Events and Outings

Marin Weekend Family Fun for December 19, 20 & 21

December 17, 2014
the Nisja's Bear's House in Marinwood
Visit the Mickey Mouse House in Marinwood this weekend. It's open nightly from 6–10 pm.

Here are our picks for great events and activities for children and families this weekend. Find more events for the whole week in Marin and beyond in our Family Events Calendar.

There's also holiday ice skating at numerous locations throughout the Bay Area, opportunities to visit with Santa Claus at local shopping centers, and amazing decorated holiday houses. Also, check out our North Bay Christmas Tree Farms and Lots article.

Friday, December 19

  • Family Holiday Tea
    Haas-Lilienthal House, San Francisco
    Friday & Saturday, noon & 3 pm

    Celebrate the holidays by stepping back in time through the doors of the festively-decorated Haas-Lilienthal House for a traditional Victorian afternoon tea. Crown & Crumpet promises to delight with its perfectly-blended pots of tea, savory finger sandwiches, scrumptious scones and holiday sweets. Tea will be served in the formal dining room and parlors. Tickets: $48 adults, $24 for children 12 and under. Location: For more info, visit their website.
  • San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker
    War Memorial Opera House

    Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 2 & 7 pm
    San Francisco Ballet’s awe-inspiring production is like no other, with colorful, larger-than-life scenery, over 200 dazzling costumed characters, and of course Tchaikovsky’s beautiful score performed live by the world-class San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. Performances of Nutcracker run through December 29. Ticket prices start at $26. For more info, call (415) 865-2000 or visit their website.
  • Family Concert: A Charlie Brown Christmas—Live!
    San Francisco Symphony, Davies Hall
    Friday, 4 pm, Saturday, 2 pm & Sunday, 2 and 7:30 pm

    Iconic Peanuts characters come to life in this colorful live-action performance, with animated backgrounds on the big screen, dancing, singing, and more—all with live accompaniment by the Symphony, Chorus, dancers, and narrators. This unique variety show opens with vocalist Lisa Vroman, the SFS Chorus, and the Symphony performing holiday classics. Come early and enjoy a family-friendly reception. The lobbies will be filled with festive decorations and activities, including gigantic trees, holiday photo booths, and special Peanuts décor. Tickets $12.50 and up; 17 and under half-price. For more info, visit their website.
  • San Francisco Zoo Lights
    San Francisco Zoo
    Friday–Sunday, 5–8 pm

    Come get a feeling for the San Francisco Zoo at night under magical holiday lights! Make your way from Entry Village to the Elinor Friend Playground for some magical playtime under the stars. Stop by to see Santa Claus to put in some last-minute requests. Grab some hot apple cider or cocoa and head over to the Playfield Lawn pay a visit to Santa's special reindeer Belle, Holly, Peppermint, and Velvet. And there will be light snow flurries at Zoo Lights, so bundle up! $7 adults, $5 kids 4–14, free 3 and under. For more information, visit their website.
  • Le Petit Cirque de Noël
    Marin County Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Friday, 6–7:15 pm

    Let Petit Cirque de Noël presents A Magic Box under the Big Tent at Marin Country Mart. Tickets: free for children age 18 and under; $15 adults. Tickets required for seating and can be purchased at the Trading Post or on Brown Paper Tickets. To reserve tickets, call the Trading Post at (415) 448-5043. For more info, visit their website.
  • Young Performers Theatre: Peter Pan
    Fort Mason Center, San Francisco
    Friday, 6:30 pm, Saturday & Sunday,1 & 3:30 pm

    The Young Performers Theatre presents Peter Pan. For all ages. Tickets: $10. Location: Building C, Room 300, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.

 Saturday, December 20

  • Marin Country Mart Farmers Market
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    Enjoy pony rides and a petting zoo for the kids from 10 am–2 pm adjacent to the farmer's market, arts and crafts by SCRAP from 10 am–1:30 pm, and children's entertainment from 9:30–10:30 am. Santa Claus will be at the Poppy Store from 11 am to 2 pm for complimentary photos. For more info, visit their website.
  • Family Walk: A Winter Wonderland 
    Muir Woods, Mill Valley
    Saturday, 9:30 am–noon

    Discover the wonder of an old-growth redwood forest in winter on this leisurely walk on the Fern Creek and Alice Eastwood trails. Look for salmon, mushroom displays, winter wildflowers, waterfalls, and more! Dress for the weather and wear sturdy shoes as the trails are steep and may be muddy (strollers not advised). Bring water and a snack. Entry fees apply. For information and reservations, call (415) 388-2596 or visit their website.
  • Gingerbread House Party
    Habitot Children's Museum, Berkeley
    Saturday, 9:30 am–4:30 pm

    Decorate a giant gingerbread house with oodles of goodies including candies, cookies and sprinkles. After the event, the completed house will be donated to a local family shelter for the holiday. Bring a bag of decorating candy to share and receive a free guest pass from Habitot. For more info, visit their website.
  • Dream Circle Holiday Concert
    Bay Area Discovery Museum
    Saturday, 10 am & 11:15 am

    Bring the little ones (ages 6 mos. and up) for a delightful and uplifting seasonal celebration featuring songs for a wide range of winter holidays, including Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Chinese New Year. Dream Circle is indeed a dream lineup of Marin’s best loved children’s entertainers. Tickets: $5 members, $7 general (does not include museum admission). To purchase tickets, visit their website.
  • Gingerbread House Decorating Classes
    Cake Art, San Rafael
    Saturday, 10:30 am–noon & 2–3:30 pm

    Decorate your holiday gingerbread house at Cake Art Supplies. The class includes a large preassembled, freshly baked gingerbread house, royal icing, assorted candies and decorations, and instruction. This class is a popular adult, child or parent/child class. Call now to sign up as space is limited. Cost: $50. Location: 1512 5th Avenue, San Rafael. For more info, call (415) 456-7773 or visit their website.
  • Frozen Sing-Along
    Children's Creativity Museum, San Francisco
    Saturday, 11 am & 2 pm

    “For the first time in forever” we will be screening Frozen in our Creativity Theater! “Let it go” and sing along with Elsa, Anna, Olaf, and all of your friends. All ages are welcome; costumes are encouraged! Tickets $5 per person, ages 2 and older. Location: 221 4th Street, San Francisco. Reserve your tickets here.
  • Kids' Concert: The Hipwaders
    Freight & Salvage, Berkeley
    Saturday, 11 am (doors open at 10:30 am)
    T
    he Hipwaders specialize in kid-pleasing power pop anthems full of catchy tunes and beautiful vocal harmonies. Tito Uquillas (guitar, keyboards), DJ Kinville (bass), and Nick Baca (drums) honed their chops performing at the Jelly Belly Candy Factory in Fairfield before going on to play other venues and release a succession of albums, winning throngs of adoring fans (young and old) and numerous Parents' Choice, Children's Music Web, and National Parenting Publications awards—they were even invited to perform at Chicago's Lollapalooza Festival in 2007. Tickets: $10 advance, $12 at the door. Location: 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley. For more info, visit their website.
  • Family Holiday Sing-Along
    Grace Cathedral, San Francisco
    Saturday, 11 am

    Sing along with your favorite Christmas carols as the toys of St. Nicholas's workshop come to life! Discover the meaning of Christmas on an extraordinary journey, filling children, young and old, with the joys of the season. This program is particularly well-suited to those under age 8. Tickets: $10–$25. Location: 1100 California Street, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Marin Dance Theatre: Sophie and The Enchanted Toyshop
    Marin Veterans' Memorial Auditorium
    Saturday, 1 & 5:30 pm

    Marin Dance Theatre presents this delightful full-length two-act children's ballet, featuring over 125 dancers plus professional guest artists. A Dickens-style street scene comes alive with gypsies, magicians, and mysterious commedia del arte masked players. As a kindly toy maker enters with his mischievous harlequin monkeys, he sweeps Sophie away to her amazing adventure. Following the 1 pm performance, meet the cast, enjoy sweet treats, and have your photo taken with cast members at the Teddy Bear Tea Party in the Redwood Foyer. Tickets: $38 adults, $28 students and seniors; Teddy Bear Tea Party $5. Purchase tickets here. For more info, visit their website.
  • Le Cirque de Bohème Holiday Circus
    Cornerstone Sonoma
    Saturday, 1 pm

    This Christmas, Cornerstone Sonoma presents a winter circus for the holidays by Le Cirque de Bohème. Experience the magic of a 1920s style circus based on the French tradition, featuring a magician, contortionist, jugglers, mimes, an eccentric clown, a knife-thrower, and other assorted denizens of 1920s Paris. Tickets cost $25 for adults and $15 for kids under 15. Last year many of these performances sold out early, so get your tickets soon. Order tickets online.

Cool Camps for Winter Break in Marin and Beyond

December 12, 2014

studio 4 artLooking for something fun for the kids to do over the upcoming winter break? Check out some of the great winter day camps here in Marin and San Francisco.

  • Studio 4 Art
    1133 Grant Avenue
    Novato

    (415) 596-5546
    Campers will have the choice of many different projects each day. Popular events such as clay, sewing, cartooning, and painting will be highlighted, all tought by Studio 4 Art's professional artist teachers. The camps are December 22–24, 29–31 and January 2 from 9:30 am–1:30 pm for ages 4–14. A sibling discount is offered. For more info, visit www.studio4art.net.
  • Bay Area Discovery Museum Winter Break Camps
    557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito
    (415) 339-3900

    The BADM is offing two two-day sessions: Art Attack on December 22 and 23 and Shipwrecks and Treasure Hunts on December 29 and 30. Both run from 9 am–3 pm and are for children ages 4–7. In Art Attack, explore your artistic potential and express yourself through paint, sculpture, nature objects, recycled materials, and the very popular messy art curriculum. Shipwrecks and Treasure Hunts campers will sing chanteys, make maps, dig for artifacts and treasures, and discover strange sea creatures. Cost: Supporting Family Members: $210 per session; general: $235 per session. Note: no extended care available. For more info, visit www.baykidsmuseum.org.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for December 12, 13 & 14

December 12, 2014
The Rombeiros' Christmas House
Visit the Rombeiro's Christmas House in Novato this weekend.

Here are our picks for great events and activities for children and families this weekend. Find more events for the whole week in Marin and beyond in our Family Events Calendar.

There's also holiday ice skating at numerous locations throughout the Bay Area, opportunities to visit with Santa Claus at local shopping centers, and amazing decorated holiday houses. Also, check out our North Bay Christmas Tree Farms and Lots article.

Friday, December 12

  • Snow Days Family Fundraiser
    Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito
    Friday-Sunday, 10 am–4 pm

    Bundle up the whole family and come to the museum's newest family fundraiser: Snow Days. Explore the museum transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with REAL SNOW! Young museum visitors will enjoy playing in the snow, learning the science of snow, and participating in special winter-themed activities and programs. It’s sure to be a fantastically frozen good time. Tickets: Members $10; General $15. Location: 557 McReynolds Road, Fort Baker, Sausalito. For more info, call (415) 339-3900 or visit their website.
  • San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker
    War Memorial Opera House

    Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 2 & 7 pm
    San Francisco Ballet’s awe-inspiring production is like no other, with colorful, larger-than-life scenery, over 200 dazzling costumed characters, and of course Tchaikovsky’s beautiful score performed live by the world-class San Francisco Ballet Orchestra. Performances of Nutcracker begin on Friday, December 12 and run through December 29. Ticket prices start at $26. For more info, call (415) 865-2000 or  visit their website.
  • Marinwood's WinterFest Family Event
    Marinwood Community Center, San Rafael
    Friday, 5–7 pm
    Come celebrate the holiday season at Marinwood's annual WinterFest! Ticket prices include: photos with Santa, arts and crafts, face painting, bounce house, holiday treats, live music and more... Tickets: $10 in advance kids ages 2–12, $12 at the door. Adults are free! Location: 775 Miller Creek Road, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • Zoo Lights Preview
    San Francisco Zoo
    Friday–Sunday, 5–8 pm

    As a warm up for the full-on fun of Zoo Lights, the zoo is extending hours for these special weekend nights in December. Come enjoy the San Francisco Zoo at night under magical holiday lights. Shop at the all-new Holiday Marketplace, see the reindeer romp, enjoy hot apple cider and cocoa at Cafe Playfield, and hum along to seasonal music as you play in the Elinor Friend Playground. Adults $5, kids 14 and under $5, kids 3 and under: free. For more information, visit their website.
  • Le Petit Cirque de Noël
    Marin County Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Friday–Sunday, 6–7:15 pm

    Let Petit Cirque de Noël presents A Magic Box under the Big Tent at Marin Country Mart. Tickets: free for children age 18 and under; $15 adults. Tickets required for seating and can be purchased at the Trading Post or on Brown Paper Tickets. To reserve tickets, call the Trading Post at (415) 448-5043. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, December 13

  • Breakfast with Santa
    Ross Valley Fire Station, San Anselmo
    Saturday, 8 am
    & 10 am
    Bring the family to the annual Breakfast with Santa event at the Ross Valley Fire Station. There will also be a toy drive so be sure to bring a toy! Limited seating. Tickets: $6 children, $8 adults in advance or $8 and $10 adult at the door. Register by calling (415) 258-4640. Location: 777 San Anselmo Avenue, San Anselmo. For more info, call (415) 258-4600 or visit their website.
  • Breakfast with Santa
    San Rafael Community Center
    Saturday, 8:30 am & 10 am

    Breakfast with Santa features pancakes, eggs, sausage, juice, milk, coffee and a surprise treat from Santa! Two seatings: 8:30am (doors open at 8:15 am, barcode: 22661) and 10 am (doors open at 10 am, barcode: 22662). Cost: $5 children, $7 seniors/adults. Pre-registration is required; please specify seating time when registering. Share the joy by bringing a can of food to donate to the Marin Community Food Bank. Location: 618 B Street, San Rafael. For more info call (415) 485-3333 or  visit their website.
  • Holiday Fun at the Farmer's Market
    Marin County Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm
    This holiday celebration will be packed with fun family-friendly activities, including writing and sending a letter to Santa, complimentary photos with Santa, children's entertainment, holiday cookie decorating, pony rides, face painting, and seasonal music and caroling. Snack on festive holiday treats and beverages, including savory toddies for adults, Hoppy Holidaze Christmas Ale from Marin Brewing Co. and warm apple cider. In addition to a great selection of farmers' market organic produce, pastured meats, artisan cheeses, baked goods, nuts, jams, confections, wreaths and holiday flowers, you can also shop for unique farm inspired locally made arts and crafts. Donations of gently used and new toys will be accepted. For more info, visit their website.
  • Breakfast with Santa
    Belvedere Community Center
    Saturday, 9–10:30 am
    Music, crafts, a tasty breakfast, and a visit with the Big Man! Photo opportunity with Santa, so bring your camera. Cost: $15 per person. Please call (415) 435-4355 for reservations. Reserve your seats in advance as space is limited and tickets will not be available at the door. Location: 450 San Rafael Avenue, Belvedere. For more info, visit their website.
  • Bookmarks Annual Teddy Bear Tea
    Belvedere-Tiburon Library
    Saturday & Sunday, 9:30 am, 10:30 am & 11:30 am

    You and your favorite bear are welcome at the Teddy Bear Tea. Wear your holiday finest, and enjoy refreshments, music, stories and crafts. Proceeds will benefit the Children's Library. Tickets $25 per person. For children 2 and up. Location: 1501 Tiburon Boulevard, Tiburon. For more info, call (415) 789-2665 or visit their website.
  • Let it Snow, Novato!
    Novato City Hall
    Saturday, 10 am–5 pm, carriage rides from 5:30 pm–8:30 pm

    Kids... put on your mittens and come play in the snow. Sleds and all other festivities will be provided free of charge. Mr. and Mrs. Claus will arrive by fire truck at 11:30 am and kids will be able to get their pictures taken with the jolly pair. There will be free candy canes and balloons. Children will also be able to enter a coloring contest and get their faces painted. Live music and more. Free. For more info, visit their website.
  • Wreath Making Workshop
    McNears Beach Park, San Rafael
    Saturday, 10 am–1 pm

    Bring the beauty of nature to your front door with a festive, homemade wreath! Join rangers at McNears Beach Park for a day of sipping hot chocolate, listening to holiday tunes, and creating your own natural wreath to take home. Fresh greenery, pinecones and other natural materials will be provided. You may bring your own decorations to use. This event is ideal for ages 7 and up; no experience necessary. Rain does not cancel this event. RSVP appreciated but not required. For questions or to RSVP contact Ranger Sarah Burkhart at SBurkhart@marincounty.org. Location: 201 Cantera Way, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • Sausalito Winterfest
    Downtown Sausalito
    Saturday, 10 am–7 pm

    Kids holiday activities take place from 10 am–2 pm, and the Holiday Fine Art and Craft Fair takes place from 10 am–7 pm. For more information, visit their website.
  • A Holiday Magic Toy Box Tea at Falkirk
    1408 Mission Avenue at "E" Street, San Rafael
    Saturday and Sunday, seatings at noon & 3 pm
    The tea is an old-fashioned tour de force in the elegant Queen Anne Victorian Falkirk Mansion. Homemade tea sandwiches and sweets are served, along with tea, hot chocolate, and other beverages. Features include life-sized toys, a raffle, and plenty of photo opportunities. Make sure you bring your teddy bear or other favorite toy! This extremely popular event is by reservation only and always sells our early! Reserve your spot by calling 1-800-838-3006 or online here. The cost is $25 for adults and $22 for children, or $45 for an adult-and-child combination ticket. For more info, visit www.falkirkculturalcenter.org.
  • Kids Book Event: A Cookie for Santa
    Book Passage, Corte Madera
    Saturday, noon

    Author Stephanie Shaw reads her book, "A Cookie For Santa." "The Gingerbread Man" mixes it up with "The Night Before Christmas" in this cleverly constructed Christmas story about a smart cookie who avoids becoming Santa's midnight snack. Location: 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera. For more info, call (415) 927-0960 or visit their website.
  • Fifth Annual Teddy Bear Tea à la Française
    Red Hill Church of San Anselmo
    Saturday, 11 am–12:30 pm
    Come for tea and hot cocoa, finger sandwiches, holiday cookies, and fun! You and your little ones will enjoy tea service, traditional live holiday music, a fireside telling of The story of Christmas in English and French, and a professional photo seating! Each child should bring his or her own teddy bear (or nounours) to share tea time with and dress in dapper holiday style! Free (donations are accepted but not expected). RSVP required at amber@lpjkids.com. Location: 921 Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, San Anselmo.
  • San Francisco Bazaar Holiday Show
    Herbst Pavilion, Fort Mason

    Saturday & Sunday, 11 am–6 pm
    Celebrate the eighth year of this locally produced art and craft show. Shop the handmade market, participate in DIY workshops, enter the Crafty Raffle, eat local food, enjoy live entertainment, and more. First 200 people in the door get a custom tote bad and limited-edition print. Free admission. For more info, visit their website.
  • Forest Wreath & Garland Workshop
    San Francisco Presidio
    Saturday & Sunday, noon–5 pm

    Join us for this all-ages event and learn how to make a unique "field and forest" wreath made entirely from natural materials collected from around the Presidio. All supplies will be provided for this free workshop, however, we encourage participants to bring along their own embellishments such as ribbons, old cards, fabric scraps, and small mementos to make your wreath a one-of-a-kind piece of art! Location: Pershing Square, Main Post at Arguello Boulevard and Sheridan Avenue in the Presidio. Free. Reserve your spot here. For more info, visit their website.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for December 5, 6 & 7

December 5, 2014
Lighting of the Snowmen at Cornerstone Sonoma
The annual Lighting of the Snowmen takes place this Sunday at CornerStone Sonoma.

Here are our picks for great events and activities for children and families this weekend. Find more events for the whole week in Marin and beyond in our Family Events Calendar.

There's also holiday ice skating at numerous locations throughout the Bay Area, as well as opportunities to visit with Santa Claus at local shopping centers. Visit Marin's Amazing Lighted Holiday Houses! Also, check out our  North Bay Christmas Tree Farms and Lots 2014 article.

Friday, December 5

  • The Petaluma School of Ballet presents The Nutcracker
    Evert B. Person Theatre, Sonoma State University
    Friday 7:30 pm, Saturday 1:30 pm & 6:30 pm, Sunday 1:30 pm
    The Petaluma School of Ballet and Petaluma City Ballet present The Nutcracker. Tickets: $25 adults; $15 children 12 and under, students, and seniors; $2 more at the door. Tickets available at the Dance Shop at 19 Kentucky Street or the Petaluma School of Ballet at 110 Howard Street in Petaluma. For more info, call (707) 765-2660 or visit their website.
  • Dickens Family Victorian Holiday Party
    Falkirk Cultural Center, San Rafael
    Friday, 6 pm

    Join Charles Dickens and his family for a joyous evening of Victorian revelry at the Falkirk Mansion in San Rafael. Partake in a holiday treat as you go back in time to Victorian England and meet Charles Dickens, listen to him read from his famous works, watch his characters come alive (look out for Scrooge), meet and greet the true Father Christmas, play Victorian parlor games, dance and sing with our Victorian family and make traditional holiday crafts. Light food and drink will be served. A true family event. Tickets: $10 adults, $7 children. Order tickets at (800) 838-3006 or online here. Location: 1408 Mission Avenue, San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • Presidio Community Tree Lighting
    San Francisco Presidio Main Post
    Friday, 5:30–6:30 pm

    Kick off the holiday season by joining the Presidio community for its traditional tree-lighting ceremony, with free holiday craft activities for kids and caroling from the Golden Gate Carolers. Light refreshments will be served in the Presidio YMCA gymnasium for all to enjoy. Afterwards, be sure to bring a flashlight and experience the park in the dark on a magical 20-minute, guided lantern-lit walk through the forest. Free; reservations suggested but not required. For more info, visit their website.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for November 28, 29 & 30

November 27, 2014

Garlock Tree Farm

Here are our picks for great events and activities for children and families this holiday weekend. Find more events for the whole week in Marin and beyond in our Family Events Calendar.

There's also holiday ice skating at numerous locations throughout the Bay Area, as well as opportunities to visit with Santa Claus at local shopping centers. Also, check out our guide to North Bay Christmas tree farms and Lots.

Friday, November 28

  • Gingerbread Builders Workshop
    Bon Air Center, Greenbrae
    Friday-Sunday, 9 am-9 pm

    Bring the kiddos out to build a sweet home of their dreams. Gingerbread kits include house, candy and bag of royal Icing. Choose from 3 different sizes that range in price from $31-$52. Location: Bon Aire Shopping Center Suite #302. Reserve your gingerbread kit here. For questions, (415) 720-2193 or visit their website.
  • The Great Dickens Christmas Fair
    Cow Palace, San Francisco
    Friday-Sunday, 10 am–7 pm

    The Dickens Fair runs on weekends through December 21 from 10 am–7 pm. Experience Victorian London with hundreds of costumed players, shops offering one-of-a-kind gifts and Christmas treasures, dining, and pubs. Meet Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist, Tiny Tim, Jules Verne, David Copperfield, Charles Darwin, and 700 costumed characters. Of course, Father Christmas himself will be on hand to join in the fun. Purchase tickets here. For more info, visit their website.
  • 35th Annual Parade of Lights and Winter Wonderland
    Downtown San Rafael
    Friday, noon–8 pm & Saturday, 9 am–noon
    Downtown San Rafael will once again commence the holiday season with its Winter Wonderland, Parade of Lights, and Holiday Marketplace with arts and crafts that starts the Friday after Thanksgiving. On Friday: free snow sledding, kids activities (noon–4:30 pm & 6–8 pm), Holiday Marketplace (noon–8 pm) and the Parade of Lights (5:30 pm) with Santa and Mrs. Claus's arrival and a tree-lighting immediately after. On Saturday, kids activities and snow sledding continues (9 am–noon). Location: Fourth Street from B Street to Lootens Place in downtown San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • Ghirardelli Square Annual Tree Lighting
    San Francisco
    Friday,  4–9 pm

    Enjoy free live entertainment for the entire family throughout the day culminating with the lighting of the Ghirardelli Square tree at 5:30 pm. This year’s festivities will include live music, children’s entertainment and a visit from Santa. Location: Ghirardelli Square, 900 North Point Street (at Beach and Larkin), San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Macy's 25th Annual Union Square Tree Lighting
    Union Square Park, San Francisco
    Friday, 6 pm

    Macy's gift to the city and San Francisco's most recognized Christmas tree will be officially lit in Union Square at 6:40 pm. Macy's 25th Annual Tree Lighting will take place in Union Square Park between Sutter and Post and Geary and Stockton Streets, right across from the front of Macy's. For more info, visit their website.
  • Cinnabar Theater Young Repertory Presents The Wizard of OZ
    Cinnabar Theater, Petaluma
    Friday & Saturday, 7:30 pm

    Follow the yellow brick road with Cinnabar's Young Rep as they present the classic musical live on stage. This production of The Wizard of Oz is performed entirely by talented young artists aged 7–18. More than 65 kids take the stage to bring this beloved story to life. Admission: $15 adults, $10 your 21 and under. Location: 3333 Petaluma Boulevard North. For more info and tickets, visit their website.

Saturday, November 29

  • Fitness Hike: Hoo Koo E Koo to Huckleberry Trail
    Kent Woodlands
    Saturday, 9 am-noon

    Families can explore Baltimore Canyon and the Blithedale and Corte Madera ridges on a fast-paced hike with Ranger Ian McLorg. We will take the Hoo Koo E Koo Trail up to the ridge, come down the Huckleberry Trail and then head back to Crown Rd (approximately 5 miles total). Dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes, and bring water and high energy snacks. We request that no pets (except service animals) attend. This is a rain or shine event but high winds will cancel.  Meet at the gate at the end of Crown Rd in Kent Woodlands. For more info call Ranger Ian McLorg at (415) 473-2816 or visit their website.
  • Marin Country Mart Farmers Market
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    Enjoy pony rides and a petting zoo for the kids from 10 am–2 pm adjacent to the farmer's market and live music from Scott the Storyteller from 9:30–10:30 am. For more info, visit their website.
  • Gingerbread Architecture Extravaganza
    Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito
    Saturday & Sunday, 9:30 am, 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 2 and 3 pm

    Kick off your holiday season with Gingerbread Architecture. Come to the Museum and we'll provide a kit for you and your family with everything you need to construct a creative holiday home, including gingerbread house pieces, icing and festive holiday candies. Cost per kit is $20 (Museum admission for non-members is not included). To register, visit their website.
  • Family Science Open House
    Buck Institute, Novato

    Saturday, 10 am–2 pm
    Make plans now to take a break from holiday shopping and Thanksgiving leftovers. Bring friends, family and visiting relatives to a world-class research Institute and get first-hand experience with science aimed at extending healthspan—the healthy years of life. Every half hour we will have a science experiment in our Learning Center for children of all ages. Free and open to the public; free parking. For more info, visit their website.
  • Reindeer Romp at SF Zoo
    San Francisco Zoo
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–4 pm

    Reindeer Romp returns with Santa's favorite reindeer friends Belle, Holly, Peppermint, and Velvet. These four majestic animals mark the return of the holidays at the Zoo and will be on exhibit through New Year’s Day. Stop by the reindeer area on the Playfield Lawn near the Elinor Friend Playground and check out the real story behind these majestic creatures. Free with Zoo admission. For more info, visit their website.
  • Let it Snow! at Treasure Island
    San Francisco
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am-5 pm

    Bring the family to this weekend's SNOWvember at the Treasure Island Flea Market. Come shop and enjoy more than 20 tons of snow. Enjoy more than 400 local artists, makers, designers and collectors. The snow falls at 11 am each day. Cost: $3 per person and children 12 and under are free. For more info, visit their website.
  • 57th San Francisco International Auto Show
    Moscone Center
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–10 pm
    The International Auto Show features the world’s major manufacturers displaying their 2015 model cars, SUVs, trucks, and vans. There will also be classic cars, race cars, car simulators, hot rods, and more. Admission $10, children 12 and younger free when accompanied by an adult. Tickets at the door only. Location: Moscone Convention Center, 747 Howard Street, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Family Sing-Along: Your Song My Song!
    La Peña Cultural, Berkeley
    Saturday, 10:30–11:30 am

    ysmsJaime Lee Currier and Eric Hart are Your Song My Song! We sing classic kids’ songs, Beatles, originals, sing-a-longs, finger-plays, chants and rock ‘n roll! For ages. Cost: $5 Kids, $6 Adults. Location: 2113 Rose St., Berkeley. For more info, visit their website.
  • Holiday Craferino
    Petaluma Veterans Memorial Hall
    Saturday, 11 am-4 pm

    The Petaluma Downtown Craft Mart presents its sixth annual “Holiday Crafterino” show, Saturday November 29th from 11am to 4pm at the Petaluma Veterans Memorial Building. The show brings together the best in handmade crafts and gifts and raises funds for several worthy causes. Admission: $1 donation. Location: 1094 Petaluma Blvd South, Petaluma. For more info, visit their website.
  • SFEtsy Indie Holiday Emporium
    Embarcadero, San Francisco
    Saturday & Sunday, 11 am–5 pm

    Start your holiday shopping at this weekend's Etsy event. The SFEtsy Indie Holiday Emporium is an annual market showcasing the SFEtsy team members and other artisan crafters and makers. See a list of sellers here. Location: Pier 35, 1526 Embarcadero, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Santa's Riverboat Arrival
    Petaluma River Turning Basin
    Saturday, 11:30 am
    Santa and Mrs. Claus sail into the Petaluma River Turning Basin aboard a tugboat at noon and disembark in the Golden Eagle Shopping Center on East Washington St. to greet children and distribute candy. Performers will be on hand at the shopping center starting at 11:30 am. For more info, visit their website.

Does It Really Snow in Downtown San Rafael?

November 22, 2014

Snow sledding in San RafaelDoes it really snow in Downtown San Rafael? Well, no... not very often. But that doesn't mean that they can't truck a bunch of the frozen white stuff for sledding on the Friday after Thanksgiving!

Snow will arrive in Marin as part of the 35th annual Downtown San Rafael Parade of Lights and Winter Wonderland, taking place Friday, November 28. The event happens on Fourth Street from B Street to Lootens Place. Enjoy the Parade of Lights, Winter Wonderland, holiday market, tree lighting ceremony, live entertainment, and more! Free snow sledding and kids' activities take place from noon to 4:30 pm and 6 to 8 pm, and the Holiday Marketplace runs from noon to 8 pm.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for November 21, 22 & 23

November 21, 2014
Pier 39 holiday christmas tree lighting
PIER 39 Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony.

Here are our picks for great events and activities for children and families this Thanksgiving weekend. Find more events for the whole week in Marin and beyond in our Family Events Calendar.

There's also holiday ice skating at numerous locations throughout the Bay Area, as well as opportunities to visit with Santa Claus at local shopping centers.

Friday, November 21

  • Sturgeon Derby
    McNear's Beach Park, San Rafael
    Friday, 9 am–noon

    Join rangers for this popular annual fishing contest! Prizes will be awarded for the biggest fish. A limited number of fishing poles and bait will be provided first-come, first-served to beginner fishermen thanks to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. A valid California fishing license is required when fishing from the shore, not from the pier. Park entrance is $5. Location: Meet at the fishing pier in McNears Beach Park in San Rafael (201 Cantera Way). For more info, contace Chief Park Ranger Dan Sauter at (415) 446-4424 or visit their website.
  • Building Lighting Ceremony & Carnival
    Embarcadero Center, San Francisco
    Friday, 4–7 pm

    Celebrate the 28th Annual Building Lighting Ceremony and Carnival at Embarcadero Center. The Building Lighting Carnival includes children’s activities, entertainment, visits with Santa and a very special appearance by Mickey Mouse. The Building Lighting Ceremony begins at 6 pm with live performances from Disney on Ice Presents: Let’s Celebrate! The countdown to the official lighting leads up to the illumination of One, Two, Three, and Four Embarcadero Center featuring 16,000 lights - followed by a grand fireworks display. For more info, visit  their website.
  • Seals & Slippers: Sleep under the Stars
    The Marine Mammal Center, Sausalito
    Friday, 6 pm to Saturday 10 am

    The sleepover is aimed at children ages 6–12. The overnight stay includes eating feeding season with the seals, guided hike around Rodeo Lagoon, dinner, dessert, and continental breakfast. Cost: $85 per person. Register by contacting Kristin Ku at KuK@tmmc.org or (415) 289-7330. For more info about the sleepover, visit their website.
  • Broadway Bound Kids Presents: Annie Jr.
    Marin Center, Showcase Theater
    Friday, 7:30 pm, Saturday, 2 & 6 pm

    Leapin' Lizards! The irrepressible comic strip heroine takes center stage in one of the world's best-loved musicals. Based on the popular comic strip by Harold Gray, Annie is now adapted for young performers in Annie Jr. The beloved book and score by Tony Award winners Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse, and Martin Charnin features some of the greatest musical theater hits ever written including Tomorrow. Tickets: $17 adults, $15 children and seniors. Purchase tickets here. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, November 22

  • Lollipopalooza Family Concerts
    Westminster Presbyterian Church, Tiburon
    Saturday, 9:30 am & 11 am

    There will be two performances of this fun sing-along concert for kids age 3–8 and their parents, featuring Tim Cain, Miss Kitty, Cindy Cohen, and Christopher Smith, along with the Dream Circle Band. Each artist has a strong and large following in the Bay Area, and when they work together they create a warm, intimate, exciting 45-minute show, perfect for young children. If you like to sing along and dance along, this is the show for you! Tickets at the door on the day of the event are $12. Kids under 1 are free. Location: 240 Tiburon Boulevard, Tiburon. To purchase tickets for the 9:30 am show or 11 am show.
  • Make A Pie for Charity
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    Come make a homemade organic apple pie to be donated to the St. Vincent De Paul Society of Marin County this Thanksgiving. And don't forget to make a pie for yourself too! Purchase a ticket to make a pie for charity or yourself here. Don't forget to stop by the famers market to purchase fresh produce, prepared foods, and great local restaurants. For more info, visit their website.
  • Cool, Clear Waters Walk
    Mount Tamalpais, Muir Beach
    Saturday, 9:30 am–noon
    Take an easy two-mile walk with Ranger Lou around an ecological restoration site to learn how the needs of salmon and frogs can inspire people to create habitat for endangered and threatened species during a time of climate change. Bring water, snack, sunscreen, and hat, dress in layers, and wear sturdy shoes. Meet at the Muir Beach parking lot. Reservations required; call (415) 388-2596. For more info, visit their website.
  • The Great Dickens Christmas Fair
    Cow Palace, San Francisco
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–7 pm

    The Dickens Fair kicks off Saturday, November 22 and runs on weekends through December 21 from 10 am–7 pm. Experience Victorian London with hundreds of costumed players, shops offering one-of-a-kind gifts and Christmas treasures, dining, and pubs. Meet Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist, Tiny Tim, Jules Verne, David Copperfield, Charles Darwin, and 700 costumed characters. Of course, Father Christmas himself will be on hand to join in the fun. Purchase tickets here. For more info, visit their website.
  • Creative Family Fun: Windy Trees
    Presidio Officers’ Club, San Francisco
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am-3 pm

    For November celebrate the incredible art that the Presidio inspires! Using only your breath, a straw and some paint, you can be the wind that creates a beautiful tree to celebrate the fall season and the forests of the Presidio. Drop in every Saturday and Sunday between 10 am to 3 pm for imaginative craft-making based on the Presidio’s natural and cultural heritage. Best for kids aged 5–12. Free. Location: 50 Moraga Avenue, Presidio Main Post, San Francisco. For more info, call (415) 561-4400 or visit their website.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for November 14, 15 & 16

November 14, 2014
Christmas House at West End Nursery San Rafael
Visit the amazing Christmas House at West End Nursery in San Rafael.

Here are our picks for great events and activities for children and families this weekend. Find more events for the whole week in Marin and beyond in our Family Events Calendar.

Friday, November 14

  • Santa Photos at Northgate
    Northgate Mall, San Rafael
    Friday & Saturday, noon–8 pm, Sunday noon–6 pm

    Northgate in San Rafael invites children to visit Santa and have their picture taken with Santa Claus at his winter wonderland house, in the Macy's wing. Individual photos and packages are available. Santa takes breaks from 3–4 pm (2:30–3:30 pm on Sundays). More info: www.shopatnorthgate.com.
  • Tam Valley Arts and Crafts Fair
    Tamalpais Valley Community Center
    Friday, 5–9 pm & Saturday, 10 am–3 pm

    Shop for great crafts by local vendors and enjoy crafts for kids and more. Free admission. Location: 203 Marin Avenue, Mill Valley. For more info, visit their website.
  • Fiddler on the Roof
    The Playhouse, San Anselmo
    Friday & Saturday, 7:30 pm & Saturday & Sunday, 1 pm

    Fiddler on the Roof, performed by 75 young people from throughout Marin County tells the story of Tevye, who is belabored by the difficult problems of raising and supporting his five daughters in Tsarist Russia. The show features songs like "Sunrise, Sunset," "Tradition," "If I Were A Rich Man," and many more. Tickets: $15. For reservations and ticket information, call 1-800-838-3006 or visit their website.
  • Throckmorton Youth Performers: Seussical the Musical
    142 Throckmorton Theatre, Mill Valley
    Friday, 7:30 pm, Saturday & Sunday, 2 pm

    Based on the splendid works of Dr. Seuss… anything's possible! Tickets: $18 general, $14 students, $45 reserved. Location: 142 Throckmorton Avenue, in downtown Mill Valley. For more info, call (415) 383-9600 or visit their website.

Photos and Breakfast with Santa Claus

November 13, 2014

photos with santa clausIt goes without saying that every Holiday season Santa Claus is an extremely popular guy. He and his small army of little helpers will be making the rounds for photos, breakfasts, and other holiday fun at various shopping centers and other locations in Marin County and beyond. (And of course you'll need to tell him what you want for Christmas, too!)

We make every effort to assure that all listings and hours are as accurate as possible, but occasionally Santa has to take a break to feed the reindeer or tidy up his beard, so make sure to stay on Santa's "nice" list and call or check the venue's website before visiting.

Photos with Santa

  • Santa Photos
    Northgate Mall in San Rafael
    November 14–December 24

    Northgate in San Rafael invites children to visit Santa and have their picture taken with Santa Claus at his winter wonderland house in the Macy's wing. Individual photos and packages are available. Santa will be on hand Monday–Saturday from noon–8 pm, and Sunday from noon–6 pm. Santa takes breaks Monday-Saturday, 3-4 pm Sunday, 2:30–3 pm. More info: www.shopatnorthgate.com
  • Free Pictures with Santa
    Strawberry Village, Mill Valley
    November 22, noon–2 pm

    Get free 4x6 professional photos with Santa and meet Rudolph in the Strawberry Village Piazza on November 22. Also enjoy free face painting and balloon twisting. More info: strawberryvillage.com
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