If you’re looking for something to do or someplace to go on Christmas Day (December 25, 2014), you’ll find many venues and merchants closed for the holiday. So here’s a list of savvy suggestions for things to do, including a few venues actually open in San Francisco on Christmas. Please double check with the venues for any changes before you head out.
Christmas Day in San Francisco
Cruse the Bay all day. Red and White Fleet’s Golden Gate Bay Cruise will squire you under the Golden Gate Bridge and around the Bay from a civilized 10am in the morning to 3:45pm in the afternoon. You can often get tickets online for half off. Starts at the Fisherman’s Wharf area, Pier 43 1/2, at Taylor Street & The Embarcadero. (Other dates available, too.)
See a show in the City. A popoular play currently showing tickets available (with deals) include It’s a Wonderful Life, the live radio drama of the holiday classic at Tides Theatre in San Francisco.
Visit hotel lobby Christmas displays. Check out the iconic Snow Village at the San Francisco Hyatt Regency (5 Embarcadero Center). Or see the Westin St. Francis (335 Powell Street) decked out in more than $40,000 worth of spectacular holiday decorations, including San Francisco’s largest Sugar Castle created by Joe Vincent Designs. Both are free to view.
Take a guided Holiday Tour. Let someone else lead the way by taking a guided holiday walking tour on Christmas Day. The Luscious Lobbies tour explores San Francisco’s grandest and most decorated lobbies, buildings and bars, showing you many places you wouldn’t ordinarily think of. Or visit the city the day after Christmas and book a “Duck The Halls” amphibious duck tour of the city.
Wander around the San Francisco Zoo. The SF Zoo is open 365 days a year, including Christmas (10am – 4pm). Savvy tip: During the Zoo’s usual feeding hours, you will mostly likely catch the zookeepers feeding special holiday treats to the penguins (10:30am and 3:30pm), grizzly bears (11:30am), pelicans (3pm), and giraffes (4:30pm). Last year’s treat sitings included zoocicles, snowmen, ice towers, and holiday wrapped goodie boxes with bows.
Take a self-guided Christmas tree tour. Visit the giant San Francisco Christmas trees at Macy’s, Union Square, the Presidio, Ghirardelli Square, and Pier 39.
Go ice skating in San Francisco. You can skate under the stars near the waterfront throughout the holiday season, including Christmas Day, at The Holiday Ice Rink at Embarcadero Center (located at Justin Herman Plaza, adjacent to Four Embarcadero Center and across from the Ferry Building). Or, try the Safeway Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square. And the indoor Yerba Buena Ice Skating Center is also open for public skating on December 25 during afternoon and evening hours.
Listen to the Jazz & Blues. Enjoy down-home Southern cuisine at Biscuits & Blues in San Francisco (Dec. 25 tickets are still available but going fast). Voted America’s No. 1 blues nightclub by The Blues Foundation and the Bay Area Blues Society, it’s also known for serving up some of the best fried chicken in the entire region, not to mention California wines, microbrews and specialty cocktails. Tickets are available at a special discounted price.
Go Kung Pao Kosher. The Annual show Kung Pao Kosher Comedy offers “Jewish comedy on Xmas” in a Chinese restaurant setting. This show takes place at the New Asia Restaurant in San Francisco’s Chinatown (772 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA). Partial proceeds from the show benefit San Francisco Suicide Prevention (in memory of Robin Williams) and Jewish Family & Children’s Services’ food programs.
Get in free to the Contemporary Jewish Museum. On December 25, admission to CJM is free — for everyone (you don’t have to be Jewish). The Museum Cafe will also be open. Located at 736 Mission Street (between Third and Fourth streets) in San Francisco. Hours are 11am to 4pm.
Go to the movies. Check the movie schedules to see what’s playing on December 25. Skip the box office lines and buy movie tickets in advance online.
Dine out. You’ll find more than 80 San Francisco Bay Area restaurants serving special Christmas Day dinners, according to OpenTable.com. The website lets you sort by price, district, time of day, type of cuisine, and can make reservations right there online.
Go ice skating in San Jose. Downtown Ice, the South Bay’s largest seasonal outdoor skating rink, is open Christmas Day 2pm to midnight; New Year’s Eve 11am to 10pm; New Year’s Day 2pm to midnight. (Located directly across Market Street from Plaza de Cesar Chavez, San Jose.) Downtown Ice offers several ways to save up to half off on admission, but these may not be available for Christmas day.