Closed is not in the vocabulary of your three-year-old so when post-present crazies come to a cabin fever pitch, don your gay apparel and get out of the house. Whether you want to take in the glow of holiday lights or if Christmas celebrations are just not your game, we’ve got a whole host of ways for you to rock the day with the fam. From businesses that are open to public skating hours, read on for lots of ways to play today.

photo: Tinou Bao via flickr 

Go Bowling
Burn off some of that holiday energy at the Presidio Bowl. The location can’t be beat (heart of the beautiful Presidio of San Francisco) and the menu will please your little ones: hot dogs, hamburgers, and PB&J, and parents will appreciate the wine and beer selection! Open Christmas Eve from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and Christmas Day, noon-2 a.m.

Give Something Back
Volunteer with a local nonprofit organization such as Glide to serve meals to the needy on Christmas (and many other days, too, if you’re so inclined). Volunteer slots on December 25 typically fill up fast, but if so, there are plenty of other times that you can help. Get proactive and call or email your favorite organization or get connected with resources and organizations through The Volunteer Center, which serves both San Francisco and San Mateo County to help steer you in the right direction to give back.

Botany for All
Spend all day from 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m. wandering through the 55-acres of stunning botanical wonder that is the SF Botanical Gardens. Usually free to SF residents only, on Christmas Day it is open and free to all, which means you can bring all your out of town guests for a romp at no added costs.

photo courtesy The Palace Hotel 

Munch It Up
SF has no shortage of holiday brunch spots. Check out The Palace Hotel’s brunch, which is served from 10:30 a.m.–4 p.m. There’s also the Ritz Carlton in SF, served from 11 a.m.–8 p.m. and featuring four-course, fancy twists on classic holiday fare by Chef Michael Rotondo. And the Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay offers a family holiday brunch complete with Santa Claus and where kids under 4 eat free, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:3 p.m.

Cruise with Your Crew
Hornblower’s Christmas Day Supper Cruiseis a three hour excursion with a holiday buffet dinner, including coffee, tea and soda, live entertainment, beer and wine for purchase and seriously breathtaking views of the Bay. Board at 3:30 p.m. for the 4-7 p.m. sail, timed perfectly for the Christmas Day sunset. ($103/person). If you’ve already got dinner plans, hit up Red & White fleet for a cruise departing throughout the day between 10 a.m. and 3:45 p.m.

photo courtesy the SF Zoo

Visit the Animals at the SF Zoo
The SF Zoo is open all day Christmas Day, and the animals even get presents! Head out with the kids for a beautiful day outside, climb on the playground, explore the new sculpture garden, traipse through the tropical building, ride the carousel and show off those new holiday scarves! Open from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Christmas Day. Regular admission applies.

Laugh Your Socks Off
Go Kung Pao Kosher. The Kung Pao Kosher Comedy is celebrating its 23rd year and offers “Jewish comedy on Xmas” at the New Asia Restaurant in San Francisco’s Chinatown, December 24, 25 & 26. On Christmas Day choose from a 5 p.m. 7-course dinner seating for $67/person or 8:30 p.m. cocktail show with veggie Dim Sum for $47. The show is geared toward adults, but children 6 and up are allowed.

photo: CJM 

Rock Out at the Contemporary Jewish Museum
The CJM  offers free admission all day and they go all-out to make it a day of memory making. Rock out with Alison Faith Levy and her Big Time Tot Rock Band (at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., limited seating), make shadow puppets, play with light theaters, create Wikki Stix art and explore the museum. Wise Sons Jewish Deli will be serving up specialties from 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Open all day Dec. 25, from 11 a.m.–4 p.m.

Play Tourist
Try a hop-on-hop-off bus tour from Big Bus Tours which will take you around 20 major sites in the city. The ticket is good for 24 hours and it even includes free walking tours of three iconic SF neighborhoods: Chinatown, North Beach and Barbary Coast. Tickets cost $45/adult; $25/child 5-15 and children 4 and under are free. Advance tickets are advised.

photo: Mountain View Cemetery

See the Bright Lights
From the famous Tom & Jerry House to a cemetery lights display, the Bay Area has plenty of bulbs burning brightly throughout Christmas night. Click here for our guide to the best and the brightest in the Bay. the round up here.

Work That Figure 8
The Bay Area hosts a dozen rinks this time of year, so take your pick! Skate in the heart of Union Square or with a view of the Ferry Building, or head south and go ice skating in San Jose at Downtown Ice, the South Bay’s largest seasonal outdoor skating rink. It’s open on Christmas Day from 2 p.m. to midnight.

Visit Christmas in the Park, On Christmas
This beloved annual holiday extravaganza is open on Christmas Day from 9 a.m. to midnight, so you whole brood can don their Christmas sweaters and explore the lights, sounds and fun at Christmas in the Park. The best part just might be the trees and tiny houses decorated by local school groups, community members and businesses. And the second best part? It’s free!

What’s your family’s Christmas Day tradition? 

—Amber Guetebier




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