San Francisco Events in November 2021

Jill on a windy day at the Golden Gate Bridge

by Jill Loeffler  •

Updated: September 23, 2021

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Enjoy the best San Francisco events in November 2021. This month, you will find dozens of fun activities from free walking tours to holiday lights celebrations.

Other highlights this month include the festivals, SF 49ers games, and Thanksgiving Day and Weekend activities. You can also enjoy a night out at the theater, opera, or symphony. Read on for more about what's on this month in SF.

Union Square Holiday Tree in November.Holiday Tree in Union Square in November

In addition, you will find special ice skating rinks in the city this time of the year. 

Disclaimer: I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.

Thanksgiving Day and Weekend Activities

San Francisco events in November including Thanksgiving Day events and holiday tree lighting.

Date(s): Thanksgiving Day is November 25; Weekend is November 25 - 28

You will find dozens of fun events this Thanksgiving in San Francisco. Use my planning guide to find the best places for a traditional or not-so-traditional holiday meal. 

You will also find many other fun things to do on Thanksgiving Day from riding a bike over the Golden Gate Bridge to cruising around the SF Bay on boat. Many of our top attractions are open also including the California Academy of Sciences, the Palace of Fine ArtsBotanical Gardens and others.

The holiday weekend is also full of fun activities and most attractions, tours and activities offer a regular schedule all weekend long.

My guide also gives you recommendations on what do to all weekend long.

>> Find out what to do on Thanksgiving Day & Weekend

Holiday Tree Lighting & Other Holiday Events

Tree Lighting Ceremonies: This November make sure to check out one of the tree lighting ceremonies and/or holiday celebrations in San Francisco and beyond. They range from the popular tree lighting celebration at Pier 39 to the lighting of the menorah at Union Square. The tree lighting ceremonies typically begin the weekend before Thanksgiving. You will also find several large celebrations the weekend of Thanksgiving as well as in early December. Click the link below for this year's schedule of San Francisco events in November and December. See the entire schedule of events this year

Ice Skating Rinks: Though it doesn't snow in San Francisco, the city has ways of bringing wintry fun right to the heart of downtown. People of all ages love the holiday ice rinks installed at the Embarcadero (right across from the Ferry Building), Civic Center Plaza, and Union Square (right next to the giant Christmas tree and the stores all decked out to the nines). 90-minute sessions are refreshing and a great break from all the hustle and bustle of this part of town. Find a list of the 12 top rinks in the SF Bay Area

Great Dickens Fair (Postponed until 2022): Celebrate the holiday season at this unique festival. The Great Dickens Fair is a recreation of Victorian London and includes costumed characters, lively entertainment, and food and drink. It's a great place to also pick up some interesting holiday gifts for those on your list. The event is held at the Cow Palace and runs from 10am to 7pm. You can either pick up tickets from their website in advance or buy them at the door when you arrive. Visit their site for more event details.

Santa Claus in SF: Santa Claus is coming to town! He will be making his way all around San Francisco in both November and December. Some of his most popular stops are at the Westfield Mall, the Japantown Center Malls, and the SF Zoo. You can also see him at tree lightning ceremonies around town. Don't miss your chance to let Santa know if you've been naughty or nice! Uncover a list of places Santa plans to stop this year

Golden State Warriors Basketball

Big Screen outside the Chase Center where the Warriors Play in SF.Big Screen outside the Chase Center where the Warriors Play in SF.

Dates: 11/3, 11/5, 11/7, 11/8, 11/10, 11/12, 11/21, 11, 24 & 11/26

Tickets: Find tickets for all games this month

Some of the best San Francisco events in November also include games at the Chase Center

The 2017/2018 NBA Champs play almost a half a dozen games this month against teams such as the Charlotte Hornets, Houston Rockets, and Chicago Bulls.

All games are played in the new facility here in San Francisco, the Chase Center. It's an easy train ride from Union Square or bus ride from other locations throughout the city. Head over to cheer on (or against!) the Warriors. 

>> Read more about attending a Golden State Warriors game

49ers Football

Dates: 11/7, 11/15, & 11/28

Location: Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara

Tickets: Find tickets to all three games

Head over to Levi's Stadium to watch the San Francisco 49ers play their sixth season at this new stadium in Santa Clara. 

The stadium is about an hour south of San Francisco and is easy to get to by both public transit and by car.

This month, the 49ers will be taking on the Seattle Seahawks (11/11), Arizona Cardinals (11/17), and the Green Bay Packers (11/24). Go Niners!

>> Click here for the full schedule and links to tickets

San Jose Sharks Hockey

Dates: 11/2, 11/4, 11/6, 11/20, 11/22, 11/24, & 11/26

The San Jose Sharks hockey games are another one of the more popular SF Bay Area events in November. This month they take the ice at home for seven home games.

They play host to teams such as the Buffalo Sabres, St. Louis Blues, and the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

>> Full schedule and more details to attend a game in San Jose

Broadway Shows & Theater Productions

Dates: Several in November

You will find two Broadway shows on stage this month including My Fair Lady and A Christmas Carol. Some of the top San Francisco events in November include these and other theater performances. 

My Fair Lady (11/2 - 11/28): This classic musical by Lerner and Low is the perfect performance for anyone that loves romance, singing, dancing. The lovely Eliza Doolittle (who sells flowers) takes speech lessons from the well-spoken Henry Higgins to become more ladylike. During this attempt to refine herself, she meets Freddy Eynsford-Hill, and he falls in love with her as they both find out whether or not true love conquers all! All shows are at the Orpheum Theater. Find tickets

A Christmas Carol (11/26 - 12/26): Another one of the top Broadway shows in November in San Francisco is A Christmas Carol. It's the classic story of Ebenezer Scrooge. Performances start the day after Thanksgiving and run through the Christmas holidays. Shows are at the Golden Gate Theater. Find tickets.

The Great Khan (10/13 - 11/13): Head over to the San Francisco Playhouse this November for The Great Khan. Jayden, African American teenager who just wants to be his game-playing self, tries not to get involved with trouble. But when he saves a girl from sexual assault, he and his mother are forced to move for his safety. Ant starts rethinking her tough Black persona while Jayden debates if he should toughen up for the good of himself or others. Then Genghis Khan shows up.

>> Find additional shows around SF this month

>> More about the theater district

San Francisco Events in November: Concerts

Dates: Nightly in SF

Every night of the week, you will find a variety of great concerts all around San Francisco.

Top performances are at venues such as the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, the Nob Hill Masonic Center, and the Fillmore. Additional top venues include the the Independent and the Great American Music Hall. 

Below are just a few of the top shows. Make sure to visit the November concert page for a full list of performances this month. Click the names of each performer for ticketing information.

>> Full November concert calendar

Museums: Free Days & Exhibits for November

de Young Museum exhibitsExhibits inside the de Young in SF

Free Museum Admission Days in November: This is your chance to visit some of SF's top museums for free! Toward the beginning of the month museums such as the Asian Art Museum, the de Young, and the Conservatory of Flowers invite you to visit their exhibits for free. On free days, they open their permanent collection to all visitors. You can spend just an hour cruising around or all day long. Some of their temporary exhibits do require a paid ticket even on free days. Discover the schedule of free days for November.

Museum Exhibits: Take advantage of SF's world-class museums, each offering unique exhibits throughout the year. These are a few of the top exhibits scheduled for display this month. 

  • Contemporary Jewish Museum: GOLEN, A Call to Action
  • de Young Fine Arts Museum: Judy Chicago, A Retrospective
  • Museum of Modern Art: Contemporary Optics

Click the links below for a full schedule of upcoming San Francisco events in November at our top museums.

>> See the full list of top museums and their exhibits

SF Comedy Shows

Dates: Several

San Francisco has a fantastic comedy scene. You can enjoy live performances of improv or stand-up nearly every night of the week. 

This month, you can catch Michael Rapaport,  Andrew Schulz, and many more on stage at SF's biggest comedy clubs. 

Our comedy shows are some of the best San Francisco events in November.

>> See the full calendar of upcoming shows 

Additional Festivals in SF in November

SF Coffee Festival (11/13 & 11/14): This is the perfect festival for those that are in love with coffee! Sample unique flavors from a large variety of exhibitors. You can also listen to live music as you savor your coffee samples. The event is at the Fort Mason Center and starts at 9am.

San Francisco Ski & Snowboard Festival (11/5 - 11/7): The ski season is almost here and this festival is a great chance to stock up on new gear. This annual event features discounts on clothing, skis and everything else you need for a season in the mountains.

You can also test your skills on the climbing wall, watch the BMX and skate ramp show, and mingle with other snow lovers. The event is at Pier 35.

Renegade Craft Fair (11/6 & 11/7): This year's holiday Renegade Craft Fair is on November 11 and 12 at the Fort Mason Center. More than 300 artists will be on hand showing and selling their handmade goods.

The event is free to enter and lasts from 11am to 6pm both days. Find out more about this November's event

SF International Hip Hop Dancefest (11/21 - Online Only): This year marks the 23rd annual SF International Hip Hop Dancefest, the first festival of its kind to honor the artistry of hip hop in a non-competitive environment. The festival features performances by professional dance companies from all over the world.

This all-ages event takes place at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater over the course of three days. Check out the festival website for details.

Cabfest Wine Tasting Event (TBD): San Francisco offers lots of wonderful wine tasting events throughout the year, but this one is truly special. It's your chance to sample some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa, Sonoma, Washington, Bordeaux and from other regions around the world.

This year's event features more than 80 wines. There will also be several food and wine experts that will be guest speaking throughout the weekend. The event offers several activities with the most popular being the Grand Tasting Events.

The first Grand Tasting is on Saturday from 1pm to 5pm. The second tasting is on Sunday afternoon from 12pm to 4pm. Find a full calendar of upcoming wine tasting events around SF.

Film Festivals in November

Arab Film Festival (11/18 - 11/24 - 2021): This year's Bay Area Arab Film Festival will host screenings in San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, and Palo Alto. For over a week, you will have the chance to catch a glimpse of Arab culture not often seen on mainstream TV, movies, or the news.

Delve into these stories brought to you by Arab filmmakers, representing the complexity of Arab communities around the world. 

South Asian Film Festival (Online Only, 11/19 - 11/21): This film festival is a can't-miss event for anyone intrigued by South Asian cultures--including stories from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Tibet, and Afghanistan.

Enjoy everything from documentaries to Bollywood over four days of screenings online.

American Indian Film Festival (Online Only, 11/5 - 11/13): If you are curious about American Indian culture, traditions, and current struggles, join the American Indian Film Festival in its 46th year this November.

This festival lasts over a week, showing a variety of short stories, documentaries, and feature films, several of which have been directed by American Indian filmmakers.

Transgender Film Festival (Online Only,11/11 - 11/14): Each day of this annual film festival offers a different program that includes four to seven films selected from independent filmmakers internationally.

These works of art showcase and raise awareness about the transgender community. 

Save the Waves Film Festival (TBD): If you are fascinated by the ocean, its wildlife, surfing, or coastal communities, you will appreciate the Save the Waves Film Festival. Not only do you get an evening full of shorts, documentaries, and feature films about the sea--you also help raise money for a good cause. The San Francisco event takes place at the Victoria Theater in the Mission District. 

Additional San Francisco Events in November

Golden Gate Half Marathon (11/7): The Golden Gate Half Marathon is an annual event that takes runners over the Golden Gate Bridge during the race. Your run starts near Fisherman's Wharf at the Municipal Pier. You will then run along the waterfront, up and over the Golden Gate Bridge, and return back to San Francisco. The race ends in the beautiful Presidio. Click here to visit their site and to register today

San Francisco International Auto Show (TBD): This is the 62nd year for the San Francisco Chronicle International Auto Show. In 2019, it will once again be held at the Moscone Center in SF's SOMA District. For five straight days, check out the latest vehicles on display throughout the showroom. See up and coming models from Chevy, Ford and BMW. You will also get the chance to see unique cars all weekend long. It's a fun way to spend some time this Thanksgiving Day Weekend and one of the most highly anticipated San Francisco events in November. Visit their site for the full schedule of events and ticketing info

Discovery Day at Oracle Park (Moved to Spring 2022, Date is TBD): A great outing for the whole family, Discovery Day at Oracle Park is a free event that transforms the ballpark into a science wonderland. This event draws thousands each year to conclude the larger Bay Area Science Festival. Ignite the inner scientist in you with over 150 hands-on exhibits all over the field. It runs from 10am to 4:30pm. It's an all ages event and one of the top family friendly San Francisco events in November! Find out more on the Bay Area Science Festival websiteAdditional free things to do this month in SF

SF Opera (11/21, 11/23, 11/27, 12/1 & 12/3): Head over to the SF Opera House in the Civic Center District to see Cosi fan tutte. It's a classic piece by Mozart about two friends that are told by a new friend that they can not trust women. They disagree, but their new friend does everything in his power to prove himself right. Will they fall into his trap or stay true to their fiancés?   Visit the SF Opera page for more information.

Day of the Dead (11/2): SF's Mission District has been celebrating Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) since the 1970s. Every year, the community sets up a festival of altars in Garfield Park from 4pm - 11pm, and holds a procession at 7pm starting from 22nd and Bryant. If you want to see what this Latin American tradition is all about, head over to check out the art and music. If you want to honor a deceased loved one yourself, feel free to bring flowers, mementos, and candles. Read more about the SF celebration.

SF Vintner's Market (TBD): Calling all wine lovers! This month's SF Vintner's Market is a great place to sample new wines and purchase your favorites from more than 200 wineries. You will find several local producers from Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, and more. It runs from 3pm to 6pm both for two days. Don't miss out on our chance to pick up some great presents for your friends, family, and yourself! This year's event will once again be at the Golden Gate Club in the Presidio.

SF Symphony (Several performances between 11/1 - 11/27): Spend an evening at the elegant Davies Symphony Hall, steps away from City Hall, for a performance of the world renowned San Francisco Symphony. Some of the top San Francisco events in November with the SF Symphony include Gimeno Conducts Mendelssohn & Mozart (11/4 & 11/5), MTT: Mozart, Tilson Thomas & Schumann (11/12 - 11/14), and MTT: Still, Higgins, & Copland (11/18 - 11/21). See the complete schedule of performances

SF Bay Cruises

Daytime cruise on the SF BayDaytime cruise on the SF Bay

Some of the top San Francisco events in November are our daily cruises. You can head out on the SF Bay for an hour or two and enjoy the amazing views all around you.

Many of these cruises leave from Fisherman's Wharf and return to the same place they started. Almost all of them cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge, along the San Francisco shoreline, and make their way near or around Alcatraz Island.

Some of the cruises also offer dinner, dancing or a few drinks along with your ticket. The sunset or evening cruises are also popular.

Here are a few of my top picks for November.

Sunset Sailing Cruise: This 90-minute sunset tour is a fun way to relax and unwind during your stay in November. This month, it runs every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and leaves at 4pm. Also included with your ticket, you will get two complimentary beverages and some light appetizers. Find availability for the Sunset Sailing Cruise.

60-Minute Bay Cruise: The most popular cruise all year long is the 60-minute Bay Cruise. This one provides you with a great highlight of the bay. It takes you under the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz. It starts and ends in Fisherman's Wharf. It leaves several times every day of the year. Find tickets for this cruise.

Additional Fun Cruise for November

Bus & City Tours

Our bus and city tours are also very popular San Francisco events in November. You will find a variety of options that take you all around town to learn more about our top attractions.

The Hop On Hop Off buses are great for those visiting for the first time. In one or two days, you will get a great lay of the land and be able to easily get from one attraction to the next.

Our city tours are also popular. In just a few hours, you will drive past and learn all about places such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf and others. Many of them offer photo stops along the way.

Here are a few more details and some of my recommendations.

Big Bus Tours Hop On Hop Off: Big Bus Tours is one of my top picks for hop on hop off bus tours. They offer 1- and 2-day tickets which will give you plenty of time to get around SF. They include more than 20 stops and the entire round trip tour is just over 2-hours. Find out more about their options.

SF Movie Sights Tour: If you love movies, you are going to really enjoy this fun movie tour around San Francisco. You will drive past and learn more about spots around town that were featured in movies and shows such as Mrs. Doubtfire, The Princess Diaries, Full House, and Interview with the Vampire. Find tickets for November.

More SF Bay Area Events in November

Big Sur Food & Wine Festival (11/4 - 11/6): The Big Sur Food & Wine Festival is known is without question one of the premier festivals in Northern California. If you are looking for great views, food, wine, and music, this is definitely the place for you. Not only are there 4 days of wine and food, but there are also special tours, trips and the always amazing, "Wine and Swine at the Henry Miller Library" where you will have a special celebrity chef dinner, with over 20 different wine makers and bands all night long. Visit their site for more detailsMore events in the Monterey Bay Area this month

Napa Valley Film Festival (11/9 - 11/14): A favorite of all the SF Bay Area events in November includes the incredible Napa Valley premiere film festival. This event hosts more than 300 directors, 100 films and more events than you could ever imagine for 5 full days. With movies ranging from massive box office releases to the some of the smallest artistic films, you will have your pick of what to watch. There are also food and wine demos from some of the top chefs and, of course, wine tasting and dinners. Full calendar of Napa events this month

Hands-on History Days: Happy Birthday San Jose (11/21): Time travel back to the days when San Jose was just starting up with a visit to the Peralta Adobe at the Peralta Adobe-Fallon House Historic Site. This one day event, starting at 11 am and ending at 4 pm, includes live music, live performances, and tours of the Peralta House. You can also try your hand at bull roping, building your own corn husk doll, or making a leather bracelet. 

San Jose Harvest Festival (TBD): With the holidays coming up, it's time to get shopping! And the the perfect place for that is at the San Jose Harvest Festival. This huge arts and crafts event features more than 24,000 items including handmade jewelry, art, specialty foods, home décor and more. This is one of the SF Bay Area events in November that also features kids activities and entertainment for adults alike. All events are at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center starting at 10am all three days.

Jack London Square Tree Lighting Ceremony (TBD): If you are looking for a tree lighting in the city of Oakland, Jack London Square is the place to be! Their 55 foot Mount Shasta Fir tree will be adorned with over 5,000 beautiful sparkling lights to be seen by all. This event is free for all to attend and is located on the Oakland waterfront so you can enjoy views of the bay as well as live music and so much more. There are many restaurants and local stores to explore before or after the tree is lit if you want to spend some time enjoying this wonderful location.

Berkeley Artisans Holiday Open Studios (TBD): This free event features over 100 artisans, showing and selling their wares that range from ceramics, to leather goods, to photography, to paintings and pretty much anything else you can imagine! The studios open at 11 am and close at 6 pm each day every weekend starting on November 30th and concluding on December 22th. Therefore, you will have many chances to see everything and get all your holiday shopping done in one place! 

Additional Things to Do in SF in November

More Things to Do in SF in November: In addition to all of our fun San Francisco events in November, you will also find a variety of other fun things to do. These include cruises, tours, and free activities. You can also head out on a day trip, visit one of our top museums, and shop at some in some of our most popular districts. Find 50+ fun things to do this month

What to Wear in November: Do you need some advice on what to wear in November? To make sure you are prepared for these San Francisco events in November, you will want to bring along a jacket and some great walking shoes. What else should you bring? Check out my insider's guide on what to expect from the weather and some tips on what to pack for your stay. Tips on what to pack and wear in SF

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