Happy New Year, San Francisco! 2022 has officially arrived, and January is a great time to take stock of all the amazing activities, events, and more happening around the Bay. Read on to discover how to start the new year on the right foot.
1. Catch this amazing Sistine Chapel exhibition at St. Mary’s Cathedral
This beautiful exhibition of Michelangelo’s frescoes is still up at St. Mary’s Cathedral through January 9! Get up close and personal with these famous masterpieces, which have been reproduced with a special printing technique that emulates the look and feel of the original paintings. Visitors can see every brushstroke and detail of the artist’s 34 frescoes, and accompanying audio guides are available to rent. Make sure to grab tickets before they’re gone!
2. See over 70 mind-blowing LEGO® sculptures at this SF exhibition
The world’s most popular display of LEGO® art has officially arrived in San Francisco! The Art of the Brick is a world-renowned exhibition of over 70 intricate creations by artist Nathan Sawaya. See colorful animals, recreations of classic art, a 20-foot T. rex, and new never-before-seen sculptures inside the beautiful Pantheon-inspired building at 1 Grant Avenue. Get tickets now!
3. Immerse yourself in this mind-bending Stranger Things Experience
Thousands of fans nabbed tickets to this exciting Stranger Things Experience coming to San Francisco in the spring. Luckily more tickets have been released so you can still immerse yourself in 1980s Hawkins! Walk through iconic sets from the series, team up with El and the gang on a secret mission, and uncover hidden secrets from the Upside Down. Make sure to get tickets before they sell out again!
4. Enjoy classical music by candlelight at this magical concert series in SF
The immensely popular Candlelight concert series is turning heads right now in San Francisco! Hear your favorite songs on strings including classics from Frank Sinatra and Queen, recent pop hits, and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. The Bay Area’s top musicians perform in an intimate setting surrounded by thousands of flickering candles, making for an unforgettable musical experience. Check out these gorgeous concerts at St. Ignatius Church, the InterContinental Hotel’s covered rooftop, and the Heron Arts Gallery. Get tickets now!
- Candlelight: Rock Classics on Strings
- Candlelight: Romantic Jazz ft. Frank Sinatra & Nat King Cole
- Candlelight: A Tribute to Queen and More at Heron Arts
- Candlelight: Best Pop Hits of the Decade
- Candlelight: Featuring Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and More at St. Ignatius Church
5-27. 23 lovely things to do on a rainy day in San Francisco
SF has some drizzly days in the forecast this month, which is great for our climate but not always so great for our plans! If you’re feeling shipwrecked at home, these ideas should spark your imagination for getting back out there. Whatever you end up doing, make sure you stay safe, stay dry, and have fun.
- Enjoy a luxurious high tea
- Walk through an underwater tunnel at the Aquarium of the Bay
- Skate the night away at the Church of 8 Wheels
- Take a lap around the Ferry Building
28. Don’t miss the dazzling Garden of D’Lights in Walnut Creek
The Ruth Bancroft Garden is still hosting its whimsical Garden of d’Lights holiday event through January 9! 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.
29-38. Book one of these 10 beautiful highly-rated Airbnbs in NorCal
[Image: “Cosmo Beach Riverfront Sanctuary”]
Airbnb puts out wishlists of awesome spots to stay around the world. Their list of Bay Area Getaways has 55 options, but we’ve chosen the 10 most highly-rated stays to help you start planning.
- “Treehouse in Vineyard Overlooking Monterey Bay”
- “Luxury Estate in the Redwoods w/ Hot Tub”
- “Cosmo Beach Riverfront Sanctuary”
- “Estate Guest House on Vineyard”
39. Golden Gate Park’s enchanting Entwined light display is up through the end of January
Now through February 1, we can once again enjoy Charles Gadeken’s immersive Entwined display, this time with even more interactive elements. The whimsical installation transforms Peacock Meadow into an otherworldly ecosystem of glowing trees, bushes, and other natural elements created from colorful pixel-like LED lights. The trees range from 8-20 feet tall, accompanied by dozens of glowing flower clusters and bushes to create a beautiful meadow landscape.
40. Send virtual dandelion seeds around the globe at this free Japantown exhibition
Tokyo-based artist Ryotaro Muramatsu has made his US debut of DANDELION right here in San Francisco’s Japantown. This free interactive art installation is a stunning way to unite people around the world, where visitors can “blow” on the dandelion installation, sending virtual seeds as a symbol of peace to another dandelion elsewhere in the world. It’s up now in the Japan Center West Mall, Suite 315, from 12-7pm Friday-Sunday until January 21.
41. This otherworldly immersive light installation is coming back to Grace Cathedral
Starting January 3, Grace Cathedral and SF nonprofit Illuminate will present the highly-anticipated Grace Light installation, a 100-foot-tall shifting beam of light created by artist George Zisiadis. The free, site-specific installation is accompanied by an original musical score by Gabriel Gold.
Visitors will be fully immersed in a visual and auditory masterpiece, made even more impressive within one of San Francisco’s most beautiful cathedrals. Walk through and be bathed by the shimmering light beam, or lay down on the cathedral’s famous labyrinth for a more spiritual experience.
42. The Asian Art Museum’s incredible teamLab: Continuity exhibition is up through mid-February
There’s a exhibition happening at the Asian Art Museum that you don’t want to miss! The beautiful immersive teamLab: Continuity exhibition has been extended until mid-February. Visit a lush nature landscape complete with flying crows, hovering butterflies, colorful flowers and darting fish. The interactive ecosystem grows and expands around you, allowing you to observe changing imagery and details in real time.
43. Pickleball is growing in popularity – here’s where you can play in SF
San Francisco is one of the world’s most outdoorsy cities, and with that comes abundant interest in sports. One sport that’s growing in popularity, both in the Bay and internationally, is pickleball! This fun and accessible sport is a mix between tennis, badminton, and ping pong, and there are plenty of places in SF where you can try it out for yourself.
44. The Exploratorium’s popular GLOW light art exhibition is up through January 30
The Exploratorium has brought back GLOW: Discover the Art of Light in all its glory. See brand new and expanded installations, created by 8 local artists. These light art pieces will be up from November 18 until January 30, 2022 at the Exploratorium at Pier 15.
45. This cozy Brazilian cafe is your go-to spot for delicious coffee, pastries, crepes, and more
Cafe de Casa is a small, cozy cafe in San Francisco ranking in the city’s 10 most highly-rated restaurants. They’re known for serving delicious sweet and savory Brazilian pastries, fresh açaí bowls, gluten-free crepes, cheese bread sandwiches, and so much more. Make sure you check it out to shake up your breakfast/lunch routine!
46-55. 10 amazing Bay Area bagel shops recommended by locals
A toasted bagel with cream cheese can take your day from good to awesome. We wanted to get to the bottom of where Bay Area locals get their bagel fix, so we asked our Instagram followers for the lowdown. Here are some of the best recommendations we got for delicious bagels in the Bay!
- Midnite Bagel
- Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen
- Boichik Bagels
- Daily Driver
56-65. 10 exceptional ramen spots recommended by San Franciscans
San Francisco, with its plethora of delicious and authentic Asian food, is one of the best places to enjoy an amazing bowl of ramen. We decided to see where San Franciscans get their ramen fix, so we polled our Instagram followers for recommendations.
- Marufuku Ramen
- Mensho Tokyo SF
- Ushi Taro Ramen
- Nojo Ramen Tavern
66-70. Here’s where you can get delicious Korean corn dogs in the Bay Area
Surely you’ve seen these absolutely stunning corn dogs at some point in your feed. What we might know as a simple childhood snack has been taken up several notches in the form of the Korean corn dog, which is a popular street food in South Korea. It usually contains a hot dog, mozzarella cheese, or rice cake covered in batter and fun toppings including french fries, ramen, or panko. Here’s where to find these amazing snacks in the Bay!
- Seoul Hotdog
- Myungrang hot dog
71. Enjoy unparalleled views of the city at this sky-high cocktail lounge
San Francisco’s skyline goes great with artisan cocktails, it turns out! The View Lounge has the best of both, because it’s located high above the city on the Marriott Marquis’ 39th floor. The best part about this lounge is the enormous half-moon-shaped window that stretches floor-to-ceiling, affording 180-degree views of the surrounding city skyline.
72. This old-school Italian deli is SF’s second-highest-rated restaurant
Molinari Delicatessen has been serving San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood since 1896, which means they’ve been perfecting their service and products for over 120 years! The deli specializes in delicious gourmet sandwiches, homemade pastas and sauces, and wines and cheeses imported from Italy.
73. This garden-themed cocktail bar is a plant lover’s paradise
We love a good bar or restaurant with awesome design, and Propagation has totally caught our eye! This garden-themed bar opened last March in Nob Hill and quickly became a local favorite thanks to its amazing menu, excellent design, and gorgeous green leafy décor! The space is adorned with dozens of vibrant plants, making for a lovely jungle-like space in which to enjoy your drink.
74. San Francisco is home to the oldest chess club in the United States
Have you heard of the Mechanic’s Institute Library and Chess Room in San Francisco? This historic club can be found in a beautiful building in the Financial District. Its origins date back all the way back to 1854, when the city of San Francisco was still just beginning to take shape. Now it is a thriving educational space where members can get expert instruction in chess, engage in cultural programming and classes, browse a vibrant general-interest library, and much more.
75. This lesser-known monument is a peaceful, elegant refuge in the Bay Area
The Bay Area is home to some of the most recognizable landmarks in the world, but even locals may not know about the Pulgas Water Temple, a tranquil monument and reflecting pool in the countryside of Redwood City. San Francisco built this monument back in 1938 to celebrate the engineering marvel that carried water from the Sierra Nevada mountains on a 160-mile journey to the Bay. Only 2 other such water temples exist in the United States.
76-85. 10 dazzling places to have a snow day near the Bay Area
San Francisco is a magical, beautiful, exciting place, with one caveat – there’s never any snow. Lucky for us, California is home to dozens of different climates and it’s not so difficult to pack up the car for a drive out to the snowy mountains in the distance. Just make sure to check weather and snow conditions before heading out.
- Dodge Ridge
- North Lake Tahoe
86. This blue whale skeleton in Santa Cruz is one of the world’s largest on display
Did you know that one of the world’s largest displayed blue whale skeletons can be found just down the coast? ‘Ms. Blue‘ is an authentic blue whale skeleton clocking in at 87 feet, and she’s quite the sight to behold. You can find this skeleton at Seymour Marine Discovery Center at Long Marine Lab in Santa Cruz, California.
87. Palo Alto’s Four Seasons has a delightfully charming winter village
The Four Seasons in Palo Alto has created a gorgeous pop-up winter wonderland called Après Village, which is the ultimate holiday escape. Whether you’re looking for awesome photo ops, a festive party, amazing food, or fireside movies, this is definitely worth putting on your list! Check it out now until February 26.
88-90. Take an epic journey on a vintage steam train
These beautiful journeys are perfect for groups of friends and family who want to enjoy some adventure and luxury. 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.
This 19th-century steam train will take you up a winding narrow-gauge grade to the summit of Bear Mountain. The 75-minute roundtrip is like a gorgeous voyage into the past, on locomotives that date back to 1890! These narrow-gauge trestles were once used for hauling redwood logs in the late 19th century, and there are very few such trains still in operation today.
This route takes you through Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, down the San Lorenzo River Gorge, and along the waterfront of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Highlights include passing over a 1909 steel truss bridge and through an 1875 tunnel! The route opened that same year in order to transport beachgoers to Santa Cruz, as well as lumber. The Santa Cruz Beach Train is set to return in 2022.
91-100. 10 essential places to enjoy decadent hot chocolate in San Francisco
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!
- Dandelion Chocolate
- Recchiuti Confections
- Tosca Cafe
- La Oaxaqueña
Featured image: Courtesy of Napa Valley Wine Train