Holidays in San Francisco: The Best Way to Celebrate Each Holiday

Jill at the Golden Gate Bridge

by Jill Loeffler  •

It's always fun spending the holidays in San Francisco. The city is full of activities with special events, cruises, and other fun things to do.

This list includes both national holidays and others that draw large crowds of people such as Valentine's Day, Halloween, and New Year's Eve.

City Hall in Red and Green for the holidays.

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New Year's Day

SF starts New Year's right with many special events on New Year's Day. You will find holiday cruises as well as plenty of places to watch the college football bowl games.

New Year's Day is January 1 in San Francisco. Since it's a national holiday, many attractions are closed.

Learn More: All New Year's Events and Activities

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is always the third Monday in January. This three-day weekend features several special events.

The largest of these events is the parade/march and festival on the actual holiday. It includes a march through the streets of San Francisco. You can also listen to speakers, attend a film festival, and enjoy the work of local artists.

The festival runs from 8 am to 7 pm on the holiday Monday.

Learn More: Full Schedule of Events on MLK Day

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is February 14. This romantic holiday features activities all day long.

If this holiday falls during the week, you will find additional events on the closest weekend to it.

Learn More: Valentine's Day in SF

President's Day Weekend in SF

Another holiday in February is President's Day. This holiday is the third Monday in February.

Since it's a national holiday, it turns the weekend into a three-day weekend. Many people flood to the city for the long weekend. At times, it also coincides with Valentine's Day Weekend.

More: Events on President's Day Weekend in SF

Saint Patrick's Day

A band playing during the St. Patty's Day Parade in SF.

Saint Patrick's Day is not a national holiday, but one that San Francisco celebrates in a large way. The holiday is on March 17.

You will find celebrations on the Saturday before or after this holiday. The day begins with a large parade down Market Street and a fun festival in the Civic Center Plaza.


Easter is another holiday that draws a large number of visitors into San Francisco. Every year, this holiday lands toward the end of March or in early April.

On Easter weekend, you will find kids' activities such as Easter egg hunts. You will also find a church service at the cross on top of Mt. Davidson on Sunday morning with many attendees.

Learn More: Easter in SF

Mother's Day

Mother's Day is always the second Sunday in May. This weekend, you will also find special activities designed to spoil your mom. They range from special cruises to Sunday morning brunches.

Learn More: Mother's Day Activities

Memorial Day

A US flag in front of a gravestone during the annual Memorial Day event

Memorial Day is a national holiday. It's always the last Monday in May, which creates a three-day weekend.

This holiday weekend is full of activities. You can catch a baseball game in either SF or Oakland, enjoy one of several theater performances, and dance all weekend long at the Carnaval Festival in the Mission.

On Monday, head out to the National Cemetery for their annual event which starts at 10:30am.

It's a national holiday, but many attractions stay open.

Father's Day

Father's Day is the only holiday in June. It's always the third Sunday in June.

On this day, you can typically catch a free afternoon performance at the Stern Grove Festival, ride around the SF Bay on a Father's Day Brunch Cruise and catch a Giants or the Oakland A's game in the afternoon.

Learn More: Father's Day in SF

Independence Day

fireworks over the san francisco bay on fourth of july

One of the largest holidays every year in San Francisco is Independence Day on July 4. All day long, you can celebrate this holiday in Fisherman's Wharf with live music, special events, and cruises.

The day ends with a large firework display on the waterfront. The fireworks start just after 9:30 pm and last for around 30 minutes. On a clear day, it's one of the most beautiful fireworks displays in the world!

It's a national holiday, so some major attractions are closed.

Labor Day

The final holiday of the summer is Labor Day. It lands on the first Monday of September.

This three-day weekend features free performances of Shakespeare in the Park, Union Square Live, and Yerba Buena Gardens. You can also catch a baseball game in either SF or Oakland.

One of the biggest events this weekend is the large arts and music festival in Sausalito, which is just across the bay.

It's a national holiday, but many attractions stay open.

Learn More: Labor Day SF


Throw on your favorite costume and head to San Francisco to celebrate Halloween. On this day, you will find plenty of activities for kids, dozens of 21+ costume parties, and a variety of other activities all around SF.

This holiday falls on October 31. If it falls on a weekday, you will find some events on the day of the holiday. However, most events will fall on the Friday and Saturday on the weekend closest to the holiday.

Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving is another important holiday in San Francisco. It is always the fourth Thursday in November.

On this day, several restaurants plan a special holiday meal for lunch, dinner, or both. Several tours run this day and some of SF's top attractions remain open.


The Union Square tree at Christmas time in San Francisco.

Christmas Eve is on December 24 and Christmas Day is on December 25.

On Christmas Eve, you will find quite a bit to do. Most of the attractions stay open until the late afternoon. You will also find some great events that night including Cirque du Soleil, the SF Ballet's Nutcracker, and several theater performances.

On Christmas Day, you will find that most attractions are closed and there are very few events planned. However, many restaurants are open and they serve special menus for lunch, dinner, or both.

New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve offers dozens of 21+ events, dinner cruises, and a large firework display at midnight. The local transit systems stay open late to help people traveling around the bay to celebrate in San Francisco.

Most attractions close early, but are still open until the late afternoon or early evening. You will also find several restaurants with special meals, including some that have a view of the fireworks display.

Comments? Questions? Suggestions?

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