How to Spend Christmas in San Francisco

Christmas in San Francisco is a truly enchanting experience, offering a delightful blend of festive traditions, cultural celebrations, and scenic beauty. Whether you’re a local looking to explore the city’s holiday spirit or a visitor seeking unique ways to celebrate, San Francisco has something for everyone. 

From the twinkling lights adorning iconic landmarks to the warmth of holiday markets and world-class dining, you can immerse yourself in the holiday spirit in a multitude of ways. The city gets pretty much empty since some people come back to their homes to spend the holidays with their families. So, you can expect the places to be less crowded.

We understand that Christmas Eve is a special time for families and travelers alike, and we want to ensure that you have the opportunity to explore and enjoy the beauty of San Francisco even on these festive days. That’s why we’re excited to share that Gray Line of San Francisco remains open on Christmas Eve, ready to be a part of your holiday adventure. Apply the promo code HOLIDAY23 at checkout to receive a 15% discount on your reservation for a tour happening between December 1 and January 3, 2024.

Palm branches framing a view of the sf christmas tree

Explore the best ways to spend Christmas in the City by the Bay, from enchanting light displays and cultural festivities to memorable dining experiences and holiday shopping. San Francisco comes alive during the holiday season, and we’re here to guide you through a magical season in this vibrant city.

Holiday Events in San Francisco

Celebrate the Holidays All Month with These Special Events

December in San Francisco is a month filled with festive charm and community spirit. Whether you call the city home or are just passing through, there’s an abundance of special events and activities to capture the holiday magic. Here are some highlights of the top events and experiences you can savor throughout this joyous month:

Union Square Ice Rink and Macy’s Christmas Tree

A popular outdoor ice rink located in the heart of San Francisco.

  • When: November 1-January 15
  • Where: Union Square
  • Tickets: $18 for adults, $15 for seniors and children

Holiday at the Zoo

The San Francisco Zoo transforms into a winter wonderland with festive decorations, holiday-themed animal encounters, and a variety of activities for children. 

  • When: November 18-December 31
  • Where: San Francisco Zoo – 2900 Sloat Boulevard
  • Tickets: $24 for adults, $18 for children ages 4-14, free for children under 3

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair

A Victorian-era street fair with over 200 booths selling everything from handcrafted gifts to traditional British fare.

  • When: November 18-December 31
  • Where: Victorian Park – 1846 Geary Boulevard
  • Tickets: $25 for adults, $20 for seniors, $15 for children

Ice Skating at Yerba Buena Gardens

Glide across the ice rink at Yerba Buena Gardens, surrounded by the twinkling lights of the holiday season. 

  • When: November 18-January 15
  • Where: Yerba Buena Gardens – 750 Mission Street
  • Tickets: $18 for adults, $15 for seniors and children ages 4-14, free for children under 3

Disney’s The Lion King

Giraffes strut. Birds swoop. Gazelles leap. The entire Serengeti comes to life as never before. And as the music soars, Pride Rock slowly emerges from the mist. This is Disney’s THE LION KING, making its triumphant return to the Orpheum Theatre!

  • When: November 22-December 30
  • Where: Orpheum Theatre, 1192 Market Street
  • Tickets: Start at $90 with a limited number of $40 rush tickets.

Zeum’s Gingerbread Ship Contest

Unleash your creativity at Zeum’s annual Gingerbread Ship Contest, showcasing elaborate gingerbread creations from local businesses and individuals. 

  • When: November 24-December 31
  • Where: Zeum – Pier 40
  • Tickets: $15 for adults, $12 for seniors and children ages 4-14, free for children under 3

Holiday Lights at the Conservatory of Flowers

Immerse yourself in a magical world of lights and colors at the Conservatory of Flowers’ annual holiday lights display. 

  • When: November 25-December 31
  • Where: Conservatory of Flowers – 100 John F. Kennedy Golden Gate Park Drive
  • Tickets: $30 for adults, $25 for seniors, $20 for children ages 6-17, free for children under 5

Gingerbread House

Holiday magic comes to life with our annual life-sized Gingerbread House on display from Thanksgiving through the New Year. With hundreds of bricks of real gingerbread baked by our pastry team and pounds of See’s Candies, our Gingerbread House display brings out the kid in everyone.

  • When: Through December 31
  • Where: The Fairmont San Francisco, 950 Mason Street
  • Tickets: Free

Exhibition – I Left MySan Francisco Symphony Holiday ConcertArt in San Francisco 

Make your season merrier with the San Francisco Symphony! While you’re here, head to the lobby bar to celebrate the season with festive winter cocktails and limited-time sparkling wine throughout December. Programming includes holiday films with live orchestra, Cirque Nutcracker, holiday music and more.

  • When: November 30-December 23
  • Where: Davies Symphony Hall – 201 Van Ness Avenue
  • Tickets: Start a $30

Holidays at Pier 39

Enjoy their 60′ live Christmas Tree that “comes to life” and performs nightly every half hour from 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM through January 7. Synchronized to Holiday music with specialty lights and ornaments, it transforms into a kaleidoscope of swirling colors for everyone to enjoy throughout the Holiday season!

  • When: December 1 – January 7
  • Where: Pier 39 – Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Tickets: Free

A Christmas Carol at ACT

Experience the timeless holiday tale of Ebenezer Scrooge’s transformation, as he is visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve. A heartwarming production filled with festive spirit and the joy of redemption.

  • When: December 6-24
  • Where: American Conservatory Theater (ACT) – 415 Geary Street
  • Tickets: Start at $15


A festive pub crawl where participants dress up as Santa Claus and drink their way through San Francisco’s bars.

  • When: December 9
  • Where: Various bars throughout the city
  • Tickets: Free

The Nutcracker Ballet  

A classic Christmas ballet that tells the story of Clara, a young girl who receives a magical nutcracker doll as a gift on Christmas Eve. The nutcracker comes to life and takes Clara on a journey to the Land of Sweets.

  • When: December 13-30
  • Where: War Memorial Opera House – 301 Van Ness Avenue
  • Tickets: $35 to $300+

Holiday Cocktail Bar @ Cirque

This holiday season Cirque Bar at The Fairmont San Francisco will transform into a cozy hot spot at night. Enjoy festive cocktails, light bights, Champagne, and caviar. 

  • When: Holiday Cocktail Hours: Thursday-Sunday: 3:00 PM to 10:00 PM. Starting December 14 – open daily from 3:00 PM to 11:00 PM.
  • Cirque at the Fairmont San Francisco
  • Tickets: Free

The Velveteen Rabbit

Delight in the heartwarming story of a stuffed rabbit’s journey to become real in this enchanting theatrical adaptation of “The Velveteen Rabbit.”

  • When: December 15-30
  • Where: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts – 700 Howard Street
  • Tickets: $25 to $60+

Illuminate SF Festival of Light

A dazzling light display that transforms San Francisco into a winter wonderland.

  • When: December 16-31
  • Where: Various locations throughout the city
  • Tickets: Free

Thrive City Winter Wonderland: Ice Skating & DJ Skate Party

Glide into the holiday season at Winter Wonderland Ice Skating in Thrive City! Join us for a smooth synthetic ice skating experience in the heart of Mission Bay. Get dressed in your best holiday attire and snap a holiday-themed photo while enjoying holiday treats and activities for the whole family. Don’t worry if you don’t have skates! Complimentary rentals will be available. RSVP while supplies last.

  • When:  Select dates through December 31
  • Where: Chase Center
  • Tickets: Free

New Year’s Eve Fireworks

A dazzling fireworks display over San Francisco Bay.

  • When: December 31
  • Where: Various locations around the bay
  • Tickets: Free

Whether you choose to attend a concert, dine in style, or simply take a leisurely walk to soak in the city’s festive atmosphere, Christmas in San Francisco is sure to be a memorable and heartwarming experience. Enjoy the magic of the season with your loved ones!

a view of an ice rink and christmas tree during christmas time in sf

San Francisco Attractions Open on Christmas Eve

Amidst the twinkling lights and festive ambiance of San Francisco during the holiday season, the joyous spirit extends beyond the dining table to encompass an array of attractions welcoming visitors on Christmas Eve and Day. While some establishments may observe a seasonal hush, numerous iconic landmarks in the city stay aglow with activity, offering residents and visitors alike a chance to revel in the magic of the season. From enchanting light displays to special holiday performances, San Francisco transforms into a festive playground, ensuring that the celebrations on Christmas Eve and Day resonate far beyond the dining experience. Here are some of the must-visit attractions that embrace the merriment of the holidays, creating lasting memories for families and friends alike.

  • Golden Gate Park: One of San Francisco’s most iconic attractions. You can explore the park’s gardens, museums, and beautiful landscapes. Golden Gate Park is open from 5:00 AM to 10:00 PM on Christmas Eve and from 5:00 AM to 10:00 PM on Christmas Day.
  • Fisherman’s Wharf: The bustling waterfront area of Fisherman’s Wharf is open on both days. You can enjoy seafood dining, visit Pier 39, and explore the attractions along the waterfront. Fisherman’s Wharf is open 24 hours on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
  • Aquarium of the Bay: Dive into the wonders of the underwater world this Christmas Eve at Aquarium of the Bay. Open for guests, it’s a festive opportunity to celebrate the magic of marine life and create cherished holiday memories surrounded by captivating sea creatures. The Aquarium of the Bay is open from 11 AM to 3:00 PM (Last ticket sold at 2:00 PM) on Christmas Eve. Closed on Christmas Day.
  • San Francisco Zoo: The San Francisco Zoo welcomes visitors on Christmas Eve, offering an opportunity to see a variety of animals and enjoy family-friendly activities. The San Francisco Zoo gates open for reserved times starting at 9:30 AM. The Zoo closes at 4:30 PM, last entry is at 3:30 PM for general admission and 4:00 PM for members. Open both Christmas and Christmas Day.
  • Chinatown: San Francisco’s vibrant Chinatown remains open on Christmas Eve. You can explore the unique shops, dine on delicious Chinese cuisine, and experience the cultural richness of the area. Chinatown is open 24 hours on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
  • Cable Car Rides: San Francisco’s iconic cable cars operate on Christmas Eve. Take a ride on a holiday-themed Cable Car to experience the city’s historic transportation and enjoy scenic views. Cable car rides are available from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM on Christmas Eve and from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM on Christmas Day.
  • Lands End: Lands End, offering breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge, is accessible on both days and is a fantastic spot for a scenic hike. Lands End is accessible 24 hours a day on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
  • Alcatraz Island: Alcatraz Island offers special Christmas Eve tours, allowing you to explore the historic prison and enjoy stunning views of the city. Christmas Eve tours are available from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM, but Alcatraz is closed on Christmas Day.
  • San Francisco Botanical Garden: Enjoy the serene beauty of the San Francisco Botanical Garden, which is usually open until early evening on Christmas Eve. The gardens are open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
  • California Academy of Sciences: The California Academy of Sciences is known for its interactive exhibits and living rainforest. The California Academy of Sciences is open Christmas Eve from 11 Am to 5 PM and Christmas Day from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
  • Japanese Tea Garden: Located in Golden Gate Park, the Japanese Tea Garden is typically open during the day on Christmas Eve, allowing visitors to enjoy its tranquility and beauty. The Japanese Tea Garden is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Best Places for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Dinner in San Francisco

Christmas Dinner in San Francisco offers a wonderful opportunity to savor a special holiday meal with family and friends. While many restaurants are closed, several fine dining establishments and hotels go the extra mile to provide memorable Christmas feasts. Here are some of the best places to enjoy Christmas Eve and Day dinner in the city:

  • Gary Danko: Renowned chef Gary Danko’s fixed-price menus of American cuisine in an elegant but unstuffy setting. Enjoy a four-course prix-fixe menu featuring American cuisine for $275 per person. Make your reservation through Resy. Open from 1:00 PM to 10:00 PM on Christmas Eve and closed on Christmas Day.
  • Fog Harbor Fish House: Savor the freshest seafood at Pier 39’s iconic Fog Harbor Fish House. Their special Christmas Eve and Christmas Day menu will tantalize your taste buds with an array of seafood delicacies. Reservations are available through Yelp. Open from 11:30 AM to 9:30 PM on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
  • One Market Restaurant: Upscale New American eatery with an extensive wine list, banquette seating & Embarcadero views. Elevate your holiday dining with a three-course prix-fixe menu for $125 per person at One Market Restaurant. Their upscale New American cuisine will leave you wanting more. Reserve your table online. Open from 11:30 AM to 10:00 PM on Christmas Eve and closed on Christmas Day.
  • La Mar Cebicheria: Celeb chef Victoriano Lopez serves Peruvian seafood in a large, partially outdoor space on the pier. Embark on a Peruvian culinary adventure with La Mar Cebicheria’s special Christmas Eve menu. Make your reservation through OpenTable. Open from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM on Christmas Eve and from 11:00 AM to 10:00 PM on Christmas Day. 
  • Ula Restaurant and Tapas Bar: Dine on lamb chops or scallops as you sip on your martini with your family and friends on Christmas Eve. Ula is offering a four-course Christmas Eve and Christmas Day for $95(++) per person. Service starts at 12:00 PM with the last seating at 10:00 PM.
  • House of Prime Rib: Immerse yourself in a classic American dining experience with a traditional prime rib dinner accompanied by delectable sides. For reservations call +1-415-885-4605 or +1-415-885-4606, and also can be made through their website. Open from 11:30 AM to 9:00 PM on Christmas Eve and from 12:00 PM to 9:00 PM on Christmas Day.
  • Perbacco: Indulge in a taste of Piedmont, Italy, with Perbacco’s special Christmas menu. Their seasonal menu showcases refined Italian fare paired with an extensive wine list. Reservations are recommended and can be made online. Open from 5:30 PM to 10:00 PM on Christmas Eve and closed on Christmas Day.
  • The Stinking Rose: Embrace the unique flavors of garlic at The Stinking Rose, where even the desserts are infused with this pungent ingredient. Their traditional Italian menu is a must-try for garlic enthusiasts. Reservations can be made through their website. Open from 12:00 PM to 9:30 PM on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
  • Villon: ‘Tis the season for sharing a meal with your closest few. Celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at Villon with a four-course menu showcasing seasonal dishes–all paired with festive cocktails and curated wine pairings. $145 per person, $65 for children 12 & under, and a $60 optional wine pairing. Available both days from 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM. Reservations for dinner are encouraged and available online. Embrace the holiday season and join them for their time-honored tradition of Nutcracker Tea in Villon’s lounge and dining room. Savor herbal tea, festive sweets, and seasonal bites. Fridays & Saturdays through December 30, 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Reserve your tea experience online.
  • 54 Mint: A modern Italian trattoria tucked into San Francisco’s historic Mint Plaza. A treasured San Francisco gathering spot, 54 Mint merges the every day with the exceptional. Get whisked away to Italy, with decadent Roman delights, classic cocktails, and true Italian hospitality – all in the heart of San Francisco. Open Christmas Eve from 10:30 AM to 3:00 PM & 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM. Closed Christmas Day. 
  • Morton’s, The Steakhouse: Chateaubriand Holiday Dinner for Two – The Chateaubriand is the most delectable cut of filet perfect for special occasions and holiday dinners at Morton’s The Steakhouse. It is named after 19th-century French Romantic writer, François-René de Chateaubriand, the word now translates to mean “a very tender steak cut”. The Chateaubriand holiday dinner is a sensational experience you won’t forget. Only Available December 24 – 31. And don’t miss their Holiday Cocktail – Celebrate the most wonderful time of the year with our blend of Absolut Citron, Chambord, St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Cranberries, and Villa Marcello Prosecco. Holiday Cocktail is exclusively available from November 17 to December 31. Reservations are encouraged and can be made online. Open Christmas Eve from 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM and Christmas Day from 1:00 PM to 9:00 PM. 
  • Corzetti: Step off the bustling streets of Union Square and into a glamorous, coastal Italian getaway. Corzetti is a Ligurian restaurant and bar that evokes summers spent on the Italian Riviera where life moves at a slower pace, and seaside restaurants serve up menus influenced by the day’s catch and peak-season produce from the region. Make a reservation online via OpenTable. Open Christmas Eve from 7:30 AM to 10 PM.
  • Cote: Experience the epitome of French fine dining at Cote. Their Christmas Eve brunch menu showcases seasonal French cuisine with impeccable technique and refined flavors. The elegant setting and attentive service will make your holiday meal truly unforgettable. Reservations are recommended and can be made online. Open from 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM on Christmas Eve and closed on Christmas Day.
  • Harborview: Its dining room showcases impressive views of the Ferry Building and Bay Bridge from its sunny upper deck patio; add to that a beautiful and polished interior space offering sun-drenched rooms as well as more intimately lit nooks. For lunch, you can order from the extensive dim sum selection, a separate kitchen menu or simply pick whatever strikes your fancy from the passing carts. One can’t go wrong, from sesame balls to fried daikon and shrimp rolls. For dinner though, go for the crispy, golden-brown Peking duck, served with crunchy cucumber and scallions, steamed buns, and a decadent house-made sauce. Reservations are recommended and can be made online. Open Christmas Eve from 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM & 5:00 PM to 8:30 PM. Closed Christmas Day.
  • Amber India: Balancing traditional Indian cuisine with a contemporary atmosphere. A Bay Area legacy for nearly 25 years, their menu is prepared fresh daily from ingredients selected with an eye towards sustainability and a focus on local purveyors. A curated collection of contemporary Indian art sets the stage for an experience rooted in tradition and delivered with a fresh approach. An inspired selection of wine, beer, and craft cocktails is specifically designed to complement the menu. Reservations can be made online. Open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day from 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM.
  • Mastro’s Steakhouse: Experience an unforgettable holiday season at Mastro’s. They will be open Christmas Eve & Christmas Day serving their full dinner menu, including their famous USDA Prime Steaks, Delectable Seafood, and Award-Winning Wine & Cocktails. Reservations can be made online. Open Christmas Eve from 3:00 PM to 10:00 PM and Christmas Day from 2:00 PM to 9:00 PM.
  • John’s Grill: Widely known for its carefully curated menu of salads, steak, seafood, pasta, and sandwiches, all at reasonable prices. The restaurant features both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day menus, both featuring a 3-course pre-fix option for $95. Reservations are available online. Open both days for Lunch from 11:45 AM to 3:30 PM, and dinner from 3:30 PM to 9:00 PM.
  • The Fairmont San Francisco: Experience the holidays at Laurel Court with festive buffet celebrations on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, as well as Holiday Tea throughout the season. Breakfast will be buffet style served from 7:00 AM to 11:00 AM Thursday through Sunday and daily starting December 14 through the New Year. Dining will be on a first-come, first-served basis with no reservations. Dinner is available from 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM.
  • Top of the Mark: Located in the International Mark Hopkins, enjoy a quintessential Christmastime experience together, as you savor an expansive buffet spread, including vegetarian creations, toast with bottomless bubbly, listen to the live piano performances, and soak in views of the city and the bay. Santa will be waiting in the lobby for family pictures! Christmas Eve, 4:00 PM & 7:30 PM – $189/adult | $70/child++ (ages 4-12). After you’ve gathered around the tree and unwrapped what Saint Nicholas had in store, take the elevator to the Top of the Mark and indulge in an expansive buffet together. They’ll also be serving bottomless bubbles and showcasing live piano performances. Christmas Day, 11:30 AM, 2:30 PM & 5:30 PM – $189/adult | $70/child++ (ages 4-12). Reservations can be made on OpenTable.
  • The Ritz-Carlton: The Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay, just a short drive from San Francisco, hosts a splendid Christmas Eve Dinner in Navio, a picturesque oceanfront setting. December 20–24: Celebrate the week of Christmas and indulge in courses inspired by the season’s festivities. Guests are invited to experience an enhanced Seven-Course Chef’s Tasting menu showcasing the finest offerings of the holiday season. December 23–25: Gather with loved ones over a holiday feast and celebrate the arrival of Christmas in Navio. Inspired by coastal flavors and the season’s bounty, guests are invited to enjoy an enhanced two-hour Christmas Brunch experience with festive à la carte presentations. Learn more and reserve online. Christmas Brunch is offered December 23 to 25 at $249 per guest
  • Wayfare Tavern: Enjoy a festive Christmas Eve meal at Wayfare Tavern, known for its American comfort food and cozy ambiance. Make reservations online. Open Christmas Eve from 11:30 AM to 9:00 PM and closed Christmas Day.
  • Bistro Boudin: Celebrate the holidays with Bistro Boudin! Visit our Fisherman’s Wharf location and head upstairs for a full-service dine-in experience. Enjoy an authentic San Francisco meal on Christmas Day with the ones you love. Book a table online. Open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day from 12:00 PM to 9:00 PM.
  • Perry’s: on Union Street and The Embarcadero, Perry’s has been a local favorite for decades, serving classic American comfort food and a special Christmas Eve dinner. Reservations for all locations can be made online. Open 10am to 5pm on Christmas Eve and closed on Christmas Day.

Hanukkah Events in San Francisco

Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a joyous celebration of the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days in the ancient Holy Temple. San Francisco welcomes the Hanukkah season with a variety of events and activities that bring the community together. Here’s a guide to some of the 

Hanukkah events in San Francisco in 2023:

  • Hanukkah Celebrations at Union Square: Union Square in the heart of San Francisco often hosts Hanukkah celebrations that include the lighting of a grand menorah, live music, traditional foods, and family-friendly activities. It’s a festive way to kick off the Hanukkah season.
  • Lighting of the Bill Graham Menorah: The annual lighting of the Bill Graham Menorah in Union Square is a significant event in the city. It features live entertainment, activities for children, and the lighting of a towering menorah that is an iconic symbol of Hanukkah in San Francisco.
  • Hanukkah at the Contemporary Jewish Museum: The Contemporary Jewish Museum often hosts Hanukkah celebrations that combine art, culture, and holiday traditions. Visitors can enjoy Hanukkah-themed exhibitions, crafts, and storytelling.
  • Hanukkah Events at Chabad of SF: Chabad of San Francisco typically organizes a series of Hanukkah events, including public menorah lightings in various neighborhoods, traditional candle-lighting ceremonies, and festive gatherings.
  • Hanukkah Festivities at the JCCSF: The Jewish Community Center of San Francisco often hosts Hanukkah events, such as menorah lightings, holiday-themed activities for families, and cultural programs that highlight the significance of the holiday.
  • Thrive City Winter Wonderland: Hanukkah Celebration: Celebrate the Festival of Lights with us at Thrive City’s Winter Wonderland Hanukkah Celebration! Join us for a memorable evening as we light the menorah to mark the beginning of this holiday followed by live entertainment from community groups, treats and drinks, and festive arts & crafts. RSVP while supplies last.
  • Community Hanukkah Gatherings: Keep an eye on platforms like Eventbrite for community-organized Hanukkah events, including menorah lightings, parties, and cultural gatherings. These events provide an opportunity to celebrate Hanukkah in a more intimate setting.
  • Hanukkah at the San Francisco Public Library: San Francisco’s public libraries often host Hanukkah events, including storytelling sessions, crafts, and music that showcase the holiday’s traditions and significance.
  • Challah Baking Workshops: Learn the art of making traditional challah bread during Hanukkah by participating in challah baking workshops organized by local groups and individuals. These events are hands-on and educational.
  • Hanukkah Candle Lighting at Local Parks: San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department sometimes hosts Hanukkah candle-lighting ceremonies in local parks. Check their website for information on upcoming Hanukkah events in city parks.

Celebrate the Festival of Lights in San Francisco and embrace the warmth and unity of the Hanukkah season. Keep in mind that event details may vary from year to year, so be sure to check official websites and event listings for the most current information on Hanukkah events in the city.

Kwanza Events in San Francisco

Kwanzaa is a celebration of African heritage, unity, and culture that takes place from December 26th to January 1st. San Francisco proudly embraces this holiday, offering a range of events and activities to honor its principles. Here’s a guide to some of the Kwanzaa events in San Francisco in 2023:

  • Kwanzaa Celebration at the African American Art and Culture Complex: Join the African American Art and Culture Complex for a vibrant Kwanzaa celebration. This event typically features candle lighting, live performances, storytelling, and the sharing of the seven principles of Kwanzaa. It’s a cultural extravaganza that provides an authentic Kwanzaa experience.
  • Kwanzaa at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD): MoAD, a museum dedicated to the African diaspora, typically offers Kwanzaa celebrations. This event combines education and entertainment, with storytelling, workshops, and arts and crafts that emphasize the holiday’s principles.
  • Kwanzaa at the San Francisco Public Library: San Francisco’s public libraries often host Kwanzaa events, with storytelling, music, and activities for all ages. The Bayview Linda Brooks-Burton Library is known for its community-focused celebrations.
  • Kwanzaa Candle Lighting Ceremony at the African American Arts and Culture Complex: Join the AAACC for a traditional Kwanzaa candle lighting ceremony, where each of the seven principles of Kwanzaa is celebrated with a different candle. This event is an authentic and educational way to experience Kwanzaa.
  • Winter Wonderland at the Bayview Opera House: The historic Bayview Opera House often hosts Kwanzaa events, which include music, dance, and cultural activities. It’s an excellent opportunity to embrace the spirit of Kwanzaa in a community setting.
  • Thrive City “Winter Wonderland” Kwanzaa & Noon Year’s Eve 2023: Celebrate the culture of Kwanzaa and ring in 2024 at our Winter Wonderland Kwanzaa and Noon Year’s Eve celebration! Put on your dancing shoes and enjoy Afrobeats & More for Kids ft. Soji Sai Afrobeat from The Rock and Roll Playhouse. Enjoy cultural performances, a countdown drop at 11:59 a.m., arts & crafts stations, treats, and more. RSVP while supplies last.
  • Community Kwanzaa Celebrations: Throughout San Francisco, local communities often organize their own Kwanzaa celebrations. These events can be found on platforms like Eventbrite, where you can discover smaller gatherings and community-driven Kwanzaa activities.

Remember to check the official websites and event listings for the most up-to-date information on Kwanzaa events in San Francisco. Kwanzaa is a time for unity, reflection, and celebrating African culture and heritage, and these events provide a wonderful opportunity to do just that in the heart of the city.