Thanksgiving in San Francisco 2015
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 2015, this popular holiday falls on November 26.
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.
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 2015 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.
Learn More: Click Here for a Detailed Attraction Schedule for Thanksgiving 2015
SF Cruises on Thanksgiving Day
One of my favorite ways to spend this holiday is on a dinner cruise with my loved ones. You can enjoy a seated dinner or take a more casual cruise that offers a buffet. All offer an unforgettable experience.
Last year, all of these cruises sold out. I recommend booking early to avoid missing your chance for a lovely evening on the water to celebrate Thanksgiving.
- Thanksgiving Day Buffet Cruise
- 3-hour cruise leaving Pier 3 at 3:30pm, boarding begins at 2:45pm
- 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!
- Thanksgiving Seated Dinner Cruise
- 3-hour cruise leaves Pier 3 at 3:00pm
- Four-course seated dinner that includes coffee, sodas, ice tea, and water
- Cash bar for wine, beer, cocktails
- Live music during full cruise
- Price is around $128 per person including taxes and fees
- Book your tickets today!
- 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
- Not a full meal, but a fun way to nibble on appetizers as you enjoy SF's famous sites from the boat
- Starts and ends on Pier 43 1/2
- Leaves at 5:30pm
- Tickets start at around $64 per person (Goldstar price starts at $32* per person)
- Discover a limited number of tickets on sale at up to 50% off on Goldstar!
Other Fun SF Tours on Both Thanksgiving Day & Weekend
Most SF Tour Companies remain open during this busy holiday. They offer an almost complete schedule of tours both on Thanksgiving Day and throughout the weekend.
Some of my favorite tours that run this day include bike tours over the Golden Gate Bridge, walking tours through some of SF's top districts, and the standard SF Bay Cruises. Here are a few I recommend.
Waterfront Segway Tour
- 3 hour tour includes a 45 minute training session to get your comfortable on the Segway before you begin
- Cruise around North Beach, Fisherman's Wharf and the SF Waterfront
- Narrated by a local expert guide
- Two tours on Thanksgiving at 10am and 3pm
- Start at $69.99 per person
- Buy tickets today
Red & White Fleet Bay Cruise
- 60-minute cruise around the SF Bay
- Individual headsets, so you listen to the narrator (or not!)
- Leaves from Fisherman's Wharf
- Rides past the Palace of Fine Arts, Fort Mason, Fort Point National Historical Site
- Cruises under the Golden Gate Bridge (twice!)
- Floats by Alcatraz Island and Angel Island
- Tours all day long from 10am to 3:45pm
- Full price is $30 per person, Goldstar price starts at $15 per person*
- Buy tickets today on Goldstar at up to 50% off
Chinatown Walking Tour
- Two hour walking tour
- Starts at 10am in Chinatown
- Walk through this vibrant neighborhood as you learn more about it's history and the culture of its residents
- See its back alleys and side streets where the locals live
- Visit a Buddhist temple, an herbalist's shop, the fortune cookie factory and more
- Book tickets for this tour today
Find other top walking tours for Thanksgiving Day
Lunch & Dinner Recommendations
Below are some of my recommendations for Thanksgiving in San Francisco. Most offer a traditional meal and all serve only the prix-fixe offering on that day (unless otherwise noted).
- 501 Zingari: 3-course dinner for $59.00 each, special children's menu is avaialble
- 750 Restaurant & Bar: 3-course prix-fixe menu with your choice of Roast Turkey, Salt Baked Prime Rib, or Seared Pacific Salmon, $65 Adult or $95 with wine pairing & $25 Children under 12, 2pm to 10pm, call to book a table at 415-433-6600 or book online at opentable.com
- Big Four: Thanksgiving Day feast with all of the trimmings, seating tables between 2pm and 8pm
- Bluestem Brasserie: Four-course prix-fixe for $75 per person, 2pm to 8pm
- Bourbon Steak: Four-course pre-fixe for $125 per person
- The Cavalier: $80 per guest, prix-fixe menu between 11:30am and 7:30pm, wine pairing an additional $80 per guest
- L'Olivier: Four-course prix-fixe for $46.50 per person plus tax and service, open starting at 3pm
- The Oak Room in the Westin St. Francis: Choice of 5 entrees (roasted turkey, prime rib, pacific salmon, pork loin, 3 cheese manicotti), $97 per person, $47 for kids under 12
- RN74: Three-course prix-fixe for $85 per person
*Note: All prices exclude taxes and gratuity
Once you have decided where you want to go for your Thanksgiving meal in San Francisco, I highly recommend you make a reservation immediately. Since there are a limited number of tables, it will be impossible to get a spot without a reservation. You can either contact the restaurant directly or use OpenTable to reserve your spot today.
Are you staying all weekend in SF? If so, then check out some of these fun brunch spots throughout the city. They range from the famous Mama's of North Beach to Brenda's French Soul Food.
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Shopping Options for Thanksgiving Day 2015
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 2015
Turkey Trail Trot: This annual event only takes a limited number of entrants, around 1,400, and registration is open for 2015. The cost is $34 per person. The run takes place in Golden Gate Park. The start is at Polo Fields at 8:00am on Thanksgiving morning and the course is mostly flat.
Date & Time: Thursday, November 26 at 8:30am
Location: Polo Fields in Golden Gate Park
Learn More: Visit Active.com to Register
San Francisco Turkey Trot: Starts at 8am at AT&T Park and runs along the waterfront. Registration is open and it starts at around $34 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 EventBright to Register
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 4:45am 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 in Union Square: The annual lighting of the tree in Union Square is scheduled for Friday, November 27. The ceremony begins at 6pm with the tree lighting finishing at around 6:40pm. Click here for a full list of tree lighting ceremonies and other holiday festivals this weekend.
- Ice Skating Rink in Union Square: 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.
- Embarcadero Skating Rink: A second temporary ice skating rink is open throughout November and December at the Embarcadero Center.
- Santa in San Francisco: Santa will make an appearance several times over the Thanksgiving Weekend. Click here to find out where he will be.
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:
- Sunset Cruise on the Bay
- Foodies! The Musical
- Golden Gate Park Segway Tour
- Muir Woods Day Tour
- Electric Bike Tour Over the Golden Gate Bridge
- North Beach Food Tour
Click here to learn more and check out Goldstar's selection of tickets today!
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.
Catch Idina Menzel in a performance of If/Then at the Orpheum Theater. It's a musical about what it's like to live in New York today. You will find shows on the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday after Thanksgiving.
Tickets: On Sale Now
Learn More: Find Additional Theater Performances in SF this Weekend
SF 49ers Play at Levi's Stadium
The San Francisco 49ers take on the Arizona Cardinals the Sunday after Thanksgiving at their new stadium in Santa Clara. Head over for pre-game celebrations and to watch the game. Kick-off is at 1:05pm Pacific Time.
Learn More: Full Schedule & Details to Attend a Game
Buy Tickets: On Sale Now
San Francisco Opera: Die Meistersinger
On Friday night, catch the SF Opera's rendition of Die Meistersinger. This music drama includes three acts and is the longest running opera performed today. It starts at 6pm at the War Memorial Opera House in the Civic Center neighborhood.
More Details: 2015 SF Opera Calendar
SF Symphony: The Night Before Christmas
Catch a performance from the SF Symphony on Saturday night. Listen to the SF Symphony as they perform The Night Before Christmas. The show starts at 8pm at the Davies Symphony Hall in the Civic Center district.
More Details: SF Symphony November Calendar
Fun SF Tours
*Some Goldstar tickets include a small additional service fee
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