Holidays in Marin

Marin on Ice

Our annual guide to Christmas and holiday events for families in Marin and the Bay Area

Sponsored by Marin on Ice.

8 Ways for Families to Give Back This Holiday Season

November 6, 2017

Giant Turkey Town Center Corte Madera SF-Marin Food Bank

Teach your children that the holiday season isn't just about getting gifts, but about giving back to our community, too. Here are 8 ways that families can give back, from donations of food and toys to serving a meal for the needy. If you have a favorite cause worth supporting this holiday season, please let us know.

Marin on Ice Returns to Northgate this Holiday Season!

November 5, 2017

Marin on Ice

Marin on Ice, Marin County's only holiday ice skating rink, returns to Northgate in San Rafael for a fourth season of open-air skating, opening Wednesday, November 8, 2017 and running through January 7, 2018. The rink will be open daily, including holidays. Opening times vary, but the rink is generally open from 2 to 9 pm during the week and 11 am to 10 pm on weekends, with extended weekday hours during Winter Break (December 25–January 5). Check Marin on Ice's calendar for exact hours.

Special events at Marin on Ice for 2017 include Disco Night on November 15, '90s Night on November 29, Ladies' Night on December 6, Black Light Night on December 13, and Couples Night on December 20.

Festive Holiday Teas for the Family in Marin and San Francisco

November 4, 2017

Holiday Tea Falkirk

Holiday teas are a fun seasonal treat for children and their parents, whether they're at a local library or a fancy hotel in the city. There are several in Marin this season. Holiday teas are popular and space is often limited, so reserve your spot as soon as possible if you plan to go. Here are a few of our favorites in Marin, San Francisco, and the Wine Country.

Horse-Drawn Tours of Novato's Holiday Lights with Indian Valley Carriage

November 3, 2017

Indian Valley CarriageWant to tour Novato's spectacular holiday lights the old fashioned way this winter? Book a trip via horse-drawn carriage or wagon from Gary Sello and Indian Valley Carriage. Novato residents have probably seen Gary and his team cruising the streets at Christmas time, especially near the famous Rombeiro Christmas House on Devonshire Drive.

Family Holiday Performances at Marin Center

November 2, 2017

Stapleton Ballet Nutcracker at Marin Center in San RafaelSee Stapleton Ballet's Nutcracker at Marin Center on December 2 and 3.

You can always count on finding a variety of wonderful holiday performances for the whole family at Marin Center in San Rafael, and the 2017 season is no exception. There’s definitely something for everyone, so bring the family to one of these Marin holiday classics. Many of these productions sell out early, so order your tickets soon to avoid disappointment.

Marin Center is located off Civic Center Drive at 10 Avenue of the Flags in San Rafael, adjacent to the Marin County Civic Center. It comprises two of Marin County's premier performance venues: the 1,960-seat Marin Veterans Memorial Auditorium, which hosts major concerts, performances, and events, and the smaller, more intimate 315-seat Showcase Theater.

A Winter Circus for the Holidays at Cornerstone Sonoma

October 31, 2017

Cirque de Boheme Freedom 2017

This Thanksgiving and Christmas, Cirque de Bohème returns Cornerstone Sonoma for another magical holiday circus experience. An old-fashioned circus show based on French tradition from the 1920s, Cirque de Bohème's 2017 production, Freedom, features an amazing cast of characters including a unicycle tight rope, hand-to-hand acrobats, contortionist, hand chair balancing, aerial fabrics, hooper aerialist, mime, clown, and more.

This intimate circus gathering takes place under the charming tent in the gardens at Cornerstone Sonoma, and is limited to 140 guests per performance. Shows take place November 24, 25, and 26 and December 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, and 17 at 3 and 5 pm, except November 26 shows at 1 and 3 pm and December 2 shows at 11 am and 1 pm.

Get Your Tickets for San Francisco Ballet's Nutcracker

October 30, 2017

San Francisco Ballet NutcrackerPhoto courtesy San Francisco Ballet © Erik Tomasson

December is almost here, and for many families, the holidays won't be complete without attending a performance of San Francisco Ballet's Nutcracker. Experience 200 costumed characters, dazzling scenery, Tchaikovsky's beautiful score performed live by the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, and the opulence of the War Memorial Opera House decorated for Christmas. Tickets to this time-honored holiday tradition are going fast!

Many different performances of Nutcracker take place in the Bay Area during the holiday season, but San Francisco Ballet's is the one that sets the standard. Did you know that San Francisco Ballet was the first ballet company to bring Nutcracker to America, way back in 1944?

Magical Holiday Train Rides in the Bay Area and Northern California

October 29, 2017

Napa Valley Wine Train Santa Train
Photo: Napa Valley Wine Train

There's something magical about taking a special holiday outing with the family on a train! While the popular Polar Express train ride at the California State Railroad Museum sold out back at the beginning of October, you can still find plenty of other opportunities in the Bay Area and Northern California to celebrate the holidays on board a train, including the Polar Express Train Ride at Railtown 1897 in the Gold Country. But get your tickets as soon as you can—most of these rides will sell out.

All Aboard! Tickets for The Polar Express Train Ride on Sale Soon

September 10, 2017

The Polar Express

Get ready to believe! Tickets for the California State Railroad Museum's annual holiday Polar Express train rides go on sale to members only on September 26–28, 2017 and to the general public on Saturday, October 1, 2017. The Railroad Museum's sister organization, Railtown 1897 in Jamestown will also be holding Polar Express train rides again this holiday season.

Members of the Californa State Railroad Museum and Railtown 1897 are eligible to participate in member advance ticket sales. In order to reserve member tickets, your membership must be active or renewed as of Monday, September 5, 2017.

Christmas Tree Recycling in Marin

January 1, 2017

Christmas tree recyclingAs December draws to a close and the New Year begins, the time comes bid farewell to your Christmas tree. It's a sad but inevitable fact of life that your tree has to go at some point, unless you have an artificial Christmas tree, in which case you can stop reading right here.

Fortunately, your local disposal agency is usually more than happy to take your dried out old Noble Fir off your hands and do the green thing with the tree by recycling it. If for some reason you can't leave your tree out by the curb with your yard waste, you can drop it off at a number of different locations, including all Marin County Fire Department stations (through January 21), throughout Marin County.

Keep in mind that you need to remove all ornaments, lights, tinsel, and plastic tree bags from the tree before you put it out for pick up. (Don't forget to remove metal or plastic stands, too.) Here's a rundown of Christmas tree disposal details for communities in Marin:

Marin Sanitary

For Larkspur, Greenbrae, Kentfield, Las Gallinas Valley, Ross, San Anselmo, San Rafael, Fairfax, and Ross Valley (Sleepy Hollow and Oak Manor): Trees will be collected at the curb on your regular yard waste pickup day during the month of January. One pickup per residence. If trees are greater than 6 feet in length, please cut them in half. Remove all metal stands, plastic tree bags, and ornaments. Flocked trees will not be accepted.