Bask in the Thanksgiving after-glow and start celebrating the unofficial start of the holiday festivities. From tree lightings to a nightmare of a symphony to holiday fairs, this weekend lets you say goodbye to November like only the Bay Area can.

san jose christmas in the park mom and baby photo: Don DeBold via flickr

San Francisco

Ghirardelli Square Tree Lighting
Head to Ghirardelli Square to witness the lighting of the 60 ft. tree (at 5:30 p.m.) along with entertainment and activities beneath the dazzling lights. Fri., 4–9 p.m. Ghirardelli Square. Free. All ages. Event details.

Nightmare Before Christmas with SF Symphony
Bring your little Jacks and Sallys to see Disney in Concert: Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas featuring the music of Danny Elfman. The SF Symphony accompanies the screening of Tim Burton’s film. Fri. & Sat., 8 p.m. Civic Center. $25-$160. 7 and up. Event details.

Tea Under the Tree
Enjoy an English afternoon tea under the Sir Francis Drake’s gorgeous 20 ft. decked out Christmas tree in the lobby mezzanine. The full tea service, provided by Crown & Crumpet, includes a selection of tea sandwiches, crumpets, scones, macarons, a glass of sparkling wine for grown-ups and sparkling cider for kids. There’s also a kid’s craft and a limited quantity of ornaments for the adults. Reservations recommended (see event listing). Sat. & Sun., 11 a.m.–3 p.m. Union Square. $85/adult; 45/child 12 and under. All ages. Event details.

The Velveteen Rabbit Milk & Cookies Party
Meet characters from The Velveteen Rabbit after the show at this one-time-only party. Dance and pose with your favorites, get your face painted and feast on locally sourced treats as you make holiday memories with your family. (Party tickets sold separately from performance.) Sun., 4–5 p.m. SOMA. $14. All ages. Event details.

East Bay

Thanksgiving Weekend at Playland-Not-at-the-Beach
Thanks be to Playland for being open for an extra day to play on Friday! Spend quality time with friends and family in the Museum of Fun, enjoy unlimited pinball and more. Fri., Sat. & Sun., 10 a.m.–5 p.m. El Cerrito. $15/adult; $10/child. All ages. 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.

Oakland Cottage Industry Holiday Fair
If you like to buy local and support local artisans then this is the artisan fair for you. Shop over 30 local artists and craftspeople including glass artists, woodworkers, jewelry makers, fine art, fabric arts, vintage and upcycled clothing, handcrafted soaps and lotions, scrumptious culinary delights and much more! Sat., 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Oakland. Free. All ages. Event details.

3rd Annual Holiday Youth Music Festival
The fun, holiday-themed afternoon for the whole family returns to the Firehouse Arts Center Stage featuring over a dozen young local musicians, from middle school through high school ages, presenting performances inspired by classic holiday story lines. The multi-talented young artists and writers will be doing covers of holiday standards and modern holiday favorites that everyone knows and loves. Sat., 2-4 p.m. Pleasanton. $5-$10. All ages. Event details.


Flight Science Lab at the Hiller
Launch an adventure into the forces of flight at the Hiller Aviation Museum! Investigate aerodynamics with exciting hands-on experiments, model aircraft construction, realistic flight simulation and more. Plus how volcanoes, snow and more effect flight. There will even be an amazing wild bird demo. Fri., 9 a.m.–4 p.m. San Carlos. $90. 5–12. Event details.

Holidays at Filoli
Filoli’s nine day holiday event means fancy-pants decorations at a beautiful estate. This Friday is the opening night premier with shopping and a first-look at the gorgeous decorations. Buffet lunches and evening bistro dining are available at select times during the weekend with advance reservations. Fri., 5-8 p.m., Sat. & Sun., 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Woodside. Prices vary. All ages. Event details.

South Bay

Christmas in the Park Tree Lighting
This year’s Annual Community Giving Tree Lighting Ceremony will include festivities at 5:30 p.m., with the tree lighting following at approximately 6 p.m. The event will feature Santa, live entertainment and an exciting surprise for the kids! Fri., 6 p.m. Downtown San Jose. Free. All ages. Event details.

Cars & Croissants on the Row
This Saturday, 100|OCT (“hundred octane”) gathers over 100 exotic cars and their owners for a morning of auto-awesome. Sat., 9 a.m.–noon. Santana Row, San Jose. Free. All ages. Event details.

SJ Women’s Club’s 4th Annual Gingerbread House Decorating Party
This fundraiser for the SJWC Charitable Giving Program features a fun afternoon of gingerbread house decorating  in a swanky spot: the Landmark Ballroom. It’s the icing on your Thanksgiving weekend! Sun., 2–5 p.m. Downtown San Jose. $25/kit and decorations; $15/bring your own house. All ages. Event details.

Marin County

Friday Night Jazz at the Mart
Remember when you actually had “date nights” that involved dinner and dancing? Well, we can’t bring those back for you, but we’ve got an easy, local alternative! Head over to Marin Country Mart for their Friday Night Jazz. It may not be a candlelit meal with you and your spouse, but it’s festive, romantic, and totally cool to bring the kiddos. Grab some grub from one of the killer eateries and enjoy live jazz from local legends while the kids crawl on the infamous logs! This Friday enjoy the Gail Dobson Quintet. Fri., 6-9 p.m. Larkspur. Free. All ages. Event details.

36th Annual Holiday Parade of Lights & Winter Wonderland
Head to Downtown San Rafael for snow sledding, a holiday marketplace with arts and crafts, live entertainment and at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, one of the largest holiday parades in the Bay Area followed by Mr. and Mrs. Claus helping the mayor light the Christmas tree. On Saturday, there will be snow and kids activities from 9 a.m. to noon. Fri., noon-8 p.m. & Sat., 9 a.m.–noon. San Rafael. Free. All ages. Event details.

Maker Lab: Power of Print at BADM
Explore how things work, take them apart, plan, test and design your own creations. Learn about the The Power of Print, by measuring, tracing, cutting and glueing your own book. Use different print techniques developed through time create your own storybook. Sat., 2:30-3:30 p.m. Sausalito. $13.95. 5-8. Event details.

North Bay

Little Women, The Musical
This holiday presentation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic story, Little Women, comes to life with music. Join the March family sisters and a chamber trio of piano, cello and violin for a trip back to 1860s New York City. Fri. & Sat., 8 p.m. Sun., 2 p.m. Rohnert Park. $16-$26. All ages. Event details

Visit us on Instagram and Facebook and let us know how you #rockedtheweekend after-Thanksgiving! 

—Amber Guetebier