Thanksgiving in San Francisco

San Francisco has something to offer tourists all-year-round, and although many of the attractions are closed during Thanksgiving, there is still plenty to do. Here we’ll take a look at some of the city’s attractions, shops, and Thanksgiving events.  

Some Attractions May be Closed

As Thanksgiving is a national holiday, some of the city’s attractions are usually closed. So, if you have your heart set on seeing everything the city has to offer, it may be good to stay on a little after Thanksgiving Weekend. The following attractions are closed during Thanksgiving: 

  • Alcatraz
  • Cable Car Museum
  • Coit Tower
  • Disney Museum
  • Hyde Street Pier
  • Museum of Modern Art
  • The Ferry Building

It’s not all bad news though, as lots of attractions stay open during Thanksgiving, including:

  • Aquarium of the Bay
  • Beat Museum
  • Botanical Gardens
  • Lombard Street
  • Mission Murals
  • Golden Gate Bridge

The Botanical Gardens actually offers free entry during Thanksgiving, so it’s the perfect opportunity to see the stunning gardens, especially if you’re travelling as a family and need to stick to a budget. 

Getting Around the City

Renting a bike and cycling around the city is even better during Thanksgiving, as many of the bike rental companies offer a 50% Thanksgiving discount. The city is famously hilly, so you may have to get off your bike and walk at some points, but then you get to whizz down the hills too! If you’d rather take it easy while you travel around the city, you can travel by tour bus instead. Gray Line’s 48-hour hop-on hop-off bus pass allows you to use its tour buses as much as you like, getting off anywhere that strikes your fancy. These tour buses are the cheapest way to travel around the city and they visit most of the biggest sights and attractions. 

Shopping During Thanksgiving

The main Union Square area of San Francisco is famous for its shopping, but you can expect most of the main shops to be closed during Thanksgiving. There is no hard-and-fast rule when it comes to whether shops in San Francisco are open or closed during Thanksgiving, but some shopping areas tend to be open more than others. 

Most of the shops in the Fisherman’s Wharf area, for example, are open during Thanksgiving, and there are some wonderful seafood restaurants around here, including Boudins at the Wharf, where you can order a local delicacy: clam chowder served in a hollowed-out loaf of sourdough! 

Pretty much all the shops in Chinatown are open during Thanksgiving, and its restaurants have some of the best Chinese food outside of China due to San Fran’s huge Chinese population.

Unthanksgiving Day

If you’re interested in a getting a different perspective on Thanksgiving, you may like to attend the ‘Unthanksgiving Day’ event at Alcatraz. Take a boat to Alcatraz Island and watch native Americans sing, dance, and perform in memory of their occupation of Alcatraz in 1969–71. The unofficial name for this event is ‘Unthanksgiving Day’, but it is more formally known as the Indigenous People’s Sunrise Gathering at Alcatraz. 

Thanksgiving is an interesting time of year to be an any big American city, and San Francisco has a lot to offer visitors. If you want to see all of the city, however, it’s best to extend your visit so you get the chance to enjoy the attractions that are closed on Thanksgiving weekend.