Covid-safe Things to Do in San Francisco This Christmas

San Francisco City Hall lit up in red and green for Christmas 2020.

The holidays don’t look or feel the same this year in San Francisco. Instead of shopping and ice skating in Union Square while dodging hundreds of drunk Santas, we’re staying home.

While some holiday traditions will have to wait until Christmas 2021 (fingers-crossed), others can be safely enjoyed during the pandemic.

Here are five safe things you can do this week to feel the magic of San Francisco and get into the holiday spirit in 2020.

Photo: San Francisco Ballet.

Dinner and a Ballet — at Home

In 1944, The Nutcracker ballet made its U.S. debut right here in San Francisco at the War Memorial Opera House on Christmas Eve. The production’s success started the American holiday tradition of Nutcracker performances.

This year, the San Francisco Ballet is streaming a 2008 recording of The Nutcracker in HD through December 31st. One $49 ticket will grant you and your family access to the holiday classic for 48 hours.

Order delivery from one of our pre-ballet favorites: Spruce, China Live, Little Gem, Che Fico Alimentari, or go all out while staying in and pick-up takeout from House of Prime Rib.

Visit the Tom and Jerry House

You could waste your time hunting lackluster Christmas lights in Saint Francis Wood, or you can head straight to Tom and Jerry’s House for a spectacular annual holiday light extravaganza.

For years, gay activist Tom Taylor and his husband Jerome “Jerry” Goldstein decked the walls of their Noe Valley home with boughs of holly, sacks of toys, and loads of lights. Tom passed away in October 2020, but his spirit is alive in this year’s Tom and Jerry House Christmas display located at 3650 21st Street in San Francisco.

Photo: Kyle Legg,

Choose Your Own Adventure at Ghiradelli Square

For “cozy vibes only,” head to Ghiradelli Square — yes, the former tourist trap we avoid but love — and warm yourself up with hot chocolate from The Ghiradelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop or kick it up a notch with a boozy Irish Coffee to-go from the Buena Vista Cafe.

Explore a Winter Wonderland in Golden Gate Park

Unless you have been taking advantage of Golden Gate Park for running, biking, or picnics this fall, you may have missed the launch of a new public art light installation in Golden Gate Park.

San Francisco artist Charles Gadeken’s “Entwined” transforms Golden Gate Park’s Peacock Meadow into an enchanted forest of everchanging lights and otherworldly shapes. Pack a warm drink, bundle up, and explore paths and sit under a grove of sculptural light trees at a social distance.

Don Your Gay Apparel to the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus Virtual Concert

We’ll be staying home for Christmas, and the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus is helping us feel a bit more merry, bright, and, well — gay while we do it.

Ring in the holiday season on Christmas Eve and tune into the (At) Home for the Holidays virtual concert from your couch, or wherever else you may be seated. Tickets are $25 for General Admission or $60 for a Family/Household, and the stream will be available online for 72 hours after the stream ends.

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