11 Things to Do With Your Kids This Holiday Season in The Bay Area

Lifetime memories don’t have to cost a lot of money — check out these festive family outings.

Teddy Bear Tea

Nov 26-27, Dec 3-4, 10-11, 17-23

Known as the party where guests ages 2-11 leave with a teddy bear, the elves, teddy bear treats and finger sandwiches, and a room bedecked with an extreme sort of holiday finery are also part of the fun, as is knowing that wrapped, new toys donated to the Ritz’s Toy Drive will be gifted to patients at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals.

A Cathedral Christmas

Dec 10, 11, 17, 18, and 23

True traditionalists can hear music throughout December at historic Grace Cathedral atop Nob Hill, when the Choir of Men and Boys and others fill the Gothic space with favorite carols, sacred masterpieces and yuletide songs. Tickets $17-80.

San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker

Dec 8-27

A ticket to the Nutcracker production need not cost a bundle; pick seats a little farther from the stage for as little as $20 to see the production the New York Times has deemed “striking, elegant and beautiful.”

A Christmas Carol

Through Dec 24

Who says ghosts are only for fall? Charles Dickens’ classic tale of redemption is larded with specters of the otherworldly and nagging sort in an adaptation by Paul Walsh and Carey Perloff. Introduce your child to the timeless tale of grumpy old Scrooge for as little as $15. American Conservatory Theater’s A Christmas Carol is a classic that resurrects true holiday spirit year after year. Tickets from $15.

Great Dickens Christmas Fair

Through Dec 18

In its full return to the Cow Palace, a maze of Victorian streets is laden with shops bedecked in holiday finery and bursting with handmade treasures, plus music halls, dance parties, sing-alongs and era-specific what-not.

HapPier Holidays Celebration

Through Jan 8

Enjoy the holidays and get into the spirit of the season with your family at Pier 39. This year’s live tree is a 60 foot tall white fir that will transform into a kaleidoscope of swirling colors, adorned with thousands of specialty lights and ornaments.

Life-Sized Gingerbread House

Through Jan 1

And if your holiday tastes skew a little sweeter, the Fairmont San Francisco hotel has resumed the tradition of building a two-story, life-size gingerbread house that is 22 feet high, 23 feet wide and full of thousands of bricks, a ton of royal icing and candy décor.

Westin Sugar Castle

Through Jan 2

Created by executive pastry chef Jean-Francois Houdré, the massive rotating display is considered one of the country’s largest sugar castles. At 12 feet tall, the castle weighs more than 1,200 pounds and features more than 20 circular towers.

Meet Santa

Through Dec 24

Saint Nick has arrived at Stonestown Galleria! While you finish up your holiday shopping, don’t forget to stop by and capture a memorable holiday photo with Santa — it’s truly a magical sight for all the kids to see! Reservations are encouraged.

Union Square Ice Rink

Through Jan 16

Holiday ice skating is now happening in two city venues. The Safeway Holiday Ice Rink at San Francisco’s Union Square kicks of the season with an opening party, hosts weekend learn to skate sessions, “Let it Go” Wednesdays with Disney’s “Frozen,” and more events throughout the holiday season. Yerba Buena’s year-round rink is open too — go early to avoid the big crowds.

Santa’s 12th Annual Visit to Nick’s Cove

Dec 4

Santa is going to be visiting Nick’s Cove via his water sleigh (aka boat) for the 12th year in a row on Sunday, Dec 4th from 3-5pm!! Nick’s Cove will have the same pandemic safety measures in place as they did last year, so even though kids won’t be able to sit on Santa’s lap they can still peek into his workshop (the Boat Shack) and take a socially-distant photo with him. There will be live music and complimentary hot chocolate and cookies.