Wondering what’s open on Christmas Day in San Francisco? Turns out, there are over 15 fun things to do on this special day in SF
‘Tis the season for quality family time! If you’ve plowed through the presents and the kids need to burn off some of that hot-chocolate-supplied energy, or perhaps your family doesn’t celebrate Christmas and you’re wondering what’s open on Christmas Day? We’ve got a slew of ideas for you—17 to be exact—from where to go on Christmas Day to things that are open on Christmas Day. So whether it’s bowling, catching a movie, or simply strolling through a beautifully lit-up neighborhood, make merry with our guide to what’s open on Christmas Day in San Francisco and beyond.
1. Play Vintage Games at Musée Mécanique
Visit one of the world's largest collections of coin-operated antique arcade artifacts. It's open 365 days a year and admission is free. Bonus: you can snag some clam chowder in a bread bowl next door at Boudin and then visit the sea lions at PIER 39.
Pier 45 at the end of Taylor St.
2. Get Chinese Food
Follow the lead of the A Christmas Story family and head to Chinatown and grab a delicious bite to eat at one of many amazing restaurants offering up dim sum and hand-pulled noodles. It's the perfect way to make sure the kiddos' bellies are full before moving on to the next activity. While you are there, spend some time at the Willie "Woo Woo" Wong playground which has some amazing art and a dragon-themed climbing structure.
3. Skate at Union Square
Get outside for a family skating session at Union Square’s ice rink, which is open on Christmas Day. All skaters must book online in advance, as tickets are not sold in person. Tickets are $15-$20 per person for general admission and include skate rental.
4. Bowl at Presidio Bowl
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 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Christmas Day, noon-8 p.m.
93 Moraga Ave.
5. Give Something Back at Glide
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 Dec. 25 typically fill up fast, but if so, there are plenty of other times that you can help.
330 Ellis St.
6. Botany for All at the SF Botanical Garden
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.
1199 9th Ave.
7. Explore a Mini Rainforest at the California Academy of Sciences
While you’re at Golden Gate Park, head over to the California Academy of Sciences, which is open from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Christmas Day. This unique museum has a rainforest, planetarium, and aquarium, to fill you with wonder about the natural world.
55 Music Concourse Dr.
8. Dine at the Garden Court Restaurant
Don’t stress about cooking this year. Go out to brunch at the Palace Hotel for a festive three-course prix-fixe served under a 110-year-old glass dome.
2 New Montgomery St.
9. Visit the Animals at the SF Zoo
The SF Zoo is open all day on Christmas Day, and the animals even get presents! Head out with the kids for a beautiful day outside, climb on the playground, explore the sculpture garden, traipse through the tropical building, ride the carousel, and show off those new holiday scarves! Open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Christmas Day (last admission at 4 p.m.). Regular admission applies.
Sloat Blvd. at The Great Highway
10. Take a Hornblower Cruise with Your Crew
Hornblower’s Christmas Day Supper Cruise is a 2.5-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 4-6.30 p.m. sail, timed perfectly for the Christmas Day sunset. ($135/person).
Pier 3, Embarcadero
11. Catch a Drive-In Movie
Make your Christmas Day fun last well into the evening hours. West Wind Drive-In, with locations in Concord and San Jose, is open on Christmas night. Bundle up the family and catch a flick in the comfort of your own car.
1611 Solano Way
3630 Hillcap Ave.
12. Take a Drive Down Christmas Tree Lane
The 3200 block of Thompson in Alameda has been celebrating Christmas by putting on an epic lights display every year since the 1930s. Go and check out the neighborhood of 55 houses known throughout the Bay Area as Christmas Tree Lane, and try not to feel too bad about your own efforts. The lights go up on December 3 and stay on until New Year’s Day, as per tradition.
3200-3299 Thompson Ave.
13. Skate at the Claremont's Glice Rink
The Claremont in Berkeley has a new eco-friendly Glice Rink, an outdoor rink set amongst dozens of Christmas trees, festive decor, and hundreds of twinkling lights. The synthetic surface requires no water or electricity to run, making it kinder to the environment than regular rinks.
41 Tunnel Rd.
14. Christmas Dinner at the Four Seasons
Step away from the oven and let the chef prepare you a lavish five-course feast, complete with a dessert buffet at the Four Seasons restaurant Quattro in Palo Alto.
2050 University Ave.
15. Visit Christmas in the Park
This beloved annual holiday extravaganza in Plaza de Cesar Chavez Park is open on Christmas Day, so your 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! This year, Christmas in the Park is bringing back last year’s popular drive-thru plus the traditional walk.
194 South Market St.
16. Santa Cruz Holiday Lights
Drive through the Santa Cruz county fairgrounds in a lighted holiday display spectacular—reindeer, snowmen, and the old man himself, Santa!
2601 E Lake Ave.
17. Cirque du Boheme
Prepared to be dazzled by the music, mystery and amazing circus acts of Cirque du Boheme’s brand-new show, “Behind the Mirror”! With shows on Christmas Day, your family can be treated to an enthralling show for a Christmas Day to remember!
23570 Arnold Dr.