After a day of ice skating, gift shopping at craft markets, and sipping hot chocolate, what should you do with all that leftover seasonal spirit? Not to worry, because San Francisco is the place to be for holiday-themed concerts, performances, and shows. Read on for our favorite performances coming up this winter, ranging from jaw-dropping orchestral numbers to kid-friendly daytime shows.
1. Candlelight concerts
The popular classical concert series known as Candlelight showcases intimate performances by local musicians surrounded by hundreds of flickering candles. Discover upcoming Candlelight concerts here.
2-6. SF Symphony performances
You can’t go wrong with a performance by SF Symphony, and their lineup for the holidays is unparalleled! Here are all the seasonal concerts on the calendar through December:
- Holiday Brass (Dec. 20) – SF Symphony’s brass section performs holiday classics.
- Elf (Dec. 21-22) – SF Symphony performs the live soundtrack for this beloved holiday movie.
- A Merry-Achi Christmas (Dec. 23) – Mariachi Sol de Mexico® performs a lively Christmas show.
- Harry Connick, Jr. and his band (Dec. 24) – Harry Connick, Jr. performs his take on Christmas classics.
- New Year’s Eve with Seth MacFarlane (Dec. 31) – Ring in the new year with Seth Macfarlane.
7. Holiday Spectacular with the SF Gay Men’s Choir
The beloved SF Gay Men’s Choir is bringing an epic performance to the Castro Theatre on Christmas Eve (December 24). Spend a joyous evening listening to lively performances of classic songs like Jingle Bells, I’ll Be Home For Christmas, and choral works like Sure on this Shining Night. The Cher-ry on top is a holiday-themed Cher medley which is sure to bring the house down.
8. SF Ballet’s The Nutcracker
Experience Tchaikovsky’s breathtaking The Nutcracker, choreographed by Helgi Tomasson and performed by SF Ballet and SF Orchestra. The timeless show is a hallmark of the holiday season complete with whimsical numbers featuring dancing mice, sugarplum fairies, and fluttering snowflakes.
SF Ballet will perform The Nutcracker from December 8-27 with special pricing Dec. 8-9, 13-15, and 26-27. They’ve also added the first-ever Sensory Friendly Performance on December 21 with accommodations for neurodiverse audience members.
9-13. Grace Cathedral concerts and performances
Grace Cathedral is one of the most iconic churches in San Francisco, famous for its gorgeous stained glass windows, mosaics, floor labyrinths, and overall French Gothic design. It’s a beautiful place to attend for any church service, but at Christmastime it is especially spectacular thanks to a great lineup of performances and concerts.
- A Cathedral Christmas (Dec. 23): The Choir of Men and Boys will perform classic Christmas carols accompanied by a full orchestra and organ.
- Lessons & Carols (Dec. 24): The Choir of Men and Boys will perform an Anglican tradition of readings, hymns, and anthems.
- Choral Eucharists (Dec 24-25)
- Christmas Eve: A mixed-voice choir sings the first Eucharist of Christmas.
- Midnight Mass: The Choir of Men and Boys and a full orchestra celebrate Christmas.
- Christmas Day: A mixed-voice quartet celebrates Christmas Day.
More Christmas concerts, music, and shows
- Sing you a Merry Christmas (Dec. 21, 22): A family sing-along event led by toys brought to life from St. Nicholas’s workshop!
- Bishop’s Christmas Pageant (Dec. 24): The Christmas story told by the Right Rev. Dr. Marc Handley Andrus, Bishop of California, accompanied by children portraying magi, angels, and shepherds.
14. Frozen the Musical
Disney’s hit Broadway musical Frozen has arrived at San Francisco’s Orpheum Theatre now through December 30th. Frozen features all the songs that you know and love from the original film with a dozen new numbers from the film’s songwriters, Oscar winner Kristen Anderson-Lopez and EGOT winner Robert Lopez. The musical has won 16 Tony Awards to date, presenting Anna and Elsa’s story with riveting theatricality and magnificent set designs.
15. Union Square Menorah lightings
The Bill Graham Menorah Project displays a 25-foot menorah at Union Square on every night of Hanukkah (Dec. 18-25), which is a sight to behold during the lighting ceremonies. On the first night (Dec. 18), you can enjoy fun activities, food, music and more for “Bill Graham Menorah Day” from 2-6pm to accompany the lighting ceremony at 5pm. This includes a variety of kids’ crafts and shows, plus musical performances from Jerry’s Kosher Deli, Saul Kaye, and Ari Lesser. The subsequent lighting ceremonies (Dec. 19-25) are preceded by smaller gatherings and musical performances.