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Thanksgiving in San Francisco, California

Thanksgiving in San Francisco


You can do any of the top things to do in San Francisco over Thanksgiving weekend. The cable cars will be running, and Lombard Street and the Golden Gate Bridge never close. Many stores will be closed, especially around Union Square. Other major attractions may be closed on Thanksgiving Day. Check their websites before you plan to visit.

  • San Francisco Turkey Trot gives you a chance to burn off some calories before you consume them. Register early - they sometimes fill up.
  • The Dickens Fair gets underway at the Cow Palace and runs every weekend through December. It's a festive way to switch gears into the Christmas season, with an old-fashioned holiday spirit that would have had Ebenezer Scrooge shouting "Bah! Humbug!" until he lost his voice.
  • Tree Lighting ceremonies start the shopping season at Union Square and Pier 39.
  • The Embarcadero Center holiday lights go on a week before Thanksgiving, but you can see them any night after that. It's a photo-worthy sight: four buildings outlined with 17,000 holiday lights.
  • Holiday Ice Rinks at Union Square and Embarcadero Center are in full swing for Thanksgiving weekend. Get your tickets ahead of time or risk a long wait (or worse, a sellout).
  • The San Francisco Auto Show runs over Thanksgiving weekend, giving you a chance to salivate over something other than that big plate full of holiday goodies. And an excellent way to walk off some of the calories they contain.

Atomic Tuna - Lil Bear-thumb

Thanksgiving in California

Thanksgiving often marks the opening of the ski season. Lake Tahoe ski resorts compete to open by the holiday - even if they have to make all their snow to do it.

  • Tioga Pass through Yosemite usually closes because of snow before Thanksgiving, but in some years it stays open through December, providing a chance for a late-year trip across the mountains.
  • Sequoia National Park is home to the nation's Christmas tree, the General Grant. It doesn't get decorated with lights, but when you're 267 feet tall, you don't need lights to be spectacular.
  • In San Jose, Downtown Ice opens, and Christmas in the Park lights up the day after Thanksgiving.
  • The Holiday Lights Train starts running from the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk on Thanksgiving weekend. It's a great way to start the holiday season.


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