Category Archives: USA

Travel guides to help you plan your trip to the United States.

1-4 day itineraries and things to do in popular states including New York, Boston, Chicago and Austin.

28 Free Things to Do in San Diego: Attractions & Budget-Friendly Activities

Ponds and buildings at Seaport Village in San Diego.

Visiting San Diego on a budget?

While the city is a popular tourist destination and known for its world-class attractions, you don’t really need to break the bank just to enjoy what it has to offer.

Whether you wish to explore some of its famous neighborhoods, enjoy free tours, take photographs, or simply just try new things, this guide details the best free things to do in San Diego.

We’ll also look at some inexpensive tours and attractions in San Diego that are worth paying for.

And since the city is known for its idyllic weather, you can enjoy most of these activities at any time of the year.

San Diego also features on our California bucket list.

Free Things to Do in San Diego

In the following list, you’ll find some of the best free things to do in San Diego starting with the downtown area.

Most activities listed in this section are outdoors.

Old Town 

With its vibrant Spanish community and its 19-century homes and historical buildings, Old Town is a must-visit for places to see in San Diego for free.

Located in Presidio Park, explore and learn about the colonial lifestyle at the Junipero Serra Museum (2727 Presidio Dr).

People spend about an hour here captivated by the fantastic history. 

Old Town also features in our guide to San Diego in December.

La Casa de Estudillo in Old Town San Diego, California

Heritage Park 

Heritage Park (2454 Heritage Park Row) sits on 7.8 acres and contains architectural gems, including the first synagogue of San Diego, The Temple of Beth.

Take in the sight of several restored Victorian homes- note that the homes have been restored in the exterior only and are not open to the public.

Balboa State Park

Although it is the home of several paid family-friendly attractions, the entrance to Balboa State Park is home to many free activities in San Diego, with over 1200 acres to explore. 

Here you can wander among the beautiful architecture and serene gardens. 

Balboa State Park makes the list of free places to go in San Diego, with miles of walking trails and parks to explore.

This place also features in our guide to California in December.

Balboa State Park in San Diego California

Explore Little Italy

As you explore places to go in San Diego for free, Little Italy has art installations that you can examine and snap a selfie or two. 

Here you can walk around and take in the public artwork for free. 

The charming piazzas with red tables are a staple in Little Italy and are the perfect people-watching locations. 

Signage of Little Italy, San Diego, California

Spreckels Organ Pavilion

Enjoying a concert at the Organ Pavilion (1549 El Prado) is another option you can include in free outdoor activities in San Diego.

Get a bonus when you extend the day and stay for the evening concerts from the built-in lights that frame the arches of the architecture. 

Tip: Park in the pavilion’s lot for easy access. 

Take the Seven Bridge Hike

This urban 5.5-mile loop hike takes you to the dispersed bridges throughout historic San Diego, beginning with the two bridges in Balboa Park (Park Boulevard Bridge and Cabrillo Bridge).

Your free things to do in downtown San Diego continue as you explore three more bridges (First Ave, Quince Street Bridge, and Spruce Street Suspension Bridge).

Hillcrest’s Vermont Street Bridge and Georgia Street Bridge complete the hike. 

The Gaslamp Quarter

The Gaslamp Quarter is fun to walk around and take iconic photos under its namesake sign on 5th Ave and L Street. 

It spans 16 blocks and is a historic district complete with Victorian architecture and worth spending at least a half day if you want something exciting and free stuff to do in San Diego.

Hike Annie’s Canyon

Annie’s Canyon (498-450 Solana Hills Dr) is an accessible, flat, and relatively easy trail that borders the wetlands of the San Elijo Lagoon State Marine Conservation Area. 

The narrow slot canyon trail is unique because as it gets narrower, it gets more challenging, and a ladder climb is necessary. 

There are several other trails to explore as well.

Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve

Explore one of San Diego’s natural gems; Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve (12600 N Torrey Pines Rd) is free to enjoy. 

You can spend hours exploring some of the best hiking trails that highlight breathtaking seaside cliffs. 

Head for the Torrey Pines State Beach via the Broken Hill Trail and admire the ocean views while getting there.

Tip: Find free parking on the street, as parking in the park isn’t free. 

Map and Atlas Museum of La Jolla

One of the free things to do in La Jolla is to tour the Map and Atlas Museum (7825 Fay Ave).

Here you can explore their rare and private collections of maps to get a perspective of the world hundreds of years ago.

La Jolla Beaches

Another free thing to do in La Jolla is to enjoy the sand and sun and surf on the beach. 

La Jolla Shores (8200 Camino Del Oro) is a mile long and a favorite for San Diegans for sunbathing, surfing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. 

Black’s beach has an LGBQ section; although bathing suits are required, there are clothing-optional venues. 

People at La Jolla Beach during daytime in San Diego, California.

La Jolla Underwater Park

Come swim with the sea lions at La Jolla Underwater Park, and it’s free. 

You can watch from above through the local store (for a small fee) or in the water snorkeling, paddleboarding, or just swimming. 

Make it a point before you leave to see the seals play as the sunsets off the point. 

Tip: If you want to have more space for yourself, avoid the weekends.

Coronado Island

Coronado Golden Beach (919 Ocean Beach Blvd) is a top pick for free things to do in Coronado Island because it is world-renowned and has won the Best Beach in America award more than once.

Here you will love the 1.5-mile stretch of golden sparkling sand and the breathtaking sunsets. 

There’s Coronado Dog Beach on the North end for dog lovers and their companions.

There’s no cost to visit, and parking is free nearby. 

San Diego's skyline seen from Coronado Island California.

Volleyball on South Mission Beach

Play volleyball with a group of friends at South Mission Beach (2677 Ocean Front Walk), where the game is free, and the nets are set up, first come, first serve. 

The weekends are busy, and it is a great place to find pickup games on the challenge courts.

Mission Bay & Beaches in San Diego, California

South Bay Salt Works

Bike, hike, or just stroll in the park between South San Diego and the south edge of Chula Vista as the active operation of salt is being harvested and processed. 

Along your walk, you might glimpse indigenous wildlife and birds as there are several nearby ponds and Majestic views of the bay.

The trail is made of loose gravel and decomposed granite and is best served by a mountain or hybrid bike.

Otay Ranch Town Center

Only 40 minutes from San Diego, Otay Ranch Town Center (2015 Birch Road) is a lovely little progressive town where you can wander and sightsee with your fur buddies, as pets are welcome.

It doesn’t cost anything to explore, but if you are in a spending mood, there are a variety of restaurants and stores. 

Throughout the year, they host several farmers’ markets days and nights on various days of the week. 

Have a Picnic in Marina View Park

Head to Marina View Park (900 Marina Parkway) If you are looking for fun free things to do in San Diego 

For couples, pack a basket with your favorite food and a bottle of wine for a picnic and enjoy the incredible views of the Marina.

Bring the kids and make it a day while they play on the playground, and you sit and enjoy the open space. 

Take a stroll or bike the path that links to the marina and enjoy the outdoors with the entire family.

Chula Vista Bayside Park

Bayside Park is a location to add to the list of things to do in Chula Vista for free with its wonderful walking trails and friendly people you meet as you feel the sea breeze. 

Here you can slow down and become one with nature.

Besides free, the word for this place is easy; easy parking and easy walking.

Free Indoor Activities in San Diego

If the weather is not cooperating, you will want to plan fun things to do in San Diego for free that are inside or at least under a cover.

Listed below are some indoor activities in San Diego you can enjoy without charge.

Timken Museum of Art

Still exploring free attractions in San Diego?

 The Timken Museum (1500 El Prado) is a quick stop and the only free museum in Balboa Park. 

An original Rembrandt is on display for public viewing and other iconic exhibits. 

Other museums in the park offer free Tuesdays for San Diego residents when they show an ID with their San Diego address. 

Mormon Battalion Historic Site

Learn about the soldiers and women who made the longest march in military history during the 

Mexican-American War at the Mormon Battalion Historic Site (2510 Juan St). 

It is free to visit, and all areas of the building are accessible to visitors with disabilities.

African Diaspora Museum and Research Center

Explore 6000 years of African history at the African Diaspora Museum and Research Center (2471 Congress St), where exhibits highlight the colonial and contemporary periods. 

The museum houses a collection of African artifacts, carvings, and weavings.

Free Things to Do in San Diego at Night

Check out some of the fun free things to do in San Diego after sundown.

Take Brewery Tour After Dark

For beer lovers looking for free things to do in San Diego at night, take a free brewery tour at Ballast Point Brewing (2215 India St).

Go behind the scenes to learn how Ballast Point Brewing was birthed in 1996 by a small group of local homebrewers exploring ways to make a great craft beer.

Committed to the craft of beer, this local brewing company is woven into the fabric of the community.

Ray St at Night

Revamping and worth visiting, Ray St in North Park is only a block long but full of live music and artists and their handiwork on display. 

At this part gallery, part craft fair, you can spend upwards of an hour just strolling through gallery rows, and admission is free.

Seaport Village

Walk along 14 acres of waterfront shopping and sightseeing at Seaport Village. 

Here you are free to explore the area until 9 pm, and it doesn’t cost anything making this an excellent option for free things to do at night or during the day in San Diego. 

Walk along and admire the unique shops, sailboats, and a slower, friendly vibe. 

There are plenty of beach seats and benches to sit, people-watch, and take in the great ocean views. 

Ponds and buildings at Seaport Village in San Diego.

Inexpensive Things to Do in San Diego

If you want to make the most of your time in the city, several of San Diego’s exciting activities are worth the extra money.

Below are some of the cheap tours and activities you can enjoy.

You may also like our guide to warm places to visit in USA in December featuring more things to do in San Diego.

San Diego Harbor Cruise

Take a harbor cruise in San Diego in a three-level luxury ship with outdoor and indoor seating.

The trip will take you to Coronado Bridge, Downtown San Diego, Midway Aircraft Carrier, and other waterfront landmarks. 

Snacks and drinks are also available on board.

San Diego Ghosts & Gravestones Trolley Tour

If you’re looking for a thrilling experience, take an evening trolley bus tour in San Diego and hear some scary and mysterious stories about the city.

You’ll explore cemeteries, the Old Town, and one of San Diego’s haunted places, the Whaley House.

This is also an exciting way to learn more about the city’s history.

USS Midway Museum

Take a self-guided tour of the  USS Midway Museum (910 N Harbor Dr) and see the world’s longest-serving aircraft carrier, the historic USS Midway. 

You can explore the ship’s engine room, galley, jail, and sleeping quarters and see around 25 restored aircraft.

There are also short films, flight simulators, and music videos that’ll let you experience the moments when the naval aircraft carrier was still in use.

Final Thoughts

We hope this guide to all the free things to do in San Diego helped you plan your activities! 

Let us know if you have any more recommendations for fellow locals or visitors.

Illinois in Winter: Attractions & Festive Things to Do

Downtown Chicago winter view with frozen lake

Whether you’re looking for an adventure-filled winter vacation or a relaxing getaway, Illinois has something to offer during the season.

Winter in the state can be cold, with temperatures that can drop to 10°F in the north and upper 20s in the south.

You’ll find snow-covered grounds presenting a beautiful landscape, and there are plenty of winter activities to keep people busy.

To help plan your trip, this guide will explore the things you can do in Illinois in winter like skiing, ice skating, snowboarding, winter hiking, and some winter-themed events.

Things to do in Illinois in the Winter

The activities listed below are sectioned by regions where they are located.

So get ready to put on your layers and prepare for your next winter adventure in Illinois.

You may also like our USA bucket list which features Illinois.

Northern Illinois Winter Getaways

Start your winter getaway in Illinois by visiting the northern part of the state for some awesome activities like skiing, snowboarding, and holiday light displays.

The following list will feature destinations in Northern Illinois including the town of Galena, Campton Hills, and Rockford.

Visit the Beautiful Town of Galena

Galena is one of the best places to visit in Illinois in winter because it offers lots of activities you can enjoy during the season.

If you look forward to skiing or snowboarding, you can go to Chestnut Mountain Resort (8700 W Chestnut Mountain Rd).

It features a 7-acre terrain park and 19 ski runs.

For beginners, they also offer skiing and snowboarding lessons.

Once you’ve had your fill of skiing the slopes, book a room at the Chestnut Mountain Resort Inn.

Ski boarder at sunset on snowy mountain

Cross-Country Skiing at Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa

For more things to do in Galena, Illinois in winter,  you can head to the Nordic Center at Eagle Ridge Resort and Spa (444 Eagle Ridge Dr).

The resort features facilities where you can do ice skating, snowshoeing, sledding, or cross-country skiing- and offer equipment rentals for these activities. 

Picture of snowshoes in winter

Winter Carnival

The best part of Galena’s winter season is the amazing Winter Carnival at Eagle Ridge.

There are arts and crafts activities, bonfires, ice carving, and more to enjoy.

Visitors can also find treats and drinks that are perfect for the season like hot chocolate and S’mores.

Ice Sculpting Contest in Rockford

For even more wintry wonder, make plans to attend the yearly Ice Sculpting Contest (1401 N 2nd St) in Rockford.

Located in the historic Sinnissippi Park, the Ice Sculpting Contest is a favorite event for locals and travelers alike.

For three days every January, the best sculptors from across the state go head-to-head to create the best ice sculpture.

Admission is free, which makes this an awesome winter activity for anyone.

Witness the Amazing Light Show in Elburn

Visiting the free Larsen Light Show (42W891 Beith Rd, Campton Hills) is one of the most festive things to do in Illinois in the winter.

From the end of November to Christmastime, you can stop by as soon as the sun sets and be amazed by a truly spectacular light display.

Be sure to enter by way of Route 38 or Route 64, as no traffic is allowed from the east on Beith Rd!

Wander Around the Morton Arboretum

Despite the bitter cold, winter in Illinois can be a magical time.

The Morton Arboretum (4100 Rte 53, Lisle) is open year-round and affords one of the best snowy walks in northern Illinois.

With 16 miles of trails and tens of thousands of trees, you’ll love strolling around the gardens and collections as the snow falls.

You won’t want to miss the winter event called Illumination: Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum, so be sure to get tickets now!

Things to Do in Chicago in Winter

Even though Chicago is located in northern Illinois, there are too many things to do in the city that shouldn’t take away from other winter activities in Illinois’s northern region.

You may also like our guide to Chicago at Christmas.

Ice Skate at Maggie Daley Park

For the most magical and romantic ice skating date, head to Maggie Daley Park to skate around the Ice Ribbon (337 E Randolph St).

The Ribbon is open from November to March and can be pretty crowded, especially on the weekends and holidays.

Reservations are required, whether you need to rent skates or not.

Explore the Frozen Lake

Winter in Illinois wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Lake Michigan to check out the frozen shore.

While the lake never completely freezes over, you’ll be able to see ‘ice pancakes’ in the water, and the edge usually freezes solidly.

Only if it’s safe to do so, walk out a little bit onto the lake’s frozen surface and explore!

You might even see the spectacular waves of frozen shards that occur from time to time.

If you’re not into the frosty winter weather, you can visit Chicago in fall and find many things to do.

Downtown Chicago winter view with frozen lake

Shop, Drink, and Eat at the Christkindlmarket

There is almost nothing more festive than Chicago’s own Christkindlmarket (50 W Washington St)!

The yearly market is modeled after the 16th-century holiday market in Nuremberg, Germany.

You’ll love the beautiful gifts, delicious foods, and all the opportunities to make lasting holiday memories with friends and family.

The market truly is one of the best things to do in Illinois in winter.

Go Sledding at Soldier Field

The midwest can be hopelessly flat, which usually makes it tough to find a good sledding hill.

Luckily, Soldier Field (1410 S Museum Campus Dr) built a 220-foot sledding hill as part of their landscaping design.

Pull on your snow pants and a warm coat and sled down one of the biggest hills in the city.

Take a Speakeasy Cocktail Tour

If you’re wondering what to do in Illinois during the winter, you’ll probably find that bar-hopping is the simplest and warmest activity.

This 3-hour speakeasy tour is a luxury experience in Chicago.

Visit the most coveted speakeasies once visited by gangsters and bank robbers, and taste all the best cocktails the city has to offer.

Plus, you’ll hear the incredible Prohibition-era stories that make Chicago so unique.

Chicago Theatre sign and buildings

Things to Do in Central Illinois

If you’re wondering what to do in Illinois during winter, the central part of the state has small towns and mid-sized cities that offer plenty of activities for the season.

Featured below are towns like Springfield, Quincy, and Andalusia.

Head to Starved Rock for Unique Illinois Winter Activities

Starved Rock State Park is one of the best places in Illinois in winter.

If you are a more adventurous winter person, there are tons of opportunities for ice climbing, cross-country skiing, and hiking on miles of trails.

If you’re interested more in winter wildlife, Starved Rock State Park is a hot spot for bald eagles in the winter.

For the best Illinois winter getaway, you should not miss the #1 attraction in the state of Illinois!

Frozen waterfall in St. Louis Canyon, Starved Rock State Park, Illinois

Adventure at Ski Snowstar Winter Sports Park

If you’re planning the perfect Illinois winter vacation, make sure you stop by Ski Snowstar Winter Sports Park (9500 126th St W, Andalusia).

Some of the best winter sports are here, including skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and more.

The lift tickets and season passes are for sale on their website, so be sure to reserve ahead of time before you visit.

Check out the Soderstrom Castle

If you’d like to step back in time and explore the wintry wonder of a castle, including the Soderstrom Castle in your plans for a romantic getaway in Illinois in winter.

The stately towers, beautiful views, and charming atmosphere make the Soderstrom Castle a truly unique place to visit in Illinois in winter.

Visit the Historic Town of Springfield

Springfield is one of the best places to go in Illinois in winter because it’s a place for history buffs.

The hometown of Abraham Lincoln, many of the attractions in the town center around his life.

Even still, places like Custom Cup Coffee (319 E Monroe St) and Obed & Isaacs Microbrewery (625 S Second St) are fun spots to visit when you’re passing through.

Make sure to visit the Dana Thomas House (301 E Lawrence Ave), designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, before you leave!

Illinois State Capitol Building in Springfield at sunrise.

Visit the Washington Botanical Garden

Located in Springfield, Illinois, the Washington Botanical Garden (1740 W Fayette Ave) is a little oasis in the middle of winter.

The star of the garden is definitely the Conservatory, a 50-foot glass dome that houses more than 150 species of rare and exotic plants.

Enter the Conservatory to feel the warm air, enjoy a bright burst of greenery, and escape the winter’s chill.

Explore the Quaint Town of Quincy

Quincy is actually called “Gem City,” and for good reason.

This small, cozy town is a perfect place to go in winter in Illinois because the downtown area is gorgeous.

There are multiple historic areas of Quincy that you should explore when you visit: the Downtown Quincy Historic District and the South Side German Historic District.

As small as this town may be, you’re still in for a treat if you book a room at the cozy Stoney Creek Inn (3809 E Broadway St), perfect for winter!

Dark wood interiors, an indoor pool, and a sauna are all featured at the inn.

Quincy Memorial Bridge in winter, Quincy,IL.

Southern Illinois Winter Getaway

Southern Illinois, also known as the ‘’Little Egypt’, is home to many historic and cultural sites as well as beautiful sceneries.

And despite the winter weather, this region of the state has plenty of activities to offer that you can enjoy during the season.

Dine at the Oldest Cafe on Route 66

Illinois in the winter can be a brutally cold place.

That’s why you should make sure to get out of the cold and duck into Ariston Cafe for a hot coffee and a hearty sandwich.

Ariston Restaurant (413 Old Rte 66 N, Litchfield) is one of the oldest restaurants on the historic Route 66 highway.

Enjoy a delicious sandwich at this iconic American cafe.

Visit Cedarhurst Center for the Arts

Another great place to see in Illinois in winter is  The Cedarhurst Center for the Arts (2600 Richview Road, Mt Vernon),  a 33,000-acre cultural center that comes with art galleries, a learning center, and a performance hall.

If you go here during the winter, especially in December, you’ll be able to catch The Lights– an annual event featuring around one million holiday lights. 

The whole area transforms into a winter wonderland and you can enjoy lots of family-friendly activities like a holiday movie showing, photos with Santa, art activities, games, and more.

Photograph Mary’s River Covered Bridge

Lots of people prefer covered bridges in the fall, but of all the places to visit in Illinois during winter, covered bridges are some of the best.

Mary’s River Covered Bridge (US Rte 50) is located between Briarhill Rd and Surman Ln.

It was built in 1854 and was key for tolls and agricultural transport.

The covered bridge is a historical site and has a lovely picnic area to rest and set up the perfect photograph!

Hike in Giant City State Park

Winter hiking is some of the best and most serene hiking, especially if you come prepared with enough layers.

One of the best spots to hike in Illinois in winter is at Giant City State Park (235 Giant City Rd, Makanda).

This southern Illinois natural area is a treat to explore in the winter.

Find miles of trails, wildlife sightings, and so much more in this amazing state park.

Have a Tasting at Blue Sky Vineyard

A chill winter’s day is a perfect time to indulge in a glass of local wine.

Blue Sky Vineyard (3150 S Rocky Comfort Rd, Makanda) is a staple of the southern Illinois wine country.

Visit the vineyard, sample some of the best wines in the region, and even take a few bottles home with you as souvenirs!

This winery is a ‘true taste of Tuscany,’ even in the dead of winter.

Final Thoughts

We hope this guide helps you discover what to do in Illinois in winter for your next trip. 

Feel free to share your experience or favorite places in the state in the comments below.

23 Fun Things to Do in San Francisco at Night

San Francisco skyline at night, California

Looking for a fun and exciting way to spend your night in San Francisco?

Whether you like to see the lights brighten up the streets as you explore the city or looking for activities and attractions that are best enjoyed after the sun goes down, San Francisco at night has a lot to offer.

To help plan your visit, this guide compiled a list of things to do in San Francisco during nighttime including tours, theater shows, sightseeing, bar hopping, and more.

For something a bit romantic, check our guide to date nights in San Francisco.

Things to Do in San Francisco at Night

Alcatraz Night Tour

Going on a night tour in Alcatraz is probably one of the best things to do in San Francisco at night.

The Alcatraz offers an entirely different vibe after sundown especially when you explore the prison that once housed infamous convicts like Machine Gun Kelly, the Birdman, and Al Capone.

Aside from this iconic site, you’ll also be able to stop by places like the Fisherman’s Wharf and the famed Boudin Bakery.

Prison cells in Alcatraz D Block,San Francisco, California

Musee Mecanique 

Want to visit some of San Francisco’s unique attractions?

Open until 8 pm every night, Musee Mecanique (Pier 45) offers vintage arcade games that are fully functional and would be one of those fun, quirky cool things to do in San Francisco at night with the kids. 

Bring your quarters to play the games, but entry into the San Francisco museum is free. 

Museum of 3D Illusions

A five-minute walk from Pier 39, the Museum of 3D Illusions (55-61 Jefferson St) is open until 8 pm, and the entire family will love it.

Be a part of the illusion with 40 + pieces to see; this place delivers the best photo-ops for your loved ones to capture.

Museum Nights

A favorite pastime event in San Francisco is museum nights.

Few museums offer an after-dark experience every month where patrons can view the exhibits with drinks, and some even have a DJ. 

Exploratorium (Pier 15 Embarcadero at Green St) has an after-dark event with a bar, DJ, and full access to the science exhibits, for adults only.

Comedy Club

Most comedy clubs require a fee to enter, but there are several that you can consider if you are looking for things to do in San Francisco at night for free. 

Cobb’s Comedy Club (915 Columbus Ave) has many top standup comedians grace their stage.

There is a nice meet and greet at the end of the show. 

Decent food, strong drinks (2 drink minimum), and an intimate setting.

Polk Street

Polk Street at night is more of an older crowd looking more for having drinks with friends while watching a Warriors game and less dancing.

If you are into Trivia, Soda Popinski has Tuesday trivia night. 

Polk Street is great around the holidays as it is even more alive for special occasions such as St. Paddy’s day, Halloween and SantaCon.

San Francisco skyline at night, California

Marrakech Magic Theater

When you go to the Marrakech Magic Theater (419 O’Farrell St), be prepared to be thoroughly entertained in this Moroccan-style bar shrouded in mystery.

The evening begins an hour before the main event with a pre-show and a meet and greet. 

They are confident you will love the 75-minute experience that follows; you are offered a money-back guarantee if you are not completely satisfied.

Cheaper Than Therapy

A comedy club run by comedians, Cheaper Than Therapy (Shelton Theater 533 Sutter St) is an excellent option if you are looking for things to do in Union Square San Francisco at night

They rotate the comedian lineup often, so you can go back often to see fresh content. 

Large group and LGBTQ friendly and wheelchair accessible. 

Tip: For good seats and cheap drinks, arrive early. 

Union Square Ice Skating

The Union Square Ice Skating Rink (333 Post St) is a great winter activity if you visit downtown San Francisco at night with the kids.

The scenery at night is gorgeous, and polar bear and penguin-shaped walkers are available for the little ones. 

For a romantic, fun date night, skate under the stars with your partner if you are in San Francisco in the winter.

You may also like our guide to San Francisco in December featuring ice skating in Union Square.

Night view of a giant Christmas tree in San Francisco, California

Broadway Show

See one of the phenomenal Broadway shows in Union Square at one of the three Curran (445 Geary St.), Golden Gate (1 Taylor St), and Orpheum theaters (1192 Market St). 

There are performances year-round, and indeed something that will entertain you if you are a theater lover looking for ideas about where to go in San Diego at night.

Skate & Bowl

If you are under 21 and the nightclub scene isn’t your thing, but you and your friends still want stuff to do in San Francisco at night, go bowling or skating, your choice, at Yerba Buena Ice Skating and Bowling Center (750 Folsom St).

A fun spot to hang out and bowl or skate with your friends, there is also comfort food available, making this an ideal spot to go on the weekends.

The NHL rink has an advanced skating area in the middle.

A wide range of skills, bowling, and skating, come to enjoy a night out. 

City Nights

If you are looking for things to do in SF at night under 21 then City Nights (715 Harrison St) is worth mentioning. 

Under 21 years old patrons are welcome to access a full bar but don’t have to drink to have fun.

The club spans 15,000 square feet, offers two dance floors, and regularly hosts themed events that attract visits from celebrity performers. 

Panoramic Night Tour

The Big Bus tour is one of the best things to do in San Francisco at night with family.

Tour begins at Fisherman’s Wharf and provides a fantastic opportunity to see a completely lit-up panoramic view of the San Francisco skyline.

The double-decker bus wraps up back in the city with amazing views of glittering lights along the wharf.

Ride the Cable Car

The only moving national monument in the country, San Franciso Cable Cars, provides a great family outing at night.

Riding the cable car (Powell Hyde & Mason) at night brings a different perspective of the city. 

Trolly riding in San Francisco c

The Escape Game

The Escape Room (150 Kearny St) delivers one of the best things to do at night in San Francisco with kids, as there’s something for the entire family.

With five (5) one-hour games from which to choose, each game offers a fun way for the family to bond and work together and challenges the problem-solving skills of each family member.

See the Bay Bridge Lights

Viewed and one of the most iconic San Francisco night attractions, the Bay Bridge light show is spectacular and worth seeing if you are looking for fun things to do in San Francisco at night.

Designed by light artist Leo Villareal, the lights at night are practically mesmerizing and run from dusk to dawn.

Bay Bridge also features in our San Francisco itinerary.

View of fireworks above Ferry Building Bay Bridge in San Francisco

Take The Ferry to Sausalito

Taking a ferry ride to Sausalito is one of the best San Francisco things to do at night.

Extend the night with a cozy dinner for two and take advantage of one of the best ways to take in the views of San Francisco at night from the water. 

Just 11 miles from San Francisco, Sausalito’s vibe has been compared to a quaint town in Italy with picturesque views. 

Ghirardelli Square

Take an after-dinner stroll to Ghirardelli Square for some ice cream or some frozen mocha in the summer or hot cocoa in the winter. 

Ghirardelli Square is a landmark and famous for its chocolate, ice cream, and other sweet delicacies and you can snag a piece of free chocolate.

Ghirardelli Square also features on our San Francisco bucket list.

California Cannabis Tours

California Cannabis Tours (2607 Mandela Pkwy) is a short 15 min drive from San Francisco and is open 24 hours. 

Their signature Wine and Weed Tours are recommended for uplifting San Francisco night activities.

Register for their Puff Pass & Paint or Puff, Pass & Pottery to explore your creativity at another level. 

Puff Pass and Pastry is their Cannabis cooking class. 

Sing-A-Long

Grab a good friend and sing-a-long to your favorite movie soundtracks and other classics at the Castro Theatre (429 Castro St).

The show begins with timeless movie soundtracks with subtitles, so there is plenty of opportunity for vocal preparation.

You are encouraged to come dressed in costume as the show begins with a costume competition.

Sing to the top of your lungs, with everyone else, while watching the movie play on the screen ahead. 

This fun activity also includes free prop bags for the audience.

Foreign Cinema 

Offering Californian-Mediterranean cuisine while films play in the background, Foreign Cinema (2534 Mission St) is a popular date night activity booked up well in advance, so that should tell you something. 

Foreign Cinema has ranked as one of San Francisco’s top 100 restaurants, and more than just couples come to enjoy the sensual atmosphere and delicious food.

The Mission District

One of the places to visit in San Francisco at night is the Mission District for a casual, laid-back evening adventure with live music and a hippie vibe.

If your thing is authentic dive bars and trendy drinking holes with live music The Mission is one of the best late-night San Francisco activities and areas to visit.

You will find all ages and a mixture of cultures here with some of the best restaurants; however, some bars have age restrictions.

Trick Dog

Located in the Mission District, Trick Dog (3010 20th St) should go on your list of fun things to do in San Francisco at night. 

Housed in a converted warehouse, Trick Dog, is a trendy place with a hipster feel where you can just hang out for drinks and overall ambiance.

Known for its hamburger in a hot dog bun and great cocktails, Trick Dog also offers out-of-towners unique views of San Francisco from their bar seats.

Final Thoughts

Did you enjoy our guide to San Francisco at Night? Let us know in the comments.

If you want to explore more places in California, be sure to check out our other guides below.

San Diego in December: Festive Activities and Holiday Events

Small House with gift boxes and holiday tree in Spanish Village Art Center, San Diego, California

Try traveling to San Diego in December if you don’t like the chilly winter weather but are seeking a fantastic getaway location during the season.

Throughout the month, San Diego experiences pleasant, sunny weather with temperatures ranging from 49 to 66 degrees Fahrenheit.

This makes it convenient for exploring the city, where you’ll find many festivals and activities for the holidays.

To help plan your trip, this guide will discuss the festive things you can do in San Diego in December including Christmas-themed events, shows, lights, parades, and more.

Sightseeing tours, winter camping, winter surfing, and whale viewing are also included.

You may also enjoy our guide to California in December.

San Diego also made it to our list of warm places to visit in December in the USA.

Festive Activities and Holiday Events in San Diego in December

Check out all the holiday events and activities lined up during the month- including the Winter Wonderland Festival, San Diego’s Santa Run, and holiday parades.

Winter Wonderland Festival

The annual Winter Wonderland Festival is sponsored by the California Center for the Arts (340 N Escondido Blvd) and is a treat for the entire family to play in real snow and sip on holiday drinks at Santa’s Cafe.

While here, partake in artists-led holiday crafting activities and shop the works of local artists. 

Holidays at Legoland

Experience Holidays at Legoland (One LEGOLAND Dr) which features lots of Christmas-themed and kid-friendly activities.

Kids can take photos with special characters like LEGO Gingerbread man and LEGO Santa.

There’s also a 30-foot LEGO Christmas tree, holiday treats, rides, and live music.

The event starts from November 19 to January 2.

Botanic Garden Lightscape

The Botanic Garden Lightscape (300 Quail Gardens Dr) is a must-see when you visit San Diego in December. 

Bring the entire family and escape into a world of beautiful colors and magical sounds. 

Dress for the weather and wear comfortable shoes as the walking path is one mile around the garden.

Tip: The path is accessible to strollers and wheelchairs.

Santa Run

If you are looking for fun things to do in San Diego in December, participate in the 5K San Deigo Santa Run (875 Garnet Ave(. 

When you run, you will receive Santa Swag which includes a Santa Suit, sunglasses, a custom bib, chip time result, and a complimentary drink ticket (redeemed at Mavericks Beach Club).

Santa Run is stroller friendly and has a dedicated area for dogs (Santa’s helpers).

Encinitas Holiday Parade

Visit Santa Claus in San Diego at the Encinitas Holiday Parade (Coast Highway 101).

This San Diego Christmas event is for all ages and kicks off with a tree lighting ceremony at the Lumberyard shopping center courtyard and moves from D Street to J Street.

Old Town Holiday Lights

Old Town (4010 Twiggs St) in San Diego in winter is unique because the summer crowds are gone, but the authentic rich history of the birthplace of California remains. 

Stroll through the historic Old Town or take a hop-on hop-off trolley tour to experience beautiful holiday lights and decorations.

Holiday lights and Christmas ornaments hanging at Mexican-style houses in Old Town San Diego California

Balboa Park

See San Diego in December and enjoy holiday performances and twinkling lights at Balboa Park December Nights (1549 El Prado). 

You will walk, mingle, and grab some delicious food during the two-night event as you enjoy the lights and other Christmas activities. 

Listen to a free organ concert of your favorite holiday covers at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion by The Spreckels Organ Society organists.

Over 300,000 people attend this free holiday event each year to explore the 1200-acre park full of walking paths, museums, and gardens.

Balboa State Park in San Diego California

La Jolla Christmas Parade

The La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival are part of the San Diego winter events you can look forward to. 

The outdoor fun takes place at Kline & Gerard in downtown La Jolla and includes games, crafts, and food.

Be sure to stop by the recreation center to take a photo with Santa.

Holiday Pet Parade

Enjoy live music and watch The Gaslamp Pet Parade (starting at 401 K St), where the cutest holiday-attired pets compete for prizes and boasting rights at the Pet Expo.

The Pet Parade is free and open to the public and travels up Fifth avenue and ends at the MLK Promenade Park. 

You are encouraged to enter your holiday-dressed pet to walk in the parade, and the first 350 entries will receive complimentary pet-friendly goodie bags. 

Arrive early to score a good spot to see the parade and peruse the pet expo.

Parade of Lights

The San Diego Parade of Lights (1449 Cesar E. Chavez Pkwy) is one of the favorite things to do in San Diego in December for locals and travelers alike. 

Be a part of an honored tradition and watch over 80 boats parade around the bay with their holiday lights.

More than 100,000 residents and visitors each year migrate to San Diego’s shores for this free event that lasts 90 minutes.

Holiday Bowl Parade

The Holiday Bowl Parade (California Street) is at the top of the list of things to do in San Diego during winter.

This annual event is a long tradition where the downtown streets of San Diego come alive with marching bands, floats, and the largest balloon parade in America. 

The festivities begin with a 5K run/walk, and participants who make it to the finish line receive a medal at the end of the event.

The free street-side viewing attracts 100,000 spectators annually.

Christmas in Old Poway Park

Escape back in time while you enjoy live music and caroling and visit Santa in Poway’s Christmas in the Park (14134 Midland Rd). 

The family will love the children’s crafts, model trains, and tasty holiday treats. 

Board the Steam locomotive train and take the loop around the park at night to see the Christmas tree. 

Christmas tree lighting and Santa’s arrival are two highlights when thinking of things to do in San Diego in winter.

Santa-Grotto

Other Things to Do in San Diego in December

In this list, you’ll find more things to do in San Diego, California in December including ice skating, winter camping, holiday bar hopping, and tours.

Visiting San Diego on a budget? Check this guide.

Torrey Pines State Park

Winter hiking in Torrey Pines is a treat in December because with fewer crowds, it may feel like you have the trails all to yourself. 

Hike the Guy Fleming trail for panoramic views and an easy loop.

Take the trail to the beach to see a scenic view that stretches 4.5 miles, where people come to fish, sunbathe, swim, and surf. 

Broken hill in Torrey Pines State Park, San Diego, California

Winter Camping

With waterfront RV camping and a wide range of activities and amenities, no wonder Campland on the Bay (2211 Pacific Beach Dr) is a favorite location for winter camping.

Located only 14 minutes from Downtown San Diego and 21 minutes from Torrey Pines State Park, there’s so much to see and do. 

Tents camping is allowed, so you don’t even need an RV if you are thinking about San Diego winter camping in December.

Liberty Station

You can count on great food and a full calendar of activities in December at Liberty Station (2820 Historic Decatur Rd).

Plenty of activities for the entire family include crafts and woodworking for the kids and several workshops for adults.

Visit some of San Diego’s best restaurants, including sushi, ramen, bakery, and specialty cheeses, which offer seasonal holiday menu items.

This is a foodie’s heaven, and the biggest challenge may be what to choose to eat from so many options. 

The weather is nice in December so enjoy the outdoor seating while you eat.

Explore the Spanish Village Art Center

The Spanish Village Art Center (1770 Village Pl) at Balboa State Park features art exhibits and crafts from local artisans.

You can shop here for gifts like handblown glass ornaments, baskets, jewelry, and more.

This place is also known for its quaint houses and colorful tiles that get vibrant and festive when decked out in holiday-themed ornaments like gift boxes, lights, and trees during the season.

Small House with gift boxes and holiday tree in Spanish Village Art Center, San Diego, California

Old Globe Theatre

If you are visiting San Diego in December, you must bring the children to a viewing of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas at The Old Globe Theatre (1363 Old Globe Way).

The entire family will love seeing Dr. Seuss’ storybook classic come to life on stage as the theater transforms into Whoville.

Matinees present a great time of day to bring the younger watchers, and while here, be sure to explore the rest of the park. 

Visit La Casa de Estudillo

If you want to get a taste of history and experience the feel of San Diego during the 1800s, head to La Casa Estudillo (4001 Mason St. Old Town), one of San Diego’s oldest houses.

This historic home is built in 1827 featuring Spanish architecture and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Note that the place is not open for visits during Christmas and New Year’s eve.

La Casa de Estudillo in Old Town San Diego, California

Nason’s Beer Hall 

During the season, Nason’s Beer Hall (570 J Street) is decked out in Christmas decor and holiday lights.

They serve draft and bottled beers, cocktails, as well as food for brunch and dinner.

And one great thing about this place is they have food menu items for your dogs, should you bring them.

Polite Provisions

Polite Provisions (4696 30th St) transforms into a Christmas-themed pop-up bar and features festive decorations and lights.

You can go to this retro-style bar and get some of their seasonally-themed drinks- like the Snow Ball Old Fashion which is a mix of things like butterscotch rye, spiced Demerara, wormwood bitters, and Orange Zest.

Winter Surfing

Colder water, giant waves, and smaller crowds are what you can expect if you are looking for San Diego winter surfing. 

Because there are fewer people, the waters become your playground to surf in San Diego in December, particularly at La Jolla and Encinitas. 

The consistent waves stay soft and mellow and are favorable for beginners.

For advanced surfers looking for more of a challenge, head to La Jolla (Black Beach), Oceanside, and Grandview for bigger swells and incredible waves. 

View of the ocean and buff covered in greens at Beacon's Beach, San Diego, California

Whale Watching

San Diego in the winter means the migration of gray whales from Alaska to Mexico.

Take a 90-minute seal tour and watch 20,000 whales migrate to warmer waters.

Whale watching is a fantastic experience that you can witness starting mid-December.

Relax and encounter some of the best views of San Diego by land and water. 

A Day Trip to Julian

San Diego winter activities should include taking a day trip to Julian to enjoy a warm cup of apple cider and a slice of apple pie on a Saturday in December. 

This small mountain town with its apple orchards is just over an hour’s drive northeast of San Diego, where you can explore charming neighborhoods and enjoy wandering Christmas carolers. 

Julian is one of San Diego’s scenic treasures, with hiking trails, winter camping, and rich California history. 

Ice Skating by the Sea

On the beautiful Island of Coronado, Ice skating in San Diego in the winter has become another tradition that starts in late November and continues through December at Hotel Del Coronado (1500 Orange Ave). 

Watch incredible views of the Pacific Ocean while you skate.

Reserve your spot rink-side as you warm up around the roaring fire pit, and order your favorite holiday drink and snacks.

Final Thoughts

Did you enjoy our list of activities and events in San Francisco in December? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Aside from San Diego, you may also want to explore more places in California like the ones in the guide below.

San Francisco in December: Festive Activities and Holiday Events

Night view of a giant Christmas tree in San Francisco, California

The holiday season is in full swing, and there’s an air of excitement and celebration in San Francisco in December.

If you’re planning to visit, this guide will explore all the festive things to do in San Francisco during the month including Christmas-themed events, shows, lights, parades, and more.

Also on this list are some of the city’s great restaurants and bars that are worth visiting for their special holiday features and seasonal menus.

Looking to visit more places in San Francisco? Read this 3 days itinerary and California in December.

Holiday Events and Festive Activities in San Francisco in December

Check out all the holiday events and activities lined up during the month, from tree lighting and window displays to Christmas Carol and Winterfest.

Fisherman’s Wharf Holiday Boat Parade

Starting at Pier 39, the largest parade of boats (75-100) on San Francisco Bay happens in December. 

A tradition since 1994, the waterfront transforms into a dazzling sight at the oldest, largest, and brightest holiday decoration parade.

After the parade, Jefferson Street, at the Sportfishing Harbor, is the place to be as the lights continue to be spectacular and prominent.

Santa in San Francisco

December is a busy month for Santa as he makes several appearances around San Francisco. 

Another place to be sure to see Santa is at Ghirardelli Square, where he is ready to meet and greet and is photo-ready.

While at Ghirardelli Square, grab some of the most famous chocolate around as you take in the sights, including charming repurposed restaurants and shops.

Santa-Grotto

San Francisco’s Nutcracker

A holiday tradition since 1944, The San Francisco Ballet’s performance of the Nutcracker is one of the most anticipated events in December. 

All performances are at the War Memorial Opera House (201 Van Ness Avenue), and the young and young at heart attend.

A Christmas Carol

San Francisco at Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a least one viewing of Charles Dickens’s classic A Christmas Carol at the American Conservatory Geary Theater (415 Geary Street​​).

One of the Bay Area’s favorite holiday performances includes a live cast and music you don’t want to miss. 

Christmas Tree Viewing 

The Bank of America Tower (55 California Street) is the most recognized tower on the West Coast, and its tree lighting ceremony draws a large crowd in San Francisco in December for the dazzling lights and the singers who perform.  

Holiday Music and Christmas Tree at Pier 39

See the Christmas tree at Pier 39 lit up from late November to early January, decorated with special lights and ornaments.

There will be holiday music and if you want to explore the area, shopping and dining spots are also available.

Civic Center Plaza Annual Tree Lighting Event

See San Francisco’s City Hall lit up in beautiful holiday lights along with its big Christmas tree.

And on the first week of December, you can attend the annual Civic Center Plaza Tree Lighting just across the City Hall, which also features a magnificent Christmas tree and a beautiful light display.

It’s an event the whole family can enjoy as it includes a Christmas parade, a theater performance, and a toy giveaway for children.

San Francisco City Hall lit up for Christmas

Christmas Tree Lighting in Union Square

Macy’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting in Union Square is a big deal and kicks off in November and stays lit until the New Year.

The event is also ideal for Christmas shopping in the area since many sales are geared toward the event.

Union Square also features in our guide to date nights in San Francisco.

Night view of a giant Christmas tree in San Francisco, California

Macy’s Holiday Window Display

If you are wondering what to do in San Francisco in winter for the day, go see the Macy’s Holiday window display.

Since 1870, Macy’s has enchanted generations of spectators with its spectacular window displays for the Christmas holiday. 

While you are here, say hello to Santa, as he is always available for photo opportunities in Santaland.

Winterfest at Great America

Winterfest will amaze the entire family, home of one of the winter’s most significant festivals in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

With over seven million lights, giant toy soldiers, and rides for all ages, Winterfest at Great America is one of the best things to do in San Francisco in winter.

More Things to Do in San Francisco in December

This list features more activities you can do in San Francisco in December including guided tours, sightseeing spots, live music, shopping, and more.

For more things to do in San Francisco at any time of the year, visit this guide.

Muir Woods Half-Day Trip

Take a guided tour of the giant redwood trees and Muir Woods National Monument. 

The tour is 4 to 5 hours, and pick up from San Francisco is included. 

Extend your day, rent a bike to explore Sausalito, and return by ferry.

Presidio of San Francisco

Wear comfortable shoes, pack your lunch, and spend a perfect December day at Presidio—once an old army base and now a national park.

With 24-plus miles of hiking trails (one goes to the Golden Gate Bridge) and at least eight scenic park overlooks, Presidio offers a lot of history in their detailed guided and self-guided tour.

San Francisco Bus Tour

One of the best ways to see San Francisco in the winter is from the top deck of a big bus.

Take a hop-on hop-off bus tour and experience San Francisco at your own pace.

You can choose a 24 or 48-hour ticket, and there are several hidden gems on this tour, including the Golden Gate Bridge and the Transamerica Pyramid.

Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco - red bridge over water on blue sky day

Free Days at the Museum

San Francisco’s things to do in December do not have to cost a lot or anything at all when you consider the museums offer free days to see their temporary or permanent collections. 

Consider visiting one each week as the free day varies per museum. 

For instance, The Asian Art Museum (200 Larkin St) has over 18,000 artifacts in their collection of at least 2000 you can see up close.

Take the Cable Car

San Francisco in December is unique and familiar through a cable car ride. 

You have two options; The Powell Hyde line is the most popular and a bit of a 

tourist attraction year-round.

The second, less crowded option but still a fantastic way to experience San Francisco is the California Street Cable Car at Van Ness.

Trolly riding in San Francisco c

Concerts and Live Music 

In December, winter activities in San Francisco include concerts and live music venues 

for music lovers.

The Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, the Fillmore, and the Hill Masonic Center are just three venues to see top performances in or around the San Francisco Bay Area.

Shopping and Sightseeing

Getting in the holiday spirit in San Francisco in December is a good idea for bargain hunters doing their Christmas shopping. 

Union Square is the heart of luxury shopping with the outdoor shopping mall, but each district has its array of shops to explore.

Haight Ashbury area shopping is excellent if you want something vintage and unique.

Pacific Heights has something for everyone: high-end fashion and showrooms, art galleries, and toy stores.

The Castro District

With all the things to see, do and eat, you can always expect an exciting and enjoyable time in the Castro District, one of San Francisco’s historic areas. 

Tour the welcoming LGBTQ+ community on foot as walking tours are readily available or on two wheels and see something unique at every turn. 

Legs with fishnets and red shoes sign in San Francisco Castro District

Sports Fans Delight

For Golden State Warrior sports fans, San Francisco winter activities must include seeing their favorite team as they grace the court in December at the Chase Center (1 Warriors Way) in San Francisco. 

Experience the purple and yellow fan rave during one of the most exciting times of the season.

Things to Do in San Francisco in Winter at Night

Ready for some nightlife fun in San Francisco? December’s cool weather is a great time to check out the city’s bars and night tours. 

You may also like our guide to San Francisco at night.

Brewster’s Miracle Pop-Up Bar

Just an hour’s drive from San Francisco, head to Brewsters Beer Garden (229 Water St, Petaluma) in December for its Miracle Christmas pop-up bar that runs until early January.

The place gets decorated with mini Santa Clause, lights, gift boxes, and tinsels hanging by the ceiling and walls.

There are also holiday-themed drinks served like their Grinch’s Grog, a mix of rum, peppermint, and hot chocolate.

Cobb’s Comedy Club

Cobb’s Comedy Club (915 Columbus Ave) seats 400 and offers a flavor of old San Francisco and the city’s changing dynamic nightlife.

Celebrity comedians like Dave Chappelle, Russell Peters, Angela Johnson, and more have graced the club’s comedy mic.

For updated performers in December, be sure to check their events calendar.

Tinsel Time at Trade Routes 

From December through January, Trade Routes (1750 Polk St) hosts its annual Tinsel Time holiday pop-up.

The bar interior gets decked out in Christmas decor and lights along with some festive music.

They also serve a seasonal menu of delicious holiday cocktails and punch bowls.

Alcatraz Afterdark

Alcatraz is an entirely different experience at nightfall, and what better way to experience it than taking a tour?

This tour also provides access to captivating audio narrated by former guards and inmates.

Note that during the winter months, Alcatraz City Cruises only runs one tour a night to the island and is closed during Christmas.

Alcatraz on island San Francisco

Sippin’ Santa at Kona’s 

Want to spend your December night sipping some festive cocktails?

Head to Kona’s Street Market (32 3rd Street) for their annual pop-up, Sippin’ Santa.

The place gets decorated with holiday lights, trees, and tinsels for that Christmas vibe.

21st Amendment Brewery

If you are looking for good pub food, craft beer, and a great way to spend a casual San Francisco night with friends, then head over to 21st Amendment (563 2nd Street)

A combination of brewery and restaurant with several varieties of beers to sample.

Non-alcoholic beverages and veggie food choices are also available for non-drinking vegetarians.

Open seating for easy conversation, games, and lots of parking.

Tip: Order the sampler and be delighted with the many selections of seasonal winter beer. 

Alchemist Bar & Lounge

The Alchemist Bar and Lounge (​​679 3rd St) is a great place to have a night out as they serve food and drinks until midnight.

If you head here in December, you’ll see the place come alive with all the holiday lights that decorate the place.

Deck the Halls Bar

Deck the Halls Bar (546 Broadway) is a holiday pop-up bar that is open until Christmas Day.

There will be holiday lights, trees, as well as drinks served for the season.

One of the most famous is their Krampus shots, which is a mixture of stout, egg, sherry, rum, agave, and fire.

Non-alcoholic drinks like ciders are also served.

Rickshaw Stop

Rickshaw Stop (155 Fell St) is a popular spot for live music, dancing, and legit drinks.

If you are looking for an intimate dive feel to enjoy with close friends, Rickshaw is a great outlet to go at night in San Francisco.

You can find performances scheduled for the month of December on their website’s calendar.

The Chapel

The Chapel (777 Valencia St) is a church turned music venue that features live jazz with a soulful folk sound. 

You can check the venue’s calendar to see performances scheduled in December.

Tip: Sit 30 feet from the front for the best acoustic sound.

San Francisco Weather

The San Francisco winters are crisp but cozy enough to explore the beautiful city on foot or bike. 

Temps can drop in the 40s in the evening and go as high as 60 degrees mid-day.

Comfortable shoes and warm layering clothing are ideal for visiting San Francisco in the winter.

The city may also experience a bit of rain in December and in case it happens, check out things you can do in San Francisco on a rainy day.

Final Thoughts

We hope you enjoy our list of activities and events in San Francisco in December.

Which one is your favorite? Share your thoughts in the comments.