Marin Weekend Family Fun for November 27, 28 & 29

November 25, 2015
Winter Wonderland in San Rafael
Visit 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 27

  • Great Dickens Christmas Fair
    Cow Palace, San Francisco
    Friday-Sunday, 10 am–7 pm

    The Dickens Fair runs on weekends through December 20. 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. Purchase tickets here. For more info, visit their website.
  • 36th 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.
  • Holiday Boutique
    St. John's, Ross
    Friday, noon–6:30 pm & Saturday, 10 am–5 pm

    Shop for one-of-a-kind gifts for family, a favorite teacher, or your neighbors at the St. John's Holiday Boutique. Look for homemade baked goods, jams, jellies, chutneys, and mustards, handcrafted scarves and hats, candles and soaps, or wreathes and holiday decorations. Location: 14 Lagunitas Road (at Shady Lane) in Ross. For more info, visit their website.
  • ODC/Dance's 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 $18 to $75. For more info, visit their website.
  • Ghirardelli Square Annual Tree Lighting
    San Francisco
    Friday,  4–9 pm

    Enjoy free live entertainment for the entire family throughout the day culminating with the lighting of the Ghirardelli Square tree at 5:30 pm. This year’s festivities will include live music, children’s entertainment and a visit from Santa. 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,  5–7:30 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.
  • Macy's 26th Annual Union Square Tree Lighting
    Union Square Park, San Francisco
    Friday, 6 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 26th 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.
  • Cinnabar Theater Young Repertory Presents Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
    Cinnabar Theater, Petaluma
    Friday & Saturday, 7:30 pm, Saturday & Sunday, 2 pm
    The whole family will enjoy our Young Rep's holiday musical. Everyone's favorite flying car comes to life in this Broadway musical. It's based on the beloved film version of a children's book by Ian Fleming and features an unforgettable score by the Sherman Brothers (Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, Winnie the Pooh). You are sure to find this magical musical "Truly Scrumptious."  Admission: $15 adults, $10 your 22 and under. Open seating. Location: 3333 Petaluma Boulevard North. For more info and tickets, visit their website.
  • Disney in Concert: The Nightmare Before Christmas
    Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco
    Friday and Saturday, 8 pm

    A delightfully quirky score from Danny Elfman drives Tim Burton’s fantastical tale of Jack Skellington’s plot for Halloween Town to take over Christmas—and the hilariously haunting results—all while the SF Symphony plays the score live. Tickets start at $25. Purchase tickets here. Location: 201 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.

Saturday, November 28

  • 36th Annual Parade of Lights and Winter Wonderland
    Downtown San Rafael
    Saturday, 9 am–noon
    On Saturday morning, kids activities and snow sledding continue 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 from Scott the Storyteller from 9:30–10:30 am. For more info, visit their website.
  • Great Dickens Christmas Fair 
    Cow Palace, San Francisco
    Saturday–Sunday, 10 am–7 pm

    See Friday's listing for details.
  • Holiday Boutique
    St. John's Ross
    Saturday, 10 am–5 pm

    See Friday's listing for details.
  • Reindeer Romp at SF Zoo
    San Francisco Zoo
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–4 pm

    Reindeer Romp returns with Santa's favorite reindeer friends Belle, Holly, Peppermint, and Velvet. These four majestic animals mark the return of the holidays at the Zoo and will be on exhibit through New Year’s Day. Stop by the reindeer area on the Playfield Lawn near the Elinor Friend Playground and check out the real story behind these majestic creatures. Free with Zoo admission. For more info, visit their website.
  • Let it Snow! at Treasure Island
    San Francisco
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–5 pm

    Bring the family to this weekend's SNOWvember at the Treasure Island Flea Market. Come shop and enjoy more than 20 tons of snow. Enjoy more than 400 local artists, makers, designers and collectors. The snow falls at 11 am each day. Cost: $3 per person, children 12 and under are free. For more info, visit their website.
  • 58th San Francisco International Auto Show
    Moscone Center
    Saturday & Sunday, 10 am–10 pm
    The International Auto Show features the world’s major manufacturers displaying their 2015 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.
  • Annual Gingerbread House Open House
    Fairmont, San Francisco
    Saturday, 11 am–3 pm

    Lovingly built with a completely edible exterior, this delectable abode will be unveiled during a ribbon cutting ceremony at the annual Gingerbread Open House on Saturday, November 28, which takes place from 11:00 am- 3:00 pm.  The event is open to the public and offers guests the opportunity to take pleasure in complimentary holiday refreshments and heart-warming music while Santa Claus, a Balloon Elf, a Christmas Fairy pose for photos and kids can write letters to Saint Nick in the lobby’s “North Pole Nook." Location: 950 Mason Street, San Francisco. For more info, visit their website.
  • Holiday Craferino
    Petaluma Veterans Memorial Hall
    Saturday, 11 am–4 pm

    The Petaluma Downtown Craft Mart presents its sixth annual Holiday Crafterino show at the Petaluma Veterans Memorial Building. The show brings together the best in handmade crafts and gifts and raises funds for several worthy causes. Admission: $1 donation. Location: 1094 Petaluma Boulevard South, Petaluma. For more info, visit their website.
  • Bay Area Children's Theatre: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
    Freight & Salvage, Berkeley
    Saturday & Sunday, 11 am & 2 pm

    The beloved story about the adventures of the Potts family and their miraculous car comes to the stage in a special musical version for young audiences. Sing along as Jeremy and Jemima take on the Vulgarians, who want Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for the Baron’s birthday. Recommended for ages 4 and up. The performance is 90 minutes, including intermission. Tickets: $22 adults, $18 children 14 and under, $20 seniors 65+. Location: 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley. For more info, visit their website.
  • SF Etsy Indie Holiday Emporium
    Embarcadero, San Francisco
    Saturday & 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 35, 1526 Embarcadero, 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 Golden Eagle 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.
  • Cirque de Bohème: Stolen Moonlight
    Cornerstone Sonoma
    Saturday, 1, 3 & 5 pm and Sunday, 1 & 3 pm

    Experience the magic of a 1920s-style circus based on the French tradition, featuring an amazing cast of characters including a unicycle, contortionist, juggler, slack-rope, hand chair balancing, aerial fabrics, and a hooper aerialist. This intimate circus gathering takes place under the charming tent in the gardens at Cornerstone Sonoma, and is limited to 140 guests per performance. Tickets cost $28 for adults and $18 for kids under 15. Last year many of these performances sold out early, so get your tickets soon. Order tickets online here. A portion of all ticket sales go to benefit the Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance. Location: 23570 Arnold Drive outside the town of Sonoma. For more info, call (707) 933-3010 or visit their website.

  • Berkeley Playhouse: Mary Poppins
    The Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, Berkeley
    Saturday, 1 & 6 pm, Sunday, noon

    A musical based on the stories of P.L. Travers and the Walt Disney film. Location: 2640 College Avenue, Berkeley. Tickets: $23–$60. For more info, visit their website.
  • ODC/Dance's The Velveteen Rabbit
    Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco
    Saturday, 4 pm

    See Friday for details.
  • Contessi Ballet Presents Nutcracker 2015
    Spreckels Performing Arts Center, Rohnert Park
    Saturday, 7 pm & Sunday 2 pm

    Petaluma’s North Bay Performing Arts Association and Contessi Ballet present Nutcracker 2015. Staged and choreographed by Marcella Contessi Smith. Come watch the students of Petaluma’s North Bay Performing Arts Center-Contessi Ballet showcase their talents in this holiday favorite. Tickets: $25 adults; $20 students with ID, seniors 65+; $15 children 10 and under. For additional information call (707) 338-1013. For more info, visit their website.

Sunday, November 29

  • Civic Center Farmers' Market
    Marin Civic Center, San Rafael

    Sunday, 8 am–1 pm
    There's lots of organically grown produce, breads, eggs, and fresh cut flowers, as well as live music, bounce houses, and more. This farmers' market is a great one to take the kids to. It’s located in the main Civic Center parking lot. For more info, visit their website.
  • Sundays at the J!
    Osher Marin JCC, San Rafael
    Sunday, 10 am–4 pm
    Bring the family every Sunday for some family fun, including play time in the gym from 10 am–1 pm, art time in the art studio from 10 am–2 pm, sports time in the gym from 1–3 pm, and outdoor pool rec time from noon–5:45 pm. Family-friendly fare will be offered at the Plaza J Café featuring Miller's East Coast Deli. Admission applies; adult supervision required for kids 9 and under. For more info, visit their website.
  • Christkindlmarkt Christmas Faire
    Hermann Sons Hall, Petaluma
    Sunday, 10 am–4 pm

    Christkindlmarkt's annual holiday craft and gift faire features traditional crafts, food, music, and entertainment from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. There will be a wide variety of handmade products from local artists: needlecrafts, woodcrafts, quilting, baked goods, imported candies, chocolates. Santa will be there for the kids! For more info, visit their website.
  • Great Dickens Christmas Fair 
    Cow Palace, San Francisco
    Saturday–Sunday, 10 am–7 pm

    See Friday's listing for details.
  • 58th San Francisco International Auto Show
    Moscone Center
    Sunday, 10 am–10 pm
    See Saturday's listing for details.
  • Bay Area Children's Theatre: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
    Freight & Salvage, Berkeley
    Sunday, 11 am & 2 pm

    See Saturday's listing for details
  • SF Etsy Indie Holiday Emporium
    Embarcadero, San Francisco
    Sunday, 11 am–5 pm

    See Saturday's listing for details.
  • Berkeley Playhouse: Mary Poppins
    The Julia Morgan Center for the Arts, Berkeley
    Sunday, noon

    See Saturday's listing for details
  • ODC/Dance's The Velveteen Rabbit
    Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco
    Sunday, 2 pm

    See Saturday's listing for details.
  • Contessi Ballet Presents Nutcracker 2015
    Spreckels Performing Arts Center, Rohnert Park
    Sunday 2 pm

    See Saturday's listing for details