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15 Things to do on Thanksgiving Day in San Francisco with Kids
November 9, 2021

Break free from the monotonous gigantic feast preparations. There are a lot of fun and exciting things to do with kids in San Francisco to celebrate Thanksgiving Day!

Thanksgiving Day is one of the most anticipated holidays in San Francisco, where people spend time getting ready for that traditional Turkey dinner and other things to do with family, relatives, and friends. Traditionally, parents during this time preoccupy their kids with games and crafts while they are busy setting up the venue and preparing delicious meals for the festivity. But maybe this year, you want to break that traditional routine and celebrate Thanksgiving in San Francisco with your kids in a different way. 

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San Francisco undoubtedly has a limitless array of options to celebrate Thanksgiving Day with your kids. It has many attractions to visit and is also a top gastronomic destination, which means there is no need to prepare for your own Thanksgiving dinner. So, why not skip the long grocery store lines and take a break from those topsy turvy pile of dishes? Celebrate Thanksgiving Day meaningfully as you tour your kids around the beautiful city of San Francisco with so many fun things to do, then bring them to a kid-friendly restaurant for dinner time!

There are a whole bunch of amazing events happening around the Bay Area. Make use of the holiday to a few of San Francisco’s top attractions before heading out to any feasting options where you can find a traditional meal with turkey, pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, and all of the fixings. So, if you are thinking of fun ideas to spice up your kid’s usual holiday routine, check out below our top 15 things to do on Thanksgiving Day in San Francisco with kids!

Kid-Friendly Events in San Francisco During Thanksgiving Day

things to do on Thanksgiving in San Francisco - SF Turkey Trot
SF Turkey Trot
  1. SF Turkey Trot

Golden Gate Park Polo Field
John F Kennedy Drive, San Francisco, CA 94121

Nov. 25, 2021 | Thursday | 8 am – 11 am

Run your feet before you eat. Or wobble before you gobble. However you phrase it, Thanksgiving “turkey trots” are back! Come kick off a great Thanksgiving with an invigorating fun run or walk in the park —before the parades, football games, and feasting commence. A run in the gorgeous San Francisco Golden Gate Park has to be the most beautiful and excellent way to start this very early Thanksgiving morning to celebrate with kids. Costumes are highly recommended, and so is your best silly attitude as you do this event. 

The 19th Annual Thanksgiving Run & Walk is one of the fun things to do in San Francisco with kids! This race is limited to only 1,400 participants, so make sure to register early and don’t miss out as there is no race day registration. The entry includes a T-shirt that you are bound to find hilarious as this race has become known for its silly attitude and very San Francisco Turkey attitude. For more information, please visit their website.  

Celebrate Thanksgiving with kids - Immersive Van Gogh San Francisco
Immersive Van Gogh San Francisco
  1. Immersive Van Gogh San Francisco

SVN West San Francisco
10 South Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone number: (844) 307-4644

Nov. 25, 2021 | Thursday | 10 am – 9 pm

Celebrate Thanksgiving in San Francisco with your kids by booking a ticket to the new Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit! From the creators of the blockbuster show seen by over 2 million visitors in Paris, the exhibit will bring the art of Vincent to life in the Bay City. Experience art like never before – lose yourself in 300,000 cubic feet of flawless projections animating Vincent van Gogh’s oeuvre. Wander through enchanting, moving images that highlight brush strokes, detail, and color – indeed illuminating the mind of the genius.

You will be immersed in Van Gogh’s works – from his sunny landscapes and night scenes to his portraits and still life paintings. The installation includes the Mangeurs de pommes de terre (The Potato Eaters, 1885), the Nuit étoilée (Starry Night, 1889), Les Tournesols (Sunflowers, 1888), and La Chambre à coucher (The Bedroom, 1889), and so much more. Astonishing in scale and breathtakingly imaginative, you will experience Van Gogh’s art in a completely new and unforgettable way. For more information, please visit their website

Things to do with kids on Thanksgiving Day in San Francisco - Holiday Ice Rink at Union Square
Holiday Ice Rink at Union Square
  1. Holiday Ice Rink at Union Square

Union Square Ice Rink
333 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94108
Phone number: (415)-295-1588

Nov. 25, 2021 | Thursday | 10 am – 11 pm

Take your kids to The Safeway Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square — one of the fun things to do in San Francisco to celebrate Thanksgiving Day. Skate through the holidays and enjoy the festivity at the most incredible place to be this fall. San Francisco’s favorite outdoor rink is back with daily ice skating for all ages. Ranging from the traditional to the eccentric, their entertaining holiday skating events reflect the true spirit of San Francisco and offer something for everyone.

A holiday tradition, ice skating in Union Square promises to bring a smile to your face and delight to all who visit—big and small, young and old. General admission is $19 and includes skate rental. Tickets are sold online only to minimize contact between workers and attendees. For more information, please visit their website.

Celebrate Thanksgiving with kids in San Francisco - The Unreal Garden
The Unreal Garden
  1. The Unreal Garden

SVN West San Francisco
10 South Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA 94103

Nov. 25, 2021 | Thursday | 12 pm – 6 pm

Discover the world’s most advanced holographic experience with your kids and the whole family in the heart of San Francisco, in the same building as the award-winning Van Gogh exhibit. Explore the magic of The Garden, meeting familiar faces and mystical beings alike. Blur the lines of real and imaginary, stepping deeper and deeper into the unknown. The Unreal Garden is a space of possibilities filled with magical flora, fauna, and artworks, a space to be transformed by your presence and energy

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The experience uses the Microsoft HoloLens 2, a powerful mixed reality headset that allows you to see your surroundings and fellow guests. At the same time, extraordinary augmented creatures, plant life, and art come to life around you. A world in which you can examine and walk through the content as you make your way through the Garden, a place where you have the power to see what might seem impossible. For reservations, please visit their website.  

Attractions Open on Thanksgiving Day

Things to do with kids on Thanksgiving Day in San Francisco - Aquarium of the Bay
Aquarium of the Bay
  1. Aquarium of the Bay

Pier 39, Beach Street, San Francisco, CA 94133
Phone number: (415) 623-5300

The Aquarium of the Bay is open on Thanksgiving Day but with limited hours. You can find it at the entrance on Pier 39 on the eastern side of the district. All day long, you can watch their playful jellyfish swim around their tanks, walk through the tunnels within the aquarium or touch a starfish. It’s one of the best things to do with kids to celebrate Thanksgiving in San Francisco.

The first exhibits in the museum show the smaller animals and plants living near the top of the water in SF Bay. As you continue through the tour, your visit takes you deeper and deeper into the water, where more of the larger plants and animals live, including starfish, sharks, and other interesting creatures. For more information, please visit their website.  

Celebrate Thanksgiving with kids in San Francisco - California Academy of Sciences
California Academy of Sciences
  1. California Academy of Sciences

55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118
Phone number: (415) 379-8000

Explore your world from the heart of Golden Gate Park — an aquarium, planetarium, rainforest, and natural history museum—all under one Living Roof. California Academy of Sciences is a perfect stop and a wonderful experience for the entire family on Thanksgiving Day to celebrate with many fun things to do in San Francisco. They are open on a special hour from 10 am to 3 pm. 

Two new exhibits are ready for you to explore, and nearly 40,000 animals are eager to reunite with you. You can stop by and say hello to Claude, the rare white alligator, walk through the 4-story Osher Rainforest or visit the Steinhart Aquarium. You are required to have a ticket before you arrive. For more information, please visit their website.

Things to do with kids on Thanksgiving Day in San Francisco - Japanese Tea Garden San Francisco
Japanese Tea Garden San Francisco
  1. Japanese Tea Garden San Francisco

75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118
Phone number: (415) 752-1171

Visit one of the oldest Japanese Tea Garden in the country this Thanksgiving Day in San Francisco along with your kids. It is definitely a beautiful and relaxing setting on the eastern side of Golden Gate Park. Inside, you will find beautiful blooming flowers, a gorgeous drum bridge, a historic pagoda, a Zen garden, and so much more. You can also spend some extra time enjoying a tea or a meal in the on-site teahouse.

Once you enter the Japanese Tea Garden San Francisco, you’ll see trails that lead in several directions. All of the trails weave through and circle the park – so each one will take you by its many attractions. The Japanese Tea Garden does not officially offer tours, but you can visit on tour with the SF City Guides. Their tour is free and is offered daily at 1 pm. For more information, please visit their website.

Celebrate Thanksgiving with kids - San Francisco Botanical Garden
San Francisco Botanical Garden
  1. San Francisco Botanical Garden

Golden Gate Park 1199 9th Avenue, San Francisco, CA, 94122
Phone number: (415) 661-1316

The weather is usually lovely in San Francisco on Thanksgiving, and it’s a fun thing to do with kids walking around the colorful Botanical Gardens. This 55-acre gem houses over 8,000 kinds of plants from around the world. You will find them in Golden Gate Park, and admission is free all day long. With a large variety of plants and blooming schedules, you can enjoy this attraction any time of year. 

Another great thing about the Botanical Garden in San Francisco is that the walking trails are large and mostly flat. The gardens are also well laid out with plenty of signs, so it’s easy to get around. San Francisco’s unique Botanical Garden inspires visitors with the extraordinary diversity of rare and unusual plants that can be grown in coastal California. For more information, please visit their website.  

Twin Peaks
Twin Peaks
  1. Twin Peaks

501 Twin Peaks Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94114
Phone number: (415) 831-2700

Another fun attraction that opens all day on Thanksgiving Day is Twin Peaks. Located in the geographical center of San Francisco with an elevation of about 925 feet (282 m), Twin Peaks offers a stunning 360-degree panoramic view of the city, the bay, and the ocean beyond. You can climb to the top of one or both peaks or soak in the views from the parking lot nearby. From the top, you will get some of the best views of all of the San Francisco Bay Area.

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From the viewing area next to the parking lot at the top, you can see many San Francisco’s landmarks: the Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge, Alcatraz, Transamerica Building, downtown skyscrapers, and Market Street. Expect strong winds as you hike among plants such as coyote brush, lizard tail, pearly everlasting, and lupine. For more information, please visit their website.

Thanksgiving Dinner in San Francisco

Boho Thanksgiving Celebration
Boho Thanksgiving Celebration
  1. Boho Thanksgiving Celebration

3321 Steiner St, San Francisco, CA
Phone number: (415) – 374 7518

Boho gets into the holiday spirit with a divine Thanksgiving dinner menu. Burrata salad, followed by butternut squash soup. For an entree, enjoy your choice of traditional turkey entree, non-traditional beef-lovers brisket, Chilean sea bass for pescetarians, or a vegan option with cauliflower steak. Sides include mashed potatoes, grilled asparagus, butternut squash gnocchi, and poached lobster tail. Dessert is pumpkin pie with vanilla ice cream or chocolate mousse with candied oranges and toasted pistachio. Boho’s beloved pavlova with fresh berries is also up for grabs. 

Reservations are required. Family Dinner for 6-8 people costs $320, and kids menu 3-course is at $18. All this for $58 per person. Please book your table to dine-in via OpenTable, email, or by calling the restaurant. For reservations, please visit their website.  

Le Colonial
Le Colonial
  1. Le Colonial

20 Cosmo Place, San Francisco, CA 94109
Phone number: (415) 931-3600

On Thanksgiving Day, Le Colonial in San Francisco will be open to serving their annual Thanksgiving Dinner from 4 pm to 8 pm. They will offer a three-course family-style meal from Chef Geoffrey Deetz priced at either $55.00, $75.00, or $85.00 per person. Each of these menus will have multiple appetizers, entrée, side dish, and dessert choices with main course options that will include Turkey Breast Two Ways; Ga Kho Sot Sa, roasted lemongrass chicken two ways; Heo Kho Dưa Chua, braised pork shoulder; Bí Đỏ Xào Lăn, pumpkin curry on glass noodles; and Mì Tôm Xào Sa Tế, white prawns on garlic noodles. 

With an ambiance of 1920’s French Vietnam, Le Colonial restaurant will charm its way to the top of your list of San Francisco’s hidden gems. For more information, please visit their website.  

One Market Restaurant
One Market Restaurant
  1. One Market Restaurant

1 Market Street San Francisco, CA 94105
Phone number: (415) 777-5577

Get in the holiday mood with this upscale Thanksgiving experience from One Market. For $85 per adult and $49 per child ten years and or younger, you can enjoy a three-course meal including appetizers of white bean soup, caramelized pear, and arugula salad or baby beet salad, a main course of roasted willie bird turkey, spit-roasted berkshire pork loin or pan-seared king salmon, and a dessert option of mini krapfen duos, apple hand pie or pumpkin tart.

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One Market has been at the forefront of San Francisco’s food scene combining farm-to-table concepts with culinary precision, service, and incomparable ambiance. Conveniently located at the foot of Market Street downtown (directly across from the Ferry building and just blocks from the Bay Bridge), One Market is easily accessed by foot, car, or public transit. For reservations, please visit their website.  

Thanksgiving Day Buffet at International Smoke
Thanksgiving Day Buffet at International Smoke
  1. Thanksgiving Day Buffet at International Smoke

301 Mission St. San Francisco, CA 94105
Phone number: (415) 660-2656

Bring your kids and the whole family and celebrate Thanksgiving with International Smoke’s Thanksgiving Day Buffet in San Francisco. Guests will be able to sample Smoke classics and seasonal favorites such as the Roasted Cauliflower with tahini, pomegranate, and pistachio, Cedar-Smoked salmon, Wagyu Prime Rib with smoked beef jus and horseradish cream, Smoked Turkey with cranberry and truffle gravy, Apple Cobbler, Pumpkin ‘It’s Its”, Inga’s Pecan Pie and a special menu of kids bites including Chicken Tenders, Mini “Rib-Wiches,” and Macaroni and Cheese.

The buffet is open from 11 am to 6 pm on Thanksgiving Day. The cost is $89 per person and $39 for kids 12 and younger. For reservations, please visit their website.

Thanksgiving Premier Dinner Cruise
Thanksgiving Premier Dinner Cruise
  1. Thanksgiving Premier Dinner Cruise

Pier 3, San Francisco, CA 94105
Phone number: (888) 467-6256

Make this holiday truly special with a Thanksgiving dinner cruise in San Francisco. The package includes a 2.5-hour cruise on the San Francisco Bay, a delicious holiday buffet dinner with freshly prepared entrees, salads, and desserts, and a spectacular views of the city skyline and local landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge! Come together with your friends and family, and enjoy all the festive trimmings with San Francisco’s incredible views from the water.

Meet up place is at Pier 3, on the Embarcadero at Washington Street. Your cruise will board at the South Gate (on the right side of the pier when facing the water), near the white overhang. This activity is truly one of the best things to do on Thanksgiving in San Francisco with your kids and the whole family. For reservations, please visit their website.  

Zingari Ristorante
Zingari Ristorante
  1. Zingari Ristorante

501 Post St., San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone number: (415) 885 -8850

Dine on Thanksgiving with turkey or ossobuco as you sip on your martini around your family and friends and live music with Noah Frank Jazz Trio. Zingari Ristorante is a San Francisco jazz-happy staple and ‘Excellent Restaurant and Bar With Live Jazz.’ Enjoy a three-course menù Prezzo fisso for $90 per person, including traditional turkey as well as Italian takes on familiar favorites. To dine with the music, a $25 ‘Support Live Music’ ticket is requested.  

Children eat a la carte, and should you opt for music with your meal, you can reserve a spot at one of the piano room’s two dinner seatings. Gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan selections are available.​ For reservations, please visit their website.

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Thanksgiving is a beautiful time to bond with your kids and the whole family, share a sumptuous meal, and be thankful. After a family day’s out, you can enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner without having to do all the work in the kitchen. The past year has been a lot, so why not take advantage of the fact that all these attractions and restaurants are back? There are just so many things to do on Thanksgiving in San Francisco with kids to celebrate and enjoy the holiday together!

San Francisco offers so many opportunities for kids to enjoy and have fun all year round! Check out our list of resources, or browse through our things to do in San Francisco with kids. Still looking for more activities for kids in San Francisco? No problem! Check out our comprehensive listing of places to go in the region and our highly recommended seasonal blog posts.

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