With Thanksgiving just around the corner the holiday spirit is starting to ramp up and this weekend brings us tree lightings and festive celebrations to brighten the night. Too soon? You’ll find plenty of cool activities like robot art, opera and volunteering to clean up the some beautiful parks in our great Bay Area.

dickens fair kid craft photo: Dickens Fair crafting by Meg Lauber via flickr 

San Francisco

The Velveteen Rabbit Studio-to-Stage Holiday Special
This classic holiday tale of bunny-love takes on a personal twist with ODC’s studio-to-stage, which offers tiny dancers a chance to learn the moves they can then watch on stage! Professional dancers offer a “toddler to octogenarian” dance class, then everyone can settle in to watch the ballet live. Fri., 5 p.m. Mission. $150/family of 2; $175/family of 3; $200/family of 4. All ages. Event details.

Friday Nights at the deYoung: 100 Years of Robot Art & Science
Enjoy the museum after-hours and experience live music, performances, local artists drop-in workshops, an art station themed around current exhibits (starts at 5 p.m.) and a prix-fixe menu in the cafe. Plus you can climb the observation tower at night. It’s like a date night you can bring the kids to! And this weekend it’s all about Bay Area robot art and science. Fri., 5-8:30 p.m. Golden Gate Park. Free. All ages. Event details.

Pier 39 Tree Lighting Celebration
Lots of places do an annual tree lighting but Pier 39 takes it to another level with a two-day celebration put on by the Disneyland® Resort, including Radio Disney, letters to Santa, holiday games and prizes, plus choral ensembles, and oh yeah–a 60 foot tree decorated to the nines. Kick your holidays off right! Sat. & Sun., noon-6:30 pm. Pier 39. Free. All ages. Event details.

East Bay

Peter Pan
When mischievous fairy Tinkerbell sprinkles her pixie dust on Berkeley’s Julia Morgan Theater, get ready to fly off to Never Land. Join the fairies, pirates and lost boys on an adventure with your whole crew. Fri., 7 p.m. Berkeley. $31.50. All ages. Event details.

Totem Animal Mask Making
Kids and their grown-up of choice can join in this mask making adventure. Make a Totem Animal Mask, using pre-cut mask forms, paint and embellishments. Kids will discover their own totem animal through a series of questions at the beginning of class and then spend the rest of the class crafting their creation. A healthy snack for the kids is provided (and pan dulce for the adults!) Space is limited to just 10 people, see event listing to score a spot. Sat., noon-1 p.m. Berkeley. $28/parent & child. 5-11. Event details.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
The beloved story about the adventures of the Potts family and their miraculous car comes to the stage in a special, musical version for young audiences. Sing along as Jeremy and Jemima take on the Vulgarians, who want Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for the Baron’s birthday. Sat. & Sun., 11 a.m. & 2 p.m. Berkeley. $22/adult; $18/child. 4 and up. Event details.

A Nutcracker Puppet Show
Oakland Fairyland’s beloved puppeteers team up with the SF Chamber Orchestra for a delightful version of Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic. Designed for young audiences, this production features the acrobatic antics of The Puppet Company’s miniature cast. Sun, noon–1 p.m. Oakland. Free. All ages. Event details.


Hillsdale Tree Lighting with Daniel Tiger
Meet and have your photo taken with Daniel Tiger at 5 p.m., then oooh and aaah when he throws the switch at 6:30 p.m. to light up the 32 foot tree in Macy’s Center Court. And guess who shows up at 6:30? Santa. Plenty of kid’s activities and free jingle bells while supplies last. Fri., 5:30-9 p.m. San Mateo. Free. All ages. Event details.

Opening Weekend of the Dickens Christmas Fair
Bring your little pips back in time for a child’s tour of Dickens’ London! This massive holiday fair which features wares galore includes wandering carolers, photos with Father Christmas, a Punch & Judy puppet theater, Victorian era children’s plays and games, a painting garden, an adventure carousel and Professor Flockmocker’s Laboratory of mechanical wonders. Sat. & Sun., 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Daly City. $18-$30/adult; $8-$10/child. All ages. Event details.

Opera for Families
This opera experience is created for kids of all ages to help them fall in love with the magic of opera. Two singers and a pianist will perform a selection of pieces from operas and musicals and include role-playing games and exercises that will help the young audience explore different aspects of opera. Sat., 10:30 a.m.–noon. Palo Alto. $10/general; $8/members; children 2 and under are free. All ages. Event details.

Author & Illustrator Frans Vischer at Pottery Barn Kids
Meet Frans Vischer, the author and illustrator of A Very Fuddles Christmas. Kids will enjoy a special reading of this story about a sweetly spoiled cat exploring Christmas sights and sounds. After the reading, Frans will sign and draw in books you’ve purchases. Meow! Sun., 11 a.m. Stanford. Free. All ages. Event details.

South Bay

River Clean Up Day
Join Guadalupe River Park Conservancy for a day of environmental stewardship! Help remove debris from the river channel before the rain carries it to our beautiful bay. Make friends, show the kids how to give-something back and have fun doing it. Note: wear long pants, closed-toe shoes, water, and clothes that you can get dirty. Work gloves available, or bring your own. All children under 18 need to have a signed parental waiver, found here. Sat. 8:30–11:30 a.m. San Jose. Free. All ages. Event details.

Grand Opening: Teaspoon
Celebrate the grand opening of Teaspoon’s San Jose location. The first 100 customers will receive a free drink and tote bag. Tea infused drinks like Rose Petal Crema, rainforest smoothies and lots of other tasty combos, make this a great spot to stop and refresh yourself on a busy weekend. Sat., noon-11 p.m. San Jose. Free. All ages. Event details.

Marin County

Get those dancing shoes on and get ready to shimmy and shake at these morning and mid-day concerts for the kids! Best loved children’s performers Tim Cain, Miss Kitty, Christopher Smith, and Cindy Cohen join forces to bring you the annual Lollipopalooza! Sat., 9:30 a.m. & 11 a.m. Tiburon. $12. All ages. Event details.

Mt. Tam Day of Thanks: Bothin Marsh
Start a new family tradition by thanking the beautiful natural environment of Bothin Marsh Open Space Preserve by helping to clean up. Family-friendly projects will include trash removal, pulling invasive weeds, and improving the condition of wooden bridges along the path. There will be opportunities to learn about wildlife on Mt. Tam and the ecology of tidal marshes, and time to enjoy prime bird watching. Wear rain gear and rubber boots. Register here. Meet at the Bothin Marsh along the Mill Valley-Sausalito multi-use recreation path. Sat., 9 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Mill Valley. Free. All ages. Event details.

Moonwatch ‘15 with NatureBridge
Using binoculars, a spotting scope and telescopes, study the face of the moon and learn more about constellations and the night sky. Binoculars will be provided, or bring your favorite pair. Even if weather prevents moon and star viewing, there will still be educational activities along the hike, followed by a campfire with S’more roasting, campfire skits and fun sing alongs. Sat., 5:30–8 p.m. Sausalito. $12. All ages. Event details.

Tam Valley Craft Fair
Get some holiday shopping done early at a local craft extravaganza. Join over 20 local crafters and artists and find bargains and unique one of a kind items for all the people on your holiday lists. Fri., 5-9 p.m. & Sat., 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Mill Valley. Free. All ages. Event details.

Visit us on Instagram and Facebook to let us know how you and the kids #rockedtheweekend. 

–Amber Guetebier