From Classic to Cool: The Best of Winter in the Bay Area

Ana Picazo - San Francisco Bay Area
December 11, 2012

It's a good thing that winter holidays are multi-day events! With so many holiday happenings around the Bay Area, there's no shortage of ways to celebrate the eight nights of Hannukah, the seven days of Kwanzaa, and the twelve days of Christmas to the fullest. Here are twelve holiday activities for your family to enjoy:

1. Up and down the Peninsula and East Bay, ballet companies from San Francisco Ballet to the San Jose Ballet to dozens in between are performing the Nutcracker, so you won't have to travel far to travel to the Land of Sweets with Clara and the Nutcracker Prince.

2. Throughout December, San Jose's Cesar Chavez Plaza transforms into Christmas in the Park, a don't-miss tradition for many families. Your little one will have the time of his life strolling through holiday-themed animatronic displays and the Christmas Tree Forest, each one decorated in its own unique style by hundreds of civic organizations around the Bay Area.   

3. Head to Union Square to shop for presents, glide on the ice, and marvel at the giant Bill Graham Menorah as it lights the night.

4. Travel back in time to the Great Dickens Christmas Faire and enjoy holiday celebrations in Merry Olde England. You'll see carolers and revelers in period costume, and enjoy traditional treats as you savor the Victorian atmosphere.

5. Holiday ice rinks have opened up all over the the Bay Area, so families can twirl and glide amidst shoppers, carolers, and all the holiday hustle and bustle. Don't forget to stop for hot chocolate afterwards!

6. Nibble on cookies and sing carols with Santa and the elves as the Santa Cruz Holiday Lights Train makes its way through downtown Santa Cruz.

7. Spare a thought for others and drop off a new or gently used coat in the One Warm Coat donation bins at Santana Row. It's a great way to teach your child the true spirit of the holidays.

8. Stroll down San Carlos' Eucalyptus street to enjoy the light displays. Neighborhood families go all out to give viewers a great show. Don't miss the snow sledding hill!

9. See dozens of light displays featuring holiday traditions from around the world at the Global Winter Wonderland in Santa Clara.

10. Celebrate family and community and the rich African-American traditions of Kwanzaa at the Bay Area Discovery Museum on December 26.

11. Cable Car Holiday Light Tour, San Francisco. Board a classic cable car and see the city's holiday lights in majestic display from the top of Nob Hill!

12. Drive through Vasona Park's Fantasy of Lights and see twinkling holiday light displays as holiday music is piped through your car's speakers.    

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