Looking for some fun activities to do post-turkey? San Francisco has plenty of events, activities, and fun spots to hit up during the long weekend of November 24-27. Scroll through for some essential things to check out and kick off the holiday season.
1. Sign up for the Thanksgiving-day Turkey Trot
Need to get your blood pumping before eating your weight in stuffing? Consider registering for the San Francisco Turkey Trot! The 20th annual event has a 5-mile race, a 3-mile race, and a 100-meter kids’ race. Participants can run or walk through the course in Golden Gate Park and it’s not uncommon to arrive in costume!
2. Get your skate on at these awesome ice rinks
It’s that time of year! Plenty of Bay Area ice rinks are open and already hosting fun events. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Union Square Ice Rink (San Francisco)
- Snoopy’s Home Ice (Santa Rosa)
- Meritage Resort Winter Village (Napa)
- And more
3. Go on an immersive expedition to space at Craneway Pavilion
Space Explorers: THE INFINITE just opened at the Craneway Pavilion! Featuring never-before-seen footage filmed by actual astronauts on the International Space Station, the acclaimed VR journey will transport you to space and back. During 60 magical minutes, discover life in space and witness our blue planet unlike you ever have before. Get tickets here.
4. Go for a brisk autumn walk around the city
Take this as your friendly reminder to get your steps in! San Francisco is full of endless places to explore, and in a city like this it’s essential to enjoy the little things. Here are a few of our favorite walking spots:
- Salesforce Park
- Lyon Street Steps, Pacific Heights
- Great Highway
- And more
5. Enjoy a breathtaking local hike
Perhaps you’re feeling a little more ambitious and looking for a killer hike with great views? You’ll love these incredible hikes for a chance to stretch your legs. Here are some of the best:
6. Check out the Exploratorium’s GLOW light art exhibition
The Exploratorium has announced the return of GLOW: Discover the Art of Light in all its 2021 glory. See brand new and expanded installations created by 6 local artists from November 17 until January 29, 2023.
7. Check out the Nob Hill Tree Lighting Ceremony and other events at Grace Cathedral
As if Grace Cathedral wasn’t iconic enough, they are pulling out all the stops for the holiday season! Here’s what’s happening there on Thanksgiving weekend:
- World Tree of Hope Installation (Nov. 26, 27): Grace Cathedral is home to the largest origami Christmas tree in the world! They partner with Rainbow World Fund to decorate it with over 17,000 handmade origami cranes and stars, each of which is inscribed with wishes and hopes for the future. You can send your wish to be inscribed on a crane for free and added to the tree. They’re accepting volunteers to help trim the tree, and you can see the installation process throughout November. The tree will be lighted on December 6 and stay there until January 7.
- Advent wreath making workshop (Nov. 27): A family wreath-making event, materials provided.
- Nob Hill lighting ceremony (Nov. 28): The 50th consecutive tree lighting ceremony will take place at Huntington Park outside of the cathedral. See the outside trees and gardens illuminated with thousands of beautiful lights, while enjoying music from the French American Jazz Quartet and food from local hotels.
8. Take an unforgettable day trip around NorCal
We love San Francisco for its countless activities to enjoy everywhere you go. But anytime there’s a long weekend or a free day, we’re quite well-located to check out some neighboring California gems. Be sure to put these day trips on your to-do list for the next time you want to get out of the City and into nature.
9. Visit a craft fair, festival, or holiday market
There are plenty of fun craft fairs, artsy events, and holiday markets coming up. We’re keeping a running list of holiday markets this year, and the ones on our radar for Thanksgiving weekend are the following:
- Magickal Market – Nov. 26, 11am-5pm, at Al Fresco Dining Park in Alameda
- Creativity Explored Holiday Pop-Up – Nov. 26-27, 8am-3pm, at the Ferry Building in San Francisco
- The Great Dickens Christmas Fair – Nov. 26-27, 10am-6pm, at Cow Palace in Daly City
- Patchwork Show – Nov. 27, 11am-5pm, Old Courthouse Square in Santa Rosa
- And more
10. Take an epic journey on a vintage train
Escape to another era on these gorgeous vintage locomotives, many of which are decked out for the holidays.
- Napa Valley Wine Train: Take a trip through rolling vineyards in wine country while enjoying gourmet food and the best wines in California, all on a gorgeous vintage train with plush chairs, brass accents, glass etchings and lux tableware.
- Roaring Camp Steam Trains: Want to enjoy California’s beautiful redwood forests, without having to don hiking boots? This steam train from Roaring Camp is an absolute must! Hop on this authentic train from 1890 for an open-air trip through the redwoods! Roaring Camp also offers a train route to Santa Cruz, where you’ll ride alongside the shore for some beautiful ocean views.
11. Drive through this sparkling winter wonderland in San Jose
Christmas in the Park is back this year! Starting November 25, San Jose will be decked out in tens of thousands of sparkling lights. Blinky’s Illuminated Holiday is their beloved drive-thru experience, where guests can take a trip through a magical glowing winter wonderland. There will also be a tree lighting and other events at Cesar Chavez Plaza.
12. Explore the dazzling Garden of D’Lights in Walnut Creek
The Ruth Bancroft Garden has rolled out its whimsical Garden of d’Lights holiday event. Each year, they deck out the plants with multicolored lights, lasers, and more, transforming the already spectacular 3.5 acre space into an otherworldly outdoor adventure. Guests can stroll through the beautiful glowing gardens for 1-1.5 hours to discover countless photo ops and exciting displays.
13. Honor the Indigenous Peoples of America at this sunrise gathering on Alcatraz
The Indians of All Tribes organization occupied Alcatraz Island from 1969-1971, citing a treaty by which the government promised the return of abandoned federal land to the tribes from whom it was originally taken. Although the movement failed, it is commemorated each year with a sunrise gathering on Thanksgiving Day.
14. Satisfy your sweet tooth at these superb bakeries
San Franciscans with a sweet tooth have it easy in this glorious city, because SF bakeries absolutely do not mess around. We wanted to get to the bottom of where San Franciscans get their baked goods, so we posted an Instagram poll asking for recommendations. In the end, here are some of the highest-recommended bakeries in the city.
15. Sip your way through these 10 awesome cocktail bars
It’s never a bad time to discover an amazing new bar in the city, whether it has excellent craft cocktails, a unique ambience, stellar service, or an awesome view. We wanted to discover the best cocktail bars in San Francisco, so we posted a poll on our Instagram asking for suggestions! Our followers never disappoint, and here are some of the best ones.
16. 10 essential places to enjoy decadent hot chocolate in SF
You don’t have to be a kid to know that hot chocolate is one of the most underrated drinks on any cafe’s menu. As we head into the fall and winter seasons, it’s a great time to compile some spots to visit next time you’re craving this delicious drink! Discover everything from indulgent dark chocolate drinks, to spiked adult beverages, to your classic on-the-go treat. Stay warm and enjoy!