Looking for some things to do on Thanksgiving in San Francisco? We’ve got a few great nearby attraction suggestions that will keep you sane and keep the family busy with fun.
Check out these suggestions of local activities and more seasonal things to do in November. There’s something to appeal to everyone on this list, from musical performances to shopping, and beyond.
Whether you’re looking for things to keep the family busy while you’re cooking, or ways you can all get out and celebrate the holidays together, we’re sure you’ll find something to love.
Save on Attraction Admission
Regular admission to a number of these San Francisco attractions are included on the Go San Francisco® Card.
Choose as you go from dozens of top attractions and save up to 55% on combined admission vs paying at the gate.
Please note, some of these special November events may be separately ticketed and not included on the Go San Francisco® Card.
Hop-on Hop-off San Francisco Bus Tour
If you’re entertaining out-of-town visitors, then you’re likely looking for a way to entertain them and show off your city.
A hop-on hop-off bus tour is a great option for visiting relatives and family groups. It provides the flexibility to learn about the city from your expert tour guides on your own terms.
Stay on and soak up the info until you find a destination you want to explore further, from Golden Gate Park to Fisherman’s Wharf and beyond.
Your tickets is good for an entire day, too, so feel free to use the bus to cater to everyone’s different interests.
Getting In: Big Bus San Francisco tickets are included with the Go San Francisco Card.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
A must-visit attraction this November in San Francisco is the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
The SFMOMA is filled with the region’s best collection of modern and contemporary art, with holdings rivaling that of the best modern art museums in the world!
The newly expanded and redesigned space will maximize your viewing experience, and allow you to see so much more of their amazing collection on display.
You’ll be able to spend hours here, and will leave feeling totally inspired.
Be sure to check out special fall exhibits when you’re visiting!
Getting In: SFMOMA tickets are included with the Go San Francisco® Card.
California Academy of Sciences
Another one of the most popular attractions in San Francisco (and a perfect way to entertain visiting family) is the California Academy of Sciences.
This amazing institution is a wonderland of science, complete with an aquarium, a natural history museum, and an all-digital planetarium.
They also host a variety of educational programming and special events, so you’re likely to find something new and exciting to see even on repeat visits!
Getting In: California Academy of Sciences tickets are included with the Go San Francisco® Card.
Napa + Sonoma Wine Country Tour
What better way to celebrate the oncoming holiday season than with a few sips of the country’s best wine?
If you’re looking to venture out from San Francisco this fall, then a full day wine country trip is a delightful option that’s sure to please.
Go on a guided excursion down to Napa and Sonoma, and sample as you go at some of the region’s best wineries. You can of course purchase some to bring home with you when you find your favorite!
Getting In: Weekday Napa + Sonoma Wine Country Tour tickets are available on the Build Your Own Pass.
Go for a Family Bike Ride
Fall is the perfect time to ride a bike in San Francisco. While much of the fall foliage is likely to be gone by November, that just means you have more beautiful views of the bare mountains!
It’s also the perfect opportunity to explore the city and its many top attractions without the rush of summer tourists. You’ll especially get to enjoy the parks and seafront trails with fewer crowds.
Insider tip: Don’t forget to dress in layers! It will be cooler when you begin your ride, but you’ll likely warm up pretty quickly once you get going.
Getting In: San Francisco bike rental by Blazing Saddles are included with the Go San Francisco® Card.
Indigenous People Sunrise Ceremony
November 22, 2018
Previously known as the Unthanksgiving Day Cruise, the Indigenous People’s Sunrise Gathering, at Alcatraz with your kids this holiday season.
It’s an event designed to commemorate the 1969-71 occupation of Alcatraz by the “Indians of All Tribes” and to honor the tradition of indigenous peoples in the area.
It’s a good opportunity for the kids to learn about the nuanced history of this famous holiday and a chance for everyone to give thanks for the things that really matter. If you’re thinking about budget, it’s also nice that kids under 5 ride for free!
This is the only cruise running to Alcatraz on Thanksgiving Day.
Getting In: Cruise tickets to the Indigenous People’s Sunrise Gathering are not included with the Go San Francisco® Card. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the attraction website.
San Francisco Tree Lighting
November 23, 2018
After Thanksgiving, it’s officially time to start getting excited about the holiday season.
Why not all enjoy a few festive attractions that are sure to get the whole family into the holiday spirit? Check out the annual tree lighting in Union Square, scheduled this year for 6:00 pm on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
While you’re in the neighborhood, consider a spin on the Union Square ice-skating rink, or at the one in the Embarcadero Center.
Getting In: Admission to the Union Square tree-lighting is free.
Black Friday Shopping
Union Square & Westfield Shopping Center
November 23, 2018
While many of us probably eschew holiday shopping on Thanksgiving itself, it’s hard to resist the bargains of Black Friday events.
The best places in San Francisco to get a little purchasing done in advance of the winter holidays are Union Square and the nearby Westfield Shopping Center.
Union Square will have a number of department stores (featuring Macy’s) and smaller independent shops as well – not to mention some great food. Westfield is more of a conventional mall, featuring dozens of stores with great deals.
Getting In: Admission to Black Friday shopping is free.
Remember to Save on Attraction Admission
We listed just a few fun suggestions for things to do in November and Thanksgiving in San Francisco 2016. Of course, there are plenty of other activities to help fill your plans.
Remember, many of these great options are included on the Go San Francisco® Card, where you can save up to 55% on combined admission vs paying at the gate.
Please note, the November and Thanksgiving events taking place at some of these attractions may be separately ticketed and not included with the Go San Francisco® Card.
Consider adding a few of these fun options to your November weekend itineraries.