As 2021 winds down and we prepare to ring in a new year, we’re highlighting some fun and festive virtual and alfresco diversions. Some are new (for example, an online series that takes you on a tour of Italy and a mini-roundup of outdoor NYE parties), while others are worth another look (there’s still time to lace up your ice skates in San Francisco or San Jose). And not listed here, but another activity we plan to partake in ourselves: a hike in the Presidio or one of the Peninsula’s open space preserves.
We hope you enjoy the rest of the holiday season and look forward to sharing more good times in 2022!
Marvel at a Historic Estate’s Sparkly Splendor
Catch Holidays at Filoli while you can! Stroll the grounds and take in the historic Woodside estate’s mansion and gardens, which are all decked out, then warm up with a cider by the fire at the Woodland Garden Court Café. Although evening admissions are sold out, tickets are still available to visit between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Through Saturday, January 2.
Get Your Skate On, in the City or the South Bay
Glide amid the bustle of San Francisco’s iconic Union Square or around illuminated palm trees in downtown San Jose. The holiday ice-skating rinks in both cities remain open, with special events planned through the season.
Kristi Yamaguchi Downtown Ice in San Jose, open through January 9.
Safeway Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square, open through January 17.
At the Intersection of Art, Tech & Nature
San Francisco artist Charles Gadeken’s installation, Entwined Meadow, returned earlier this month — bigger and brighter! Wander through his expanded technicolor forest in Golden Gate Park’s Peacock Meadow. Scan the QR codes to take full advantage of the interactive nature of the sculptures and be sure to peer through the peepholes in the tree knots to discover hidden worlds.
Through February 1.
Welcome 2022 in High Style
Enjoy the sounds of Billy Vidal at Charmaine’s, the rooftop bar and lounge at San Francisco Proper Hotel, while bidding farewell to 2021. The $125 general admission ticket to Disco Divine includes a champagne toast at midnight as well as late-night bites. (Indoor tables that accommodate up to six guests can also be reserved.)
Friday, December 31, 9 p.m.–1:45 a.m.
Raise a Glass & Your Spirits
Mighty Real & Juanita MORE! present Fly High This New Year’s Eve, an indoor/outdoor affair at San Francisco’s Phoenix Hotel. Along with passed appetizers and cocktails, the evening includes tunes from David Harness, Rolo, DJ Brown Amy and Chuck Gunn, plus a performance by Mercedez Munro. Bonus: A portion of proceeds from ticket sales ($30–$40 each) will be donated to the Imperial Council of San Francisco and the Oakland LGBTQ Community Center.
Friday, December 31, 8 p.m.–2 a.m. (outdoor heated patio open until 1 a.m.)
Ring in the New Year at a Rooftop Party
Nab a prime spot to enjoy the Embarcadero’s spectacular fireworks display. San Francisco restaurant Sens opens its rooftop for a New Year’s Eve party, complete with a premium bar. Tickets start at $95. VIP tables and bottle service are also available.
Friday, December 31, 9 p.m.–2 a.m.
Have Fun Exploring the World of Fungi
Join naturalist Christian Schwarz as he shares his experience and expertise on fungi-related matters. The class, entitled “A Little Rain, Here Come the Mushrooms,” takes place at the Palo Alto venue. The cost is $25 for Gamble Garden members and students, and $30 for non-members.
Thursday, January 6, 6–7:30 p.m.
Fresh Air, Fitness & Philanthropy
Make a run for it in Golden Gate Park: The Hot Chocolate 15k/5k benefits St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, whose mission is to help end childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. And with chocolate in its name, the post-race celebration is sure to please: Expect fondue, dippables, hot chocolate, great music and more.
January 9; 5k starts at 7:20 a.m., 15k starts at 8:10 a.m.
Zoom Over to Italy — Virtually, That Is
The Oshman Family Jewish Community Center’s new four-part weekly series, Still Traveling: Italy’s Campania Coast, kicks off on January 10. Tune in on Mondays as a professional local guide, Antonella, takes you around her hometown of Napoli (Naples) and more. The first installment focuses on Capri.
Mondays, January 10–31, 11 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
Log On & Listen to Two Authors in Conversation
An online event presented by Book Passage and Third City Books celebrates the release of Elizabeth George’s Something to Hide, the latest Lynley novel. The bestselling author of the detective series will be in conversation with Laurie Frankel.
Tuesday, January 11, 6 p.m.