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Bay Area Holiday Family Activities for 2013-2014 by Eden Godsoe

by Eden Godsoe, posted to Holidays

There are so many activities and events in and around the Bay Area, so I thought I would round them up in one list. These range from free outdoor activities to volunteer opportunities to events that will please all ages. Feel free to add!

See all Top 10 lists from Holidays

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The Nutcracker | San Francisco Ballet

December 11 to December 29, 2013

As a young girl, my grandmother took me to see The Nutcracker in Toronto & it's now something we do with our kids at the San Francisco Ballet. They absolutely love it.

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Macy’s Tree Lighting and Holiday Show | Union Square in San Francisco

November 29, 2013 at 6pm

There are a number of different tree lighting events throughout the Bay Area but this is the biggie. There will also be performances by singer Judith Hill (from The Voice), the Glide Ensemble, the SF Boys Choir and Make-A-Wish Ambassador Shelby Miguel.

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November 6, 2013 to January 20, 2014

Do some skating or people watching. Either way, the Union Square ice rink is a fun experience during the day or evening. Learn more from their information hotline: (415) 781-2688

Krista: I'm so excited for this! Ice skating is one of the only athletic activities I'm fairly good at :)

Eden Godsoe: My parents are in town to visit with their grand kids. We are from Toronto & my father used to play some serious hockey. So we are sending them down to Union Square tomorrow to show my kids how Canadians skate!

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Nevada City Victorian Christmas | Nevada City

Wednesdays, December 4, 11 & 18 from 5-9pm / Sundays, December 15 & 22...more

Suggested by Darya Mead

It's a 2 ½ hour drive from San Francisco but you'll feel like you were transported back in time.

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The Velveteen Rabbit | Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco

November 29 to December 15 2013

This production is brimming with festive costumes, madcap characters & the perfect amount of holiday cheer. Friends who have seen it can't recommend it enough.

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November 29, 2013 to January 1, 2014

San Jose does an amazing job with Christmas in the Park. I used to work in San Jose and loved checking out the displays and activities. A fun, free event if you live near San Jose.

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A Christmas Carol | American Conservatory Theater, San Francisco

December 6 to 28, 2013

Featuring a lively case, beautiful costumes and plenty of ghosts, this is a fun one.

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Seussical | The Randall Museum Theatre

Thursday, January 16 to Sunday, January 19, 2014

Suggested by nsealy

SEUSSICAL is a fantastical, magical, musical extravaganza! It is fun for the whole family!

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Teddy Bear Tea | The Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco

November 30 and December 1, 2013 at 1pm

Children and their favorite stuffed animals gather for this popular family tradition that features holiday entertainment with “Stretchy the Elf”--the tallest elf in the world, his sidekick elf, Santa, and the giant cuddly Ritz-Carlton Teddy Bear.

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A Christmas Matinee with The Snowman Film | San Francisco Symphony

Friday, December 20 & Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 2pm

Suggested by Stacy Perry

Conductor Randall Craig Fleischer takes us on a journey with the full orchestra through cheerful favorites, holiday carols, sing-alongs, and more, as the audience transforms Davies Symphony Hall into a twinkling environment with complimentary glow items.

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Weekends from November 23 through December 22, 2013 from 10am to 7pm

The bustling streets of London as immortalized by Charles Dickens form the living backdrop of your excursion into Christmas Past. Over 120,000 square feet of shops with unique treasures, fun foods and entertainment.

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Saturday, December 7th, 2013 at 2pm

It may not be quite the production that Macy's puts on every year, but it's one of the best local parades that is sure to please the whole family. Plus it's not as cold as NYC in November!

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Union Street Fantasy of Lights | Union at Steiner in San Francisco

Saturday December 7, 2013 from 3-7pm

I haven't yet been but here is the description: The Snow Queen leads a sidewalk parade of children bringing toys to donate to San Francisco children’s charities as they welcome Santa & his Elves in front of the historic Cudworth Mansion.


December 14 &15, 2013 at 1pm & 5pm

Suggested by sfmom

SF Youth ballet's rendition and venue are perfect for families and young children. The enchanting story is brought to life in a unique and child friendly way!

Eden Godsoe: This is a great addition. My children love the San Francisco Ballet's production of the Nutcracker but I like the idea of supporting the Youth Ballet's performance too.

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December 7th & 8th, 2013 from 11-6pm

Touted as one of the best indie craft fairs in the nation, the Bazaar Bizarre Holiday Show includes a handmade market, entertainers, DIY workshops and more.

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Various days throughout December, 2013

We've done a Thomas event but not this one. It includes a 25 minute round-trip train ride featuring Santa & his elves, candy canes, holiday carols and a souvenir song book. $28 ticket good for choice of mini-golf, laser tag or 12 arcade tokens.

December 18th to December 28th, 2013

Suggested by Andream99

Great fun for the whole family as they watch a playful performance with vignettes ranging from ballet and tap to swing and jazz drawn from holiday celebrations around the world.

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November 27, 2013 to January 5, 2014

Celebrate the festive winter season with live reindeer, indoor snow flurries, and a giant Snowman Theater—all part of the Academy’s annual holiday exhibit. Along the way, discover amazing adaptations that enable reindeer to survive and thrive in the harsh conditions of the Arctic.

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January 12, 2014 at 7:30am

Coined America's Sweetest Race, this is one that the whole family will love. Plus proceeds go to the Ronald McDonald House.

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Holidays on Fourth Street | Across from Peet’s, 1776 Fourth St., Berkeley

Saturdays & Sundays from November 24 to December 23, 2013 at 12-4pm

Suggested by nsealy

Each weekend features a different activity - glass decorations, art with pine cones, singing carols, taking pictures with Santa. Fourth Street between Hearst and Virginia is a hub of gourmet food, cosmetics, jewelry, apparel, stained glass, chocolate, kitchenware, etc.

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Giant Menorah Lighting | Union Square in San Francisco

November 27 at 5pm to December 4, 2013

Suggested by JLD

Wonderful, giant kick-off to Chanukah with the annual menorah lighting. Late afternoon makes the natural light perfect + still time for a hot chocolate without ruining the dinner appetites.

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White Christmas | The Historic Bal Theatre in San Leandro

Saturday, November 26th, 2011 at 7:00pm

Suggested by Andream99

Come down to the Historic BAL Theatre in San Leandro on Sat, Nov 26th and enjoy Irving Berlins Classic "White Christmas" on the big screen. The Historic BAL Theatre is family own and operated.

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RELATED LIST: Ways to Give Back During the Holidays

Holidays, birthdays, so many occasions that seem only about...more

Some of these ideas are local Bay Area opportunities while others are ways to give back and share that gift with your children no matter where you live.

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