You will find plenty of fun things to do in the SF Bay Area this Thanksgiving Day and Weekend. Top options include sporting events, concerts, and fun activities for the entire family. The weekend is also full of tree lighting ceremonies, festivals, and theater productions.
My guide includes options in Oakland, San Jose, San Francisco, Berkeley and other cities around the bay.
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You will find a variety of activities all around the SF Bay this Thanksgiving Day. They include Turkey Trots, places to enjoy a holiday meal with the family, tours, and admission to some of our top attractions.
If you plan to head out to eat in the SF Bay Area for Thanksgiving Day, you will find plenty of options. Make sure to book your tables early as they often fill up quickly. Here are some of my top picks around the bay.
MKT Restaurant and Bar: 757 Market Street (financial district), 3 course dinner, appetizer buffet, choice of entree, dessert
Mathilde Bistro: San Francisco 315 5th Street (SOMA district), serving dinner from 2:30 pm to 9:45 pm, French inspired three course prix fixed at $65 per person
Marrakech Moroccan Restaurant: 419 O'Farrell (Union Square), special lamb and chicken dinner with couscous, family style eating, cozy seating on low cushioned tables
Nomica: 2223 Market Street (Castro District), Japanese inspired, 10 dishes served over 4 courses, a la carte also, runs from Nov 20th to 25th
Morton's The Steakhouse - San Francisco: 400 Post Street (Union Square), classic steak dinner, opens at 1 pm
Lungomare: Oakland/Italian (1 Broadway), special menu from Noon to 8pm, $60 per person, $25 for kids
Skate's On The Bay: Berkeley (100 Seawall Drive), Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner with all the fixings
Faz Danville / Faz Pleasanton: Danville (600 Hartz Avenue), Pleasanton (5121 Hopyard Road), Traditional brunch, 10 am to 3 pm, 4 pm to 8 pm, 44.95 per person, $21.95 for children aged 12 and under, free for children under 3
Sapio on Main: Pleasanton (501 Main Street), 4 course chef's menu including heritage turkey and prime rib, optional wine pairing package
Black Angus Dublin: Dublin (4814 Dublin Blvd), Turkey dinner with all sides, $19.99 per person, $9.99 for kids, open from 11 am to 9 pm
Birk's: Santa Clara (3955 Freedom Circle), classic dinner menu all day plus a special traditional Thanksgiving dinner in the evening
Mountain Winery: Saratoga (14831 Pierce Road), grand buffet from Noon to 3 pm with 1 hour seatings. Turkey and sides including soft drinks, beer, cocktails and wine, $95 in the grand hall, $85 on the winery deck
Left Bank Santana Row: San Jose (377 Santana Row), 4 course prix fixed meal, limited regular menu and special kids' menu available, $54.00 per person
La Fontana: Santa Clara (4949 Great American Parkway), pre-fixe and Thanksgiving a la carte specials
Verge Restaurant: Los Gatos (140 South Santa Cruz Avenue), Thanksgiving buffet, carving station, seafood bar, bottomless mimosas and more
Lucete's on 25th: San Mateo/Tuscan (109 West 25th Avenue), opens at 2 pm, traditional dinner includes all sides, $39.99
Chaminade - Linwood's Bar and Grill: Santa Cruz (One Chaminade Lane), from Noon to 6 pm, lavish dinner, $60 per person, $20 for children aged 12 and under, 5 and under dine free
A Caprice: Tiburon (2000 Paradise Drive), 4 course prix fixed including turkey, crab, pumpkin gnocchi, halibut, pecan and pumpkin pie, and much more
Il Fornaio: Corta Madera/Italian (233 Corta Madera Town Center), traditional turkey dinner or Italian dishes
Left Bank - Larkspur: Larkspur (507 Magnolia Avenue), 4 course price fixed, does not include beverages, special bar and kids' menus, $54 per person
Insalata's: San Anselmo/Mediterranean (120 Sir Francis Drake Blvd), 3 course prix fixed, $64 per person, $26 for children 12 aged and under
Tarla Grill: Napa/Mediterranean (1480 First Street), 3 course prix fixed menu as well as limited regular menu, $49 per person
The Grill at Silverado: Napa (1600 Atlas Peak Road), traditional Thanksgiving dinner with 3 course meal, $49 per person, $24 for children aged 9 and under, free for children under 3
Charlie Palmer Steak Napa: Napa (1260 First Street), wine inspired holiday menu at this newly opened restaurant in Archer Hotel Napa
Gravenstein Grill: Sebastopol (8050 Bodega Avenue), 3 course prix fixed menu, locally source Willie Bird Turkey and other sides including rum cake & pumpkin cheesecake
Sonoma Grille Restaurant: Sonoma (165 West Napa Street), open from 11:30 am until 2 pm for lunch with the regular menu and then from 4 pm to 9 pm with a special prix fixed menu
Find a table for these and at other SF Bay Area restaurants on Thanksgiving Day on OpenTable.com.
You will find several great Turkey Trots around the SF Bay Area on Thanksgiving Day. Top picks include those in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Marin, and wine country.
You will find several other fun things to do this holiday in the SF Bay. Here are 7 fun ideas to check out.
1. SF Botanical Gardens: Enjoy the beauty of the SF Botanical Gardens for free on Thanksgiving day. With over 55 acres of landscaped gardens, and over 8,000 different types of plants, it can be your little oasis in an otherwise busy holiday season. Opens at 7:30 am and closes at 5 pm. Learn more here.
2. Outdoor Ice Skating Rinks: If you want to get out and exercise a bit, there are over 16 different ice skating rinks around the bay area. They range from San Jose, Monterey, San Francisco, Marin, and and over to the East Bay. If you want to find out more about them, visit this page with my top picks each year.
3. Muir Woods: Just north of San Francisco is the incredible Muir Woods National Park. This park has redwood trees that hundreds of years old and massive beyond belief. The park is open from 8 am to 5 pm and you will want to plan ahead as the park is often quite busy and hard to find parking during busy days. Additional details to visiting.
4. Pier 39: Pier 39 is always full of fun any day of the year and today is no exception. Stores are open, musicians are playing, and performers are out to entertain you all day long. There are so many choices, it will be hard to decide what to do and see.
5. Aquarium of the Bay: Also located on Pier 39, this is a must visit for the whole family before, or after, you have your meal. Open from 10 am to 5 pm, you will be able to see local wildlife, displays about the bay, see shark feedings (no turkey!) and so much more. More to see and do here.
6. California Academy of Sciences: The California Academy of Sciences has a full days worth of learning, excitement and experiments for you to enjoy. From storytelling yoga, to the Dark Universe show in the Planetarium, and always loved penguin feedings, you will have your fill of things to do. Opens at 9:30 and closes at 3 pm. Find tickets for Thanksgiving Day here.
7. Hayward Japanese Gardens: Open from 8:30 am to 4 pm, this incredibly serene and calm garden is a perfect way to take time and give thanks for everything. Being that this garden is not as well known as others, you may be surprised by how quiet and empty it is even during Thanksgiving.
Aladdin at the Orpheum: Disney's Aladdin comes to San Francisco to entertain kids of all ages. The young prince, Aladdin, falls for the beautiful Princess Jasmine, but the evil Jaffar tries to ruin their love story. The show runs two times a day on Friday and Saturday (2 pm and 8 pm) and once on Sunday (1 pm).
A Christmas Story in SF: This Christmas classic comes to life at the San Francisco Playhouse all weekend long. Nine year old Ralphie is on a mission to get his new Red Rider BB gun, but everyone else is against him. Laugh all the way to Christmas as you get to enjoy the comedy and silliness live and in person. Two shows on Saturday (3 pm and 8 pm) and one on Sunday (2 pm). Find tickets at up to 50% off on Goldstar for most performances.
Annie, Berkeley: The much beloved orphan, Annie, will tug at your heart strings as she tries to escape the evil Mrs. Hannigan as the wonderful Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks tries to save her from the streets. Known for songs such as, "It's a hard Knock Life", Together at Last", and the famous, "Tomorrow", you will love this classic story at the Berkeley Playhouse. One show each on Friday and Saturday at 7 pm. Discounts available on Goldstar.
Joy, A Holiday Show: Just south of San Francisco is the beautiful city of Santa Cruz. This goofy show, with jugglers, dancers, acrobats and so much more will thrill anyone who attends it. This family friendly event has two shows on Friday and Saturday (2 pm and 7 pm) and one on Sunday ( 2 pm). Discounted tickets available on Goldstar.
You will find several SF Bay Area sports teams in action this Thanksgiving Day Weekend including the Golden State Warriors, both professional football teams and the San Jose Sharks Hockey team.
Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors vs the Chicago Bulls: The NBA World Championship Golden State Warriors welcome the Chicago Bulls to Oracle Arena. Come see stars like Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green play their best and beat the Bulls! The game starts at 7:30 pm on Friday the 24th.
The Golden State Warriors vs the New Orleans Pelicans: Two of the top big men in the NBA, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, come to Oracle Arena when the Pelicans face off against the home team. The game starts at 5:30 pm on Saturday the 25th.
The Oakland Raiders vs the Denver Broncos: The Oakland Raiders play host to their most hated rivals, the Denver Broncos, on Sunday the 26th. This game is always a huge draw, with many Raider fans wearing their craziest outfits, and starts at 1:25 pm. If you are a football fan, this is truly a can't miss event.
San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers vs the Seattle Seahawks: Even though the Niners have fallen on hard times, they are still fun to watch as they rebuild and retool their team for next season. The Seahawks are always good, and always a tough team for the Niners, so this should be an exciting and hard fought battle. The game is on Sunday, the 26th at 1:05 pm.
San Jose Sharks
The San Jose Sharks vs the Winnipeg Jets: How about a little rough and tough ice hockey on your Saturday night? Well, the SAP Center is the place as the San Jose Sharks are again in the hunt for the Stanley Cup this year. The Jets always put up a good fight and this should be a fantastic match. This game is on Saturday, the 25th and starts at 7 pm.
Other Sporting Events This Weekend:
The Santa Cruz Warriors vs the Rio Grande Valley Vipers: Come see some of the best up and coming basketball players on the planet at the Kaiser Permanente Arena in Santa Cruz. Since this is the NBA Developmental League, you will see players from both teams are doing their best so they can make it to the pros and live their dreams. The game is on Friday, the 24th, and starts at 7 pm.
The San Jose State Spartans vs the Wyoming Cowboys: College football is a mainstay of Thanksgiving weekend. As you'd expect, you are in for some rockin' sockin' good time when the Spartans take on the Cowboys at CEDCU Stadium (formerly Spartan Stadium). The game is on Saturday the 25th.
The San Jose Barracuda vs the San Diego Gulls: If you want a break from watching all the football, and still want to watch some sports, then this match is perfect for you and your whole family. These teams are part of the AHL, which is the minor league for the NHL. Because of that, you just might see the next NHL star before he makes the leap to the big leagues! The match is at the SAP Center on Saturday the 26th and starts at 3 pm.
You will find all kinds of great music events this Thanksgiving Weekend ranging from headliners such as Guns and Roses at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Tori Amos at the Paramount Theater in Oakland, and Dwight Yoakam at the Luther Burbank Center in Santa Rosa. Other performers and bands include Los Rakas at the New Parish, The T Sisters at Petaluma's Mystic Theater and many others.
Make sure to check the list below and see everyone that is coming to the SF Bay Area during Thanksgiving weekend as you may want to see more than one.
Union Square: Probably the most famous tree lighting ceremony is this one with a reusable 83 foot tall tree that has over 30,000 lights and more than 1,100 decorations on it. The celebration starts on Friday the 24th at 6 pm and lasts until 7 pm and the lighting is at 6:40 pm. More about this celebration here.
Cannery Row Tree Lighting: Cannery Row is home to Monterey's best tree lighting. As well as seeing the tree being lit, you can also meet Santa, his reindeers and hear carolers welcome in the season. The lighting is on Friday, the 24th. More events in Monterey this month.
World of Dance, San Jose: NBC's smash hit TV show, World of Dance is live and in person for your to enjoy. Many of the best dancers from the competition are now traveling the world and this show is super to make you want to get out of your seat and join along! The show starts at 8 pm on Sunday the 26th at the City National Civic.
La Tocada Music Festival: This festival is located at the Event Center at San Jose State University and starts at 9 pm on Friday, the 24th. Always a great time, bands such as Molotov, Mago de Oz, Angeles del Infierno, and others will be playing live. Tickets are general admission and there isn't any assigned seats.
Gobble Con: Ready to meet some new people and play a lot of games? Then this is the place for you with over 52 hours of board games, role playing, miniatures (even if you don't play games, these are so cute to see), and so much more that your day will fly by without even realizing it. This event is family friendly and fun for all to attend.
Harvest Festival in San Jose: This 3 day event, starting on Friday, the 24th and ending on Sunday, the 26th, is a massive compilation of different styles of music, bands, and even has a kid-zone for kids to play in when you want to rock out. Discounted tickets for seniors, military and kids with 12 and under being free. Discounted tickets available on Goldstar.
Point Reyes Open Studios: The beauty of Point Reyes is a must see for everyone and especially when the artist allow you in to see their ceramics, painting, sculptures and other pieces of art in person. If you are looking for gifts for the holidays, or just something for yourself, you will be glad you came and enjoyed this event. The event runs Friday, the 24th to Sunday, the 26th and is free.
Holiday Open House in Sonoma Valley: After a long day with the family, you probably need a bit of wine and want to get outside for a bit. This event features 21 wineries, where you can meet the winemakers, tour the wineries, hang out in their cellars or caves, get your gift shopping for the season done early, or just enjoy the comfort of having a glass of wine and relaxing. This two day event starts is on Saturday and Sunday starting at 11 am each day and ending at 4 pm. Cheers! More Sonoma events in November.
Gualala Arts Festival of Trees: This wonderful three day event is a joy for all who see it. Starting on Friday, there is a tree lighting and carolers to help you welcome in the holiday season. Cookies, cakes, and all kinds of other scrumptious desserts will be on hand as you welcome Santa, Mrs. Claus, their reindeer and even the Grinch (Boo!). Food and drink is available and this family friendly event is free for all.
San Rafael Winter Wonderland: It is a rare day when San Rafael gets snow, but this is one of those days! This annual event always includes great food, arts and crafts, snow sledding, and lots of live entertainment and children's activities. This event starts at noon on Friday with the parade starting at 5:30 pm and ends at the San Rafael City Plaza tree lighting. It is free to all, runs on Friday and Saturday, and is family friendly.
Gilroy Gardens - Harvest@Night: Gilroy Gardens is truly unlike any other place in the world with it's amazing designed trees and gorgeous gardens. Enjoy live entertainment, gourmet food, and delicious drinks as you take in the winter sights. There are also some rides that are open during Harvest@Night. This is a family friendly event but it is designed for adults to have fun and celebrate. This event is Friday and Saturday the 24th and 25th from 6 pm to 10 pm.
Santa Rosa Winter Lights: Santa Rosa's Downtown Courthouse Square is home to this wonderful tree lighting event. Starting at 4 pm on Friday the 24th, Santa will arrive on top of a fire truck for all to enjoy. There is food and drink for all, including adult beverages, and kids can play in a bouncy house, do arts and crafts, and much more. It ends at 10 pm.
Six Flags Holiday in the Park: An annual event not to be missed, you will want to experience the shows, games, and rides starting November 24th until New Year's Eve on the 31st (make sure check for exact dates and times). You can meet Santa, and check out the new displays, rides and shows that are only around for this holiday season. You will not believe how much there is to do and see!
Christmas in the Park: Starting on Friday, the 24th at 6 pm, you are invited to meet Santa at San Jose's Plaza de Cesar Chavez and watch the beautiful tree lighting at night. Many special guests will be there to perform and make your holiday experience the best you can ever imagine!
Black Friday in SF: It is time to get your shopping on! There are many options for you to choose from including Union Square, Westfield Mall, Pier 39 and so much more. You will want to get started early so you can skip the crowds while still getting the best deals. If you want to escape the crowds, there are also tours, trips and lots of live concerts and events to choose from today. Find tips on where to shop.
Plaid Friday in Oakland: Based on the idea of weaving together all the local shops and merchants around Oakland, this is a great day to get deals and support the little mom and pop stores around the city. You will see special "plaid" signs in the windows of stores that are participating so you know which ones will be a part of this wonderful day.
Lake Merritt Boats: Depending on the weather, you might want to take a boat out on the lake in Oakland and enjoy the relaxation and scenery. You can rent canoes, rowboats, kayaks and more depending on your skill level. All rentals are cash only and the office is closed on the 23rd and 24th so plan ahead and check for updates on their site.
Oakland Zoo: Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the Oakland Zoo is a great way to get outside, enjoy lots of wildlife, ride the train, fly over the zoo in the gondola, and check out other events that are going on all day long. Food and drink is available to purchase. The zoo opens at 10 am each day and closes at different depending on the day you visit it.
Berkeley's Victory Point Cafe: Want to play a few games and have a few adult beverages at the same time? Then this is where you want to be this weekend. Costing just $5, and giving you the ability to play as many games as you want, and stay as long as you want, this is a great deal and a great time. They have a full menu of food and drinks so you can stay all day long and escape the shopping crowds.
Children's Fairyland in Oakland: Time to become a kid again and enjoy one of the most famous places in Oakland's long history at Fairyland. Open the day before Thanksgiving, and the whole weekend after it, this magical playland has been a joy for kids of all ages for as long as anyone can remember. It opens at 10 am and closes at 4pm and you MUST be accompanied by a child to enter and no child is admitted without a parent. The cost for anyone over 1 year old is $10.
The Night Fairy at Osher Theater in Berkeley: Specifically aimed at children 8 and above, this story of a cute fairy, who loses her wings in a battle with a bat, is sure to please all that attend. The Fairy has to use all her skills, wit, and strength to get them back and deal with all the menacing creatures trying to block her way. The show is about 1 hour long and there is one show on Friday (7 pm), and two shows on Saturday and Sunday (11 am and 2 pm).
East Bay Region Parks Family & Kids Activities: There are so many activities happening this weekend that it will be hard to decide which ones to choose. They range from butterfly exhibits and talks, the Hazel Atlas Mine tour, to Meet the Newts (the rainy season brings out this cute little guys), and so much more. Check the schedule each day for what seems best for you and your family.
IlluminOdyssey, A Winter Light Experience for Kids: Located in San Mateo, CuriOdyssey brings to life this amazing experience and light show for all. The main attraction is a 4 story forest, with light shows, touchable fiber-optic creations, toys that kids can play with and enjoy. Running from November 10 to January 7th on Tuesdays through Sundays (closed Thanksgiving Day), this event is free with your general admission to CuriOdyssey.