The Best Things To Do In San Francisco In Winter

So you’ve just arrived to one of the best cities in the Bay Area. Perhaps this is your first winter in the City? Or maybe you are just ready to take a break from SF holiday shopping. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with some of the most exciting winter activities San Francisco offers.

Visit the symphony (An SF exclusive)

One of the most iconic activities you can do in San Francisco in winter is to visit the SF Symphony. During this festive time of the year, you will get to experience screenings of holiday films such as The Nightmare Before Christmas and Home Alone with an orchestral accompaniment. For a more classic holiday spirit vibe, be sure to attend their show for Deck The Hall, A Charlie Brown Christmas, or the Holiday Brass band. 

Christmas tree viewing (Best spot for holiday lights)

A winter visit to San Francisco isn’t complete without a trip to visit the Union Square Christmas tree, just a few blocks from market street. The best time to visit is from November 9th to January 1st. The square will be decorated with holiday lights, ornaments, dozens of shops and restaurants to enjoy.

Holiday ice rink in Union Square (Show off those ice skate skills)

Don’t forget your warm clothes when visiting the Union Square Ice Rink! This attraction is a must for your stay in San Francisco. Feel free to bring your own ice skates, or rent a pair of skates at the rink! The skating rink is a must for when you visit San Francisco in the winter – you’ll be glad you added this seasonal activity to your itinerary.

New Year’s Eve Fireworks Display (An attraction not to miss)

After you are done walking around the city, visiting Ghirardelli Square, Pier 39, or the Exploratorium, you can settle down for some fireworks. Arriving by 11:30 pm, south of the Ferry Building along the Embarcadero center will give you one of the best places to see this special San Francisco experience. The show is about 15 minutes long and features synchronized music. Keep the party going by visiting the trendy bars in the Financial District.

Sketch Fest (Add some laughter to your itinerary)

Winter in San Francisco wouldn’t be complete without seeing at least one (or more!) of the best comedians in the San Francisco bay. This event showcases dozens of comedians who perform at various venues throughout the city from January 18th to February 4th. Whether you are into standup comedy, improv, or a talk show, this exhibit has it all. 

Other exciting things to do in San Francisco in the winter

If you would prefer an in-door San Francisco experience, come stop by Reason, and check out one of our escape rooms. A few other honorable mentions to check out for your winter trip to San Francisco:

  • The Golden Gate Park Light Display
  • Chinese New Year in Chinatown – February 10th, 2024
  • California Academy of Sciences Winter Night – December 5th, 2023
  • Bus tours to keep you warm
  • Lets Glow SF Exhibit
  • Golden Gate Bridge 

If you are looking for even more things to do in SF for the holidays–especially ones that are kid-friendly, check out our article on holiday activities for family and kids in San Francisco.