There’s no shortage of entertaining things to do around the Bay Area as we kick off the holiday season with Thanksgiving Day. Here is a list of 10 fun things to do with friends and family. Have fun!
- “Illuminate SF” Festival of Light
Starting on November 28th and on display until January 1st, San Francisco will host over 40 light sculptures around the city. Some of the light art installations will be permanent while others will exist only during the art festival. Over 30 artists will present light sculptures in 17 San Francisco neighborhoods. For more information, visit Illuminate SF.
- Lantern Light Festival – Solano County Fairgrounds
Another light festival will be held at the Solano County Fairgrounds. The Lantern Light Festival is inspired by the Buddhist tradition where monks lit lanterns in their temples to show respect to Buddha on the 15th day of the first lunar month. The tradition has been celebrated in China for over 2,000 years.
The Lantern Festival starts on November 28th and runs through January 26th. You can get more information here.
- LumiNight Lantern Festival
If you’re in the East Bay, there’s another light festival called LumNight, which will be held art the Alameda County Fairgrounds. Also inspired by traditional Chinese lantern festivals, LumiNight has been described as a “unique celebration of our planet’s most treasured wonders: wildlife and nature, which includes a forest of a million lights, dinosaurs, Chinese zodiac animals, the Great Barrier Reef, the story of Noah’s Ark, and animals both extinct and endangered. You can get more details here.
- Turkey Trots
There’s no doubt that the holidays are a great excuse to overindulge. Luckily, there’s a fun way to counterbalance all of those calories and that’s by taking part in a turkey trot! A turkey trot is a community foot race that often has a charitable giving element.
Cities around the Bay Area that will be hosting turkey trots, include:
- Monterey and Carmel
- Mountain View
- Santa Cruz
- San Jose
- San Francisco
- Santa Clara
- Walnut Creek
Visit S.F. Tourism Tips for race times and other details.
- San Jose Harvest Festival
From November 29th to December 1st, San Jose will host its annual harvest festival. There will be on-stage musical as well as strolling entertainment. Entertainers include:
- Zydeco Flames
- Santa on stilts
- Mama Claus & Eddie the Elf
- Fables of the West
- John Park, the Funny Waiter
- And more
You can get more details at the Harvest Festival website.
- Santana Row Maker’s Market in the Park
This fair starts a little bit after Thanksgiving week, but it’s worth noting so you don’t spend all of your holiday gift budget on Black Friday! On December 7th, over 60 local artists will present their art and crafts at the Santana Row Maker’s Market. It’s a great opportunity to do some holiday shopping for unique gifts. There will also be wine and plenty of other goodies to eat and drink. You can get more information here.
- The SF Etsy Street Team 7th Annual Indie Holiday Emporium
For another craft fair, check out the SF Etsy Street Team 7th Annual Indie Holiday Emporium. It will be held from November 30th to December 1st at Pier 27 in San Francisco.
The event features the work of local Bay Area designers and artisans. There will also be small-batch food items from local chefs, musical performances, artistic demonstrations, and workshops. For more information, visit Etsy SF.
- Great Dickens Christmas Fair
Starting November 23th and running until December 22nd will the Great Dickens Christmas Fair at the Cow Palace. This fair is described as a “one-of-a-kind holiday adventure into Victorian London – an elaborate party with hundreds of costumed players performing and interacting with patrons in over 120,000 square feet of theatrically-lit music halls, pubs, dance floors, and Christmas shops.”
You can get more information on the event’s Facebook page.
- Pt. Reyes Open Studios
If you’re up for venturing north, from November 29th to December 1st, Pt. Reyes artists will be hosting open studios. You’ll get to meet local artists, see their work, and experience their creative environments. Plus, you can take a beautiful hike nearby and enjoy local restaurants when you’re in the area. You can get more information here.
- Movies and Sports
Of course, Thanksgiving week is also a great time to catch a movie with friends and family or watch pro sports on TV. For a list of movies opening during Thanksgiving week, check out Bustle. And for a list of pro sports events, visit Greenville Online.