Family-friendly Holiday Concerts from the San Francisco Symphony

November 22, 2017

Davies Symphony Hall

Introduce your children to classical music and the century-old tradition of the San Francisco Symphony with the Symphony's acclaimed Music for Families concerts, special holiday concerts, and other family-friendly events. Family concerts are recommended for children ages 5 and older.

This holiday season's family-friendly offerings from the San Francisco Symphony include:

Two Delicious Side Dishes for Your Thanksgiving Table

November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving Sides from Whole Foods Market

Marin Mommies presents a sponsored article from Whole Foods Market.

Still looking for some delicious sides for your Thanksgiving spread? Here are two delicious recipes from Whole Foods Market that will be welcome by everyone! They're both healthy and easy to make, too.

Marin Weekend Family Fun for November 24–26

November 21, 2017

Winter Wonderland in San RafaelVisit downtown San Rafael this Friday and Saturday for free snow sledding and more!

There's also holiday ice skating at numerous locations throughout the Bay Area, as well as opportunities to visit with Santa Claus at local shopping centers. Also, check out our guide to North Bay Christmas tree farms and Lots.

Friday, November 24

  • Holidays Along Farm Trails
    Sonoma County
    Saturday & Sunday, various times
    'Tis the season to celebrate with our community. Join Sonoma County farmers and producers as they open their gates and barn doors to offer a behind-the-scenes peek at life on the farm. Shop their unique farmstands for your holiday meals, cut your own Christmas tree, make a gift at DIY workshops, greet farm animals, and so much more. Free. Register online for a complete list of participants. For more info, visit their website.
  • Christmas House at West End Nursery
    San Rafael
    Friday & Saturday, 8 am–5 pm, Sunday 9 am–4 pm

    Get in the holiday spirit and visit the amazing Christmas House at San Rafael's West End Nursery. This magical setting includes lights, decorated trees, and more. It's a holiday must-visit in Marin. Free admission; ornaments and decor are for sale. Location: 1938 5th Avenue. For more info, visit their website.
  • Old MacDonald: Beyond the Farm
    Children's Creativity Museum Theater, San Francisco
    Friday, 10 am, Saturday & Sunday, 10 & 11:15 am

    Old MacDonald lives happily on her farm with all her animals. But Duck is sad because his birthday is tomorrow and his pen-pals live far away. Then Old Macdonald has an idea to cheer up her web-footed friend. Find out at this theater production for audiences ages 6 months to 3 years old. Children under the age of 6 months do not require a ticket. Tickets: $15 per person. Purchase tickets here. Location: 221 Fourth Street, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Great Dickens Christmas Fair
    Cow Palace, San Francisco
    Friday–Sunday, 10 am–7 pm

    Experience Victorian London with hundreds of costumed players, shops offering one-of-a-kind gifts and Christmas treasures, dining, and pubs. Meet Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist, Tiny Tim, Jules Verne, David Copperfield, Charles Darwin, and 700 costumed characters. Of course, Father Christmas himself will be on hand to join in the fun. For more info, visit their website.
  • Family Fun Weekend
    Charles M. Schulz Museum, Santa Rosa
    Friday–Saturday, 10 am–5 pm

    Join cartoonist and storyteller Joe Wos for live performances and cartoon workshops throughout the day! Free after museum admission. Location: 2301 Hardies Lane, Santa Rosa. For more info, visit their website.
  • Holiday Ice Skating in Union Square
    San Francisco
    Friday–Sunday, 10 am–11:30 pm

    Union Square, San Francisco's main shopping district, gets into the ice skating spirit during the holiday season with an outdoor ice rink sponsored by Safeway. 90-minute sessions start on every even hour. Admission: $18 for adults (includes skates), $13 for children 8 and under. Information: (415) 781-2688 or visit their website.
  • Holiday Ice Rink at Embarcadero Center
    San Francisco
    Friday–Saturday, 10 am–11:30 pm, Sunday, 10 am–9:30 pm

    Get ready to skate under the sun and stars along the beautiful waterfront at the largest outdoor rink in San Francisco. Admission: $12, $7 children 7 and under, skate rental $5. For more info, visit their website.
  • The 38th Annual Parade of Lights and Winter Wonderland
    Downtown San Rafael
    Friday, noon–8 pm & Saturday, 9 am–noon
    Downtown San Rafael will once again commence the holiday season with its Winter Wonderland, Parade of Lights, and Holiday Marketplace with arts and crafts that starts the Friday after Thanksgiving. On Friday: free snow sledding, kids activities (noon–4:30 pm & 6–8 pm), Holiday Marketplace (noon–8 pm) and the Parade of Lights (5:30 pm) with Santa and Mrs. Claus's arrival and a tree-lighting immediately after. On Saturday, kids activities and snow sledding continues (9 am–noon). Location: Fourth Street from B Street to Lootens Place in downtown San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • Marin on Ice
    Northgate Mall, San Rafael
    Friday, 2
    –10 pm, Saturday, noon–10 pm, Sunday, noon–9 pm
    This Saturday, Marin on Ice opens for another season of outdoor ice skating at San Rafael's Northgate Mall, where it runs through January 11. Marin's only holiday ice skating rink features 6,300 square feet of real ice and will be open daily for outdoor skating. Skating is $15 per person, which includes skate rental. Private ice cabanas will also be available for rental and "Skate Buddies" are available for beginners. For more info, visit their website.
  • The Velveteen Rabbit
    Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco
    Friday & Saturday, 4 pm & Sunday, 2 pm

    Bring the family for this beloved Bay Area holiday tradition. ODC/Dance enlivens Margery Williams’ classic tale of a well-worn nursery rabbit that becomes real. Told though music, dance and a powerful narrative, The Velveteen Rabbit celebrates the unique relationship between a little boy and his stuffed rabbit, and the enduring power of love. Tickets range from $15 to $65. For more info, visit their website.
  • A Winter Circus for the Holidays
    Cornerstone Sonoma
    Friday–Sunday, 1, 3 & 5 pm
    An old style circus based on the French tradition of the 1920’s, Le Cirque de Bohème will transport you into a magical world filled with enchantment, adventure and wonder. This winter a Le Cirque de Bohème presents a new show: Stolen Moonlight. Delight in work of world class performers including a unicycle, contortionist, juggler, slack-rope, hand chair balancing, aerial fabrics, and a hooper aerialist. Tickets: $55–$25.. Purchase tickets here. For more info, visit their website.
  • Ghirardelli Square Tree Lighting
    San Francisco
    Friday, 4–9 pm

    This Black Friday, Ghirardelli Square will be hosting its annual tree lighting ceremony with free kids activities, tenant promotions, live music, Santa, and more Location: Ghirardelli Square, 900 North Point Street (at Beach and Larkin), San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Winter Lights
    Old Courthouse Square, Santa Rosa
    Friday, 4–8 pm

    Winter Lights is an annual event that brings together community to celebrate the holidays and remember our loved ones. This all-ages event is family-oriented and multi-cultural, and features a tree lighting celebration, remembrance candle lighting ceremony, Santa Claus arriving on a fire truck, Taste of Santa Rosa, live entertainment, children's activities, photos with Santa, ornament painting, and ugly sweater contest, and more. Location: 25 Old Courthouse Square, Santa Rosa. For more info, visit their Facebook page.
  • Napa Valley Wine Train Santa Train
    Napa
    Friday–Sunday, 5 pm

    The Santa Train returns to the Napa Valley Wine Train for another season of Christmas fun for the whole family. Embark on an all new interactive musical journey to Santa's workshop, accompanied by some of Santa's best friends. Santa Train passengers will enjoy hot chocolate, cookies, and other holiday treats. Have your photo taken with Santa at the station before your train departs, too.Santa Train fares start at $55, with special discount pricing for Napa Valley residents. Call (800) 427-4124 or visit their website to book tickets.
  • Macy's 28th Annual Union Square Tree Lighting
    Union Square Park, San Francisco
    Friday, 5:30 pm

    Macy's gift to the city and San Francisco's most recognized Christmas tree will be officially lit in Union Square at 6:40 pm. Macy's 28th Annual Tree Lighting will take place in Union Square Park between Sutter and Post and Geary and Stockton Streets, right across from the front of Macy's. For more info, visit their website.
  • Bay Area Children's Theatre: Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka
    The Osher Studio, Berkeley
    Friday, 6:30 pm, Saturday & Sunday, 10:30 am & 1:30 pm
    Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka follows Charlie’s magical adventure when he wins a tour of Wonka’s chocolate factory. You’ll love the feast of songs from the original movie! Adapted for young audiences by Leslie Bricusse and Tim McDonald, based on Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Tickets: $26 adults, $24 seniors 65+, $20 children 2–14. Location: 2055 Center Street, Berkeley. For more info, visit their website.
  • Bay Area Children's Theatre: Elephant and Piggie's "We Are in a Play!"
    Children's Creativity Museum, San Francisco
    Friday, 6:30 pm, Saturday, 10:30 am, 1:30 & 4:30 pm, Sunday 10:30 am & 1:30 pm

    Expect happy high jinks galore—and a wonderful time, with music and rhyme—as Mo Willems’ two most unlikely pals cavort through the joys and trials of friendship in Elephant & Piggie’s "We Are in a Play!" Back by popular demand at BACT for the holidays! Tickets: $27 adults, $22 children 2–14, $25 seniors 65+. Location: 221 Fourth Street, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Berkeley Playhouse: Annie
    The Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, Berkeley
    Friday, 7 pm, Saturday, 1 & 7 pm, Sunday, 2 pm

    Leapin’ lizards! One of the most popular musicals of all time returns to Berkeley Playhouse in an all new production that’s going to “shine like the top of the Chrysler Building!” Perfect for the entire family.  Location: 2640 College Avenue, Berkeley. Tickets: $20–$45. For more info, visit their website.
  • Bay Area Children's Theatre: The Night Fairy
    The Osher Studio, Berkeley
    Friday, 7 pm, Saturday ,11 am

    When tiny but feisty Flory loses her fairy wings in an attack by a bat, she has to muster all her courage and ingenuity to survive in a garden full of threatening creatures, including a voracious spider. Directed by Hannah Dworkin and Nina Meehan. Recommended for ages 8 and up. Tickets: $26 adults, $24 seniors 65+, $20 children 2–14. Location: 2055 Center Street, Berkeley. For more info, visit their website.
  • Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach: The Musical
    Cinnabar Theater, Petaluma
    Friday and Saturday, 7:30 pm
    Based on one of Roald Dahl’s most poignantly quirky stories, Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach is a brand new take on this “masterpeach” of a tale. Featuring a wickedly tuneful score by the Tony Award-nominated team of Pasek and Paul (Dear Evan Hansen, Dogfight and A Christmas Story the Musical) and a witty and charming book, this adventurous musical about courage and self-discovery is destined to be a classic. Purchase tickets here. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, November 25

  • The 38th Annual Parade of Lights and Winter Wonderland
    Downtown San Rafael
    Saturday, 9 am–noon
    On Saturday, kids activities and snow sledding continues in downtown San Rafael. Location: Fourth Street from B Street to Lootens Place in downtown San Rafael. For more info, visit their website.
  • Marin Country Mart Farmers Market
    Marin Country Mart, Larkspur Landing
    Saturday, 9 am–2 pm

    Enjoy pony rides and a petting zoo for the kids from 10 am–2 pm adjacent to the farmer's market and live music. Bring the kids and get cozy under the tent to see a special performance by the one and only Emily Butterfly at 9:30 am! For more info, visit their website.
  • Reindeer Romp
    San Francisco Zoo
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–4 pm

    Santa is sending his favorite reindeer, Belle, Holly, and Peppermint, to spread holiday cheer at San Francisco Zoo & Gardens! Until January 1, majestic reindeer will be romping at SF Zoo's Playfield Lawn, near the spectacular Elinor Friend Playground. Zoo admission applies. Location: Sloat Blvd. at the Great Highway, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • San Francisco International Auto Show
    Moscone Center
    Saturday, 10 am–10 pm & Sunday, 10 am–9 pm
    The International Auto Show features the world’s major manufacturers displaying their 2018 model cars, SUVs, trucks, and vans. There will also be classic cars, race cars, car simulators, hot rods, and more. Admission $10, children 12 and younger free when accompanied by an adult. Tickets at the door only. Location: Moscone Convention Center, 747 Howard Street, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • SF Etsy Holiday Emporium
    Pier 70, San Francisco
    Saturday, 12–6 pm & Sunday, 11 am–5 pm

    Start your holiday shopping at this weekend's Etsy event. The SFEtsy Indie Holiday Emporium is an annual market showcasing the SFEtsy team members and other artisan crafters and makers. See a list of sellers here. Location: Pier 70, 420 22nd Street, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • West Portal Snow Festival
    West Portal, San Francisco
    Saturday, 11 am–5 pm

    Build a snowman with real snow, get your photo taken with Santa, and more! Kids' crafts all day. Location: 82 West Portal Avenue, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Santa's Riverboat Arrival
    Petaluma River Turning Basin
    Saturday, 11:30 am
    Santa and Mrs. Claus sail into the Petaluma River Turning Basin aboard a tugboat at noon and disembark in the River Plaza Shopping Center on East Washington Street to greet children and distribute candy. Performers will be on hand at the shopping center starting at 11:30 am. For more info, visit their website.

Marin & Sonoma Christmas Tree Farms & Lots

November 21, 2017

For many families, the day after Thanksgiving is the day to get or to start thinking about getting their Christmas tree. For many, there's no better way to get a tree than to take the trip to one of the many North Bay Christmas tree farms and cut one down themselves! If playing lumberjack isn't your thing, there are plenty of local lots in Marin that offer quality trees for your holiday.

Does It Really Snow in Downtown San Rafael?

November 21, 2017

Snow sledding in San Rafael

Does it really snow in Downtown San Rafael? Well, no... not very often. But that doesn't mean that they can't truck a bunch of the frozen white stuff for sledding on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving!

Hit the Ice! Holiday Ice Skating in the Bay Area

November 21, 2017

Ice skating at Marin on Ice

Even though it's an activity that you can do year-round, ice skating seems to be something that's especially appealing around the holidays. Marin on Ice is back at Northgate in San Rafael for another season of outdoor ice skating, so you don't have to leave Marin County to go skate! It's the only rink in the county, but you'll find more opportunities to skate in San Francisco, Santa Rosa, and the East Bay. Here's our list of places to hit the ice in the Bay Area this holiday season.

Holiday Family Fun in San Francisco

November 20, 2017

Union Square Ice Rink
Photo: Union Square Ice Rink

When I was growing up, one of the highlights of my holiday season was a trip into San Francisco. It's something that I still love to do with my family, and there's so much fun to be had. Here are 6 ideas for festive family holiday fun in the city.

Hanukkah Events & Celebrations in Marin

November 20, 2017

Hanukkah

This year, Hanukkah begins on the evening of Tuesday, December 12, and runs through December 20. Families in Marin will find plenty of opportunities to celebrate the Festival of Light this season, with public menorah lightings and fun events featuring storytelling, games, delicious treats like latkes and sufganiyot (donuts), and more. Here's a rundown of family friendly Hanukkah celebrations and events in and around Marin this winter.

Hands-on Museums for Kids and Families in Marin and the Bay Area

November 19, 2017

Museum visitors are often told not to touch anything, but not at the museums listed here! These 11 local Marin County and San Francisco Bay Area museums offer lots of fun hands-on activities for kids and families. They're perfect for rainy-day outings or any time, really.

Bay Area Discovery Museum

Families with kids up to age 8 love Sausalito's Bay Area Discovery Museum for its combination of hands-on fun, exciting programs and performances, rotating special exhibitions (currently it's Curious George: Let's Get Curious), and a great play area overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco Bay. It's a fantastic place to play away the day and take in the amazing views. Location: Fort Baker, 557 McReynolds Road, Sausalito, 94965. Hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 9 am–5 pm. More info: www.baykidsmuseum.org or (415) 339-3900.

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