Marin Weekend Family Fun for December 23, 24 & 25

December 23, 2016

Mickey Mouse Christmas House Marinwood  Visit the Amazing Rombeiro Christmas House in Novato this Weekend!

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.

Friday, December 23

  • Holiday Ice Skating in Union Square
    San Francisco
    Friday–Sunday, 10 am–11:30 pm

    Union Square, San Francisco's main shopping district, gets into the ice skating spirit during the holiday season with an outdoor ice rink sponsored by Safeway. 90-minute sessions start on every even hour. Admission: $11 for adults, 7 children 8 and under. Skate rental $6. Information: (415) 781-2688 or visit their website.
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas
    Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco
    Friday, 11 am, 2 pm and Saturday, 2 pm

    Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy, and the entire Peanuts gang bring this television classic to life. With live actors, an animated backdrop, and Vince Guaraldi’s timeless music performed by the San Francisco Symphony, it’s A Charlie Brown Christmas experience you won’t want to miss. This family-friendly concert begins with Tony Award-winner Ruthie Ann Miles (The King and I) singing holiday favorites with the SF Symphony and SF Symphony Chorus. Purchase tickets here. Location: 201 Van Ness, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Nike Missile Site Open House
    Marin Headlands, Sausalito
    Friday, 12:30–3:30 pm

    Unique in the National Park Service, this restored Cold War anti-aircraft missile site has intriguing stories to tell. Take a ranger-guided tour of this restored facility, and learn about its history from volunteers, many of whom served at sites like. Free. Read about our visit here. For more info, visit their website.
  • Polar Express Train Ride
    Santa Cruz
    Saturday, 1, 3 & 7:30 pm

    The Polar Express Train Ride departs from Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, complete with dancing chefs, singing elves, and a special gift from Santa Claus himself—a silver sleigh bell. Don't forget to wear your pajamas while you enjoy cookies, hot chocolate, and a reading of The Polar Express while on board. First-class tickets still available for rides this weekend. For more info and tickets, call (877) 726-7245 or visit their website.
  • LEGO Play Day
    Mill Valley Library
    Friday, 2:30 pm
    Get in touch with your inner engineer and build with colorful LEGO! We bring out our collection of more than 10,000 bricks, and kids can build whatever they imagine. Free. No sign up needed. Location: 375 Throckmorton Ave. Mill Valley. For more info, visit their website
  • Le Petit Cirque de Noël
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur
    Friday, 5:15 pm & 7:30 pm
    Full of enchantment, thrill and wonder, Le Cirque de Bohème has delighted kids and adults for years. Founded by Frenchman Michel Michelis, his circus company, Le Cirque de Bohème, was created 12 years ago in Paris and moved to California seven years ago. All tickets are  $25. However, because space is limited in the tent, all attendees must have a ticket, available here at Brown Paper Tickets here.
  • San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker
    War Memorial Opera House
    Friday, 2 & 7 pm, Saturday, 11 am & 4 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. Ticket prices start at $65. For more info, call (415) 865-2000 or visit their website.
  • Marin on Ice
    Northgate Mall, San Rafael
    Friday, 2–10 pm, Saturday, noon–10 pm, Sunday, noon–9 pm
    This Saturday, Marin on Ice opens for another season of outdoor ice skating at San Rafael's Northgate Mall, where it runs through January 11. Marin's only holiday ice skating rink features 6,300 square feet of real ice and will be open daily for outdoor skating. Skating is $15 per person, which includes skate rental. Private ice cabanas will also be available for rental and "Skate Buddies" are available for beginners. For more info, visit their website.
  • African-American Shakespeare Company: Cinderella
    Herbst Theatre, Fort Mason, San Francisco
    Friday, 3 & 8 pm, Saturday, 11 am & 3 pm
    Back by popular demand, the holiday season once again sees the return of this heartwarming holiday show where Cinderella, toiling away as a lowly scullery maid to please her evil stepmother (and oddly masculine stepsisters) comes in contact with a Fairy Godmother who means business with a capital B. Aided by the help of a little bit of magic, Cinderella finds her Prince Charming and learns that anything—even miracles—are possible when you believe in yourself. After the show audience members will have a magical moment to meet the entire cast for a holiday “meet and greet” picture opportunity. Tickets: $20–$40. For more info, visit their website.
  • ZooLights 2016
    San Francisco Zoo
    Friday, 5–8 pm

    Experience the wonder of the holiday season and enjoy your 100-acre park, conservation center, and zoo under beautiful and bright lights. ZooLights 2016 takes you on a magical trip to a destination like no other—with Santa Claus, reindeer and a holiday marketplace with food and seasonal delights. Lovely music from carolers will fill the air and bright lights will shine the way as you leave the city behind and retreat to a holiday hideaway. Admission: $8 adults, $6 youth 4–14, free for kids 3 and under; parking $10. Location: Sloat Boulevard at the Great Highway, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Zoo Lights
    Oakland Zoo
    Friday, 5:30–9 pm,
    Hundreds of thousands of LED lights brighten Oakland's night sky. Highlights include a candy cane lane themed rides area, a night time adventure on the Outback Express train, rocking around the Christmas trees and a light show that's sure to blow out any bah-hum-bugs. ZooLights is a separate event and is not included in regular Zoo Admission. $8 adults, $7 children 2–14 and seniors 65+, free for children under 2 and adults over 80. For more info, visit their website.
  • Rombeiro Christmas House
    Devonshire Drive, Novato

    Friday–Sunday, 6–10 pm
    Their home is something that truly has to be seen to be believed, and photos don't really do it justice. There are something like 140,000 lights as well as countless figurines, dioramas, and decorations adorning the front and side yards, walls, and roof of the Rombeiro house. If you think the outside is impressive, then you need to go on inside and get a healthy dose of Christmas spirit. You'll find model trains, more figurines, Christmas trees, and the biggest lighted holiday village you've ever seen. Location: 34 Devonshire Drive, off of Center Road, Novato. For more info, read about our visit here.
  • Mickey Mouse Christmas House
    417 Blackstone Drive, San Rafael
    Friday–Sunday, 6–10 pm

    One of my children's favorite decorated and lighted Christmas house is the Mize family's Mickey Mouse House (AKA "Mickey's Christmas House") in Marinwood. Get out of your car and walk up the short driveway, though and you'll see why it's worth a visit for kids of all ages. Every evening, the two-car garage is opened to reveal two galleries of what has to be every Walt Disney toy, stuffed animal, decoration, and gimgrack ever produced, all artfully arranged in two spectacular holiday displays. Read more about our visit here
  • The Berkeley Playhouse: Disney's Beauty and the Beast
    The Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, Berkeley
    Friday, 7 pm

    The Disney (and Broadway!) favorite gets the Berkeley Playhouse makeover as founding Associate Artistic Director Kimberly Dooley helms this all new production featuring a diverse and multigenerational cast of dozens. Featuring some of Disney’s most popular songs and characters, you won’t want to miss this magical musical adventure guaranteed to delight audiences of all ages. Location: 2640 College Avenue, Berkeley. Tickets: $25–40. For more info, visit their website
  • Hanukah Family Community Celebration
    Freight & Salvage, Berkeley
    Friday, 8 pm

    Join your community of neighbors and friends for a grand night of music, entertainment, fun, candlelighting, latkes, chachkees, Hanukkah gifts, refreshments. Bring your children, bubbie, and zaydee for the Festival of Lights! Tickets: $25 adv / $27 door. Purchase tickets here. Location: 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, December 24

  • Marin Country Mart Farmer's Market
    Marin County Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm
    The farmer's market features plenty of family fun, including pony rides, face painting, seasonal music, Hanukkah Hut (9am–2 pm) and more. 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. For more info, visit their website.
  • Whale Watching at Point Reyes Lighthouse
    Point Reyes National Seashore
    Weekends, 9 am–3:30 pm

    Go see the whales out at the Point Reyes Light House and Chimney Rock. No cars allowed at Point Reyes Light House on weekends and holidays December 31, 2016 through late March 2017. For more info, visit their website.
  • Reindeer Romp
    San Francisco Zoo
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–4 pm
    Santa is sending his favorite reindeer, Belle, Holly, and Peppermint to spread holiday cheer at San Francisco Zoo & Gardens! Until January 1, majestic reindeer will be romping at SF Zoo's Playfield Lawn, near the spectacular Elinor Friend Playground. Zoo admission applies. Location: Sloat Blvd. at the Great Highway, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Creek Walk to See Spawning Coho Salmon
    Samuel P Taylor Park, San Geronimo
    Saturday, 10:30 am–1 pm
    With the first hard rains in the watershed comes the beginning of spawning season for Coho salmon. SPAWN-trained naturalists lead creek walks to explore the majesty of the Lagunitas Creek Watershed. Tour will meet at the front Kiosk of Camp Taylor and embark on a journey to multiple creek sites in search of some of these critically endangered salmon. Tours are open to all ages and abilities. Cost: $10 per person donation requested. Register here.
  • Snoopy's Home Ice Skating
    The Redwood Empire Ice Arena, Santa Rosa
    Saturday, 10:30 am–noon (puppy practice) 12:30–4:30 pm (public skate)
    Opened by the late Santa Rosa resident and Peanuts cartoonist Charles M. Schulz in 1969, the Redwood Empire Ice Arena offers daily public skating hours (check their schedule for details).The entire place is decorated with a Swiss theme and offers a charming alpine ambience. The Redwood Empire Ice Arena is also home to Snoopy's Warm Puppy Cafe. Session prices: $9.50/adults 18 and over and juniors 12–17, and $7.50 for children 11 and under. Skate rental is $3.50. They also offer Puppy Practice, a session for children under 12 and their parents that's perfect for beginners, since it includes a 20-minute group lesson for both adults and kids. Puppy Practice is $9 for adults and $7 for children, with no skate rental charge. For more info, visit their website.
  • Family Matinee: A Christmas Carol
    American Conservatory Theater, San Francisco
    Saturday, 1 pm

    Featuring a lively cast of dozens, gorgeous costumes, and those deliciously spooky ghosts, the Bay Area's favorite holiday tradition returns with a sparkling, music-infused production of A Christmas Carol. Bring your family, bring your friends, and check your "humbugs" at the door! Tickets: $50–$115. Location: 405 Geary Street, San Francisco. For more info and tickets, visit their website.
  • Nike Missile Site Open House (see Friday for details).
  • Marin on Ice (see Friday for details)
  • The Rombeiro Christmas House (see Friday for details).
  • Holiday Ice Skating in Union Square (see Friday for details).
  • The Mickey Mouse Christmas House (see Friday for details)
  • ZooLights 2016 (see Friday for details).

Sunday, December 25 - Christmas Day

  • San Francisco Botanical Garden Free Day
    Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
    Sunday, 7:30 am–4 pm

    The Botanical Garden is a living museum within Golden Gate Park and is one of the most diverse gardens in the world, offering 55 acres of both landscaped gardens and open spaces, showcasing over 8,000 different kinds of plants from around the world. Admission is free for all on Christmas Day. For more info, visit their website.
  • CJM Community Free Day
    Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco
    , 11 am–4 pm
    The CJM's Community Day is an admission-free, fun-for-all extravaganza that has become an annual tradition for Bay Area families. Explore the galleries, create art, and move and groove to live music! Alison Faith Levy and her Big Time Tot Rock Band perform at 1 and 2:30 pm. Hungry guests can enjoy a delicious menu from the Wise Sons Jewish Delicatessen from 11 am–3 pm. Bring your family and friends and enjoy an exciting day at the museum. No reservations or tickets are necessary. Location: 736 Mission Street, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Bill Graham Menorah Day
    Union Square, San Francisco
    Sunday, 2–6 pm
    The second lighting ceremony for the Bill Graham Menorah in Union Square features local officials and longtime Bill Graham colleagues, musical performances, the Dreidel House, and kids' music and crafts. Kids' activities start at 2 pm and the lighting takes place at 5 pm. Location: 333 Post Street, San Francisco 94108. Learn more.
  • Chinese Style Chanukah Party
    Chabad of Novato
    Sunday, 5 pm

    Enjoy a kosher Chinese dinner, music, games, and homemade latkes and donuts. This is a free event, sponsored by Harvest Market and Nugget Market. RSVP required. Location: Chabad of Novato, 7430 Redwood Boulevard, Suite D, Novato 94945. Learn more and RSVP.
  • Marin on Ice (see Friday for details)
  • The Rombeiro Christmas House (see Friday for details).
  • Holiday Ice Skating in Union Square (see Friday for details).
  • The Mickey Mouse Christmas House (see Friday for details)
  • ZooLights 2016 (see Friday for details).
  • Reindeer Romp (see Saturday for details).
  • Whale Watching at Point Reyes Lighthouse (see Saturday for details).