Fun Things To Do This Winter

Santa Clara
Winterfest at Great America:
Now-Dec. 31. It's not too late to continue the fun of the holidays. Great America has been transformed into a winter wonderland with festive lights throughout the park. Enjoy a cavalade of carolers, musicians, ice skating shows, and more entertainment in an atmosphere of joy and excitement.  Warm your hands by the firepits, drink hot chocolate, adn sit under the snow blowers to experience snowflakes on site. At the same time, ride rollercoasters and thrill rides that has made this theme park an icon for entertainment in Santa Clara. Tickets: under $30. Discount tickets at Costco.  Location: 4701 Great America Pkwy. Call: 408.988.1776. See

Santa Train: Now-Dec. 28Napa Valley Wine Train announces the return of its Santa Train, an interactive musical adventure for the entire family. The Santa Train runs Nov. 19 through Dec. 28 from 5:30 – 7 p.m. and 7:15 – 9:15 p.m. (trains do not run on Dec. 24 or 25). Guests will experience games, sing-alongs, and a fun cast of holiday-inspired characters, all while enjoying hot cocoa and freshly baked cookies. For the third consecutive year, the Napa Valley Wine Train has partnered with the Ticket to Dream Foundation to invite hundreds of Northern California foster children aboard the Santa Train free of charge. Rates $39 per person. Location: 1275 McKinstry St. Call: 800.427.4124. See for details. 

New Year's Eve Dinner and Jazz at The Meritage Resort (adults only): December 31, 6-9 p.m. A fantastic toast of wine, a dinner, and jazz awaits.  Tickets $175 per person, must be 21 and over.  Includes admission to the after-party with a live band. Location: 875 Bordeaux Way; 866.370.6272. Find out more at

San Francisco
Walt Disney Family Museum's Home for the Holidays at Carolwood
:  Now-Jan. 7. Enter an immersive seasonal installation celebrating Walt’s family and his love of trains. An elaborate, three-dimensional model of the Disney family home, which once stood on Carolwood Drive in the Holmby Hills section of Los Angeles, will be the most prominent element of the exhibition, featuring a miniature version of Walt’s steam locomotive, the Lilly Belle, traveling around his Carolwood Pacific Fair Weather Route—a half-mile track that crisscrossed the home’s lawn and flowerbeds. Decorated with seasonal lights and greenery, this colorful and intricate scale model will be ceremoniously illuminated for the first time on Walt’s birthday, Wednesday, December 5, coinciding with the museum’s free admission day. 

To further enhance the holiday experience, the gallery will be filled with replicas of Christmas cards originally sent by The Walt Disney Company and crafted by Disney artists, including Walt’s Nine Old Men, a group of influential animators whose work is currently being showcased as part of the museum’s major special exhibition, Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men: Masters of Animation. Additionally, personal snapshots depicting Walt and his family and animation art and ephemera will fill the gallery with festive cheer. For the first time, visitors will have the opportunity to view the Disney-Miller family’s treasured vintage sled, which features an original painted design of the “pie-eyed” version of Mickey Mouse. Location: 104 Montgomery Street, The Presidio, 415.345.6800. See  

Safeway Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square
: Now open through Jan. 21, daily 10 AM to 11:30 PM. Ticket prices $18 and $13 for children eight years old and under. Skate or hockey skate rental included. Tickets can now be purchased online and will also be available at the ice rink ticket window in Union Square Park. Check the website to see special events such as Flashback Fridays, the Silent skate party, Skate Lessons, and more. Location: 333 Post Street. See to purchase tickets and check the schedule.  Group rates and private parties are also available on the Corporate and Private Events page. 

St. Francis Hotel Decorated Lobby & Christmas Tree:  Now - Jan. 2.  The Westin St. Francis will be transformed into a joyful oasis, embellished with spectacular holiday decorations. At the center of the historic Landmark Lobby will be a large tree adorned with hundreds of twinkling lights and beautiful ornaments. Children will delight in dropping off their letters to Santa in a special bright red mailbox. The Tower Lobby will have an 18-feet tree with 10,000 LED lights illuminating green and gold gift boxes and historic images of years past. Santa’s sleigh, filled with an assortment of decorative gift boxes, and glistening holiday décor will garnish the front desk area. Large wreaths embellished with lights and ornaments will be displayed throughout the hotel. Location: 335 Powell St., 415.397.7000. See

Asian Art Museum's Kimono Refashioned: Opens Feb 8. This major exhibition on the impact of kimono on modern fashion opening in early February is already receiving critical acclaim. Featuring over 35 garments from the Kyoto Costume Institute, Kimono Refashioned shows that the kimono continue to be a fertile source of ideas for contemporary designers, both in Japan and across the globe. Discover why "beauty may be the kimono’s most enduring fashion legacy," says the Wall Street Journal.  Location: Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin Street, San Francisco. See

Museum of Ice Cream's Pinkmas’: Now – Dec. 30th. The journey kicks off with a glowing, pink forest, and leads through reimagined holiday spaces packed with frosty, holiday treats. You’ll make new traditions, wishes, and resolutions in a gingerbread house, dance under disco lights, and discover festive surprises around every corner. If that isn’t sweet enough, guests also get a first taste of Museum of Ice Cream’s new “Gingerbread Disco” flavor and treats from MyMo Mochi, La Michoacana, and Ghirardelli. Also, every Thursday evening of Pinkmas will be dedicated to all the people who just need a little bit (or a lot!) of magic in their lives this holiday season. As MOIC encourages the spirit of connection, they will be giving the first 350 solo guests a free ticket to cross into their ice cream wonderland and find friends, love, and even a new community. Tickets are $38/person (children 2 and under are free) and are available in advance online only. Location: One Grant Avenue. Purchase tickets at

The 52nd California International Antiquarian Book Fair: Feb. 8-10.   One of the world’s largest antiquarian book fairs comes to Oakland with nearly 200 booksellers from the United States and around the globe.  The annual Book Fair features a rich selection of books, manuscripts, maps and other printed materials, including incunabula; literature from all centuries and nationalities; fine bindings; children's and illustrated books; ephemera; and antiquarian books on dozens of topics. On Friday, February 8, the event runs 3 p.m. - 8 p.m. Saturday, February 9, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. Sunday, February 10, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Location:  The Oakland Marriott City Center, 1001 Broadway, Oakland (at the 12th Street BART Station).  Tickets:  $25 for Friday Opening Day; $15 for Saturday or Sunday.  Ticket allows re-entry all weekend. All students free with a current valid student. Call (415) 919-9220 for details. Find out more:

Half Moon Bay
Pillar Point Harbor Lighted Boat Festival: Dec. 1-31, and 31st Annual Boat Decorating Contest – Dec. 8, 6-8 pm. Get into the holiday spirit by heading over to Pillar Point Harbor to stroll along the boats festively adorned with holiday lights and other trimmings throughout the month of December. The annual boat decorating contest will be held on December 8 starting at 6 p.m. where the best-decorated boat will be chosen. Local shops in the Half Moon Bay area will be serving holiday snacks and drinks for attendees to enjoy. Santa Claus will make a special appearance along with the Half Moon Bay Choir and San Mateo Elks Band, who will be performing holiday music. Pillar Point Harbor, #9 Johnson Pier, Princeton-By-The-Sea,650,726-4382. See

Night of Lights: Dec. 7, 6-9 pm. Night of Lights is an annual old-fashioned holiday event hosted in downtown Half Moon Bay on the first Friday in December. Visitors will enjoy trees decorated in dazzling lights while doing some holiday shopping in locally-owned stores. The event features a tree lighting ceremony followed by Santa taking children's requests in Mac Dutra Park, the Parade of Lights down Main Street, carolers and musical entertainment, roasted chestnuts, and activities for the kids. Location: Main Street. For more information, visit

Xmas Tree Farm Fun: Now until Christmas  Eve. Check out the following farms in Half Moon Bay: A. Repetto Nursery – In addition to a plethora of Christmas trees, this farm has some of the best deals on fresh flowers ideal for a holiday centerpiece. 12331 San Mateo Road, 650.726-6414, www.repettonurseryflorist.comH. Pastorino & Son Company - Open daily through December 24, the barn is transformed and filled with the magic of Christmas along with holiday trim, ornaments, trees, gifts, garland, poinsettias, and fresh wreaths. 12391 San Mateo Road, (650) 726-6440, www.pastorinofarms.comLemos Family Farm – Get in the holiday spirit at Lemos Family Farm where there are enough seasonal decorations to even make Scrooge smile. Pick out a Douglas Fir, Incense Cedar, or a variety of other pines, while the kids enjoy a holiday hayride, train ride, or a pony ride. Begins the day after Thanksgiving. 12320 San Mateo Road, (650) 726-2342, www.lemosfarm.comSanta’s Tree Farm – On November 17, Santa’s Tree Farm will open for the holidays, inviting customers to pick out their own Christmas tree. As added bonus, everyone who purchases a tree will receive complimentary hot cider and candy canes. Be sure to stop by the Sleigh Bells Gift Shop, open weekends Nov. 17-Dec. 24 to pick up festive holiday decorations. 78 Pilarcitos Creek Road, (650) 726-2246,


San Ramon
Holiday Tree Lighting at the new City Center Bishop Ranch: Nov. 28-Nov. 30, 4-8 p.m. Bishop Ranch’s beloved holiday tree lighting tradition is moving to City Center Bishop Ranch. The event will feature all of the holiday trimmings plus new activities during what will become an annual ‘Holiday on the Square’ tradition. Visitors will enjoy numerous family activities including: spectacular lighting of a 50-foot Douglas Fir tree with falling snow, festive holiday performances by LED enhanced elves, toy soldiers, and stilt-walking reindeer, live DJ, plus free selfie photos with Sidecar Santa, whose revamped sleigh features a vintage motorcycle d sidecar. Sidecar Santa will be on the Square Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 1-2, from 1:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. and during the holiday season. Enjoy coffee and hot chocolate, face painting and crafts, and in-store events. Location: 6000 Bollinger Canyon Rd. See

Head West Marketplace.  Monthly through December, 11-5.  Bay Street is set to host Head West Marketplace, a monthly market from West Perro, showcasing more than 30 local artisans. From one-of-a-kind clothing to home décor, everyone is invited to support small businesses on this special day. The Head West Marketplace will also feature live music. Head West Marketplace will take place monthly through December.  Location: 5616 Bay Street, Emeryville. Social media:

Black Santa’s U Wish Workshop at Jack London Square:  Now-Dec.24, Come to Oakland and meet Black Santa and Mrs. C, in the center of Jack London Square. Get photo opportunities with the whole family, and enjoy special events such as kids’ yoga and dance parties, Mrs. C’sSweet Shop, which offers nostalgic novelty holiday sweets, and Black Santa merchandise.Black Santa’s U Wish Workshop in Jack London Square will provide families and the Oaklandcommunity a winter wonderland where they can come together to celebrate one another and theholiday season with festive fun and a robust lineup of special events. Location: 54 Washington St. The Black Santa U Wish Workshop is a retail pop-up store will be open Wednesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m.–7p.m. Meet Black Santa and/or Mrs. C, from12–6 p.m. Fridays through Sundays.A schedule of the workshops and pop-up events will be announced on social media, with amaster calendar kept in the Pop-Up storefront. For more information, visit


San Jose
Downtown Ice 2018
: Nov. 16 to Jan. 27. San Jose's annual holiday activity is back for its 23rd season! Opening day is this Friday, skate for $5 all night by mentioning #DTSJ at the admissions window. Saturday, Nov. 17 through Tuesday, Nov. 20 are Downtown Community Appreciation nights, with buy-one-get-one-free skating. Sunday, Nov. 18 is the Skate with Sharkie event from 3 - 4 pm, where the SJ Sharks' beloved mascot will skate with and take photos with fans, and hand out autographed photos. Monday, Nov. 19 is the first of six Bring Your Own Skates skate nights, where you can skate for free when you bring your own skates (other free skate nights on Nov. 19 & 26; Dec. 3 & 10; Jan. 7 & 14). Opening celebration with Kristi Yamaguchi on Tuesday, Nov. 20, at 6 p.m. in the plaza in front of the rink. 

Palo Alto
Second Sundays for Families at the Cantor and Anderson Collection, Stanford University: Dec. 9, 11-4 p.m. Stanford University's Cantor Museum and Anderson Collection offers family activities every Second Sunday of the month! The Anderson modern art museum offers short family focused museum tours at 12:30pm. Both offer hands-on art activities outside and inside, and Art Boxes to check out for drawing in the galleries. Come back every month for different themes, activities, and art.  Also, the museum is proud to present the first paper family guide that brings you through the galleries for games, coloring, and more. Call 650.736.9371 for details. See for details.

Chanticleer Christmas Concert: Dec. 12, 7:30 p.m. Memorial Church, Stanford University. This accapella group returns to sing Christmas favorites. Make it a tradition with your clan. This men's choir is famous worldwide. There program will be performed with one intermission.  Tickets: $64. Stanford Campus; Palo Alto. See


 Have an event for us? Send them to  

Powered by WSI Inc. in partnership with Monte Gifford Design.