Bay Area Hanukkah and Winter Celebrations

San Francisco

Community Hanukkah Candle Lighting – Celebrate illuminating the darkness with candle lighting, storytelling, singing and festive treats. Dec. 12-19. 4pm storytime, 4:30pm Hanukkah lighting and songs. FREE. Jewish Community Center of San Francisco, 3200 California St. 415-292-1200.

Embarcadero Building Lighting Ceremony and Carnival – Four iconic buildings will be lit with 17,000 holiday lights, with fireworks bursting in the sky and a holiday show presented by Disney on Ice. Fri., Nov. 17. 4-7pm. FREE. One, Two and Three Embarcadero Center. 415-772-0700.

Ghirardelli Square Annual Light the Menorah Ceremony – Join in this annual lighting of the 9-foot menorah. Includes children’s activities and music. Thurs., Dec. 14. 4-6 pm. FREE. 900 North Point St., San Francisco.

IlluminOdyssey: A Winter Light Experience For Kids – Electrify your child’s imagination with this spectacular light exhibition. Redwood Hall will be transformed into a dazzling world of child-friendly interactive brilliance and wonder. 10am-8pm. Exhibit runs Nov. 10 through Jan. 7. Included with admission: $11 adults, $8 children. CuriOdyssey, 1651 Coyote Point Drive, San Mateo. 650-342-7755.


Great Dickens Christmas Fair – Take a holiday adventure into Victorian London and marvel at hundreds of costumed characters in music halls, pubs and more. Dozens of lamp-lit shops will be stocked with Christmas gifts. Enjoy roasted chestnuts and hearty meals. Nov. 18-19 and 24-26, Dec. 2-3, 9-10 and 16-17. 10am-7pm. $30 adults. $14 children 5-12, under 5 FREE. Cow Palace Exhibition Halls, 2600 Geneva Ave., Daly City. 800-510-1558.

Latkepalooza – Enjoy live music, Israeli dancing, glow-in-the-dark crafts and games, a Hanukkah gift shop, candle lighting and wine tasting. Sat., Dec. 16. 3:30-6pm. FREE. Peninsula Jewish Community Center, 800 Foster City Blvd., Foster City. 650-212-7522.


Breakfast With Santa – Enjoy a pancake breakfast, decorate cookies, make some crafts and play in the jumper. Sat., Dec. 9. Seatings at 9am and 10:30am. $20 per person; reservations required.  415-388-6393.

Festival of Lights – Enjoy food, arts and crafts, dreidel playoffs, live music and more. Sun., Dec. 10. 11:30am-2pm. FREE; suggested donation of canned food. Osher Marin Jewish Community Center, 200 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael. 415-444- 8000.

Silicon Valley

Chanukah Train –Gather at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk for the lighting of the menorah at 6:15pm, and then set off on a one-hour train ride on Roaring Camp’s vintage excursion cars adorned with thousands of shining lights and Chanukah decorations. Thu., Dec. 14. 6:30pm. $31 adult, $25 child. 400 Beach St. 

Gilroy Gardens Holiday at Night Festive lights, Santa, ice skating and live shows in the tradition of the holiday season. Feast on turkey and all the trimmings and bundle up with family as you take a ride around the park on the train. Dec. 1-3, 8-10, 15-23 and 26-30. 4-9pm. Dec. 31, 4pm-12am. $20-25. 3050 Hecker Pass Highway. 

Hands-On History Days: Children’s Holiday Festival Celebrate the holidays strolling through History Park, listening to the sounds of carolers, riding the trolley and visiting with Santa, who will be on hand for photo opportunities. Sat., Dec. 2. 11am. $8, 3 and under FREE. 635 Phelan Ave., San Jose. .

Holidays on the Ranch Celebrate the season with crafts, games, music and merriment from the early 20th Century. Make a wreath, join in the sing-along and go on a draft-horse carriage ride. Sat., Dec. 9. 11am. FREE. Wilder Ranch State Park, Santa Cruz.

Menorahs & Miracles: A Hanukkah Celebration Museum visitors will be able to enjoy a variety of Hanukkah activities. Sun., Dec. 3. 12-4pm. Included with admission of $13, under 1 FREE. Children’s Discovery Museum, 180 Woz Way, San Jose..

Solstice Family Fun A fun afternoon to learn what Solstice is through stories, games, music and crafts of the season. Make a beeswax candle, a traditional clove pomander, contribute to the wish chain to decorate the oak tree and learn the science behind Solstice. Reservations required. Sat., Dec. 16. 2-4pm. $20 adult and child pair. Hidden Villa, 26870 Moody Road, Los Altos Hills.

Toy Trains 2017 Watch a massive standard-gauge steam engine from the 1920s start up with the headlight flashing and drive wheels spinning. Dec. 15-31. FREE. Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History, 705 Front St..

WinterFest Great America celebrates all things winter with this month-long celebration. Ice skate in front of the iconic carousel, enjoy magnificent light displays, take a walk through Santa’s workshop and enjoy a nightly tree lighting ceremony. Dec. 1-3, 8-10, 15-17, 19-23 and 26-30. See website for times. $24.99. 4701 Great America Parkway, Santa Clara.

East Bay

Alameda County

Snow Day in Gourmet Ghetto – Snow is in the forecast for the first weekend in December in Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto. Visit with the Snow Queen, ride a pony, make holiday crafts and enjoy holiday entertainment, treats and hot cider. Sun., Dec. 3.10am-3pm. FREE. Shattuck Avenue between Rose and Vine streets, Berkeley. 

Community Hanukkah Celebration Join the Jewish Community Center of the East Bay’s annual celebration in preparation for the Festival of Lights to play, learn and enjoy delicious latkes and a candle lighting. Sun., Dec. 10. 2pm. 1414 Walnut St., Berkeley. 510-848-0237, ext. 142. .

Fairy Winterland Celebrate the winter holidays of many cultures: Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Las Posadas, Diwali and Chinese New Year. There will be stories, magic, crafts, a festival of lights and more. Dec. 15-23. 12-7pm. Parade nightly at 6:15pm. $10, $5 members. Children's Fairyland, 699 Bellevue Ave., Oakland. 510-238-6876.

Solano County

Holiday in the Park – Festive attractions, holiday shows, sledding down a giant snow hill and meeting St. Nick are all part of this annual holiday tradition. Plus, take your holiday picture inside a giant snow globe. Open Fri.-Sun from Nov. 24-Dec. 17; open daily Dec. 22-31. See website for times and ticket prices. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, 1001 Fairgrounds Drive SW, Vallejo. 707-644-4000.

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