Dec 28, 2019 | Bay Area Events & Entertainment
Best Things to Do This Winter in San Francisco
If you play it right, the cool days and long nights of winter can be magical in San Francisco. The City by the Bay’s weather can be especially fickle this time of year. While the obvious cold, rainy day options of shopping at Union Square, browsing a museum, or taking a bus tour are good fun, make your city getaway extra special with our top picks for the best things to do this winter in San Francisco.
Snag tickets to Hamilton
The Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical debuted on Broadway in 2015 and has been selling out shows around the world ever since. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s story of America’s Founding Father Alexander Hamilton is told through hip-hop, jazz, blues, rab, R&B, and Broadway. After a stint in San Francisco in 2017, Hamilton returned in February 2019 to the Orpheum Theatre for a sit-down engagement that extends to May 31, 2020. Now that the musical has been around for the better part of a year, tickets are much easier to get ahold of. If it’s too much sing-song and history, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is playing at the Curran Theater through July 2020.
Celebrate the Chinese New Year
San Francisco ushers in the decade with an epic month-long Chinese New Year celebration beginning January 25. It’s the Year of the Rat, and street fairs, exhibitions, restaurant specials, and a nighttime parade take over the city for one of the largest celebrations of Asian culture outside of Asia. Annual events include the Miss Chinatown USA Pageant, Treasure Hunt, Chinatown Basketball Jamboree, and the 5K/10K Chinatown YMCA run. Don’t miss the Southwest Airlines Chinese New Year Parade on February 8. Named one of the top 10 parades in the world by the International Festivals & Events Association, the illuminated parade features floats, elaborate costumes, lion dancers, stilt walkers, Chinese acrobats, firecrackers, and a 288’ Golden Dragon carried by over 180 men and women from the martial arts group, White Crane. The parade begins at Second and Market streets, goes around Union Square, heads north on Kearny Street, and ends at Jackson Street. Take a chance with finding your own viewing spot along the route, or purchase tickets to one of the multiple reviewing stand bleachers here.
Savor the Local Flavor at Beer and Wine Fests
The Bay Area’s craft beer scene is flourishing, and our close proximity to both Napa and Sonoma counties puts us at a great advantage for being among the first to try the latest wines from wine country. Beat the winter chill by staying warm on the inside. San Francisco has its fair share of beer and wine fests that come to town every winter. Hopheads will enjoy the Bay Area Brew Fest on January 25 at the Fort Mason Center and San Francisco Beer Week beginning February 7. Winter is when full-bodied wine varietals have finished their aging process and first become available for tasting. Dine, learn, and taste at the three-day Zinfandel Experience (ZinEx) happening at select venues around the city beginning January 30 and sip your way through the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Public Tasting at the Fort Mason Festival Pavilion on February 15.
Go to a Golden State Warriors Game
Much to the delight of San Francisco locals, the NBA’s Golden State Warriors made the city its official home in September 2019 with the grand opening of the Chase Center. Be among the first to visit the state-of-the-art arena that sits on the bay. Chase Center features an outdoor plaza (named Thrive City) lined with restaurants, bars, and a 74-foot by 42-foot viewing screen, and the largest LED scoreboard in the league, measuring in at 9,699 square feet. See Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green at the new Chase Center before the season ends in April. Click here to see the Warriors schedule.
Attend an Adults-Only Museum Night
Science museums aren’t just for kids anymore. On select nights you can have a memorable adults-only hangout at local museums. The Exploratorium museum of science, technology, and art throws a weekly After Dark night every Thursday. After Dark gives you access to over 650 interactive exhibits, adult beverages, and themed nights with special programming. Themes still to come this season include The Water We Eat, Flights of Fancy, and Radioactivity. The California Academy of Sciences also throws a Thursday night bash. NightLife includes access to the aquarium, planetarium, rainforest, and natural history museum, music, cocktails, and nightly themes like Lunar New Year and Buzzed, a tribute to coffee and chocolate.
The winter amusement doesn’t stop here. Other activities on our radar this season include San Francisco Restaurant Week (January 22 - 31), FOG Design+Art Fair (January 16 - 19), and numerous annual winter film festivals including Noir City (January 24 - February 2), San Francisco IndieFest (January 29 - February 13), Berlin & Beyond (February 7 - 13), Mostly British Film Festival (February 13 - 20), and the International Ocean Film Festival (March 12 - 15). December through May is also an exciting time off the coast of San Francisco. Catch a glimpse of gray, sperm, humpback, and killer whales migrating from the Arctic to Baja on a whale watching tour departing from Fisherman’s Wharf.
Make the most of your winter travel plans with our Fall into Winter special offer. Enjoy up to 25% off our best available rate, a free room upgrade, and more special perks when you book direct with Hotel Abri, a historic San Francisco hotel known for its spacious rooms and suites, high-tech features, and prime location only steps from Union Square and the Orpheum Theatre.