Holidays

Holiday Festivals & Parades in the Bay Area

November 14, 2017

The Tiburon Holiday Festival takes place in Downtown Tiburon on December 2 from 2–6 pm

Get the whole family into the holiday spirit with one of these fun celebrations, festivals, and parades in Marin and the San Francisco Bay Area.

  • Fireworks, Carnival & Disney on Ice Show
    Embarcadero Center, San Francisco
    November 17, 4–7 pm

    Four iconic buildings lit with 17,000 holiday lights, fireworks, a free show presented by Disney on Ice, carnival and more. Free. Event details.

Nutcracker Performances in the Bay Area

November 14, 2017

Stapleton Ballet's Nutcracker takes place at Marin Center on December 2 and 3.

Tchaikovsky's ballet The Nutcracker is time-honored holiday tradition in many communities. You'll find a wide variety of Nutcracker performances throughout Marin and the San Francisco Bay Area this holiday season, from fun introductions for younger kids to puppet shows to elaborately staged, full-length ballet productions. Here's our list of Bay Area Nutcrackers.

  • Just Dance Academy Winter Performance
    Marin Veterans’ Memorial Auditorium, San Rafael
    November 19, 2 pm
    Families will enjoy an abbreviated production of the classic holiday ballet The Nutcracker including all the classic characters such as Clara, the Sugar Plum Fairy, Rose Queen and more! A fun, highly entertaining family event! Tickets: $27 adult, $22 seniors and children 12 and under. Purchase tickets.

Sonoma & Napa Wine Country Family Holiday Fun

November 13, 2017

Cornerstone Lighting of the Snowmen
Don't miss the annual Lighting of the Snowmen Holiday Festival at Cornerstone Sonoma

One of the benefits of living in the North Bay is having the Wine Country of Sonoma and Napa right in our own backyard. It's a short trip from Marin but a world away, especially during the holidays, when the area does itself up in style.

Here are some selected family-friendly holiday events and happenings in Sonoma and Napa, as well as a few of our favorite places to visit in the Wine Country. Some of these events require tickets or advance reservations, so make sure you check for availability before you go.

Sonoma Valley

Lighting of the Historic Sonoma Plaza
Downtown Sonoma
Saturday, November 18, 5–8 pm

Experience Sonoma Valley and celebrate the fourth annual Lighting of the Historic Sonoma Plaza. Enjoy 8-acres of 100,000+ sparkling lights plus music and holiday treats! Free to the public and family friendly. Bring a picnic, including wine and beer! For more info, visit their website.

Lake Tahoe Ski, Snowboard & Snow Play Family Fun

November 11, 2017

Skiing in Lake Tahoe

It's November, which means it's time to get ready for the start of ski and snow play season in Lake Tahoe! Many of Tahoe ski resorts have already announced their anticipated opening dates for the 2017–2018 season, and some are already open. Generally, big resorts with their own snow-making equipment open earlier in the season.

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.

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.

Ring in 2017 with Family Fun for New Year’s Eve

December 29, 2016

New Year's EveWhile New Year’s Eve is usually a party for adults (at least those who can still stay up until midnight), it can also be a fun celebration for the whole family. New Year’s Eve is a time to celebrate the old and welcome the new, and just about everyone can appreciate that, even children.

We usually like to have some friends and family over to celebrate the old year and cheer in the new one. During the course of the evening we take a moment to go around the room and recount happy and positive things that have happened throughout the year, as well as what our expectations are for the New Year.

We like to serve festive social foods like fondue, and open a bottle or two of sparkling apple cider like Martinelli's, and some bubbly for the grownups, of course. A festive champagne flute of sparkling cider is fun to sip and welcome by children and adults who aren’t drinking alike.

Family Friendly New Year's Eve Events in Marin and the Bay Area

December 26, 2016

New Year's Even Bell Ringing Asian Art MuseumSay goodbye to 2016 and welcome in the New Year at one of these family friendly events taking place in Marin and elsewhere in the Bay Area. Many of these celebrations take place earlier in the day or evening on December 31 so little ones can get a taste of New Year's Eve fun without staying up past their bedtimes.

  • Noon Year's Eve
    Bay Area Discovery Museum
    , Sausalito
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm
    Ring in the New Year with your little ones at the Bay Area Discovery Museum’s Noon Year’s Eve! This kid-friendly affair includes music by DJ ManCub, a celebratory ball drop at noon, dancing, and various art activities like crown making. In addition, enjoy access to the museum’s indoor and outdoor exhibits like Lookout Cove and Bay Hall. (Note: Iceless Skating Rink is closed during Noon Year’s Eve.) For more info, visit their website.
  • Annual Japanese Bell Ringing Ceremony
    Asian Art Museum, San Francisco
    Saturday, 9:30–noon

    Ring in the New Year by taking a swing at a giant 2,100-pound, 16th-century, Japanese temple bell at the Asian Art Museum. Participants may take turns ringing the museum’s bronze bell to leave behind any unfortunate experiences, regrettable deeds, and ill luck of the previous year. This time slot is exclusive to members. Bell-ringing opens to general admission at 11:30 am. First come, first served. Pick up tickets to ring the bell at the admission desk. Location: 200 Larkin Street, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
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