Bay Area Holiday Activity List

The Bay Area is a great place to spend the holiday season.  Here are 6 things to do in the area that are always on my Bay Area holiday activity list.

1.  Visit Santa!

Our favorite Santa is the one at Stanford Mall in Palo Alto.  If you get there early enough in the season, Santa will read a short story to your kids.  He usually hands out a stuffed animal or candy canes which is cute.

2.  Fantasy of Lights

The Fantasy of Lights is a drive-through or walk-through holiday light display in Vasona Park In Los Gatos.  It’s a fun holiday tradition in the South Bay!

3.  Ice skating in Downtown San Jose

A seasonal, family-friendly outdoor skating rink where the cost of admission includes rental skates.  The ice rink is located outside the San Jose Museum of Art and across from Cesar Chavez Plaza. Children 10 & younger: $15.  11 & older: $17. Bring your own skates:  $10

4.  San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker

On Christmas Eve 1944, the audience at San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House watched the American premiere of Nutcracker. An instant sensation, the ballet launched a national holiday tradition.  It’s a 2-hour show with a 20-minute intermission which could be too much for young children. 

5.  Tree Lighting in Union Square

Each year San Francisco’s Union Square Tree Lighting Ceremony kicks off the holiday season and is one of the best Bay Area holiday activities to check out. Festivities begin at 6 pm with the tree lighting scheduled for 6:40 pm, which means you should get there early for a parking spot. The tree illuminates every night throughout the holidays.

6.  Christmas in the Park

Each year San Jose hosts a Christmas in the Park event where local organizations have a tree decorating contest.  Families are able to walk around the park to look at all the holiday decorations.  The event also has food stands and sells their famous churros and hot chocolate!

bay area holiday activities

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