Broadway Shows & Theater Productions
SF Ballet: The Nutcracker runs from 12/12-12/29. The SF Ballet will perform The Nutcracker again this December at the War Memorial Opera House. It was performed in San Francisco for the first time in the US on Christmas Eve, 1944. Although it’s now performed all around the county, this one is a popular ticket so make sure to get yours early. It’s one of the best family-friendly San Francisco events in December.
A Christmas Carol runs from 12/6-12/26. A Christmas Carol is a beloved San Francisco tradition this time of year. For more than 40 years, the SF American Conservatory Theater has performed this musical version of Charles Dickens’ classic tale with a lively cast, colorful costumes, and spooky ghosts. You can catch this holiday favorite at the Geary Theater all month long, even on Christmas Eve. Make sure to plan ahead as tickets sell out quickly!
It’s a Wonderful Life runs through 12/9. Don’t miss this month’s SF Opera performance of It’s a Wonderful Life. It’s based on the movie with the same name and a show you will not soon forget. It follows the story of George Bailey who is contemplating the meaning of his life and possibly ending it. An angel appears to help him decide his fate. All shows are at the War Memorial Opera House in the Civic Center district.
The Great Dickens Christmas Fair runs through 12/23. For the first four weekends of December in San Francisco, you have the unique opportunity of immersing yourself in a world centuries and half a globe away, to Charles Dickens’ Victorian London, where it’s always Christmas Eve. Here you’ll find hundreds of costumed guests, as well as lamplit lanes, pubs, theaters, music halls, and shops, like a Victorian Christmas card come to life.
Bat out of Hell the Musical runs from 12/24-12/23: You will have the chance to see Jim Steinman’s Bat Out of Hell on stage at the Orpheum Theater. It follows a forbidden love story and includes some of the top hits from Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf.
Cirque due Soleil’s Volta– Volta strolls into town this year with Volta. It’s one of the most anticipated San Francisco events in December! Volta follows the story of a young man that is seeking happiness and recognition from his upcoming appearance on a gameshow. What he finds out is that it isn’t the outside world that turns your dreams into a reality, but instead, your inner strength. It’s a wonderful story of self-acceptance and transition into a world that is magical and everything you’ve always wanted in life. All performances are Under the Big Chapiteau near AT&T Park in the South of Market district.
Tree Lighting Ceremonies & Holiday Events
The whole city is getting into the holiday spirit. Tree and Menorah lighting ceremonies continue to illuminate San Francisco this month as the holidays draw near, and it doesn’t stop there! Union Street’s beautiful Victorian homes, the Embarcadero, and even the SF Zoo will all come to life with lights, and you can be a part of it!
Ice Skating– Without a white Christmas, San Francisco still manages to bring the wintry magic of the holidays right to the heart of downtown. While you’re out shopping, eating, and taking in the urban holiday decor of Union Square or the Embarcadero, take a break to catch a nice breeze on one of the outdoor skating rinks that only appear during this season. 90-minute sessions are affordable and skate rentals are available.
Santa Con 12/8 – Santa Con is huge annual event held in large cities all over the country and world, in which thousands of everyday people dress up as Santa and walk through the streets together spreading holiday cheer. Either put on your jolly red suit to join in, or head towards downtown to take in the unique sight. The event starts with a gathering in Union Square. All Santa’s will then head to one of several designated districts around SF for drink specials and other holiday merriment.
Lighted Boat Parade 12/14 – The Lighted Boat Parade has been a holiday tradition and one of the popular San Francisco events in December since 1994. It is a unique event that brings the holiday spirit out onto the bay and invites everyone to enjoy San Francisco’s waterfront. Watch the decorated boats parade past Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, Fort Mason, and Crissy Field. It runs from 6pm to 8pm.
New Year’s Eve
Whether you prefer getting dressed up for a fancy dinner, having a night out dancing, watching fireworks, or attending a special performance of the SF Symphony, you will love New Year’s Eve in San Francisco.
You will find many attractions are open on NYE, but close a little early. You will also find several tours and activities running regular schedules that day.
Ring in your 2019 in the City by the Bay!
Fire Works over the Bay – One of the largest events this New Years in San Francisco is the Fireworks display over the Bay. This annual event is just to the south of the Ferry Building near the SF Bay Bridge. The show kicks off at 11:59pm.
New Year’s Eve Cruises– A unique way to spend your New Year’s is aboard a cruise on the SF Bay. It’s one of the few places in the US you can enjoy this type of adventure on NYE. You will find a variety of cruises from family friendly options to 21+ party boats. You will also find some upscale dinner and fireworks cruise options.
NYE at the SF Jazz Center – Head over to the new SF Jazz Center on New Year’s Eve for Maceo Parker. This funky New Year’s Eve Party includes two shows. The first is at 8pm. The second is at 10:30pm and is for members only. The second show includes complimentary champagne and a balloon drop at midnight.