San Francisco Events in November 2015

Thanksgiving Day, Tree Lighting Ceremonies, & Santa

Put on your walking shoes and get ready to explore all of the top San Francisco events in November 2015. This month, you will find tons of fun activities from free walking tours to holiday lights celebrations.

Start the holiday season off right, with fun activities this Thanksgiving Day. Use my guide to find everything going on that weekend from which attractions are open (and when they are open) to the best places to grab brunch, lunch, or dinner to celebrate.

Other highlights this month include the US Half Marathon, the Great Dickens Christmas Fair, and the Renegade Craft Fair. You can also explore the city on one of my self-guided walking tours, head to a museum to check out one of their temporary exhibits, and sample the amazing local cuisines on a food walking tour.

Top Discounts this Month

Save on your visit to San Francisco with discounts on You will find discounts on everything from tickets to theater performances to tours. It's a fun way to do even more during your visit.

Here are just a few of the top savings options this November in San Francisco:

Red & White Bay Cruise Adventure

  • 60 minute cruise around the bay
  • See top attractions such as Alcatraz Island, Sausalito, and the Palace of Fine Arts
  • Cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge - twice!
  • Get great views of the waterfront and SF Skyline
  • Several cruises a day leave SF's Pier 43 1/2
  • Full Price: $30 | Goldstar Price: $15*

Twilight Cruise Around the Bay

  • Head out on the water at dusk for evening views of SF's top attractions
  • Two-hour cruise on a boat with heated indoor viewing decks with large windows as well as plenty of outdoor seating
  • See the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the Bay Bridge
  • Enjoy a hearty appetizer buffet and one hot or cold beverage (more for sale at the cash bar)
  • Listen to live entertainment in the background
  • Cruise leaves every night at 5:30pm
  • Full Price: $64 | Goldstar Price: $32*

*Some tickets include a small service fee

Ice Skating During the Holidays

Every year, SF sets up two temporary skating rinks around the holidays. The first one is in Union Square. This year, it's open starting on Wednesday, November 4. It's open until after the new year. The second is at the Embarcadero Center. This rink is open from November 4 - January 3. Both are first come, first served and offer 90-minute skating sessions.

Dates: November 4 - January 16

Free Walking Tours of the Golden Gate Bridge

Would you love to learn more about one of SF's most iconic attractions? If so, then check out these free walking tours of the Golden Gate Bridge given by the Public Library. They are offered twice a week, every Thursday and Sunday, at 11am. All you need to do is show up, sign in, and enjoy the tour.

Dates: Every Thursday and Sunday at 11am

Learn More: Full Schedule for All Free SF Library Walking Tours

Tree Lighting Ceremonies & Holiday Festivals

Enjoy one of several fun tree lighting ceremonies or festivals this holiday season. Every year, you will find large events in Union Square, Pier 39, and Ghirardelli Square. You will also find celebrations in the Presidio, at the Ritz Carlton in Nob Hill, and the Fairmont. Most leave their displays up all season long, so you can see them even after the initial ceremony.

Dates: Several this Month

Learn More: Find the Entire Schedule for 2015

Thanksgiving Day & Weekend Activities

Make this Thanksgiving Day special by spending it in San Francisco. During the holiday, you will find several fun activities from dinner cruises to tours around the city. I also provide a number of recommendations for brunch, lunch, and dinner so you can celebrate with the entire family.

Dates: Thursday, November 26 - Sunday, November 29

Learn More: Discover All the Fun Activities Planned this Thanksgiving

SF Symphony in November

This November, the SF Symphony offers a number of performances at Davies Symphony Hall. They include Celebrating the French: Bizet, Ravel, and more, MTT as he conducts Sibelius featuring Kavakos, and Disney in Concert: The Night Before Christmas featuring the music of Danny Elfman.

Dates: Several in November

Learn More: Additional Details & The Full Calendar for November

Discover the Best Hotel Deals

Don't pay full price for your stay in San Francisco. Find discounted room rates at certain hotels by clicking on the banners below. Some also offer discounts on parking, wifi, breakfast, and more. Click the links below to start saving today!

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

Booking: Find great deals all around San Francisco for your upcoming stay!

49ers Football Games

This month, the San Francisco 49ers have two home games. The first is on November 8 against the Atlanta Falcons. The second is on November 29 against the Arizona Cardinals. Both games are at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara.

Dates: November 8 & 29

Learn More: Find the Full 2015 49ers Schedule

SF Theater: IF/Then

Head to the Orpheum Theater for this month's performances of If/Then. This modern musical is from the creators of Next to Normal and shows what it is like to live in New York today. It shows how the city that never sleeps is full of possibilities and endless opportunities.

Dates: November 10 - December 6

Learn More: Full November Theater Calendar

Food Tours

If you love sampling new foods, then check out these foods tours. You can sample chocolates in the Mission, enjoy the flavors of Japantown, or roam around the Ferry Building checking out their gourmet goodies. As you sample, your expert guide will tell you more about the history of location where you are tasting as well as more about the foods themselves.

Dates: Several Days in November

Learn More: Read All About My Favorite Food Tours

Cavalia: Odysseo

Experience Cavalia: Odysseo at AT&T Park this November and December. This is the second production by Cavalia that mixes equestrian arts, stage acts, and high tech theatrical effects all into one performance. The show includes 70 horses and 45 artists that show the true relationship between human and horse. This spectacular, high energy event is behind AT&T Park in Lot A.

Dates: Several Dates Between November 19 and January 10

Great Dickens Christmas Fair

Head over to the Cow Palace for five weekends in November and December to celebrate at that Great Dickens Christmas Fair. This event takes you back to Victorian London with music, food, and dozens of places to shop for holiday gifts.

Dates: November 21 - December 20

San Francisco Chronicle International Auto Show

Uncover a wide range of cars at this year's SF Chronicle Auto Show. This prestigious event offers you the chance to take a look at next year's models, exotic sports cars, and dominator street rods. You will also see electric, hybrid, and other alternative fuel vehicles. This nine day event is at the Moscone Center in downtown SF.

Dates: November 21 - 29

Learn More: Visit Their Site for Additional Details

Where to Visit Santa

Santa loves San Francisco and plans to make several appearances this holiday season. You can see him at places such as the SF Zoo, Ghirardelli Square, and the Japantown Center Malls. Click the link below for a full list of his appearances.

Dates: Several in November & December

Learn More: Review the Entire Schedule of Santa Stops

Free Museum Admission Days

Head over to the Asian Art Museum, the de Young Museum, or the Contemporary Jewish Museum during their free admission day this month. Toward the beginning of the month, many museums in SF offer free admission for just one day. Everyone is welcome. Get there early to secure your place in line!

Dates: Several Days in November

Learn More: Full Schedule of Free Days in November

Jewel City at the de Young Museum

Stop by the de Young Museum to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Panama Pacific Exposition. All month long the museum will display around 250 works of art from this world fair that took place in SF in 1915. This exhibit is called "Jewel City."

Dates: Open All Days Except Mondays & Thanksgiving Day in November

Learn More: What It's Like to Visit the de Young Museum

A Perfect Day in SF's Chinatown

Discover Chinatown on your own with my self-guided one-day itinerary. In one day, you will visit several Chinese temples, stop by a fortune cookie company, and find discounted goods along Grant Avenue.

Dates: Any Day of the Month

Learn More: Discover the Full Itinerary

SF Opera in November

In November, the SF Opera will perform The Magic Flute (through November 20), Die Meistersinger Von Nurnberg (November 18 - December 6), and The Barber of Seville (November 25 - December 9). All performances are at the War Memorial Opera House.

Dates: Several this Month

Learn More: Full Schedule this Month

November Film Festivals

Every November, you will find three film festivals. The first is the American Indian Film Festival, which includes films about the struggles and successes of the American Indian Communities. The next one is the Transgender Film Festival which explores this community through independent films. The final festival is SF Urban Film Festival. This one offers films all about cities and civic engagement.

Dates: Several in November

Learn More: Find More on All Three Festivals in November

Other Great Pages to Explore

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mission dolores
25 Hidden Gems
to Explore
A Perfect Day
in the Mission
Top Activities
for Kids

Events from Earlier this Month

Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos)

This year's Day of the Dead event is on Monday, November 2. It's a traditional Meso-American holiday that honors those that have died and the cycle of life. This year's event includes The Festival of Altars at Garfield Park between 4pm and 1pm. The annual procession starts at 22nd and Bryant at 7pm. It continues around the Mission District until around midnight. The local community welcomes everyone to participate.

Date: Monday, November 2 starting at 4pm with the Procession Starting at 7pm

Josh Grobin Live in Concert

Josh Grobin is coming to San Francisco on November 3 and 4. He will play two shows at the Nob Hill Masonic Center. This singer, songwriter, actor, and record producer has sold more than 25 million records in his career. Some of his hits include "You Raise Me Up," "To Where You Are," and "February Song."

Dates: November 3 & 4

More Concerts: Find the Full November Concert Calendar

Riverdance at the Golden Gate Theater

This year is the 20th Anniversary of Riverdance . Enjoy one of their high energy performances at the Golden Gate Theater. They are performing a handful of shows from November 4 - 8.

Dates: November 4 - 8

Discovery Days at AT&T Park

This year's Discover Days is once again at AT&T Park. This one-day event (part of the larger Bay Area Science Fair) is free and includes more than 150 interactive displays, activities, and demonstrations.

Date: Saturday, November 7

US Half Marathon

The US Half Marathon is one of the most popular races every year. This annual event starts in Aquatic Park in Fisherman's Wharf. It then runs along the water front and up and over the gorgeous Golden Gate Bridge. The race turns around for another run across the bridge and back to the starting point at Aquatic Park. Spots for this race fill up quickly, so click the link below to register today!

Date: Sunday, November 8

Gloria Steinem at the Nourse Theater

See Gloria Steinem on Monday, November 9 at the Nourse Theater. Steinem is an American political and social activist, feminist, and journalist. She is nationally recognized for her work on women's rights in the 1960s and 70s. She will be in conversation about her life and work with poet, educator, playwright, and screenwriter Chinaka Hodge.

Date: Monday, November 9

Vintners Reserve Event at the Metreon

Experience this farmer's market style shopping experience at its new location in the Metreon. Sample wines before you buy them from more than 100 local producers. The majority of wines on hand feature a 90+ point rating. Most are priced at over $50, but you will find a limited number of wonderful, highly-rated wines under $50.

Dates: November 13 & 14 from 6pm to 9:30pm

An Evening with David Sedaris

Head over to the War Memorial Opera House on Monday, November 16 to see David Sedaris live. He will be on stage for one night only reading all new works. After the show, he will do a book signing.

Date: Monday, November 16

Exploratorium: Thursday Evening Happy Hours

Every Thursday evening, the Exploratorium opens its doors to those 21 and older for a weekly happy hour event. During this event, you can roam around the museum, with other like minded adults, to check out all of their amazing exhibits. Book your tickets in advance, so you don't have to wait in line when you arrive.

Dates: November 19

Learn More: Find Out What It's Like to Visit the Exploratorium

International Hip Hop Dance Fest

Join other hip hop lovers at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater for this year's International Hip Hop Dance Fest. This event features the work of some of the most influential hip hop groups from around the world.

Dates: November 20 - 22

Holiday SF Craft Brew Festival

Sample craft beers at this fall's SF Craft Brew Festival. Seventy-five brewers will be on hand offering more than 150 different beers, ciders, and meads. You'll get to taste seasonal selections, as well as, limited production brews. In addition, there will also be live music, informational seminars, and more.

Dates: November 21 & 22

Renegade Craft Fair

Shop for the best holiday goodies at this month's Renegade Craft Fair. The organizers of this event carefully handpick the best artists to display their handmade goods. You will find jewelry, clothing, and other great gift items.

Dates: November 21 & 22

Learn More: More Details About this Year's Event

SF Beer & Music Festival at SoMa StrEat Food Park

Drink cold brews and enjoy gourmet eats at the first San Francisco Beer and Music Festival. This event will be at SoMa StrEat Food Park at 428 11th Street (across from Costco). There will be more than 50 different beers on hand from local brewers. In addition to beer and food, you can also listen to live music all evening long. The event lasts from 6pm to 10pm.

Date: Saturday, November 21

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Hi there! I'm Jill and I love writing about San Francisco travel as much as I love exploring my amazing city. Thanks for stopping by and let me know how I can help!

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