Close your laptop, forward your calls to voice mail and put on your comfiest sweatpants: Thanksgiving week has finally arrived and it’s time to do nothing but eat, drink and be very merry with friends and family. If you need a break from leftovers, head out for some fresh air and fun vibes all around the Bay. From outdoor markets to acclaimed musicals, high teas and dance parties, there are endless opportunities to commemorate the official start to the holiday season.
Snag a front-row seat to this Broadway musical hitting the South Bay
The Tony Award-winning musical Hairspray, based on the cult classic film, is back on tour and making a stop in San Jose. Centered on 1960s Baltimore teen Tracy Turnblad, the show celebrates what it means to follow your dreams. The all-new production reunites the award-winning creative team led by director Jack O’Brien and choreographer Jerry Mitchell.
Tuesday, November 23–Sunday, November 28
Sip tea among friends and teddy bears
’Tis the time to enjoy a beloved family holiday tradition with the return of Teddy Bear Tea at The Ritz-Carlton San Francisco. Taking place twice daily in the hotel’s festively decorated Terrace Room, the joyful event features a children’s menu of hot chocolate, assorted tea sandwiches, and a variety of pastries and sweets. Of course, everyone of all ages will be entertained by the holiday show starring elves and a gingerbread fairy.
Every Saturday and Sunday November 27–December 19; 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. seating times.
Delight in a delicious holiday tradition
The Fairmont San Francisco is basically the City’s central celebration point for all things holiday-related (see below for further proof). To kick things off, head to the historic property for Holiday Tea in the charming Laurel Court. Make a reservation to enjoy a steaming pot of loose-leaf tea along with house-made scones, tea sandwiches, pastries and sweets.
Friday, November 26–Sunday, January 2; 1p.m. and 3:30 p.m. seating times.
Marvel at this famed must-see sweet stunner
Few seasonal festivities are as iconic as the annual sweet display at the Fairmont San Francisco and this year’s stunning lobby transformation is truly unique. Starting this Saturday, the legendary two-story giant Gingerbread House — adorned in hundreds of pounds of See’s Candies — will steal the show. The completely edible creation (!) will be unveiled during a ribbon cutting on Saturday and guests are invited to enjoy complimentary holiday refreshments and music while Santa Claus poses for photos. There will also be a North Pole Nook in the lobby all season long for kids to write letters to Saint Nick, and a seasonal Moët Champagne bar for the grown-ups.
Ribbon-cutting ceremony: Saturday, November 27, 11 a.m. (and open all season long)
Laugh out loud with everyone’s favorite gal pals
The Girls are back in town! The Golden Girls Live! The Christmas Episodes returns to the Victoria Theatre with four of San Francisco’s drag legends, cast perfectly in two parody episodes of the incomparably hilarious TV show. Catch Heklina as Dorothy, Matthew Martin as Blanche, D’Arcy Drollinger as Rose and Holotta Tymes as matriarch Sophia. The show also features Manuel Caneri and Tom Shaw on piano.
Friday, November 26, 8 p.m.
Enjoy the onstage stylings of this multitalented star
Feinstein’s at the Nikko presents the return of San Francisco native, Tony Award winner and Grammy Award nominee Lena Hall. The multitalented actress and singer received widespread critical acclaim for her feature film debut as the title role in Becks and the Broadway run of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Hall also toured North America with Josh Groban, originated the role of Nicola in the Tony-winning musical Kinky Boots and has appeared in everything from HBO’s Girls to Amazon Prime’s Good Girls Revolt.
Saturday, November 27, 8 p.m.
Take a spin around the skating rink
Strap on those skates and head to the rink — or sit on the sidelines and sip cocoa. The Winter Ice Rink in downtown Sunnyvale is back and features a ton of fun events to entertain skaters of all ages and abilities. Set among redwood trees, this year’s special activities include a Learn to Curl class and the return of Robots on Ice, an imaginative affair that merges tech with ice skating.
Now through Sunday, January 2
Load up on holiday gifts from local makers
Throughout the holiday season, catch local makers and vintage sellers at this free outdoor market event in Berkeley every Saturday. Starting at 11 a.m., meet creators, artists and curators and shop one-of-a-kind wares that are sure to inspire awe and gratitude in all your lucky gift recipients this year.
Saturday, November 27, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
Head to Alameda for this quirky, cool market
It’s time once again for the annual Black Saturday Bazaar holiday market in Alameda. This Saturday, over 50 craft vendors and artists will take over the Al Fresco dining park and Webster Street sidewalk near the Fireside Lounge and Feathered Outlaw store. The all-ages, pet-friendly event will feature a Satay By The Bay food truck along with two full outdoor bars from Fireside Lounge. DJs Skot Limb and Fledermaus will also be spinning vinyl while patrons scour the paintings, clothing, records, candles, jewelry and more.
Saturday, November 27, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
Shake It Off and get Happier at this sweet and sour dance party
Two absolute musical queens go head to head at Milk Bar’s 22 & good 4 u!: A Taylor Swift vs. Olivia Rodrigo DANCE Party. Whether you’re a ride or die Swiftie or a full-on Rodrigo Stan, you’ll have a blast partying to the sounds of these two hit-makers. The 21+ event starts at 9 p.m. but is sure to go late, so wear your comfiest shoes and cutest fit and be prepared to move.
Saturday, November 27, 9 p.m.