Don’t they know it’s Christmas time at all?


Erin Smith

Festive christmas tree lighting at Union Square in San Francisco, Dec. 6

Erin Smith, Staff member

With the holidays just around the corner it’s time to get into that good old holiday spirit. And what better way than heading out to San Francisco to behold the magic of the season.

For the budget conscious:

The Westfield Centre features a 3-D animated show under the 102 foot dome of the SF Ballets “Nutcracker,” all for free. It runs from Nov. 19 – Dec. 31, 5 p.m. to closing.

Illuminate: SF Festival of Lights is a collection of 27 art installations by world renowned light artists that will bring the city to life from Nov. 26 – Jan 1. Free guided tours run through Dec. in various SF neighborhoods. It’s a great way to welcome back the Bay Bridge lights which return Jan. 30.

For the theater geek:

The classic holiday tale of young Ralphie Parker and his quest for a Red Ryder Carbine 200-shot Range Model air rifle comes to life in A Christmas Story: The Musical. The show is playing at the SHN Orpheum from Dec. 9 – Dec. 13. Times and tickets are limited and tickets are priced at $105.

A Christmas Carol is running at the A.C.T. Geary Theater from Dec. 4 – Dec. 27. Come see Ebenezer get acquainted with all the various Ghosts of Christmas and revel in the lively performances and costumes. Tickets range from $25 – $115.

For the foodie:

A definite stop during the cold winter months is the Buena Vista. They have been pouring out a perfect Irish coffee since 1952. With a rich history and breakfast served all day, it’s a great place to break away from the cold.

The Fairmont Hotel erects a life sized gingerbread house in the main lobby. And while the enormous treat is not for eating, the annual “Gingerbread Tea Time” runs through Dec. 30, reservations are recommended.

For the family friendly:

Union Square ice rink is already open from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. with 90 minuet skating session starting on every even hour. Tickets are $11 for adults, $7 for children eight and under, and skate rentals are $6. The rink is to remain open through Jan. 18, 2016.

The kiddos can tell their Christmas wishes and snap a photo with the big guy from Nov. 22 – Dec. 24 at The Westfield Shopping Centre on level 4, under the dome. Pre-order your photo package online and receive a fast pass to expedite your way to Santa’s lap.

For the eccentric:

SantaCon will be returning to the streets of S.F. to torment bartenders throughout the city for a day. Whip out that Santa suit and get your drink on as thousands of Santas and elves bar hop through the city. The meet-up is in Union Square, Dec. 12 at noon.

The Cow Palace is transformed into Victorian London as Dickens’ novels come to life with elaborately costumed actors who interact with patrons. Several pubs, dining halls and shops are ready to be explored.  The Dickens Faire runs for five weekends from Nov. 21 thru Dec. 20, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Tickets for weeks one thru three are $25, weeks four and 5 are $30. Children aged 5 – 12 are $12, while kids under 5 are free.