Top Winter Spots in San Francisco

Top Winter Spots in San Francisco

With temperatures that stay above freezing and special exhibits all throughout, winter is a prime time to visit San Francisco. Take a cozy getaway or get in on the action. Make your next trip to these winter-time favorites in the Golden Gate City.

Shopper’s Paradise

Union Square is the place to go for shopping galore, and in the winter, it dons an extra layer of glitz. This retail hub decks the halls with all the extra fixings. Shop everything from major department stores to tiny boutique and everything in-between. Don’t forget to grab something for yourself (new designer clothes maybe?) and dine on specialties like drinks from Black Sugar-Boba Bar. Kick off the holiday season right with the Union Square Christmas Tree lighting in November and in December, take part in the traditional Menorah Lighting. Union Square is also packed with holiday entertainment– from the classic to the wacky.

The Many Museums

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San Francisco has a lot of museums (more than 40!) and they all get in on the holiday action. Sometimes when you’re cold, you want ice cream. The Museum of Ice Cream takes on a holiday twist with immersive exhibits and wintery themes. Then, get your holiday does of warm fuzzy feels at the Walt Disney Family Museum. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the museum hosts special events, programs and even a podcast honoring a decade as an institution. And if this isn’t the season for child-like joy, when is? Made for the curious, the Exploratorium incorporates Christmas cheer into hands-on fun. Keep the spirit going at the California Academy of Sciences winter exhibit: ‘Tis the Season for Science: Life on Ice. Yes, that’s right, you get enjoy your very own ice capade.

Round out your trip with reindeer. Head to the San Francisco Zoo & Garden to get up-close and personal with Santa’s magical helpers. The special exhibit Reindeer Romp showcases these cold-weather animals. Learn about the importance of the reindeer and see how they are built to walk on ice and snow.


This famous pier turns 30 in 2020 and to celebrate, it’s showing off local art. And how better to celebrate than with a nod to PIER 39’s most famous residents: sea lions! Snap a selfie with the sea lions and then explore Aquarium of the Bay’s art installation “Sea Lions in San Francisco.” Thirty local artists will paint individual sea lion statues with unique styles. Look for the 30 statues in the Bay Area.

Napa Valley & Red Wine

It’s red wine season! Pour up a glass and get cozy by the fire– Napa Valley is in Cabernet Season. We’ve talked about this wine-rific time of year before, and it’s worth a second glass. Cabernet Season is from mid-fall through spring. The grapes have been harvested and Napa Valley slows down to enjoy mild weather and good wine. It’s the perfect time to take advantage of smaller crowds, vintner tastings, and a more intimate experience.

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