25 Festive Events To Keep You Entertained Through The New Year!

If we learned anything from holidays past, it’s that surviving it is no snowflake waltz. So, in the spirit of the season (and for the sake of your sanity), we’ve put together a calendar packed with fun, easy ways to get your jollies on. Cheap and cheerful or grand and glitzy, classic or of-the-moment, there’s yuletide entertainment here that's meant for you.
And, if hanging out with sugar plum fairies is not your cup of eggnog, perhaps we can help you do something nice for others. We’ve rounded up the best DIY workshops for one-stop gift-giving sprees, decked-out halls, and kitchens full of sweet treats and warm boozy comforts. Oh, what fun. Now, go on your merry way!
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Pie-Making Class with Bike Basket Pies at Pot + Pantry
What: Listen up, pie enthusiasts. Learn the differences between butter, lard, and shortening crusts and get the scoop on the cream versus cold water debate. Pastry expert Natalie Galatzer (back by popular demand!) will be serving up pie bites then showing you how to make dough and sending you home with her tried-and-true recipes. Space is limited to 10 students and there’s a $40 fee.
When: Wednesday, December 5 and Wednesday, December 12, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Pot + Pantry, 593 Guerrero Street (at 18th Street); 415-206-1134.
La Boutique: A Holiday Vendor Fair
What: Trust this Jackson Square boutique, with its hard-to-find French labels and chic show-stopping pieces, to put on a fabulous fair. The theme is San Francisco, and we expect an expertly curated selection of wares (many from Kickstarter projects) that represent the city’s best in tech, craftsmanship, and design.
When: Opening Event: Thursday, December 6, 6 to 8 p.m. Goes through Saturday, December 8.
Where: La Boutique, 414 Jackson Street (between Sansome and Balance streets); 415-693-9950.
Santa Paws Pet Photos
What: Don’t forget Fido! Your little four-legged angel deserves his or her close up with Santa, too.
When: Thursday, December 6 and Thursday, December 13, 5 to 8 p.m.
Where: Santa’s Pop-Up Holiday Shop Christmas Treasure, 845 Market Street (between 4th and 5th streets), Westfield San Francisco Centre, Level 4.
Craft City in Partnership with Etsy: Gift-Wrapping Workshop
What: If there ever was a wrap star, it would be Megumi Inouye, an instructor at Creativebug.com, runner-up in Scotch Brand’s national contest for America’s Most Gifted Wrapper, and a guest on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. Using upcycled materials, she’ll show you how to wrap from the heart and do it like a pro.
When: Thursday, December 6, 6 to 8 p.m.
Where: SOMArts, 934 Brannan Street (between 8th Street and James Lick Freeway); 415-863-1414.
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Live 105 Not So Silent Night
What: Can’t wait for Coachella? Skip the caroling and rock out to two days’ worth of bands. Last we checked, Jack White, The Shins, and Metric will be on the first night. Headlining the next evening are The Killers, M83, and Passion Pit.
When: Friday, December 7, and Saturday, December 8, 6 p.m.
Where: Oracle Arena, 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland; 510-569-2121.
La Cocina Gift Bazaar
What: When you can’t afford to take your foodie BFF to French Laundry, this is the next best thing. More than 30 vendors will be offering their best giftables, including organic pickled fruits from Jarred S.F. Brine, quality meat art from illustrator Alyson Thomas, and finishing salts from Sal de Vida, at this one-stop shop from small-business incubator La Cocina.
When: Friday, December 7, 1 to 7 p.m.
Where: Crocker Galleria, 50 Post Street (between Lick Place and Kearny Street); 415-824-2729.
Winter Beer Tasting Class with Almanac
What: Beer is getting the respect it’s due, and who else to show you how to taste, pair, and gift it than Jesse Friedman, co-founder of local brewery Almanac Beer Co. Included in the $65 ticket price will be food, more than a few beers, and good conversation.
When: Friday, December 7, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Salumeria, 3000 20th Street (between Alabama and Florida streets); 415-471-2998.
Emu and Santa Shopping Event at Convert
What: When gift anxiety hits, we play it warm and cozy. Shop snuggly mocs and boots from Emu Australia at Berkeley's eco-chic shop Convert, and get a gift with purchase. While you’re there for the sheepskin, stay for a polaroid with Santa.
When: Saturday, December 8, 1 to 5 p.m.
Where: Convert, 1809B 4th Street (between Hearst Avenue and Virginia Street), Berkeley; 510-649-9759.
Winter Wonderland Dance Hosted by The Bold Italic & Dusty Stax
What: The ball of the season, fete the holidays in your hipster finest with a super group of acts including Sonny & the Sunsets, Carletta Sue Kay, Heidi Alexander of the Sandwitches, and many more. Tickets are $40 and included in the admission will be Templeton Rye cocktails, plenty of snacks, and a photo booth.
When: Saturday December 8, 8 p.m. to midnight
Where: Verdi Club, 2424 Mariposa Street (between Potrero Avenue and Hampshire Street); 415-861-9199.
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Athleta Fitness Networking Event
What: Start your New Year’s resolution early, and find your future trainer or instructor at this mixer, because chemistry is so important — even when you’re sweating your ass off.
When: Sunday, December 9, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Athleta, 2226 Fillmore Street (between Sacramento and Clay streets); 415-345-8501.
Flora Grubb Tillandsia Crafts Make & Give Workshop
What: Chia pets aside, plants make great gifts. Join air-plant expert Zenaida Sengo for live demos of lovely living presents you can create, from wreaths to aeriums, for free!
When: Sunday, December 9, and Saturday, December 22, 1 to 2 p.m.
Where: Flora Grubb Gardens, 1634 Jerrold Avenue (between Newhall and Phelps streets); 415-626-7256.
Tartine + Sprouts Bake Sale
What: The sweetest and gooiest collab of the season, Tartine Bakery pastry chef Laurie Ellen will be baking alongside kid chefs from Sprouts. They’ll be selling melt-in-your-mouth goodies, including salted chocolate chip cookies, gingerbread cookies, and lemon buckwheat sandies. Proceeds go to Sprouts' Scholarship Fund, which gives kids from all socio-economic backgrounds nutrition know-how and a chance to work with famous chefs. Treats will go fast; bake-sale organizers suggest ordering ahead.
When: Tuesday, December 11, 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Ferry Building, 1 Ferry Building along The Embarcadero.
Photos Courtesy Of Bike Basket Pies; La Boutique L'Art et la Mode; M83; Ruby Press/Convert; Flora Grubb; Tartine Bakery
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Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee Book Event
What: With pastries and espresso martinis, the authors of The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee know how to throw a book signing. Get expert advice on how to brew your most delicious cup and meet James and Caitlin Freeman, the husband and wife team behind the cult-followed bean. Admission is free.
When: Thursday, December 13, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Where: Heath Ceramics, 2900 18th Street (between Florida and Alabama streets); 415-361-5552 x13.
West Elm Workshop: Holiday Entertaining Made Easy
What: Learn how to create a feast for your eyes with a gorgeously set table at this free workshop. Sounds pretty enticing, right?
When: Thursday, December 13, 6 to 8 p.m.
Where: West Elm, 5602 Bay Street (at Shellmound Street), Emeryville; 510-655-1367.
POPUPHOOD Anniversary Party
What: We’re so proud of this band of indie boutiques that could. From the beautifully curated jewelry at Crown Nine to the form and function of the cooking ware at Umami Mart (and lots in between), celebrate their first anniversary with food, drink, and of course, shopping.
When: Saturday, December 15
Where: Old Oakland (9th Street and Broadway); 510-375-7705.
Oakland Art Murmur Saturday Stroll
What: There’s nothing more personal or one-of-a-kind than a gift of art. That’s why the galleries participating in Oakland’s uber-popular First Fridays are extending their hours to select Saturdays for your gift-giving convenience.
When: Saturday, December 8, 15, and 22, 1 to 5 p.m.
Where: Downtown Oakland, West Grand Avenue to 66th Street.
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Maison Bouche Chocolate Tasting Hosted by Viv&Ingrid
What: In our experience, the sweetest, most-coveted gift is always chocolate — unless it’s jewelry, of course. Both will be available to purchase at this genius sample sale. Artisanal, exquisitely packaged treats from Maison Bouche will be 10% off and select Viv&Ingrid baubles and sparklers, loved by celebrities, fashion bloggers, and editors alike, will be up to 50% off.
When: Saturday, December 15, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: Viv&Ingrid, 2142 Oxford Street (between Allston Way and West Entrance), Berkeley; 510-384-4889.
4th Annual Renegade Craft Fair San Francisco Holiday Market
What: With over 250-plus indie artists and makers, this is their biggest holiday market yet. Admission is free, and the organizers have stopped at nothing to dazzle you with the finest trappings of hipsterdom including camp-inspired workshops, beer, a photo booth, and a DIY gift-wrap station. If you have millennials on your list, this craft fair is a no-brainer.
When: Saturday, December 15, and Sunday December 16, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Where: Concourse Exhibition Center, 635 8th Street (between Brannan and Townsend streets); 415-487-3293.
18 Reasons Sparkling Wine Tasting
What: It’s never too early to start planning your New Year’s toast. Find your champers of choice at this tasting. Tickets are $15 for members and $20 for the general public.
When: Wednesday, December 19, 7 to 9 p.m.
Where: 18 Reasons, 3674 18th Street (between Dolores and Oakwood streets); 415-568-2710.
Singin’ & Pingin’ Hosted by S.F. Ping-Pong League
What: Blow off some steam with a night of dancing, ping-ponging, and karaoking. DJ Purple will be on hand to get the party started. Tickets are $7 at the door.
When: Friday, December 21, 8 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Where: Rickshaw Stop, 155 Fell Street (between Franklin Street and Highway 101); 415-861-2011.
Holidays at the Mark
What: When the directive is to impress, we can’t think of a better place than the sky lounge at the Top of the Mark. Along with the view, it’ll be serving up holiday moments including tea with magicians, Christmas Eve dinner, and brunch on Christmas and New Year’s day. Don’t miss the 12 seasonal cocktails inspired by the 12 days of Christmas. For tea and dinners, plan ahead; advanced reservations are required.
When: Times vary by event; there’s something everyday until the end of the year.
Where: Top of the Mark, 1 Nob Hill (between Mason and Pine streets); 415-616- 6941.
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Great Dickens Christmas Fair and Victorian Holiday Party
What: There’s no party like a costume party, this being San Francisco, after all. Brought to you by the same production company as the Renaissance Fair, you’ll be transported to 19th century London. Hang with a cast of colorful Dickensian characters (from chimney sweeps to Ebenezer Scrooge), grab a mug of ale, pick up some reproductions of Victorian trinkets for sale, and watch a play based on scenes from the classic author’s novels.
When: Every Saturday and Sunday from now until December 23, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Where: Cow Palace, 2600 Geneva Avenue (at Calgary Street), Daly City; 800- 510-1558
The San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker
What: If the sight of prancing sugar plum fairies and a handsome prince brought back to life doesn’t put you in the holiday spirit, nothing will. Take in the splendid set, tutus, and the live Tchaikovsky score at this beloved annual production, a San Francisco classic since 1944. Tickets start at $20.
When: Performances now through Friday, December 28 at 2 or 7 p.m.
Where: War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Avenue (at Grove Street); 415-865- 2000.
Ice Skating at Union Square
What: Drop off your bags and strap on some skates. Smack dab in the middle of Union Square, this annual rink is the best place to take a break from your fellow wild-eyed shoppers. For the cost of $10 general admission and $5 for skate rentals, you’ll get your second wind, an iconic Kodak moment, and what’s more, a portion of proceeds will benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco and San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department.
When: Open daily through Monday, January 21, 90-minute sessions starting from 10 a.m. on every even hour. Closes 11:30 p.m.
Where: Union Square Park (corner of Geary and Powell streets); 415-781-2688.
3-D Holiday Light Spectacular Illuminique Under the Dome
What: Escape the maddening Westfield Center crowds and head up to the dome for a trippy 3-D light show of dancing sugar plum fairies, toy soldiers, and gingerbread men. No goofy glasses required.
When: Daily starting at 5 p.m. at every half hour until closing
Where: 845 Market Street (between 4th and 5th streets), Westfield San Francisco Centre, Level 4.
Photos: Via West Elm; Courtesy of Maison Bouche; The San Francisco Ballet; 18 Reasons; Great Dickens Christmas; Top Of The Mark
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