Fun Family Holiday Events in Oakland and Beyond

Posted by David Higgins on Friday, December 15th, 2017 at 1:37pm.

Looking for some fun and unusual things to do with the family during the Holiday Season? The Bay Area has a wealth of interesting, kid-friendly activities and events throughout December and January! We pored over the lists of options and have come up with our own Top 10 List of fun Holiday Activities for you:

  1.   Bay Area Discovery Museum - Meet two LIVE reindeer
    Come see Snowflake and Blizzard (friends of Rudolph’s) and learn all about what they like to eat (besides carrots!), where they migrate when they’re not delivering toys, and how they survive in the cold.
    When: This Sat/Sun, Dec. 16-17 and Sat. Dec. 23 
    Where: Bay Area Discovery Museum, Sausalito
    For more information: click here

  2.   Lighted Boat Parade - San Francisco  
    This is the oldest and largest holiday boat parade around and it’s sure to be a delight! Come watch boats decorated with lights and beautiful holiday decorations as they sail or motor along the gorgeous San Francisco waterfront this Friday evening. If you miss the parade, don’t worry! The Fisherman’s Wharf Fishing Fleet with remain lit throughout the holiday season.
    When: Friday, Dec. 15, 6-8pm and ongoing (docked boats)
    Where: Parade route begins just off Pier 39, goes past Fisherman’s Wharf, Fort Mason, St. Francis Yacht Club, and turns around just off Crissy Field to return to Pier 39 in San Francisco.
    For more information: click here

  3.    Oakland Zoo - ZooLights (all new!)
    If you’ve never experienced ZooLights, now’s your chance! Grab the kids and climb into the festively-lit gondolas to take in the amazing views of Oakland and San Francisco! This year they’ve added cool new laser light shows too, and many other super fun holiday activities. Experience the wonders of the zoo at night, beautifully decorated for the holidays! And if you want to make it an extra special outing, try the hot cocoa and s’mores at the Café. Extra bonus: Santa will be there from 6-9p on select evenings! 
    When: December 1-23, 26-31, 2017 & January 1, 2018 - 5:30-9
    Where: Oakland Zoo
    For more information: click here

  4. Mountain View Cemetary, Oakland - 11th Annual Holiday Circle of Lights
    Oakland’s spectacular landmark cemetery is transformed into a magical story land of lights this time of year, featuring a toy train, snowmen, a horse and sleigh, and other clever light creations. Even some of the magnificent buildings are lit up—who says you can’t continue to decorate your home for the holidays into the great beyond? Best of all, it’s free!
    Where: Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland
    When: Dec 1 to Jan 1, 5-9p
    For more information:  click here

  5. Tilden Park Merry-Go-Round - Christmas at the Carousel
    For something a little more whimsical and old-timey, visit Tilden Park’s beloved merry-go-round, all decked out for the holidays. Come try a spin or two on this 106 year old beauty and enjoy the unique ornaments and treats including hot chocolate and gingerbread cookies, plus the goodies in the Candy Shop. And don't miss Santa and his Elves. Ho Ho Ho and around we go!
    Where: Tilden Park’s Merry-Go-Round
    When: Dec 15, 4-8:30p, Dec 16-23, noon - 8:30p
    For more information: click here

  6. Children’s Fairyland - Fairy Winterland 2017
    Who can resist Fairyland at any time of year, especially at the holidays when it gets transformed. And not just Christmas is celebrated: You’ll get to hear stories and do crafts relating to Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Las Posadas, Diwali, and Chinese New Year. This extravaganza includes unlimited rides, daily visits from Santa, and a nightly Festival of Lights Parade at 6:15pm.
    Where: Children’s Fairyland on Lake Merritt
    When: Dec. 15-23
    For more information: click here

  7.  Alameda’s South Shore Center - Little Ice Rink
    Who says you can’t skate outdoors in the Bay Area? And you don’t need to brave the crowds and traffic of San Francisco for this ice rink. Perfectly located in the midst of so many holiday shopping venues, the Little Ice Rink is 4,100 sf of ice skating bliss and even offers options for those new to skating: Bobby the Seal and Tommy the Reindeer will help little ones balance. Adorable!
    Where: Alameda South Shore Center
    When: now through Jan. 15, open til 10pm (start times vary, see link below)
    For more information: click here

  8.    Winchester Mystery House - 13 Days of Winter
    For those who love old homes AND the holidays AND nuttiness, this event is made for you! For the final 13 days leading up to Christmas, guests can marvel at the 13 specifically decorated Christmas trees that represent different elements of the home's character while touring 110 of its 160 festive, totally unique and bizarre-but-beautiful rooms. Older kids will enjoy looking for the hidden ornament in the gardens—one person per day who finds it will be entered to win a grand prize, so you have a 1 in 13 chance of winning! Not bad odds.
    Where: Winchester Mystery House, San Jose
    When: Dec 12-24, tours offered every half hour from 9:20a to 3pm
    For more information: click here

  9.  Oakland Ballet Company - The Nutcracker at the Paramount Theatre
    What Christmas would be complete without seeing The Nutcracker? Again, skip the traffic to SF and check out Oakland Ballet’s stellar performance at the Paramount Theatre - Oakland’s stunning Art Deco masterpiece theater. And you can grab a bite to eat before or after the show at any number of great restaurants in Downtown/Uptown Oakland - sugar plums optional.
    Where: The Paramount Theatre, Oakland
    When: Sat, Dec. 23 at 1p or 5p, Sunday Dec. 24 at 1p
    For more information: click here

  10.    Museum of American Heritage - Annual Holiday LEGO Pop-Up Exhibit
    Calling all LEGO fanatics! If you’re looking for something a little untraditional this holiday season and have some brick fans in your group, check out the cool LEGO creations on display at the MOAH including Bay Area landmarks, castles, miniature cities, sculptures, portraits, and more. And who knows, maybe Santa will leave some LEGO products under the tree this year for your budding engineers.
    Where: Museum of American Heritage, Palo Alto
    When: Dec. 8 - Jan. 14, Fri/Sat/Sun only, 11a - 3:45p
    For more information: click here

As always, if you're thinking about selling your home in the new year, I would love to give you a no obligation evaluation of what your home might be worth. After the holidays have come to an end and spring is beckoning, a lot of new buyers or current homeowners start thinking about next steps--whether to bite the bullet and buy their first home or sell an existing home. To find out what your home might be worth, try this easy tool; it will give you a better idea of your home's value and consequently, what your budget might be for the next home you purchase. And if you're a new buyer, I'd love to help you find your dream home! 

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