions run regular schedules for the rest of the weekend. All tour companies run their full schedules also. In addition to these activities, here are a few other fun things to check out this weekend.

Tree Lighting Ceremonies

You will find a variety of tree lighting ceremonies this weekend in SF. The biggest is the annual lighting of the tree in Union Square. This year, it's scheduled for Friday, November 25. The ceremony begins at 6pm with the tree lighting finishing at around 6:40pm.

More: Click here for a full list of tree lighting ceremonies and other holiday festivals this weekend.

The Lion King

Catch The Lion King at the Orpheum Theater. This classic theater performance is great for the entire family. You will find shows on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday after Thanksgiving. There are two performances on all three days. Get your tickets early as they are sure to sell out quickly.

Tickets: On sale now

Learn More: Find Additional Theater Performances in SF this Weekend

Cirque du Soleil's LUZIA

In addition to their performances on Thanksgiving Day, you will also find several Cirque du Soleil shows throughout the weekend. This year's show, LUZIA, showcases the colorful world of Mexico.

Tickets: On sale now for all shows

More: Read more about this year's performance

The King & I

Head over to the Golden Gate Theater for Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King & I. This classic performance is set in Bangkok in the 1860s. It tells the story of an unconventional relationship between the King of Siam and an English school teacher. She was brought over to teach his many wives and kids. You will find other performances all weekend long.

Tickets: Find other tickets for this weekend

More: Discover a full theater calendar here

San Francisco Opera

There are two performances by the SF Opera this weekend. The first is Madame Butterfly on Saturday (11/26) at 7:30pm. The second show Aida. It runs on Sunday (11/27) at 2pm. Both are at the War Memorial Opera House.

TicketsMadame Butterfly


More Details: 2016 SF Opera calendar

Event & Tour Tickets for Up to 50% Off

Save today by booking your tour and event tickets for Thanksgiving Weekend through Goldstar. They are already offering dozens of tickets at up to 50% off. Here is just a sample of the tickets currently available at a discount:

  • Bay Cruise Adventure: 60-minute cruise on the bay, leaves from Fisherman's Wharf several times each day this weekend, Full price $30, Goldstar price $15*

  • The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee: Tony winning musical, shows on Friday and Saturday, Full price $35 - $65, Goldstar price $17.50 - $32.50*

  • The Velveteen Rabbit: Shows on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at the Yerba Buena Center for the Performing Arts, Full price $55 - $75, Goldstar price $27.50 - $37.50*

Ice Skating Rinks

Each year throughout most of November and December, there is a temporary ice skating rink in Union Square. Each session is 90 minutes and starts on the hour, every even hour starting at 10am.

A second temporary ice skating rink is open at the Embarcadero Center throughout November and December at the Embarcadero Center.

Santa in San Francisco

Santa will make an appearance several times over the Thanksgiving Weekend. You will find him at special holiday events as well as at malls and shopping centers all around town.

More: Click here to find out where he will be

Concerts & Live Music

This Thanksgiving in San Francisco you will also find several great live shows. They include Griz at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, Switchfoot & Reliant K at the Nob Hill Masonic Center and Porter Robinson also at the Bill Graham.

More: Find a full list of shows this weekend in SF

Black Friday Shopping in San Francisco

Black Friday is a big shopping day in SF. This is when you'll want to head back to the places with larger retail stores for the best deals.

  • Union Square: Here you will find several shops with great Black Friday deals. Macy's is the anchor store here - with several others that surround it.

  • Westfield Shopping Center: There is also a large shopping center about five blocks from Union Square. It's an indoor mall with dozens of stores. It is on the corner of Market and Fifth Streets.

Find more details, maps and tips for shopping in this area.

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