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San Francisco's Ultimate 2022 Winter Bucket List

See the top winter activities, events, and attractions happening in SF this holiday season, all in one handy list. ⛸🎄

by San Francisco Bucket List


Winter is upon us, and the holidays are right around the corner. We've rounded up some of our favorite holiday treats, winter activities, and LED-lit experiences in San Francisco so you can make the most of the season.

See The Pacific Orchid Exposition

If you’re feeling any post-holiday blues, the 70th Annual Pacific Orchid Expo will dazzle your senses. The POE is an absolute marvel, and one of the best orchid shows in the US, displaying an impressive array of diverse fauna from all over the world. 

Where: SF County Fair Building (Hall of Flowers): 1199 9th Ave San Francisco 94122
For more information on the Pacific Orchid Exposition.


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Celebrate Chinese New Year

The Chinese New Year and accompanying parade in the Bay Area is nothing short of spectacular. The parade is one of the few remaining illuminated night parades in North America and the biggest lunar new year celebration outside of Asia. Activities run from mid-January through March, and include a Flower Market Fair, a basketball Jamboree, Miss Chinatown Pageant, and more.

Where: CNY Parade: 24438 Santa Clara St, #3629 Hayward, CA 94544
For more information on SF’s Chinese New Year.

Celebrate New Year's Eve

2022 is coming to a close, and San Francisco has plenty of exciting ways to ring in 2023. If you want to keep things classy, check out San Francisco's Black & White Ball at The Historical Hibernia Bank in San Francisco. The elegant interior features marble floors, a gorgeous teller counter, and Tiffany-style stained glass skylights, making it the perfect venue to bring in 2023 in opulent style. Tickets include drinks, unlimited cocktails, a photo booth, massive balloon drop, th city's top DJs, and more!

If you're looking for something more casual, check out Crawl 'Til the Ball Falls. Featuring the best drink specials at the best bars in San Francisco, this evet allows you to attend 12 NYE parties, not just one! Check in at the Boardroom, grab your wristband and map, and crawl your way into 2023!

The Mother of All New Years (MOANY) invites you to embrace glamour and intrigue with an over-the-top production, a fun party atmosphere, and an element of surprise. Gather the crew, don your best evening attire, and make a night of it as you say farewell (or good riddance) to 2022!

For more New Year's Eve Parties Happening in SF.

Try a Holiday treat from Craftsman and Wolves

The contemporary San Francisco bakery and patisserie will serve up decadent treats all season long, from tarts and pastries to rich hot chocolate. Grab a limited-time holiday cookie tray to give as a hostess gift at your next holiday party, or to share with Santa on Christmas Eve...but we won't blame you if you keep them for yourself. Try flavors like raspberry cardamom snickerdoodle, golden milk coconut macaron, orange caraway thumbprint chocolate caramel, fennel almond biscotti, and douglas fir blueberry ginger shortbread wreath.

Where: 746 Valencia; 1598 Yosemite
For more information on Craftsman and Wolves.

Watch Holiday Movies With The SF Symphony

What’s better than a viewing party of your favorite Christmas movies? How about watching them play out in sync with the San Francisco Symphony. See classic, heartwarming holiday films like Elf and How the Grinch Stole Christmas on a giant screen as the orchestra plays each note of the score.

Where: Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave. 
For more information on Holiday Movies with the SF Symphony.

See A Christmas Carol

Don’t be a Scrooge! Showing November 30th through Christmas Eve at the American Conservatory Theater, see the classic Christmas tale by Charles Dickens come to life with a lively cast, delightful music, costumes, and spooky showmanship. 

Where: Toni Rembe Theater 415 Geary St.
For more information on A Christmas Carol.

Explore Bay Area Holiday Displays

Spend an evening touring the Bay Area's most festive spots. Christmas Tree Lane in San Carlos boasts house after house of over-the-top holiday lights each with its own unique display and glittering lights. A row of impressive illuminated arches in Outer Sunset spans almost an entire block on Rivera Street between 42nd Ave and 43rd Ave., and of course, Fisherman's Wharf is always worth strolling through, especially when the iconic sign is lit up in twinkle lights.

Where: Various locations.

Check Out Illuminate SF Festival of Lights

Back for its tenth year, Illuminate SF will light the city up with both permanent and temporary installations. From a drone show over the San Francisco Bay to the colorful Winter Lights at Golden Gate State Park, you’ll see the 7x7 from a whole new perspective this winter.

Where: Various locations.
For more information on Illuminate SF.

Pick Out a Christmas Tree at Clancy's

Nothing beats a real Christmas tree (the woodsy scent! the rustic charm!), and we know a few good spots to snag one. Clancy's Christmas Trees is a three-generation San Francisco company that first opened for business in December 1949 with the goal of bringing San Franciscans the finest and freshest trees available. 

Where: 2101 Sloat Blvd, San Francisco 
For more information on Clancy's Christmas Trees.

Volunteer Or Donate To The San Francisco-Marin Food Bank

One of the most rewarding and vital things you can do during the holidays is help those in need. Support the SF-Marin Food Bank, which provides meals to those in need, by donating or volunteering at one of their various locations. For every $1 donated, two healthy meals are provided to neighbors experiencing hunger.

San Francisco: 900 Pennsylvania Avenue San Francisco, CA 94107
Marin: 2550 Kerner Boulevard, San Rafael, CA 94901
For more information on the SF-Marin Food Bank.

Explore The Great Dickens Christmas Fair

Experience London at the historic Cow Palace Exhibit Halls! You’ll enter the winding “Victorian England” lanes into this world of musical theater, pubs, dance parties and one-of-a-kind artisan holiday treasures. Happening for five weekends from November 19th through December 18th (including the Friday after Thanksgiving).

Where: Cow Palace Exhibition Halls, 2600 Geneva Avenue, Daly City.
For more information on the Explore The Great Dickens Christmas Fair.

Go Ice Skating at Union Square

The iconic outdoor ice rink is back on November 2nd with daily ice skating for all ages! General Admission is $20 (children under 8 are $15) and includes skate rental. Head to the ice for their 15th anniversary, with views of Macy's giant glowing Christmas tree, and holiday decor and lights to take in as you glide.

Where: 333 Post Street
For more information on ice skating at Union Square.

Watch The SF Ballet's Nutcracker Performance

Watch Clara as she enters a magical wonderland of toy soldiers and sugarplum fairies, a blizzard of snowflakes, and a kaleidoscope of more than 150 dancers. You can catch this year’s Nutcracker performance from December 8th through the 27th.

Where: War Memorial Opera House 301 Van Ness Avenue San Francisco, California 94102
For more information on the SF Ballet Nutcracker.

Immerse Yourself in Holiday Cheer at the Tinseltown Pop-Up Bar

It's time to make every day cheery again, and Tinseltown is doing just that. This holiday pop-up bar's halls are more than fully decked with baubles, bows, hanging trees, wreaths, and just about every festive goodie you can imagine!

You can also expect Santa, elves, presents, tinsel, festive tunes, and lots of winter warmer drinks, including a fabulous Christmas cocktail menu! Tickets include entry to the themed bar and a themed drink on arrival. No Grinches allowed!

Where: Trademark Bar: 1123 Folsom Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
For more information on Tinseltown Pop-Up Bar.

Embark On A Glowfari

This immersive experience features larger-than-life animal lanterns throughout the Oakland Zoo! Stroll through these dazzling creatures: from kangaroos and koalas to breathtaking full-size whales, and finish with a train ride through a world of fabled creatures like unicorns and fairies. 

Where: 9777 Golf Links Road Oakland, CA 94605
For more information on Glowfari.

Pick Up Hot Chocolate From The Famous Dandelion Chocolate

Indulgence and the holiday season were meant to be experienced together. That's why we are all about a cup of hot cocoa from Dandelion. Order a hot chocolate, a small ginger cake, and maybe a few chocolate chip cookies. Oh, and churros, definitely churros.

Pro tip: the Valencia location offers a small complimentary cookie with each hot cocoa.

Where: 740 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
For more information on Dandelion Chocolate.

Experience The Magic At Holly Jolly Cocktail Bar

Holly Jolly is bringing the over-the-top holiday bar vibes we’ve been craving. The pop-up bar’s halls (located within Westwood), will be decked with floor-to-ceiling tinsel, trimmings, ornaments, and more, allowing you to immerse yourself in holiday magic from every angle. Entry tickets cost $30, and include a 90-minute reservation and a holiday-themed welcome cocktail or mocktail on your arrival.

Where: Westwood Annex: 2036 Lombard Street San Francisco, CA 94123
For more information on Holly Jolly.

Visit The Two-Story Gingerbread House At The Fairmont Hotel Lobby

What is 22 feet high, 23 feet wide, and full of royal icing and candy decor? The much beloved two-story-high Victorian Gingerbread House, back this year in the Fairmont Hotel lobby! On display from Thanksgiving through the New Year, guests can come and marvel at the structure, and even book a dining experience inside the private Gingerbread for up to eight guests.

Where: 950 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94108
For more information on the Fairmont Hotel Gingerbread Lobby.