Thank you to Filoli, historic home and garden, for sponsoring our guide to our favorite festive Christmas and holiday activities in the East Bay and beyond. Filoli hosts Santa Weekends throughout December.
We found so many lovely events, activities, performances, and outings in celebration of the Christmas season, you might have a hard time choosing a few that sound best for your family.
Guides to Seasonal Holiday Events + Outings
Upcoming East Bay Christmas Events for Kids & Families
Here are 20 cool Christmas events for families coming soon. Our calendar picks keep changing. Check back for more inspiration throughout the holiday season!
Free Bay Area Christmas Delights
Some of the best things in December are free. Explore our holiday tips for each outing.
Holidays at Filoli are Nov. 19 to Jan. 8
Our sponsor, Filoli, makes the holidays magical with twinkling lights in the house and acres of outdoor gardens. Warm up with festive drinks and hot chocolate. Open daily from 10 am to 4 pm, stroll the Estate Trail, and see peak fall foliage and the decorations aglow in the winter sun. Open evenings from 4 pm to 9 pm during the holidays for best light viewing and drinks around the crackling firepits.
Santa Claus visits weekends (Dec. 3-23) for photo opportunities on a golden throne in a lush setting. No additional charge to say “hi” to Santa while you’re there.
More Favorite Christmas Outings
Christmas isn’t here until we visit these East Bay spots (year over year).
- Fairy Winterland: Children’s Fairyland is all done up for the holidays from Dec. 16 to 30.
- Alameda South Shore Center hosts chilly movies under the stars and a Santa Claus nearly every day.
- Tilden Park Merry-Go-Round: Evenings at the carousel are a seasonal delight. Special events include a Santa Brunch.
- Tilden Park Steam Trains at Christmas is another beautiful, wintry good time.
- Bay Street has holiday music and lights on during their construction.
Looking for a holiday splurge?
- Make a holiday headdress at Mannequin Madness on Sundays, Dec. 4-18.
- Ride a yacht with Santa Claus in Oakland on Sundays, Dec. 11 or 18.
- LEGOLAND Holiday Bricktacular, $27 per ticket, such fun in San Mateo.
- Cass Ceramics hosts ornament-making classes along with wheel Xmas trees.
- Claremont Hotel: Seasonal glice rink, outdoor pizza oven, and one-off gingerbread house decorating.