San Francisco has numerous shopping malls and districts for whenever you need to go on a last-minute gift shopping trip. Whether it’s for birthdays, anniversaries, holidays or other special celebrations, gift shopping is something that will haunt you all year round. But sometimes the same old gift ideas can become just that, same and old. If you’re feeling stuck when it comes to gift shopping and want to find some fun and stimulating options, consider giving an unforgettable experience to your friends and family. These are at the top of our wish list — read on to get inspired.
1. Candlelight concerts
The magical Candlelight concert series has delighted audiences around the world, from Barcelona to Paris to NYC. Here in the Bay Area we’re lucky to experience these stunning classical concerts in intimate venues such as SF’s St. Ignatius Church and Grace Cathedral, as well as Oakland’s Chabot Space & Science Center. See these stunning spaces transformed with the addition of hundreds of flameless candles while you enjoy classical music performed by a string quartet. A Candlelight gift card also makes for a great present if you’re unsure what to choose.
2. Space Explorers: THE INFINITE
Richmond’s Craneway Pavilion recently welcomed Space Explorers: THE INFINITE, an exciting virtual reality space adventure. The acclaimed experience uses EMMY award-winning film footage to recreate the International Space Station, where you can interact with other guests in the form of avatars. After 60 magical minutes in this hyper-realistic journey in outer space, guests can then explore the work of Japanese artist Ryoji Ikeda, whose eclectic art pieces make for the perfect photo op.
3. CARNE y ARENA
Richmond’s Craneway Pavilion has welcomed this poignant VR experience by five-time Academy Award-winning director Alejandro G. Iñárritu. CARNE y ARENA explores true stories of refugees, giving guests a unique way to witness their personal journeys on a visceral level. See how virtual reality can blur the lines between subject and bystander for this one-of-a-kind experience.
4. Smash It! at the Museum of 3D Illusions
Courtesy of Museum of 3D Illusions
Do you feel like you or a loved one has some anger bottled up? Well, the Museum of 3D Illusions has found a way for you to unleash your wrath in a safe and controlled environment, without having to do any clean-up afterwards. Now you can decompress by throwing plates against a wall in a hilarious new attraction at World of Illusions. All you have to do is grab a ceramic plate, draw or write what’s eating you on the inside and release your anger by letting it fly.
5. Napa Valley & Sonoma: Wine Tour from San Francisco
If your giftee isn’t that hardcore, but more into sipping wine, hopping on a luxury coach and enjoying the simple pleasures of life, then this wine tour is the right choice. You can live your full boujie fantasy with this full-day guided trip from SF to Napa Valley and Sonoma and taste wine at three different wineries. It doesn’t matter if you can’t decide between white, red or rosé, on this trip you can savor them all. It’s guaranteed to get you on cloud wine, because on this trip it’s always wine o-clock!
6. True Dating Stories
Laughter is the best medicine, but it can also be the best gift. We all have our fair share of nightmarish dating stories. Most of us have them locked up and repressed in the far corners of our subconscious, but luckily comedian Emily Van Dyke has not. She is hosting a 2-hour comedy show at Public Works filled with hysterical true dating stories that will definitely give your the giggles. Hear side-splitting and eccentric dating anecdotes that help you realize that your own love life woes and past pains could definitely be worse.
7. AMC Black Ticket
For the cinephile in your life, the AMC Black Ticket grants admission to any 2D movie at any time in participating AMC Theatres®. Take advantage of this discounted price for a movie ticket that never expires, so you can save it for a rainy day or catch the next big blockbuster.
8. The Flyer San Francisco
The Flyer San Francisco is an immersive flight simulation ride that will take you and your guests on a virtual flight over the city. You’ll see SF’s iconic landmarks, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island and the Transamerica Pyramid, without ever leaving the ground. During the ride guests sit in theater-like seating arrangement and are surrounded by a 3D projection dome that simulates the experience of flying. Seeing San Francisco from above has never been this easy.
9. Food and dining experiences
For the foodie in your life, take a look through these fun culinary experiences in San Francisco, ranging from cooking classes to romantic meals on a Bay cruise.
- North Beach Culinary Experience: Explore the culinary history of SF’s Italian neighborhood on this insider food tour through 4 spectacular restaurants.
- Champagne Brunch: Indulge in a brunch buffet with bottomless mimosas and live music aboard a two-hour yacht cruise of the SF Bay.
- Dinner Dance Cruise: Enjoy a luxurious 4-course meal and live music aboard an SF Bay cruise at sunset.
10. Sailing and adventure experiences
Feel the rush of adventure on these boat tours of San Francisco Bay, plus some indoor skydiving for the thrill-seeker in your life.
- America’s Cup Day Sailing Adventure: A thrilling 2.5-hour sail aboard the USA 76, a racing yacht from the International America’s Cup.
- Bay Sunset Catamaran Cruise: Journey through the Bay on this 1.5-hour sunset voyage with an audio guide.
- Escape from the Rock: Bay Cruise: A 1.5-hour cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge and around Alcatraz Island, complete with an audio guide telling about famous escape attempts from the prison.
- Indoor Skydiving: Float in an 800-horsepower vertical wind tunnel at iFLY San Francisco Bay.
Bonus: Fever gift card
Still not sure what to gift your loved ones? You can’t go wrong with the gift of opportunity! Snag a Fever gift card (or two, or three) so that your giftees can effectively choose their own adventure among the memorable experiences we’ve outlined in this list (plus many more). The gift cards are valid for one year on all Fever experiences, from Candlelight concerts to multi-course meals.