20 Holiday Events in the Bay Area Suburbs

Dec 2, 2022

Ready for some holiday cheer? Head to these suburbs in the San Francisco Bay Area.

There’s always so much going on this time of year – but that doesn’t mean you should put your suburbs search on hold. With all of the tree-lighting events, Christmas light displays, craft fairs and holiday concerts, this is the perfect time to explore the Bay Area towns on your list. You’ll still get to enjoy the holiday season while also scoping out your potential new hometown.

We’ve rounded up our favorite holiday events in the Bay Area to make your suburb search a bit more festive.

North Bay

#1. Winter Lights (Santa Rosa, CA) | November 25 – December 31

The annual tree-lighting event on November 25th officially kicks off the Winter Lights festival in Santa Rosa. Enjoy hot chocolate and live entertainment before heading to the ice skating rink. The rink is open until December 31 and if you have little ones you can sign them up for ice skating lessons.

#2. Holiday Craft Fair (Mill Valley, CA) | December 3, 10am – 4pm

Gets some holiday shopping done on December 3 at the Mill Valley Holiday Craft Fair. Local vendors set up at the Community Center to sell handmade jewelry, ceramics and more. This is a great chance to find unique gifts for those hard-to-shop-for people on your list while also connecting with the Mill Valley community.

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#3. Winterfest (Mill Valley, CA) | December 4, 12pm – 5pm

Mill Valley’s Downtown Plaza transforms into a winter wonderland on December 4. Get ready for a full day of live music, lawn games, photo-ops with Santa and a tree-lighting ceremony. Along with the event, there’s a town-wide scavenger hunt running until December 16. Submit pictures of festive displays you see around Mill Valley for a chance to win a gift card to a local business.

#4. Downtown Tiburon Holiday Festival (Tiburon, CA) | December 3, 2pm – 5pm

Tiburon gets in the holiday spirit with a community festival on December 3. Throughout the day you can listen to carolers while taking a carriage ride or waiting for the little ones to get their picture with Santa. The event ends with a tree and menorah lighting ceremony.

#5. Marin Ballet Nutcracker (San Rafael, CA) | December 10 – 11

Attend a performance of the annual Marin Ballet Nutcracker on December 10th or 11th. This will be the 59th season and you can expect a fantastic show complete with 125 dancers and impressive sets. 

#6. Marin Symphony Holiday Pops Concert 2022 (San Rafael, CA) | December 13

The Marin Symphony Orchestra puts on a beloved Holiday Pops Concert just a few days after the Marin Ballet Nutcracker. You’ll be treated to holiday music, beautiful vocals and plenty of holiday cheer. Tickets are on sale now for the one-night-only concert on December 13.

#7. Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony (San Anselmo, CA) | December 3, 5pm

Head to Imagination Park on December 3 to take part in the San Anselmo tree lighting ceremony. This has always been a favorite holiday tradition and this year there’s even a trackless train for the little ones in your crew to ride. 

#8. Bouncy Ball New Year (Novato, CA) | December 31, 12pm

For a one-of-a-kind New Year celebration, you won’t want to miss the Bouncy Ball New Year in Novato. 23,000 bouncy balls (to commemorate the year 2023) will be dropped from a fire truck ladder. Everyone is invited to keep as many bouncy balls as they can grab.

East Bay

#9. Telegraph Ave Holiday Street Fair (Berkeley, CA) | December 10, 11, 17, 18, 23, 24

More than 200 vendors will set up in Berkeley for the Telegraph Ave Holiday Street Fair. The event runs on select December weekends and is a perfect chance to get some holiday shopping done. In addition to all of the handmade goods, local musicians will perform to make the festival even more fun.

#10. A Christmas Carol (Walnut Creek, CA) | December 8 – 22

Considered the Christmas Carol to see in the Bay Area, Walnut Creek’s presentation won’t disappoint. Buy tickets now for the classic story – which has been enhanced with exciting special effects. The show goes from December 8 – 22 at the Lesher Center for the Arts.

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#11. Christmas Tree Lane (Alameda, CA)

This Alameda neighborhood goes all out for the holidays. Since 1938, neighbors have welcomed the community to see their impressive illuminated displays. Houses and yards are covered in lights, marching bands perform and Santa even makes an appearance. Keep an eye on the Facebook page for updates about this season’s festivities. 

#12. Kids’ Holiday Celebration (Alameda, CA) | December 10, 2pm – 4pm

If you have little ones, bring them to the Kid’s Holiday Celebration at Alameda Landing on December 10. They can get a picture with Santa, listen to carolers and even have their arm painted by an elf. 

#13. Hometown Holiday Celebration (Pleasanton, CA) | December 3, 5pm

The celebrations start in Pleasanton with the annual Hometown Holiday Celebration. Watch floats and marching bands pass by in the holiday parade before the official tree-lighting ceremony. There will be plenty of live music and Santa will make an appearance.

#14. Holiday Celebration (Pleasant Hill, CA) | December 10, 10am – 12pm

The Holiday Celebration at Pacific Pearl is very similar to the one at Alameda Landing (but both sound like tons of fun). This is a perfect event for anyone with kids because they’ll get to see Santa and have their arms painted by an elf. There will also be special holiday treats for everyone to enjoy.

Peninsula and South Bay

#15. Gamble Garden Holiday Storytime (Palo Alto, CA) | December 3, 10:30am – 11:30am

Young families will enjoy the Gamble Garden Holiday Storytime event. Bring the little ones for an afternoon of arts and crafts, holiday treats and special holiday stories read aloud by a princess. Tickets are available online for the event on December 3.

#16. Holiday Frunk Toy Drive & Street Party (Palo Alto, CA) | December 17, 10am -2pm

On December 17th the Fire and Police Departments will host a Street Party complete with cookie decorating and a Model X holiday light show. Load your car with unwrapped toys to donate to kids in need and drive to the Palo Alto Fire Station #2. Prizes will even be awarded for the best decorated Frunk/Car.

#17. Hometown Holidays (Redwood City, CA) | December 10, 10am – 6pm

Redwood City gets into the spirit with the annual Hometown Holidays Celebration. On December 10, make your way downtown to enjoy live entertainment, festive food vendors, pictures with Santa and the beloved holiday parade. 

#18. Breakfast With Santa (Cupertino, CA) | December 3

Everyone is invited for a pancake breakfast with Santa on December 3. Elves will whip up a delicious meal while Santa poses for pictures. Little ones can even write a letter to Santa which he will respond to by mail.

#19. The Menagerie Oddities & Curiosities Holiday Market (San Jose, CA) | December 3 – 4

If the city of San Jose is on your list be sure to stop by while The Menagerie Oddities & Curiosities Holiday Market is set up. On December 3rd and 4th, the Winchester Mystery House hosts a market filled with vendors selling unique handmade gifts. You can enjoy a seasonal cocktail while browsing for unforgettable holiday presents.

#20. Sunnyvale Holiday Lights Ride (Sunnyvale, CA) | December 17, 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Cyclists look forward to the annual holiday lights ride through Sunnyvale. On December 17, decorate your bike and join other cycling enthusiasts for a relaxed 6-mile ride to check out the most decorated houses in town. 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year to start your suburbs search. Schedule your FREE suburbs strategy session today so we can help you find the town that matches your lifestyle.

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