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During the winter holidays, there are so many fun things to do in the Bay Area that you have to be a little strategic with your time so you don’t miss out on any of the fun. In addition to eating, drinking, and visiting with family and friends, there are plenty of opportunities to get outside and experience the holiday cheer in your immediate community and beyond. Here are some ideas for fun things to do over the winter holidays.




While we may not experience a snowy white Christmas in the Bay Area like other parts of the country do, it doesn’t mean we can’t go ice skating – or drive ice bumper cars. Whether you’re in San Francisco or the South Bay, if you have the urge to glide on the ice, you’ll be able to find a rink.


Places to go ice skating in the Bay Area:






If you like the idea of bumper cars on ice, you’ll probably love celebrating WinterFest at Great America in Santa Clara. With tons of attractions, from rides to food to holiday musical entertainment, WinterFest at Great America is guaranteed to put a smile on everyone’s face. You can find more information here.



If you love gingerbread, be sure to visit the Fairmont Hotel and other select locations to see amazing gingerbread sculptures. On display at The Fairmont Hotel will be a gigantic, two-story gingerbread mansion, equipped with lights and made with more than 6,000 gingerbread bricks.


Not to be outdone, other locations in San Francisco that will have magnificent gingerbread structures on display include:




Hanukkah Candle Lighting Ceremonies will take place throughout the Bay Area. One event will be the lighting of the Bill Graham Menorah in Union Square through December 29th. There will also be music, arts, and crafts at the Palo Alto Hanukkah Festival at the Stanford Shopping Center.




To combat the dark winter evenings, light festivals and art shows will take place throughout the Bay Area. These include:








During the winter holidays, San Jose’s Plaza de César Chávez is transformed into an enchanted forest full of holiday fun, including over 60 animated exhibits, Christmas trees decorated by local schools, community groups, and businesses, carnival rides, and more. You can get more information on the festivities here




The San Francisco Ballet has been performing the Nutcracker since 1944. San Jose’s New Ballet will also perform the Nutcracker. You can get more information on San Jose performances here.


And if you’re up for breaking with tradition, consider checking out The Hip Hop Nutcracker performed by the Peninsula Ballet at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City.



The classic Christmas tale by Charles Dickens will be performed at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. 




There are so many fun things to do on New Year’s in the Bay Area that it will be difficult to choose where you welcome in the brand new decade. You can find plenty of ideas on EventBrite, and her are some highlights:





Bay Area winters can include some very necessary wet, rainy days. This makes the winter holidays a great time to go to the movies with friends and family. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Cats, Frozen II, and A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood have all gotten rave reviews and will be fun for the whole family to enjoy.


Happy holidays!


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