They may run wild on the playground all year in a uniform of scuffed sneakers and juice-stained tees, but even the most rough-and-tumble kid will get a kick out of getting cleaned up for a super special date with mom and dad. Many Holiday High Teas are designed with the littles in mind, and in addition to pretty pots and tiny sandwiches, can include treats like cookie decorating, hot cocoa and even magicians. Pinkies up!

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Gingerbread Tea at the Fairmont
A stroll through the Fairmont’s massive gingerbread house (Standing 22 feet high created with thousands of home-baked gingerbread bricks and more than a ton of royal icing) will definitely make your little elves’ mouths water. So head to Laurel Court for the hotel’s annual Gingerbread Holiday Tea, where a Christmas Fairy & Balloon Elf will provide entertainment while the institutions famed kitchen will turn out plenty of delicious treats alongside your tea. Kids will also receive a nutcracker ornament and a gingerbread cookie to decorate, and everyone will enjoy live piano performances during tea service on the weekends. Adult service includes a glass of sparkling wine or a sparking cider. $89-99 for adults, $59-69 for children.

When: November 28–December 30, 1:30–3:30 pm daily (Christmas Eve & Day excepted)
950 Mason St.
SF, Ca
415-772-5144
Online: fairmont.com

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Photo credit: Top of the Mark

Magical Tea at Top of the Mark
The Top of the Mark once again hosts a family-friendly tea time that is more than your average afternoon tea. While you sip, your kids will enjoy a fire pixie face painter and the antics of a magician, as well as the chance to sweeten up your own edible creations at the ginger cookie decorating station. Grown-ups will love the buffet of tea sandwiches, scones and special eats from the hotel’s Executive Chef. For the kids, the chef will serve up kid-friendly bites like pigs in a blanket, mac and cheese and chicken nuggets. Every Friday and Saturday from Dec. 6–28. $50 per person. Reservations required.

Bonus: Each guest who brings a new toy to donate to the San Francisco Fire Department toy drive will receive a $2 discount on the price of the tea service. And stop by and say hi to Santa in the lobby downstairs on all Saturdays and select Fridays close to to Christmas. 

Top of the Mark at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins
One Nob Hill
San Francisco, Ca
415-616-6941 (Reservations required)
Online: intercontinentalmarkhopkins.com

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Teddy Bear Tea at the Ritz
Teddy Bear Tea at the Ritz has become a yearly tradition for many Bay Area families. The classic event, which tends to tip towards the fancier end of holiday teas, stars Stretchy the Elf, his side-kick elf, and the super cuddly Ritz-Carlton teddy bear. Kiddos can indulge in hot chocolate, teddy bear cookies and assorted sandwiches, while mom and dad can relax with some tea, snacks or some champagne. There will be holiday stories, sing-a-longs and photo-ops with the Ritz’s teddy bear, and each child will get a teddy bear to take home. $115-120 per guest. Reservations required.

Bonus: A portion of the proceeds benefits Make-A-Wish® Greater Bay Area.

When: Nov. 27-29; Dec. 5-6, Dec. 12-13 and Dec. 17, Dec. 19-24.

The Ritz-Carlton San Francisco
600 Stockton Street
San Francisco, Ca
415-296-7465
Online: ritzcarlton.com

St. Francis Holiday Tea
Your little guests will be dazzled upon walking into the lobby by the “St. Francis Enchanted Castle” a one-of-a-kind rotating 12-feet-tall winter wonderland featuring a towering all-white spun sugar castle. Tea service includes a choice of fine Artisan teas from Mighty Leaf or Red Blossom Tea Company, followed by a selection of English tea sandwiches, freshly baked black currant scones and seasonal berries with Devonshire-blend cream, preserves and assorted petit fours. Adults can opt for the Royal Tea, which includes the complete tea service with a glass of Gloria Ferrer sparkling wine. Reservations are required and we recommend booking early. We also recommend a trip up the glass elevator for an extra (and free) thrill. $45-$53/adults; $25/12 and under.

When: November 28 – December 20; available Saturdays and Sundays only, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

335 Powell St.
San Francisco, Ca
415-774-0264
Online: westinstfrancis.com

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Photo: Erin Feher

Be a Kid Again Holiday Tea at Sir Francis Drake
Guests big and small will be invited to sit by the fireplace under the festive 27-foot Christmas Tree and dig into a sweet feast of tea sandwiches, savories, and sweet treats. Adults can sip on tea and sparkling wine, while the kiddies can choose from caffeine-free tea, hot cocoa or sparkling apple cider. There will even be a make-and-take craft to remember the special day. $85/adults, $45/children.

Good to know: This year’s tea will be put on by SF’s ultimate tea party hosts, Crown & Crumpet. For questions and reservations, please contact Crown & Crumpet directly (phone and website below).

When: Nov. 28–Dec. 30, 11 a.m.–3 p.m., weekends and select Fridays.

450 Powell St.
San Francisco, Ca
415-771-4252
Online: crownandcrumpet.com
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Photo: Lovejoy’s Tea Room

Winter Wonderland at Lovejoy’s
If you’re looking for an off-the-beaten path holiday tea experience then take the fam out to Lovejoy’s in Noe Valley. This cozy room offers a quaint tea experience with tons of quirky decorations and decor that will delight the little ones. And, during the holidays the folks at Lovejoy’s transform their tea room into a winter wonderland and offer extended hours so be sure to check their website or call ahead because reservations are recommended. There is an extensive menu, including a dedicated “Wee Tea” (for kids under two) that features cream cheese and jelly sandwiches, a scone, fresh fruit, a petit four, and tea or hot chocolate, all for $16.95.

1351 Church St.
San Francisco, Ca
415-648-5895
Online: lovejoystearoom.com

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photo credit: Secret Garden

Secret Garden Tea House
This hidden little tea room feels like you’ve stepped into a children’s book circa 1910. The decor is very whimsical and colorful, and they go over the top when the holidays roll around. Parking is not hard to find especially on if you visit during the week or on a weekend afternoon. Best of all? The price is substantially more affordable than what you’d pay downtown. Stop in for their Holiday Prince and Princess Tea designed especially for the under 12-set anytime between Dec. 1–Dec. 23. with seatings at 11 a.m., 1:30 p.m. & 4 p.m on weekends, and all days Tuesdays through Fridays. Have your choice of tea, hot chocolate, egg nog, or lemonade, along with festive tea sandwiches, plus a plate full of holiday sweets and cookies and a Christmas Gift Bag filled with surprises your little one can take home. Cost is $25.95 per person. Reservations required.

Tip: Be sure to try their assortment of hats to wear while sipping on your freshly brewed holiday pot.

721 Lincoln Way
San Francisco, Ca
415-702-0398
Online: secretgardenteahouse

tea_shadelandsPhoto: Shadelands

Victorian Tea at Shadelands Ranch Museum
Join in this East Bay holiday tradition and stop by the 32nd Annual Holiday Faire at the Shadelands Ranch Museum—admission to the faire is free and it’s the perfect place to get your holiday shopping done. Stay for a three-course tea luncheon surrounded by holiday Victorian finery. Tea is $35/person and reservations are required.

When: November 28 – December 13, seatings at 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

2660 Ygnacio Valley Rd.
Walnut Creek, Ca
925-935-7871
Online: walnutcreekhistory.info

Teddy Bear Tea at The Gardens at Heather Farm
Sip tea on the farm and celebrate the holidays at the 20th annual Teddy Bear Tea at The Gardens at Heather Farm. Enjoy a variety of sweet and savory teatime treats, a visit to ‘Bearland’ for story time, souvenir photo, goodies for each child, and a holiday gift boutique. $20/children; $25/adults; free for Teddy Bears! Perfect for children ages 3 to 9. Reservations required.

When: December 5 and 6, 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.

1540 Marchbanks Dr.
Walnut Creek, Ca
925-947-1678
Online: gardenshf.org

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Worth the Drive

Holiday Tea at Silverado Resort & Spa in Napa
Head on up to Silverado in Napa for holiday tea times on December 13. This fourth annual Teddy Bear Tea will feature treats like tea sandwiches, scones and petit fours. Your kids will enjoy a puppet show and receive a teddy bear to take home. Advanced reservations are required. Call 707-257-5495. Cost: $39/child; $49/adult.

When: Dec. 14, 1:30–3 p.m.

1600 Atlas Peak Rd.
Napa, Ca
707-257-5432
Online: silveradoresort.com

Wine Country Holiday Tea at Hotel Healdsburg
Take a break from strolling the shops in Healdsburg with this holiday tea with treats for the whole family. Teas from Tea Domaine, chef Charlie Palmer’s owner blend and Healdsburg’s own Dragonfly tea company will be on offer, as well as gourmet bites including smoked salmon on housemade brioche, spicy hummus and salted cucumber and Sonoma County vegetable wraps, as well as a variety of scones, biscuits, housemade jellies, macarons, petits fours, and more. The kids will be treated to their own plate of snacks, hot chocolate with marshmallows or apple cider and even hand fans and white gloves or fake mustaches and little top hats, so they can really get in the spirit. $34/adults, $14/children.

When: Nov. 28–Dec. 20, Sat. & Sun. 2-4 p.m.

25 Matheson St.
Healdsburg. Ca
707-431-2800
Online: hotelhealdsburg.com

Will you be indulging in a little high tea this holiday season? Share with us where you’re planning to take your kiddos—we want to know!

—Erin Feher