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Our Top Winter Activities for Kids in San Francisco
December 16, 2021

When colder temperatures arrive, so does the winter fun. Check out our top winter activities and holiday events for kids in San Francisco!

When it’s chilly and snowy outside, you know that wintertime is here! It is tempting to plunge into idleness with its hibernating weather, like spending long hours sitting on a couch with eyes glued on gadgets or television. It may be uncomfortable to roam outside, but kids always love to explore the outdoors to dust off their boredom. As parents, finding things to do during the winter season in San Francisco can be challenging. Fortunately, San Francisco has plenty of top fun-filled and exciting activities and holiday events for kids guaranteed to keep them from saying, “I’m bored!”

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San Francisco has tons of beautiful spots and attractions, epic playgrounds, and kid-friendly holiday activities and events that you can add to your family’s winter holiday itinerary. Why not check out San Francisco’s remarkable skateparks or nearest ski resort slopes for snow tubing or sledding? Perhaps take them to museums or SF zoos for fun and educational experience? Or bring them to festive shows or holiday events? With the winter activities in San Francisco, wintertime will no longer be dull but will be the kind of holiday that kids look forward to each year! 

While staying indoors in the winter season can be tempting, it is always best to preoccupy your kids with activities to keep them physically active and healthy. So, check out below our top winter activities and events in San Francisco for kids and add them to your kid’s holiday bucket list!

Top winter activities for kids in San Francisco - Holiday Ice Rink at Union Square
Photo by: Union Square

Holiday Ice Rink at Union Square

Union Square
333 Post St., San Francisco, CA 94108
Phone number: (415) 781-2606

November 3, 2021 – Jan 17, 2022

Schedule:
Daily | 10:00 AM – 11:00 PM

Skating at the Safeway Holiday Ice Rink is one of the top winter activities for kids and the entire family in San Francisco. The favorite outdoor rink in San Francisco is back with daily ice skating for all ages and special holiday events scheduled this winter season. General admission is $19 and includes skate rental.

Tickets are sold online only to minimize contact between workers and attendees. Don’t miss out on letting the kids experience skating on the ice under the sun in San Francisco. For more information, please visit their website.

Top winter activities for kids in San Francisco - Glow
Photo by: Exploratorium

Glow: Discover the Art of Light

Exploratorium
Pier 15 (Embarcadero at Green Street), San Francisco, CA 94111
Phone Number: (415) 528-4444

November 18, 2021 – January 30, 2022

Schedule:
Daily | 10:00 AM | 7:30 PM

Light up with delight this winter! Connect, play, and get inspired in the glow of luminous sculptures big and small as eight artists turn up the radiance at Pier 15. Explore the spacious galleries to discover stunning light art by Michael Brown, CHiKA, Nick Dong, Alicia Eggert, Ekene Ijeoma, Luke Jerram, Burt Libe, and Ames Palms.



Then expand your curiosity to exhibits in the Seeing and Reflections gallery, where you can experiment with color, shadows, and more.  Check the calendar for illuminating adult and family programs, and don’t miss this joyful seasonal expansion of the Exploratorium’s iconic exhibits of light.

Glow is one of the top winter activities for kids in San Francisco that you must add to your holiday season bucket list. For more information, please visit their website.  

Holiday events in San Francisco this winter season - Illuminate SF Festival of Lights
Photo by: Illuminate SF Festival of Lights

Illuminate SF Festival of Lights

San Francisco, CA 94118
Phone Number: (415) 824-0386

November 25, 2021 – January 31, 2022

This urban lights festival is in its ninth year and offers 44 eco-friendly displays that are all accessible by public transportation within San Francisco’s 49 square miles. Pick from 17 neighborhoods to explore and take the free guided tour to learn more about the artists that have brought these installations to life. 

You can also find these glowing works of art in well-known museums such as the Contemporary Jewish Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Salesforce Transit Center, and even the San Francisco International Airport. The bustling art scene in San Francisco means there’s creativity in every corner of the city.

For more information, please visit their website.

Top winter activities for kids in San Francisco - Gingerbread House
Photo by: Fairmont

Fairmont Gingerbread House

950 Mason St., San Francisco, CA 94108
Phone Number: (415) 772-5000

November 27, 2021 – January 2, 2022

Schedule:
Daily | All Day

The holidays wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the two-story-high Victorian Gingerbread House built in the lobby of the Fairmont San Francisco. Decorated with beautiful lights, piped in white icing, and finished with far too many sweets to count, your little one will be amazed by the life-sized structure that dazzles everyone who sees it. 

A visit to the Fairmount will soon become a family tradition, with adults enjoying a glass of bubbles and the familiar smell of the festive treat. However, we do advise resisting the temptation to eat gingerbread. For more information, please visit their website.

Holiday events in San Francisco this winter season - The Magic Lamp
Photo by: Presidio Theatre Performing Arts Center

The Magic Lamp

Presidio Theatre Performing Arts Center
99 Moraga Ave., San Francisco, CA 94129
Phone Number: (415) 960-3949

December 1-31, 2021

Schedule:
Select Days | 2:00 PM | 7:30 PM

This holiday season, an all-star team of theater icons brings the panto to San Francisco. Fun for the whole family, The Magic Lamp turns the classic children’s tale of Aladdin on its head with magnificent costumes, musical parodies, dance, magic, and over-the-top silliness. Join Aladdin, a bike messenger, and Jazz, the daughter of a successful tech entrepreneur, as they discover a new love and ancient magic in modern-day San Francisco.

The Magic Lamp is brimming with humor, featuring Grammy and Emmy award-winning comedy writer and musician Mason Williams (Classical Gas, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, and Saturday Night Live) and Musical Direction Bill Keck (Beach Blanket Babylon). Families and friend groups of four or more will receive a Family Pack discount of 20%. For more information, please visit their website.

Top winter activities for kids in San Francisco - Entwined
Photo by: Charles Gadeken

Entwined

Peacock Meadow, Golden Gate Park
240 John F Kennedy Dr., San Francisco, CA 94117
Phone Number: (415) 831-5500

December 2, 2021 – February 1, 2022

Schedule:
Viewing is free and open to the public day and night. Illumination takes place from sunset to park closing.

Entwined is back! One of the top activities for kids in San Francisco this winter season is visiting the Golden Gate Park. Watch Peacock Meadow will again transform into an enchanted forest of otherworldly shapes and ever-changing light. San Francisco artist Charles Gadeken creates a whimsical wonderland where visitors can explore twisting paths, colorful trees to sit under, large flowering clusters to run around and admire, and constantly changing vistas of light and magic. 

Inspired by nature, this interactive art installation will connect and enchant visitors of all ages. The trees range from 12 to 20 feet tall with illuminated canopies as large as 30 feet, filling the meadow with changing light. Sculptures of 2,000 LED lights cluster into small flowering bushes at varying heights, filling the green space with peaks and valleys of radiating light. For more information, please visit their website.  

Holiday events in San Francisco this winter season - San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker
Photo by: San Francisco Ballet

San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker

War Memorial Opera House
301 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone Number: (415) 861-5600

December 10-30, 2021 

Schedule:
Daily | 11:00 AM | 2:00 PM | 4:00 Pm | 7:00 PM

Step into the trance of little Clara in this unforgettable holiday tale and enter a magical wonderland of toy soldiers, a blizzard of snowflakes, and a kaleidoscope of more than 150 dancers. Battle the King of Mice and, of course, dance through the land of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Helgi Tomasson’s dazzling San Francisco-inspired production is accompanied by a brilliant live orchestra performing Tchaikovsky’s beloved score.

Share unforgettable moments and everlasting memories with loved ones during this particular holiday and tradition. The show allows children ages three and over to attend but recommends it for ages 5+. For more information, please visit their website.

Top winter activities for kids in San Francisco - Street Magic Live
Photo by: Comedy On The Square

Street Magic Live

Shelton Theater
533 Sutter St., San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone Number: (415) 516-6524

January 1-2, 2022

Schedule:
Saturday & Sunday | 3:00 PM 

Fun for the entire family! Comedy, magic, juggling, and crazy stunts by four of San Francisco’s famed “Street performers.” Comedy On The Square is the brainchild of Vaudeville Performer Fred Anderson – in 2000, after a trip to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe – “the largest arts event in the galaxy…” he was inspired by the incredible DIY energy to create an ongoing performance series here in San Francisco.

For more information, please visit their website.  

Home Alone - Film with Live Orchestra
Photo by: Davies Symphony Hall

Home Alone – Film with Live Orchestra

Davies Symphony Hall
201 Van Ness Ave. San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone number: (415) 864-6000

December 16 & 18, 2021 

Schedule:
Thursday | 7:30 PM
Saturday | 2:00 PM

See the beloved holiday hit Home Alone on the big screen like you never have before, with John Williams’ exuberant score performed live by the San Francisco Symphony. The highest-grossing holiday film of all time, and starring an adorable Macaulay Culkin, this hilarious and heartwarming comedy is one of the top events for kids and the entire family this winter season in San Francisco.

For more information, please visit their website.  

Museum of 3D Illusions
Photo by: Museum of 3D Illusions

Museum of 3D Illusions

55-61 Jefferson St., San Francisco, CA 94133
Phone number: (888) 386-5585

Working Hours:
Monday – Friday | 12:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Saturday – Sunday | 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Christmas Eve | 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Christmas Day | 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM
New Year’s Eve | 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM
New Year’s Day | 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM

This winter season, the newest fun-filled place to enjoy lots of activities for kids has finally arrived in San Francisco! Museums in the Bay City are known for their inspiring, world-class art, but nowhere will you have as much fun exploring the art world as at the Museum of Illusions. This museum is designed to let visitors’ imaginations soar, surfing epic waves, flying through the sky like Mary Poppins, or living like a Lilliputian in a dollhouse.

Anything is possible in our lavish dreamscape, making the Museum of Illusions the most fun museum in San Francisco. Don’t miss out on this fantastic experience for an amazing deal! Bring your families, friends, and loved ones and create memories that will last a lifetime. For more information, please visit their website.

The winter season in San Francisco is always something to look forward to in the Bay Area. Since most of the year is sunny, the cold season provides a break from high temperatures and a chance to look for some chilly things to do outdoors. It doesn’t get better than having some time off to have fun and enjoy quality time with family.

Good thing, San Francisco has an endless supply of fun-filled winter activities and holiday events for kids that are just a short drive away from home. From ice skating to winter wonderlands and everything in between, a San Francisco winter season is something to embrace!

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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