Best Holiday Events in San Francisco This Year

in Music News by

The holidays are here, and for San Francisco, that means shows. As well as regular shows and tours, every music venue in the city is lining up events to celebrate the season and the close of this fantastic year. If you haven’t made any holiday plans yet, fret not, because we’ve put together this guide to help you discover some of the best holiday events for San Francisco over the next few weeks, including some big-venue one-off cultural events from the classic end of things you might not have considered. However you celebrate, the city has a wealth of options this winter – have a great time finding them all!

The Midtown Men

First, the classics, and perhaps the oldest holiday season how of them all: Handel’s classic Messiah. On the 14th and 15th, the San Francisco Symphony and the San Francisco Symphony Chorus bring the full 1741 oratorio, with 100 voices and including the classic Hallelujah Chorus, at Davies Symphony Hall, with an introductory talk one hour before the start of the show. Second, again at the symphony, The Midtown Men (the original cast of Broadway’s Tony- and Grammy Award-winning smash hit, Jersey Boys) will be singing holiday hits and favorite tunes from ‘60 bands including The Beatles, The Rascals, The Turtles, Motown, The Four Seasons, and more. The vocal group that made Jersey Boys a Broadway sensation is bringing audiences to their feet across the continent with a high-octane performance of classic rock hits that you won’t want to miss.

Elsewhere, the San Francisco Opera has an Opera in an Hour showing of the classic Carmen, in a family-friendly screening designed to give kids and parents an easy way to enjoy the classics.

At a completely different and equally spectacular end of the spectrum, The Great American Music Hall hosts the SF Camp Fire Benefit Show on the 19th. This is a show that’s got everything, right from music and comedy to drag and burlesque. At a tough time for a lot of people, all proceeds of this show will go to the ​North Valley Community Foundation​ and ​The Arc of Butte County​, who give direct aid to the 30,000+ people who have been affected by the Camp Fire here in Northern California. Attempting to follow in these hallowed footprints for the rest of the week is an impressive seasonal party lineup including Charlie Hunter, cat whisperer Jackson Galaxy, Fishbone, and tribute kinds Grateful Shred performing one after the other.

Biscuits & Blues is another great venue this month, with each day from the 19th to the 26th buzzing with a musical treat in store. The streak begins with Chris Cain’s Bay City Blues, and goes on through performances from Shane Dwight Band, Alvon, the Elvis Bishop Band, and Marina Crouse. And on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day itself, the Reverend John Lee Hooker Jr. takes the stage to immerse the audience in ‘The Gospel According to Reverend John Lee Hooker, Jr.’ Expect 7-piece blues perfection and gospel moods. Other popular venues in the city are also all geared up: Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers have a show scheduled for December 29that Café Du Nord, while Gibby Paul and The Rebel Youth are performing at Bottom Of The Hill on December 28th.

Beyond the live shows, The American Conservatory Theater is bringing back A Christmas Carol, the timeless classic, from 6thto the 26th of December, while the San Francisco Ballet is all set to present The Nutcracker at the War Memorial Opera House from the 16th to the 29th of December.

There’s so much more happening in the city, and we can’t wait to see how this holiday season goes, because there’s nothing like this city in holiday mood. See you out there!

Photo courtesy of San Francisco Symphony 

Having released albums under Digital Nations, a label founded by Steve Vai, music critic Louis Raphael has remained deeply connected to the pulse of the San Francisco music scene. Following his tenure as the San Francisco Music Examiner for and, he embarked on creating Music in SF® to authentically highlight the vibrant offerings of the city's music scene.

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