Our guide to holiday high tea is sponsored by Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmont Hotel. Berkeley's historic Claremont offers both Holiday Tea and Brunch with Santa Claus. Read on for lots of options.
In case you’ve never taken your little one to tea, now might be the perfect opportunity. One of the best times to take children for a high tea experience is during the holidays, when everybody’s feeling festive and willing to put on a fancy outfit. You just might start a yearly tradition.
Here are some lovely places in the East Bay and San Francisco that have arranged a special Christmas-season event for young tea-lovers. Pinkies up!
Holiday Tea in the (510)
Claremont Club & Spa, Berkeley
Celebrate the holiday season with this grand Claremont tradition. Enjoy breathtaking views, an unmatched tea selection, sparkling wine, and sweet and savory bites from the Claremont pastry kitchen.
When: Dec. 7th -Dec. 29th every Saturday and Sunday from noon – 4 pm
Cost: $109 per adult and includes sparkling wine, $69 children. Reservations strongly recommended.
Where: Claremont Lobby Lounge & Bar, 41 Tunnel Road, Berkeley. For reservations, call 510-549-8556, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
One more thing! Special Frozen-themed Holiday Tea with Princess Elsa includes special giveaways for the children on December 14th with a different price structure. See details online >
Royal Tea at The Rec Room, Berkeley
A royal holiday tea party with a magical makeover for your little ones, ages 2+. Costumes, accessories, beauty bar, story, and craft included.
When: Dec. 14 at 10 am or 11 am
Cost: $25 per child for high tea. Reservations required.
Where: 3222 Adeline St, Berkeley
Purchase tickets online >
Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate, Oakland
Enjoy a festival holiday high tea at the spectacular Dunsmuir Hellman Estate in Oakland. This historic estate will make you and your child feel extra fancy. Ticket includes a tour of the estate and a visit to the kid zone.
When: Dec. 1, 7, 8, 14, 15 from 11 am – 1 pm
Cost: $60 per person for high tea. Plus $15 for parking. Reservations required.
Where: 2960 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland
Purchase tickets online >
The Tearoom, Oakland
This Rockridge spot offers a la carte items, full high tea, and children's sandwiches for a pleasant experience.
When: High tea is available on weekends only
Cost: $25 per person for high tea. Reservations strongly recommended
Where: 6241 College Ave, Oakland between 62nd and 63rd
See menu online >
In the (925) and beyond, make your holiday tea service in Pleasanton or Benicia.
The English Rose, Pleasanton
This popular East Bay spot has put up all its best Christmas decorations for what it dubs a “festive and tealightful Christmas Tea,” offering a selection of seasonal treats for kids and adults. Expect many flowers and royal touches.
When: Nov. 29 – Dec. 28 (except Dec. 24-26)
Cost: $48 adults, $38 children. Reservations strongly recommended
Where: 163 West Neal Street, Pleasanton, CA, 94566 | Reserve a spot at (925) 462-6233 or see website for more info
Camellia Tea Room, downtown Benicia
This Benicia spot, about half an hour from Berkeley, hosts an annual Teddy Bear Tea, complete with traditional tea service, costumed characters, storytellers, Christmas carols and a visit from the man in red, all as a fundraiser for the Benicia Main Street Program.
When: In 2018, December 1st and 2nd, with 3 seatings each day.
Cost: $49/person. Reservations required. Call to reserve (707) 746-5293. More on the website.
Where: 828 First St., Benicia, Calif.
San Francisco Holiday Tea Services
The Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco
Fairmont San Francisco’s two-story, life-sized Gingerbread House in the hotel’s grand lobby is a wonderful holiday attraction. There's an impressive moving train and giant Christmas tree, too.
When: Nov. 30 – Dec. 11, 2019 Saturdays & Sundays; Dec 12-31 Thurs-Sun 1 pm & 3:30 pm
Cost: $129 per person, $89 for children under 12 (plus tax + gratuity) Reservations required.
Where: 950 Mason Street San Francisco, CA 94108
Lovejoy's Tea Room, San Francisco
This adorable tea shop accepts reservations and allows picky kids and adults to customize their high tea experience. A la carte ordering is a big relief for my family!
When: Wednesday through Sunday, seatings 11 am to 3:45 pm with extended hours the week before Christmas
Cost: $24.95 for high tea with each additional for $24 and many custom packages for more and less
Where: 1351 Church Street San Francisco in Noe Valley (415) 648-5895
Children's Magical Tea, Top of the Mark, San Francisco
Children's Magical Tea includes balloon art, face painting, a cookie decorating station, and Santa Claus some days. The menu includes the classics and some interesting kid-friendly additions.
When: Fridays & Saturdays, Nov. 29, 30, Dec. 6-21 with extended days the week before Christmas
Cost: $80 per guest or $75 if you bring a new toy donation – reservations required.
Where: 19th floor of the InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel on Nob Hill (415) 616-6941
Westin St. Francis Hotel, San Francisco
The hotel is offering a traditional-style afternoon tea for adults and children. The lobby features a 12-foot tall castle made from sugar at this time of year as well as a tempting sweet shoppe (as in, you might never make it to the tea service). High tea service is elegant, traditional, and may be upgraded with sparkling wine for the adults. You're also just across the street from the Union Square skate rink if you want to make a full day of it.
When: Nov. 30 -Dec. 22; available Saturdays and Sundays only, noon to 4 pm
Cost: $68 Adults Complete Tea; $80 Adults Royal Tea; $85 Red Blossom Tea; $40 for children 12 and under for regular tea. Reservations are required. Please be sure to book early. For reservations, call (415) 774-0264.
Where: 335 Powell Street (between Geary and Post), San Francisco. See website.
Teddy Bear Tea, The Ritz-Carlton, San Francisco
Children enjoy hot chocolate, teddy bear sweets, small sandwiches while watching an entertaining elf performance. Kids receive a commemorative teddy bear as a gift..
When: Nov. 30-Dec. 23
Cost: $145 per guest includes one teddy bear for 11 and under
Where: Terrace Room at The Ritz-Carlton
Buy tickets in advance >
Sir Francis Drake Hotel (served by Crown & Crumpet)
Crown & Crumpet’s “Tea Under The Tree” service at the Sir Francis Drake features both classic and limited edition teas from Crown and Crumpet with a selection of tea sandwiches, crumpets, scones, macarons and more. Service includes a glass of sparkling wine for adults and sparkling cider for kids as well as a Christmas cracker surprise for the kids. Reservations are strongly encouraged.
When: Dec 7-8, Dec 13-23, Dec 26-29
Cost: Earlybird $115 all inclusive for adults; Earlybird $65 for children 12 and under (save $20 before 12/1/19); Tickets will NOT be available through the Sir Francis Drake. Website for reservations >
Where: Sir Francis Drake Hotel, 450 Powell St, San Francisco, CA 94102
[Photos used with permission from the businesses as indicated; photo from Sir Francis Drake by Heather Flett]
This post was written in collaboration with Lisa Tsering, Soni Bedi, and Anna Azimi. We welcome your feedback! Find more to do in our East Bay Holiday Events Guide.