Holiday Nutcracker performances in Oakland, Berkeley, and other East Bay venues

Bay Area Nutcrackers, Velveteen Rabbit, and other holiday performances (2019)

Please note due to Covid-19 that most of these performances are cancelled or virtual. The following guide is for 2019 performances. Browse a big, huge list of 2020 East Bay Christmas Activities here >>

Thanks to Berkeley Ballet Theater for sponsoring this guide to Nutcracker performances and family-friendly holiday theater performances. 

berkeley nutcracker

Putting on a pair of not-sneakers and attending a ballet or holiday theater performance is an annual tradition for many families. Berkeley Ballet Theater (BBT), the East Bay’s premiere center for ballet training, welcomes all members of the community to enjoy Robbie Nichols and Sally Streets’ The Nutcracker this holiday season. One of the Bay Area’s most beloved family holiday traditions, this charming production features BBT’s Youth Division students as well as guest artists from around the Bay Area. BBT invites 510 Families readers to experience visions of sugar plums dancing at The Nutcracker, December 20-22 at Regents’ Theater!

If you’ve got kids who are ready for a large-scale theater experience for the holidays, here are some local shows to choose from.

East Bay Nutcrackers, holiday dance, and theater performances

Berkeley Ballet Theater presents the East Bay’s premier family-friendly Nutcracker performance. Performances are two 45–minute acts with a 20–minute intermission and are suitable for children age 1+. Children who will be on a parent/guardian lap for the full performance do not need separate admission.

clara nutcracker oakland
Photo Credit: Natalia Perez Photography for Berkeley Ballet Theater

Meet the dancers! Following the Saturday and Sunday 11 am performances as well as the Sunday 3pm performance of BBT’s Nutcracker, young audience members are invited onstage to meet the Berkeley Ballet Theater dancers during the Sugar Plum Fairy Party. Separate admission required ($10).
Join BBT for an inspiring journey with Clara and the Nutcracker Prince.
Where: Regents’ Theater, Holy Names University, 3500 Mountain Blvd. Oakland
When: Friday, Dec, 20 @ 7pm; Saturday, Dec. 21 @ 11am, 3pm, and 7pm; Sunday, Dec. 22 @ 11am and 3pm
Discount: Save 15% with code 510FAMILY
Box Office tickets are here >

Berkeley Playhouse presents A Christmas Story: The Musical
A classic holiday movie turned into a catchy musical with many child actors on the stage make this a fun outing for children ages 8 and up.
Where: Berkeley Playhouse, 2640 College Avenue, Berkeley
When: Various showtimes from Nov. 8 to Dec. 22 including matinees
Find tickets here >

The Hip Hop Nutcracker with guest MC Kurtis Blow
A holiday mash-up for the entire family, The Hip Hop Nutcracker is an internationally touring show set to Tchaikovsky’s timeless music in a 1980s Brooklyn dance club. The Hip Hop Nutcracker will feature MC Kurtis Blow, one of hip hop’s founding fathers, opening the show with a short set before rapping the introduction.
Where: Oakland’s Paramount Theatre
When: Tuesday, Nov. 19, 7.30 pm
Website >

Ballet Petit presents The Nutcracker
Where: Chabot College Center for the Performing Arts, Hayward
When: December 7-8
Tickets are here >

Orinda Ballet Academy & Company presents “A Sweet Dream Nutcracker”
Where: Orinda Library Theater (one BART stop from Rockridge plus a 10-minute walk)
When: December 13 – 15
Tickets are here >

East Bay Children’s Theatre presents Christmas in Oz
Where: Douglas Morrisson Theatre, Hayward
When: December 13 – 22
Tickets are here >

Berkeley City Ballet’s The Nutcracker 
Where: Ohlone College, Fremont
When: December 21- 22 at 1pm or 5pm
Tickets are here >

Oakland Ballet’s The Nutcracker
Matinees offer photo opps with the Sugarplum Fairy following the show. May require additional fees.
Where: Paramount Theatre, Oakland
When: December 21 – 22 at 1pm or 5pm
Box office tickets are here (save 10% with code 510Nut) >  Discount tickets are on our affiliate goldstar >

Alameda Civic Ballet presents The Nutcracker 
Where: Castro Valley Center for the Arts, Castro Valley
When: December 21 at 2pm and 7pm, and December 22 at 2 pm
Tickets are here >

San Francisco Nutcrackers, holiday dance and theater performances

San Francisco Ballet presents The Nutcracker
Where: War Memorial Opera House
When: December 11 – December 28 (times vary)
Discount tickets are here >

A Christmas Carol
A.C.T’s Geary Theater
When: Nov. 29 – Dec. 24 (times vary)
Tickets are here >

ODC Dance Company in San Francisco presents The Velveteen Rabbit, a ballet.
Where: Yerba Buena Art Center
When: November 29 – December 8 (times vary)
Tickets are here > Discount tickets on our affiliate, Goldstar >

Bay Area Children’s Theatre presents Construction Site on Christmas Night
Recommended for ages 3 and up.
Where: Children’s Creativity Museum, 221 Fourth Street, San Francisco
When: November 30 – December 29 (times vary)
Tickets are here >

San Francisco Lesbian Gay Freedom Band’s The Dance-Along Nutcracker: Nutcrackers in Space
Where: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission Street
When: Saturday Dec. 7 @ 3pm & 7pm; Sunday Dec. 8 @ 11am & 3pm
Box office tickets are here >

Mark Foehringer presents Nutcracker Sweets
Great for children because it is only 40 minutes long and you’re allowed to eat in the theatre.
Where: Cowell Theater, Fort Mason
When: Showtimes from Dec. 7 – 22
Find tickets here > or Discount tickets here >

SMUIN Contemporary Ballet presents The Christmas Ballet
Where: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 700 Howard Street
When: Showtimes from Dec. 12 – 23
Find tickets here >

San Francisco Symphony presents Music for Families: Holidays Around the World
A winter wonderland of holiday music from Europe to the Caribbean, South Africa, China, and more in a whirlwind exploration of wintertime festivities, vibrant music, and rich holiday traditions from various cultures performed by the SF Symphony especially for families.
Where: Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Avenue
When: Saturday Dec. 14 @ 2pm
Find tickets here >

African American Shakespeare presents Cinderella
An uplifting re-telling of the classic fairytale, featuring all of the pageantry, hilarity, and charm of the original, but with a decidedly soulful twist.
Where: Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Avenue
When: Showtimes from Dec. 20 – 22, this will sell out
Find tickets here >

Related: Browse a big, huge list of East Bay Christmas Activities here >>

berkeley ballet logoThanks to Berkeley Ballet Theater for sponsoring this guide to holiday dance performances. 

For more than thirty years, Berkeley Ballet Theater’s rendition of the holiday classic, The Nutcracker, has been an East Bay family favorite. A magical and truly “touching performance” (Alastair MacCaulay, New York Times), BBT’s moving version of the ballet’s storyline highlights the holiday spirit of giving and is an extension of the school’s commitment to bringing good things to those less fortunate.

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