Bay Area Holiday Event Guide

As holiday celebrations cautiously make their comeback in 2021, we are creating and constantly updating a collection of Bay Area family friendly holiday experiences for families to enjoy this year and years to come. Please safely enjoy your family and these fabulous events during the holidays. With a much smaller offering of events this year remember to check cancellation policies, get your tickets early, always check event’s websites for Covid-19 restrictions and requirements and confirm event information one last time, just before the date.

Glowfari – Oakland Zoo


Glowfari is an unforgettable experience for all ages to enjoy! Featuring hundreds of larger-than-life glowing animal lanterns throughout the Zoo; and with all-new animals displays for 2021! Take a mile-long illuminated stroll through the Zoo and visit the desert with camels and bighorn sheep, have an African safari adventure with elephants, giraffes, and an 8-foot crocodile head, walk through the rainforest to meet red and giant pandas – and of course ride the gondola to the land of bugs featuring a 65-foot Queen Ant Tunnel! Finish the evening with a visit to Santa and ride the Express Train through our Winter Wonderland! This event sells out early. November 12 – January 30. Oakland Zoo, Oakland Hills;


The Christmas Revels Age of Sail


California Revels dives into the Age of Sail, blending 19th Century London with African American Gullah tradition and Caribbean folklore in an odyssey across the Atlantic. From sea chanties, mermaids and Christmas carols to Jonkonnu and Papa Bois, celebrate the Winter Solstice though the eye of Joseph Johnson, a man who lived his life in all of these traditions.December 11 – 12 & 17 – 19, see website for showtimes, ticket and Covid-19 restrictions. First Congressional Church, Oakland;


Walnut Creek on Ice!


Get your skate on at the Downtown Walnut Creek’s ice rink. The rink is open daily, however the times/pricing changes daily and the rink may be closed for private events. See website for hours, ticket info and Covid-19 restrictions. Civic Park, Walnut Creek;

Teach a Child To Ice Skate

Bay Area Places to Ice Skate

A Christmas Carol


BroadwaySF presents its celebrated adaptation of Charles Dickens’ festive fable. A timeless tale of Yuletide magic, A Christmas Carol teaches us all the true spirit of the holiday season! November 26 – December 26. See website for showtimes, ticket and Covid-19 restrictions. Golden Gate Theatre, San Francisco;


Christmas in the Park 


This 40+ year tradition is back in downtown San Jose’s Plaza de Cesar Chavez Park. There are a few new surprises including new light displays, a brand new 65′ tall walk-through Christmas tree and Blinky’s Tavern – an all-new inflatable beer and wine garden! Admission is free. The theme for this year’s event is “A Very Beary Christmas.” Christmas in the Park runs to early January. See website for event listings and ticket information. Downtown San Jose;


Blinky’s Illuminated Holiday


Debuted in 2020, this drive-through experience will continue this new holiday tradition in at Lake Cunningham Park. The “mile of smiles” features a synchronized light show with some of your holiday favorite tunes. Over 100,000-pixel lights capable of displaying 14 million colors illuminate twelve different themed lands and this year, a holiday fair food festival awaits upon exiting our event. November 26 – January 9. See website for event listings and ticket information. Lake Cunningham Park in San Jose;


The Velveteen Rabbit Beloved Holiday Tradition


Brimming with wit, festive costumes, madcap characters and the perfect amount of holiday cheer, ODC/Dance returns to the stage and on-demand with the 35th anniversary of the beloved Bay Area holiday tradition. The Velveteen Rabbit features captivating narration, a delightful musical score and larger-than-life storybook characters portrayed by the world-class dancers of ODC/Dance. December 4-12. See website for showtimes, ticket and Covid-19 restrictions. The Blue Shield of California Theatre at YBCA, San Francisco;

Oakland Ballet Company Presents Graham Lustig’s “The Nutcracker”


Oakland Ballet Company’s spritely and colorful version of this holiday classic is a holiday tradition that is fun for the entire family. Brimming with holiday magic, this is the Nutcracker to see! With live music by the Oakland Symphony. December 18 & 19. See website for times, ticket information and if there are any related vaccination requirements. All ages Paramount Theatre, 510-893-3132;


The Nutcracker


Experience the magic of the Nutcracker. This annual Tri-Valley holiday event continues to enchant audiences of all ages, bringing Tchaikovsky’s well-known music and ballet to life with all of its elegance and beauty. Thrill to a stage filled with one magical Nutcracker, a swirl of lovely snowflakes, adorable mice, dancing soldiers and a glittering sugar plum fairy. December 11-19. See website for showtimes, ticket and Covid-19 restrictions. Bankhead Theatre, Livermore;


Mark Foehringer’s Nutcracker Sweets


Celebrate the holidays with Mark Foehringer‘s Nutcracker Sweets, a unique 50-minute production of the classic holiday ballet designed for families with small children and audiences of all ages. This special production is danced storytelling that is affordable, magical, zany, and fun. Foehringer uses his choreographic skills in contemporary dance and ballet to craft a show that is sure to thrill dance newcomers and the most jaded balletomane. See all of the favorite Nutcracker characters in beautiful costumes performing on a colorful set with live chamber orchestra music.

December 4-19. See website for times, ticket information and if there are any related vaccination requirements. All ages. Cowell Theater at Fort Mason Center. 628-400-1348;

San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker


Set at a Christmas Eve party in 1915 San Francisco, Nutcracker tells the story of Clara, a young girl given a magical nutcracker doll. The Nutcracker comes to life in her dreams, battles the evil King of the Mice, and takes Clara to a Crystal Palace full of dancing. With brilliant choreography by Helgi Tomasson and a beloved score by Tchaikovsky, SF Ballet’s Nutcracker is a festive treat for the entire family! December 10-30. See website for times, ticket information and if there are any related vaccination requirements. Ages 5 and up. War Memorial Opera House, 415-865-2000;


My Very First Nutcracker


“My Very First Nutcracker” is a special one-act presentation of “The San Jose Nutcracker,” ideal for families with toddlers, preschoolers, and young children. This joyful holiday production features the festive holiday party, at which Uncle Nikola reveals his fascinating gifts. Kids will marvel at the historic San Jose Electric Light Tower rising magically above the streets of San Jose, and cheer on adorable mice and toy soldiers who compete to win a magic crown. Introduce your family to the magic of classical ballet! This performance has a run time of approximately 55 minutes. December 18 – 22. See website for showtimes, ticket and Covid-19 restrictions. California Theatre, San Jose;

The San Jose Nutcracker


San Jose’s favorite Nutcracker comes to the beautiful California Theatre in downtown San Jose, for a truly magical holiday experience. “The San Jose Nutcracker” is a joyful holiday production that transports the well-loved story to turn-of-the-century San Jose, with historical references that highlight our valley setting as a birthplace of innovation.December 18 – 22. See website for showtimes, ticket and Covid-19 restrictions. California Theatre, San Jose;


Marin Ballet’s Nutcracker


Delight in the Magic of Marin Ballet’s Nutcracker! Rich in old-fashioned holiday grandeur, Clara’s whimsical Christmas Eve dreams come to life through the art of classical ballet enriched with clever storytelling, mischievous humor, heroic characters, and plenty of fanciful surprises. Lavish, Victorian costumes and sets frame choreography a cast of over 175 super-talented dancers shipped in from all over the state and country as they bring adventure to life in this full-length ballet production. December 11-12. See website for times and ticket information. All ages. Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium, 415-453-6705;


Stapleton Ballet Presents: Nutcracker


The vibrant Stapleton Ballet Nutcracker provides a magical start to the holiday season! This engaging production features lavish costumes, ornate sets and joyful choreography that celebrates the spirit and exuberance of over 200 dancers performing alongside guest artists. Dec. 7 and 8. See website for times, ticket information and if there are any related vaccination requirements. All ages. Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium, 415-473-6800;