Thanksgiving in San Francisco 2013

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 here for both on Thanksgiving Day and throughout the weekend. This year, Thanksgiving falls on November 28.

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.

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

Things to Do in San Francisco on Thanksgiving Day

Lunch & Dinner Recommendations

Several restaurants are open for both lunch and dinner. Here are some recommendations for restaurants offering special meals in 2013.

  • 1300 on Fillmore in Pacific Heights: Pre-fix menu for $59 per person, children under 12 is $28; seatings at 2pm, 4pm and 6pm

  • Ame in SOMA: 5 course holiday tasting menu, seating guests from 4pm to 8pm, they will also offer their regular Contemporary American menu

  • ANZU in Union Square: Thanksgiving Day Buffet from 3 - 8pm that includes Roast Turkey with all the fixings, Prime Rib and several salads, sides and desserts.

  • Bob's Steak & Chop House on the Embarcadero: Traditional three course prix fix menu; $65 per person ($90 per person with wine pairing); kids 12 and under $20

  • Campton Place in Union Square: 5-course Thanksgiving Day menu, $125 per person

  • Garibaldi's on Presidio: 3 course prix fix menu with turkey and all the fixings, $65 per person

  • Luce in SOMA: 3 course menu served from 11am to 9pm; $72 per person ($105 with wine pairing), half off or kids 12 and under

  • Luna Park in the Mission: Full brunch menu with bottomless drinks until 2pm; special Thanksgiving Day menu from 2pm to 9pm

  • The Oak Room at the Westin St. Francis in Union Square: Thanksgiving Day Buffet with a plated entree for $89 per person, $44 for children

  • One Market Restaurant on the Embarcadero: Four course traditional holiday menu served from 1pm to 8pm; $64 per person, children 10 and under $29

  • Zingari Ristorante in Union Square: Traditional three course holiday meal for $59 per person served from 1pm to 10pm; their regular Italian dinner menu will also be available

*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.

Hotel Recommendations

Are you still looking for the perfect place to stay during your visit to SF? Below you will find the best hotels in each neighborhood. You will also find recommendations for hotels based on your budget and for certain amenities (such as pet friendly). Click the links below to learn more about each one.

San Francisco Bay Cruises on Thanksgiving Day 2013

Hornblower Cruises offers two cruises again this year on Thanksgiving Day. Both leave in the afternoon on Thursday, November 28 and offer dinner for all guests onboard.

HornBlower Cruises

  • Thanksgiving Day Buffet Cruise
    • 3-hour cruise leaving Pier 3 at 3:00pm
    • 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 including taxes is around $93+ taxes and other fees per person (estimated total at $122.50 per person)

  • Thanksgiving Day Seated Dinner
    • 3 Hour Cruise leaving Pier 3 at 3:30pm
    • Gourmet four-course seated dinner
    • Live band & cash bar
    • Views of the San Francisco Bay
    • Dress code is business casual to dressy casual
    • Price including taxes is around $88 + taxes and other fess per person (estimated total at $116 per person)

More Tours & Cruises

Here are just some of the tours running on Thanksgiving in San Francisco.

Bridge to Bridge Cruise

  • 90-minute cruise around the bay
  • Individual headsets with narration in 12 languages
  • Cruise the bay and see attractions such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island and the Bay Bridge
  • Seating both indoors and out, you can also move around throughout the cruise
  • Leaves at 12:00pm and 4:15pm from Fisherman's Wharf
  • Buy your tickets today!

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 your tickets
  • Find other top walking tours for Thanksgiving Day

San Francisco Highlights Half-Day City Tour

  • 3.5 hour tour, perfect introduction to SF
  • Take either the 10am or 2pm tour on Thanksgiving Day
  • Ride through the Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown and North Beach neighborhoods
  • Cruise by other major landmarks such as the Palace of Fine Arts, the Presidio and several Victorian Homes
  • Make three photo stops including the Golden Gate Bridge, Twin Peaks (with 360 views of the city of San Francisco - weather permitting) and Golden Gate Park (10 to 15 minute stops)
  • Live commentary from your knowledgeable guide throughout your tour
  • Book your tickets
  • Discover a list of other popular city bus tours on Thanksgiving Day

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!

*A small additional fee may apply

SF Theater

The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess

Set in Charleston's fabled Catfish Row, The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess is the story of Bess, a woman trying to break free from her troubled past. The only one that can truly help her is the crippled, but courageous Porgy. Threatened by old lovers and scandalous events, Bess' struggles with her past as her relationship with Porgy turns into a deep and powerful romance. Winner of the 2012 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.

Run Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes

Dates: Thursday, November 28 at 8pm (also runs throughout the weekend)

Location: Golden Gate Theater

Tickets: Available Now

Learn More: Full SF Theater Calendar for November

Cirque de Soleil's Amaluna

Explore a mysterious and colorful island run by women in Cirque du Soleil's Amaluna. This high-energy show tells the story of the queen's daughter who falls for a young sailor that lands on the island after a terrible storm. The performance includes high-flying acrobats, beautiful costumes and several surprises throughout.

Date: Thursday, November 28 at 8pm (several additional performances throughout the weekend)

Location: Under the Big Top Near AT&T Park

Learn More: Find more details on this year's Cirque du Soleil performances

Shopping Options for Thanksgiving Day 2013

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

You can also check out some of the stores in Union Square or Chinatown.

  • 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 neighborhoods. Many of them are closed to prepare for Black Friday.

  • Chinatown: Most of the shops in Chinatown are open on Thanksgiving Day. Here you will find inexpensive items such as San Francisco gifts, clothing and jewelry.

What else can you do on Thanksgiving Day? Click here to find Thanksgiving Day schedules for the top attractions in San Francisco.

Other Events on Thanksgiving in San Francisco 2013

  • Turkey Trail Trot: Annual event only takes a limited number of entrants, around 1,400, registration begins in the fall of 2013
    • Run takes place in Golden Gate Park, starts at Polo Fields and the course is mostly flat
    • Run starts at 8:30am on Thanksgiving morning
    • Participants can either sign up for the 5-mile run or the 3-mile walk
    • More registration details

  • Life Time Turkey Day 5k
    • Starts at 8am at AT&T Park, runs along the waterfront and finishes at City Hall
    • The course is mostly flat with a few small hills and passes several attractions including the Ferry Building, the Contemporary Jewish Art Museum and the Asian Art Museum
    • Benefits the San Francisco and Marin Food Banks
    • Registration details

  • 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
    • 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

Additional Activities Thanksgiving Weekend

All attractions resume regular hours the day after Thanksgiving in San Francisco. All tours also resume this day.

Here are just a few other special events scheduled for Thanksgiving Weekend:

  • Tree Lighting in Union Square: The annual lighting of the tree in Union Square is scheduled for Friday, November 29. 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.

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.

Half-Priced Tour and Event Tickets

Even though Thanksgiving is a busy time of year in SF, several tour and event companies offer a handful of half-priced tickets for the weekend. Here are the best tickets available.

Redwoods & Wine Country Escape

  • Spend the day visiting Muir Woods and Sonoma & Napa Valley
  • Tour starts with a drive over the Golden Gate Bridge
  • Spend an hour in Muir Woods National Park (park fee of $7 not included)
  • Head north to wine country and visit three wineries (tasting fees included)
  • Includes time for lunch and additional tastings (not included) in the small town of Sonoma
  • Return to San Francisco around 7pm
  • Full Price: $95.00 to $105.00 | Goldstar Price*: $47.50 to $52.50
  • Buy your tickets today!
  • Find other top day tours to wine country

All Day Grand Tour of San Francisco

International Gem and Jewelry Show (in San Mateo)

  • Just a few minutes south of the city in San Mateo
  • Discover beautiful gems, jewelry, beads, and minerals
  • Find everything from colorful gemstones to high end gold and silver jewelry
  • Friday (12pm to 6pm), Saturday (10am to 6pm) or Sunday (11am to 5pm)
  • At the San Mateo County Event Center at 2495 Delaware Street
  • Full Price: $8.00 | Goldstar Price: $0.00*
  • Buy tickets today!

*Additional fees may apply (but the overall price is still much lower than the full price you will find elsewhere)

Theater, Symphony and Opera Performances this Weekend

The Book of Mormon

This hit Broadway musical opens on Wednesday, November 27. From the creators of South Park and Avenue Q, this production will keep you laughing all night long. It contains explicit language, so no children under 5 are allowed.

More Details: Theater Calendar for November & Thanksgiving Weekend

San Francisco Opera: The Barber of Seville

On Friday night, catch the SF Opera's rendition of The Barber of Seville. This classic comical performances features colorful set design with charming characters. It starts at 8pm at the War Memorial Opera House in the Civic Center neighborhood.

More Details: 2013 SF Opera Calendar

SF Symphony

Catch a performance from the SF Symphony on Saturday night. Listen to the SF Symphony along with world-renowned maestro Semyon Bychkov as they perform Britten's War Requiem, which is said to be his more powerful piece of work. The show starts at 8pm at the Davies Symphony Hall in the Civic Center district.

More Details: SF Symphony November Calendar

Fun SF Tours

barbary coast trail wine tour from sf san francisco bay cruises
Self Guided
Walking Tours
Wine Tasting
Cruises on
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