Christmas is right around the corner, and much of San Francisco’s population is clearing out for the holidays. If you’re sticking around the Bay for Christmas, here are 7 festive (and some non-festive), fun and free things to do around the Bay Area through the weekend.
Tuesday, Dec. 22 | Ursid Meteor Shower
This beautiful meteor shower is favored in the Northern Hemisphere and is estimated to peak on the night of December 22, also our winter solstice. The Ursid shower will have to contend with the light of a bright waxing gibbous moon. The shower runs annually from December 17-25. The shower has been known to produce short bursts of over 100 meteors per hour!
Tuesday, Dec. 22 | Winter Solstice at Muir Woods
Programs will be held during the day at Muir Woods to celebrate Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. Dress warmly and be prepared for a quiet walk in the woods to discover what the season has to share. Warning: It’s likely to be too crowded to enjoy so think twice before making the journey.
Each Wednesday this holiday season Bank of the West has been providing their customers AND the public with free skate rentals ($5 value)! If you are a Bank of the West customer, you will not only get free skate rentals but free admission to the ice rink ($11 value)! Hours of operation are from 10am-11:30pm daily.
Thursday, Dec. 24 | Nutcracker Under the Dome
Westfield’s iconic dome will come to life each night with a one-of-a-kind animated 3D light spectacular showing every half hour starting at 5pm until 30 minutes prior to the mall’s closing. Nutcracker Under the Dome is inspired by the real-life San Francisco Ballet production. Nutcracker Under the Dome runs nightly through December 31, 2015.
Thursday, Dec. 24 | Candlelight Christmas Caroling at Oakland’s St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church
St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church’s choir will be singing on Christmas Eve under candlelights. Join them by singing along or just listening to modern Christmas carols. The singalong is followed by a late-night candlelight Christmas Eve service, with you guessed it, more music and singing.
Friday, Dec. 25 | Free-Admission to San Francisco’s Botanical Garden
This 55-acre urban oasis featuring 0ver 8,000 different kinds of plants from around the world, will be free on Christmas Day. This beautiful and enchanting city garden is a nice escape for the entire family. The garden is open daily starting at 7:30am, last entry changes seasonally, this season it is 4pm.
Friday, Dec. 25 | Christmas Dinner at the Westin St. Francis
Need a last minute plan? No plans? Solo-dining? The Westin St. Francis is hosting Christmas Dinner at the Oak Room Restaurant. This all you can eat, overflowing buffet has dishes featuring fresh seafood, cheeses and artisan breads, seasonal salads, soups, roasted turkey, prime rib, and more! Enjoy an incredible selection of seasonal and international holiday pastries alone, or with family and friends. Adults: $97, Children 12 & under: $47.
*While at the Westin St. Francis, be sure to check out the St. Francis Enchanted Castle, an all-white sugar castle, created by Executive Pastry Chef Jean-Francois Houdre and his team.
Saturday, Dec. 26 | Hilltop Hike Across the City
Burn off all the food you ate during the holiday season at this all-day hike. The meeting area is at Martha & Brothers Coffee in Bernal Heights at 11am. Free free to hike as long as you like. The hike will cover 13 miles with little-known stairways and surprising nature trails the city has to offer. Wear layers! Rain or Shine!