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Classic Holiday Performances for Families in the Bay Area

Velveteen Rabbit ODC/Dance holiday performace

For some families, it just wouldn't be the holidays without attending a special seasonal performance. Fortunately for us, the San Francsico Bay Area has a number of world-class, classic holiday performances for families with children of all ages.

Here are some of our favorite classic holiday performances that we don't want to miss this winter. Tickets to these special performances often sell out, especially for in-demand dates around Christmas, so make sure you order your tickets soon.

ODC/Dance the Velveteen Rabbit holiday performance
Photo: ODC/Dance

ODC/Dance's The Velveteen Rabbit

A beloved Bay Area holiday tradition, ODC/Dance's The Velveteen Rabbit returns to the Blue Shield of California Theater at YBCA from December 2–10, 2023, The Velveteen Rabbit celebrates the unique connection between a little boy and his stuffed rabbit, and the enduring power of love. It's a perfect holiday performance for all ages! Learn more at

San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker
Photo: San Francisco Ballet © Erik Tomasson

San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker

San Francisco Ballet's celebrated production of Nutcracker is the one that all others are compared to! San Francsico Ballet's Nutcracker features over 150 costumed characters, dazzling scenery, Tchaikovsky's beautiful score performed live by the San Francisco Ballet Orchestra, and of course the opulence of the War Memorial Opera House decorated for Christmas. Families should consider Passport performances include fun activities throughout the opera house, costumed characters, giveaways, refreshments, and a special keepsake passport to stamp with memories of your trip to Nutcracker. 2023 performances of Nutcracker begin on December 13 and run through December 30. The SF Ballet recommends Nutcracker for children ages 5 and up; no children under 3 are allowed. Learn more at

Grace Cathedral Sing We Christmas
Photo: Grace Cathedral

Christmas Concerts at Grace Cathedral

This holiday season, San Francisco's Grace Cathedral offers a variety of concerts for all ages. Families with younger children will love Sing You a Merry Christmas, where you can join the with the toys of St. Nicholas’s workshop in singing along with your favorite Christmas carols. A Cathedral Christmas features the Cathedral's Choir of Men and Boys, a full orchestra, organist, and guest soloist performing classic Christmas carols and other sacred music for the holiday season. There are even a couple opportunities to sing along, too.

A Christmas concert in this soaring gothic-revival cathedral is a magical holiday experience for everyone! Concerts take place December 9–23, 2023. Make sure you visit the life-size gingerbread house at the Fairmont Hotel while you're in the Nob Hill neighborhood. Learn more at

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair and Victorian Holiday Party is an immersive, theatrical holiday experience like no other! Wander the streets of Victorian London and interact with the 800 costumed characters, from Queen Victoria and Prince Alvert to chimney sweeps and sailors, who populate over three acres of twilight-lit shops, pubs, stages, and dance halls. A San Francisco Bay Area holiday tradition for over three decades, the Great DIckens Christmas Fair returns for five weekends to the historic Cow Palace in Daly City from November 18–December 17, 2023.

The Dickens Fair offers constant entertainment: join in at Fezziwig's Dance Party, hear excerpts from the grand opera and Gilbert and Sullivan at the Victoria and Albert Music Hall, sing along to sea shanties at the Paddy West Stage, and enjoy music-hall songs at Mad Sal's Dockside Alehouse. You'll also experience folk dancing and caroling at various spots around the fair. There's so much to do and see here that you won't want to leave. It's fun and absorbing and you'll really feel like you've stepped into another time and place. Come dressed in period costume and really get into the spirit of things! Learn more at

Photo: Marin Symphony

Marin Symphony Holiday Candlelight Choral Concert

Traditional and contemporary holiday music and carols start off the holiday season in the beautiful setting of St Raphael’s Church in San Rafael, featuring brass octet, percussion, organ, piano, and choruses.Youth tickets for ages 6–17 are only $20!

The Marin Symphony Candlelight Choral Concerts take place Saturday, December 2, at 7:30 pm (Sunday concert is sold out) at Saint Raphael's Church, 1104 Fifth Avenue, San Rafael 94901. Learn more at

A Charlie Brown Christmas—Live! SF Symphony
Photo: San Francisco Symphony

San Francisco Symphony Holiday Performances

The renowned San Francisco Symphony offers a variety of holiday performances for families throughout the month of December. Holiday treats from the SF Symphony include A Charlie Brown Christmas—Live!, Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf with the SF Symphony Youth Orchestra, and screenings of the movies The Nightmare Before Christmas and Home Alone with live orchestral accompaniment. Get your tickets here.

Photo: Marin Ballet

Marin Ballet Nutcracker

Marin Ballet’s Nutcracker will transport your family into the lavish rooms of a Victorian-era party, where Clara’s dreams come to life. She encounters mischievous mice, battling soldiers, and the Nutcracker prince who leads her through the forest of the Snow Queen to the Land of the Sweets! Your children will meet the Sugar Plum fairy and all the spices of the land, including Nutmeg, Chocolate, Chinese Almonds, and the Sweet Tooth Fairies. The production features the artistry of 125 young dancers, lavish costumes and sets. The Marin Ballet's Nutcracker takes place December 9 and 10, 2023 at Novato High School - Marin School of the Arts. Get your tickets here.