Things to Do in San Francisco in November: Tours, Events, & More

Jill on a windy day at the Golden Gate Bridge

by Jill Loeffler  •

Updated: July 24, 2023

Things to do in San Francisco in November include taking a walking tour of one of our unique districts, cruising around the bay, and attending an annual event. You can also catch a show at the theater, see an opera performance, or head to the symphony.

You will also find some fun things to do on Thanksgiving weekend. This month is also when you can attend some tree lighting events and other special holiday activities.

Read on for 50+ entertaining ideas this month in SF.

Turkey dinner and holiday tree at Pier 39 in November

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

November Events & Holidays


November is a fun time in San Francisco. This month, you can enjoy the SF Auto Show, buy gifts at the Renegade Craft Fair, and spend time at the Great Dickens Fair. 

It's also time to celebrate Thanksgiving. Other fun things to do in San Francisco in November include tree lighting ceremonies, a chance to see some of the best Christmas lights, and give Santa your wish list.

This year, you can also head over to the Moscone Center for the big FAN EXPO! 

>> Find a full calendar of events this month

Fun Cruises

Cruises on the SF Bay

Another one of the fun things to do in San Francisco in November is to head out on a cruise. Since it's mild here most of the year, you will find cruises all year long.

The most popular is the 60-minute cruise around the bay. It takes you under the Golden Gate Bridge and past SF's top attractions. You will also sail close to Alcatraz and learn all about this infamous prison.

Another fun option this month is the Escape from Alcatraz ride. This one is similar to the bay cruise but includes 30 additional minutes. This time is spent cruising around Alcatraz (it does not stop there) and includes more in-depth details about this notorious prison.

You can also head out on one of my favorites, a sailing cruise. Hop aboard a catamaran for a 1.5-hour trip around the water. You will also see Alcatraz, sail under the Golden Gate Bridge, and enjoy the scenery as you relax on the boat.

>> More about my favorite SF cruises

Best Tours in November

Golden Gate Bridge

Another one of the fun things to do in San Francisco in November is to enjoy a guided tour. My top picks this month include tours of the Golden Gate Bridge, SF by bus, and SF on foot.

In addition to the cruises mentioned above, there are other great tours that offer you the chance to learn more about the Golden Gate Bridge. The best is the free tour offered twice a week by SF City Guides. You can also bike over the bridge or walk over it on your own.

The SF city bus tours allow you to cover more ground in a short amount of time. My favorite is the hop on hop off, where you can spend as much time as you want in locations around SF. Other great options are the 3-hour tours that tell you even more about this wonderful city.

The options for guided walking tours are almost endless. You can learn more about certain districts, head out on a ghost walk, or sample local cuisines as you explore. All are fun and informational. It's my favorite way to really get to know SF.

>> More on all the tours mentioned above and other great options 

More Great Tour Ideas

Performing Arts Calendar

Theater in SF

In November, there are several performing arts shows. You can catch a theater, opera, or symphony performance.

The theater calendar offers top Broadway hits, musicals, and a variety of plays. You will find a show playing every night this month at theaters all around town. Find this month's calendar here.

In November, the opera is also on stage. They typically have two to three different shows running with many performances for each. Find their calendar here.

The final performing arts option in November is the symphony. They offer almost a dozen shows. You will find traditional and non-traditional performances all month long. Find their calendar.

>> See a calendar for all performing arts companies in SF

Head Out on a Day Trip

Muir Woods

San Francisco is a short day trip away from many other amazing places. During your stay in November, it's fun to check out Muir Woods, head south to Monterey, or sample local creations in wine country.

Muir Woods is just to the north of SF in Marin County. This national park is home to some of the oldest Coastal Redwoods in the U.S. Spend time checking out these huge trees and hike around on some of the park's lovely trails. See pictures and find out more about visiting. Find additional redwoods to visit near SF.

Monterey is just over an hour south of San Francisco. You can get here on a guided tour or by renting a car. Fun things to do here include shopping, visiting their wonderful museums, or heading out on a whale watching tour. Find out more about Monterey.

The most popular day trip from SF is a visit to wine country. Napa Valley is the most visited and is just over an hour north. You can head up on your own or with a guided tour to spend the day learning more about and sampling Napa Valley wines. Find out more here.

>> Discover additional day trips from SF 

Free Things to Do in San Francisco in November

Cable Cars SF

It can be expensive to visit, so some of my favorite things to do in San Francisco in November are to take advantage of our free walking tours, events, and museums.

The best free walking tours are offered by SF City Guides. Their local guides are knowledgeable about San Francisco and many have lived here all or most of their lives. You can check out information on these tours here.

We also have some wonderful museums that offer free admissions. Make sure to check out the Cable Car, Maritime, and Wells Fargo Museums. Find a list of the 10 top picks here.

You will also find some free events this month. Many offer live music and other entertainment. The only cost is if you buy something from a local artist or decide to eat and drink while you are there. Here are some of my favorites.

>> My 25 favorite free activities in November

>> Learn about our 200+ free activities in SF

Kid and Family-Friendly Ideas

Aquarium of the Bay jellyfish

Are you visiting San Francisco with the entire family? If so, I have many fun things to do in San Francisco in November that your entire family will enjoy. 

Top children's activities here include the Children's Creativity Museum, the carousel at Pier 39, and the Aquarium of the Bay. Other fun options include the free shows on the Pier 39 stage, a trip through the California Academy of Sciences, and a cruise around the bay.

You can also head to the free Randall Museum or spend some time at the Fire Museum. Kids will also love the Fire Engine Tour, walking over the Golden Gate Bridge, and feeding the animals at the zoo.

>> My list of 25 fun things to do with kids

Best Museums to Visit

de Young

San Francisco museums offer you the chance to learn more about the local area, see priceless art from well-known artists, and to interact with their exhibits. The three most visited museums are the California Academy of Sciences, the Exploratorium, and the SF Museum of Modern Art. Three additional fun things to do in San Francisco in November include visits to the de Young, the Legion of Honor, and Pier 24.

The de Young is a fine arts museum in Golden Gate Park. They offer both modern and ancient pieces from all around the world. They also attract amazing temporary exhibits that allow you to see even more. Find out about visiting the de Young.

A sister museum to the de Young is the Legion of Honor. They are also a fine arts museum that focuses more on European works. Here you can see one of Monet's Water Lilies paintings, a unique piece by Picasso, and cast statues by Rodin. Find out more here.

My final recommendation is Pier 24. This is a free museum that requires reservations. They don't have any permanent pieces but focus on interesting and thought provoking photography related exhibits. Find out more and how you can book your reservation.

>> A full list of SF's museums 

See Our Top Attractions

City Hall Dome

If this is your first time here, make sure to spend some time at our top attractions including Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Pier 39. My additional recommendations for you this month are City Hall, Coit Tower, and Diego Rivera's frescos.

Visiting City Hall is one of my favorite things to do in San Francisco in November. This structure is gorgeous inside and out. Highlights include its golden dome, marble staircase, and small history museum. You can visit for free during regular business hours. Find out more here.

Coit Tower is also one of the fun things to do in San Francisco in November. This tower is located on the top of Telegraph Hill near North Beach. You can stop by to see its historic murals or pay a small fee to take the elevator to the top for its gorgeous bay and city views. See pics and learn more about visiting.

My final recommendation for this month is to see one or all three of Diego Rivera's frescos. All three were finished during his visits to SF in the 30s and 40s. His pieces have intricate details and you might spend more than an hour just taking in each one. Learn more here.

>> Additional attractions and tips to see them during your stay

Hotel Recommendations

Are you still looking for a place to stay while you see all of the fun things to do in San Francisco in November? These links will help you save on your stay. 

BookingFind great deals all around San Francisco for your upcoming stay

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

VRBO: In addition to hotels, you'll also find some great places to stay locally through VRBO. Book an apartment or a room and feel more like a local. Find some great places to stay on VRBO here

You can also read about some of my top recommendations in Fisherman's Wharf and Union Square.

>> Find additional places to stay in SF 

Concerts, Comedy, and More Nightlife Options

Concerts in SF

In addition to all of these daytime activities, you will find so many fun things to do in San Francisco in November at night too. You can check out some of my favorite happy hour spots or grab a drink at one of the top-rated bars.

You will also find live music and concerts every night of the week. Most of our venues in SF are small, which gives you the chance to enjoy local artists and up-and-coming bands. We also have a few larger venues that attract internationally known performers. Check out this month's concert calendar.

We also have some great local comedians. You can see them on stage nightly at local comedy clubs and bars. In addition, SF brings in many well-known comedians so make sure to check out the schedule of upcoming shows before your visit.

>> Additional nightlife ideas

Casual Lunch and Dinner Restaurants

Burger at Maven

Thousands of people visit San Francisco every year to savor our mouth-watering dishes at our new and famous restaurants. I highly recommend spending a night out at one of our higher end spots. We also have hundreds of casual stops where you can get tasty meals.

If you love burgers, then you are in luck! You will find so many great places that serve up made to order gourmet burgers that will leave you wanting more. In addition, my list includes some less expensive spots that will not disappoint. Find a list of my favorite burger joints.

You will also find some inexpensive Chinese restaurants all around town. Whether you love beef, chicken, seafood, or veggies, all of these places will offer you something you will love. Find my list here.

My final list is of my favorite waffle places. Some of these places only serve waffles at breakfast, while many of them serve them all day long. Discover my favorites.

>> Get additional restaurant recommendations

Self-Guided Itineraries of SF

Alcatraz with fog

If you love exploring on your own, then check out my self-guided itineraries. They will take you to the top places using the best route possible. Here are a few of my recommendations for November.

Do you only have 2 days to spend in SF? If so, then check out my suggested two-day itinerary. It includes visits to top locations such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and Fisherman's Wharf. Discover the full itinerary here.

Another one of the fun things to do in San Francisco in November is to explore Fisherman's Wharf. On this self-guided tour, you will visit its top attractions including Pier 39, the Hyde Street Pier, and Musee Mechanique. You will also find some great places to grab lunch or dinner. Find details here.

My final recommendation for this month is one day in both Nob Hill and Russian Hill. On this one-day tour, you will visit Grace Cathedral, stop by the Cable Car Museum, and see one of our most crooked streets, Lombard. Find out more about this route here.

>> Find additional self-guided itineraries for your stay

More Ways to Save

San Francisco is an expensive city, but you will find several great ways to save. Here are just a few additional recommendations.


If you haven't used Groupon, I recommend checking it out for your stay. 

It offers dozens of discounted tickets to many things to do in San Francisco in November.

You will find great deals on tours and events. You can also save on top restaurants all around town.

>> Check out their selection of San Francisco deals today


My final recommendation is one of the most popular. The CityPass is a discount card that offers you admission to some of SF's top museums.

With this card, you can see the California Academy of Sciences, the Exploratorium, and the Aquarium of the Bay. 

Another great feature of this card is that it includes a ticket to a 60-minute bay cruise. 

>> Learn more about the SF CityPass today

November Sporting Events

Golden State Warriors

If you love sports, you will find a variety of teams in action this November. You can catch a professional football or basketball game. You can also see a hockey game or college football.

One of the most popular sports related things to do in San Francisco in November is to see the Golden State Warriors play. They play at the Chase Center which is a quick 20 to 25-minute ride away from most parts of the city. Find out more about attending a game.

We also have two professional football teams in action. The SF 49ers play about an hour south in Santa Clara. 

My final recommendation this month is a hockey game in San Jose. The San Jose Sharks are just over an hour south of SF and have several home games this month.

>> More information on our local sports teams

Districts to See

North Beach Murals

As you move from district to district, you will see a variety of cultures and cuisines in each one. This is why I recommend visiting several districts during your stay. Here are some ideas for this month.

In the North Beach district, you will see Italian influences all around you. This is where you can savor delicious pastas, pizzas, and traditional breads. You can also do a little shopping, sample wines, and visit Coit Tower. Find out more here.

Alamo Square is also a fun place to see. It's the home of the famous Painted Ladies that I'm sure you've heard so much about. In addition to this group of Victorians, you will find other colorful historic gems all around this district. Find out where to find them here.

My final recommendation this month is Union Square. It's one of the best places to stay as there are more than a hundred hotels in this district. It's also centrally located so you can easily get to the theater, grab some dinner, and do some shopping. Find out all the things to do in Union Square.

>> Learn more about all of our unique districts

Where to Shop

Shopping in SF

You will find places to shop all around town. The options include everything from vintage clothes shopping to high-end decor.

Some of the best places to check out include Union Square, Pier 39, and Union Street. 

If you are looking for some bargains, head over to Chinatown or find second hand items in the Haight Ashbury district.

>> Find more shopping recommendations here 

Weather in November

Golden Gate Bridge in November

The weather is cool and breezy this month. As you are exploring all of these fun things to do in San Francisco in November, you will find the daily highs around 60 with daily lows around 50. 

It's a great time to visit as it's comfortable and cool every day. 

It's also the start of our rainy season. It doesn't rain too much in November (average about 3 inches for the entire month), but it's good to come prepared to explore while a little rain is falling.

Make sure to bring along layers to add and remove as you move around the city. Certain districts are warmer than others. Also, don't forget a light jacket and long pants if you plan to head out on a bay cruise. 

>> More information on how to prepare for your stay in November

Comments? Questions? Suggestions?

I would love for you to join me in my private Facebook group

It's a great place to interact with me and others who know the area well.

You can ask questions, get advice for your upcoming stay, and then share your photos and advice with others when you return home. It's a great community and the fastest way to get answers to those nagging questions about your visit!

Come join the fun here!

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