Holiday Happenings in the Bay Area 2022

It is finally that time of year again—the holidays are officially here! In just a few short days, Thanksgiving will be at our doorsteps, kicking off the coveted season of warmth, coziness, and holiday fun!

November and December are notorious for spending time with family and gathering with loved ones. Whether near or far, many people enjoy celebrating the holidays by hosting feasts and parties or stepping out for a night on the merry town.

Here are some Bay Area events this holiday season 2022:

November

There is a slew of holiday-inspired events sprinkling over the Bay Area in 2022. Here are the best things to do this November in the Bay Area:

Safeway Holiday Ice Rink

Located in Union Square, the Safeway holiday ice rink is back and ready to launch for wintry traditions and skating fun. The outdoor rink is perfect for all ages and offers special events throughout the holiday season.

General admission is $20 with children under 8 years old only $15. Skate rentals are included. Ice skating opens from November 2 through January 16!

Garden of D’Lights

This year from November 25 through January 8 is the annual Garden of D'Lights at Ruth Bancroft Garden. Nothing starts off the holiday season like thousands of dazzling, sparkling lights.

The botanical sculptures and plants are decorated with thousands of lights that adorn succulents, trees, cacti, and sculptural art created by local artists. The event is a winter fundraiser and a great holiday treat for folks wanting to meander through a lit-up winter wonderland.

Iceless Skating

Many parents are worried they and their kiddos may get hurt in the old tradition of winter ice skating. It can be inherently dangerous as ice can be quite impactful should someone fall.

Therefore, iceless skating was born at the Bay Area Discovery Museum! Come join in the wintry wonderland where only socks are needed to gently glide across the floor.

Prices for general admission include:

  • $1 for EBT cardholders
  • $15 for babies ages 6-11 months
  • $19 for children ages 1-17
  • $19 for adults ages 18-64
  • $17 for seniors ages 65 and over

You must reserve your spot between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you are a member, you do not need a reservation—simply provide your eMembership car prior to your visit.

Fantasia—with Live Orchestra

On Tuesday, November 22, the fan-fav holiday film Fantasia is showing at Davies Symphony Hall. Both the 1940 film and its coveted sequel Fantasia 2000 will be accompanied by the world-renowned live orchestra.

The animated movie meshed with live music ignites serious awe-inspiring results pleasing even the most skeptical believers of magic. This performance trailblazes how many classic movies may be shown in the future for the full 4-D effect!

‘Hands Up’ Thanksgiving Turkey Trot & Costume Contest 2022

The 6th Annual Benicia Hand Up Turkey Trot is being held this year on Thursday, November 24. The turkey trot has two route options. Route 1 option includes the hill out toward Lake Herman—approximately 2 miles. Route 2 option does not include the hill and is 2 laps of a walk around Benicia Community Park Trail—approximately 1.5 miles.

The proceeds will then be donated to the Tim & Jeannie Hamann Foundation “Giving A Hand Up” to help patients and their brave battle fighting cancer.

  • 7:30 am: Registration Opens
  • 8:00 am: Costume Contest Judging
  • 8:20 am: Opening Ceremony
  • 8:30 am: Turkey Trot Starts

Gift cards and prizes are available to the winners of the costume contest! The categories include:

  • Little Turkey Contest (up to 12 years old)
  • Big Turkey Contest (over 12 years old)
  • Flock of Turkeys Contest (2 or more in a group, family, friends, or a team)

Located at Benicia Community Park!

December

December marks winter’s beginning and all the exciting holiday activities ahead. Here are the top events to check out this December in the Bay Area:

Drag Queens on Ice

If you have not witnessed a drag show, you are indeed missing out. Famous for causing a ruckus, making you laugh, and throwing a heck of a lip-syncing, interactive performance, drag queens will set the tone for the rest of the holidays.

Prepare to be mesmerized in a whole new way as they perform their acts on ice skates this December 1 from 7:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. at Union Square. Grab a place around the rink and witness some of San Fran’s fiercest queens as they give a holiday performance that will stay with you forever.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas—with Live Orchestra

Start the Christmas season right by attending Davies Symphony Hall Friday, December 16 at 7:30 p.m. Witness a Christmas classic, The Grinch, whilst the famed live orchestra provides the musical accompaniment.

A family-friendly tale, even adults will feel their hearts grow triple the original size. With plenty of laughs, spooks, and feel-good feelings, indulge yourself as you watch the Grinch’s icy heart begin to melt.

Civic Center Tree Lighting

What is Christmas time without a Christmas tree? The annual Civic Center Plaza Tree Lighting is happening December 7 from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. Family-friendly and fun for all ages, this festive event features a plethora of food, music, toy giveaways, holiday performances, and DIY activities for everyone!

“Snow” will flurry across the area to truly give that holiday feel. The ultimate Christmas stars will be in attendance—Santa and his elves! Be sure to get your picture taken with them.

Hanukkah Pop-up Party at Ghirardelli Square

On December 18, JCCSF’s Glowing Hanukkah Party is coming back to Ghirardelli Square to make all of your Hanukkah dreams come true. Watch and be inspired by the traditional lighting of the candles, beautiful live music, Hanukkah crafts, games, foods, and more.

Watch as the magical candles light up the darkest of nights and explore all the artisan offerings of the local merchants. It is sure to be an illuminated night to remember.

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair

Beginning on weekends from November 19 – December 19, this one-of-a-kind immersive event features a luxurious holiday party. Witness hundreds of actors performing in costumed plays as they interact amongst a whopping 140,000 square feet of music halls, theatres, and quaint shops.

You will be transported back into Victoria London days as you immersive yourself in days past. Step into Charles Dickens’ London Town featuring roasted chestnuts, handmade gifts, and everything your old-fashioned holiday heart desires.

Winter Wonderland at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk

From November 24 – January 1, a winter wonderland can be visited by you and your loved ones. Armed with arcades, pedal karts, rides, games, photos with Santa, s’mores, and more holiday goodies, you won’t want to miss this stroll through a wintry heaven.

Celebrate this season at the beach as you waltz down the boardwalk absorbed in holiday joy and peace. It will definitely not be a “silent night”!

Bottom Line

California dreamin’ goes well beyond the white beaches and sunny days. Enjoy this holiday season in San Francisco’s Bay Area by submerging yourself into all things festive, merry, and bright.

From Thanksgiving Turkey Trots to thousands of holiday lights illuminating the holiday night sky, you are sure to enjoy this season. Live in the moment and relish the holidays as they only happen once a year—the best time of year!

From Polaris Realty, we wish you a happy and safe holiday season!


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