It’s the time of year for gifts, treats and more. But if you’re looking for a really special way to celebrate, give the gift of quality time. From the family-favorite Home Alone at the symphony to a community day at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, sometimes the best things don’t come wrapped. Scroll down to what’s topping our weekend wish list.

photo: San Francisco Symphony

San Francisco

Home Alone With the Symphony
See the beloved holiday hit Home Alone on the big screen like you never have before, with John Williams’ exuberant score performed live by the San Francisco Symphony and unforgettable carols sung live by three children’s choruses in a special guest appearance at Davies Symphony Hall. The highest-grossing holiday film of all time, and starring an adorable Macaulay Culkin, this hilarious and heartwarming comedy is holiday fun for the entire family. Fri. Event details

San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker
Treat the kids to a magical family performance of The San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker, set right in the City by the Bay. One hour prior to curtain, the characters are also available for photo opps—so dress the family in their best gear, get there early and don’t forget your camera. Fri.-Mon. Event details

CJM Community Free Day
The Contemporary Jewish Museum’s Community Day is an admission-free, fun-for-all extravaganza that has become an annual tradition for Bay Area families. Explore the galleries, create art and move and groove to live music! Bring your family and friends and enjoy an exciting day at The Museum. Tues. Event details.

East Bay

Winter Weeks at The Hall
Celebrate the holiday season with two weeks of scientific exploration at the Lawrence Hall of Science. Enjoy exhibits, activities and labs like the Animal Discovery Room, Ingenuity Lab and Planetarium every day during Winter Weeks. Sat.-Mon. Event details

Skate at This New Ice Rink
Oakland Central is incredibly excited to bring Downtown Oakland it’s very own outdoor holiday ice skating rink, the Old Oakland Holiday Ice Rink. Find this spot at the corner of 9th and Washington, in one of Oakland’s most beautiful and iconic neighborhoods. Fri.-Mon. Event details


Walk in a Mini Winter LEGO Wonderland
What kid (and, uh, adult) doesn’t love LEGO bricks? Well make your way to the Museum of American Heritage for its annual BayLUG Holiday Show with LEGO bricks. Check out festive holiday scenes and amazing miniature cities. Fri.-Sat. Event details.


Winter Solstice Celebration
Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, has been observed by people all around the world for thousands of years. Celebrate the harvest of the fall and to look forward to the coming of longer days and more sunlight. The gathering will include festive crafts, tasty hot drinks, cool solstice stories from other cultures and fun music. Sat. Event details

South Bay

Visit Christmas in the Park
San Jose’s most famous holiday lights and Christmas party is open every day and even on Christmas Day! From 9 a.m. to midnight you can cruise the attractions including the Lima Train, a Victorian Village featuring an animated Nutcracker Suite exhibit and Santa’s Photo Den. Guests enter a winter wonderland of lights, songs and local entertainment while strolling through an enchanted forest of trees and Christmas houses decorated by the local community. Fri.-Tues. Event details.

Winterfest at California’s Great America
Great America’s entire footprint will be open and decorated for WinterFest, including two entirely new themed areas and millions more lights than ever before. Five additional rides have been included in the WinterFest lineup, including the West Coast’s first single-rail steel coaster, RailBlazer. Also new this year are horse and carriage rides through the midway, allowing guests a touch of nostalgia as they enjoy the park. Spend some time ice skating in front of the iconic carousel Fri.-Sun. Event details

North Bay

Sing-Along Disney
Sing-Along Disney is a new musical revue, created by Young Actors Studio with lots of great characters from your favorite Disney movies and musicals. Songs from FrozenMoana, The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Mary Poppins, Cinderella and more. Fri.-Sun. Event details

—Kate Loweth