'Tis the 2017 season of The Nutcracker, A Christmas Carol, caroling concerts, and other holiday shows in San Francisco. Since this is the Bay Area, there are productions faithful to the originals as well as zany spin-offs. If you're on a budget, be sure to check our Free Christmas and Holiday Events guide. Nearly all of the offerings in that guide and below are suitable for kids.
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Clever, sensuous, humorous and beautiful vignettes composed of dance ranging from classical ballet to flirty jazz to rollicking tap, set to music as varied as Mozart and Elvis.
Dates & Locations: For 2017, November 17 & 18 at Lesher Center for the Performing Arts, Walnut Creek; December 1 & 2, Sunset Center, Carmel; December 6-10, Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts; December 14–24, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco.
Cost: Ticket prices vary
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Victorian London is recreated with decorated lanes, shops full of Christmas finds, roving carolers, pubs, high tea, games, dance and stage performances for all ages, and characters such as Father Christmas, Tiny Tim, Scrooge, Oliver Twist, David Copperfield and even Charles Dickens.
Dates: Five Weekends including the Friday after Thanksgiving: November 23, 24, 25, Dec. 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22, 23, 2018; 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Location: Cow Palace Exhibition Halls, 2600 Geneva Avenue, Daly City
Cost: Adult/General Admission (13+): $30.00; Children (5-12yrs): $14.00 (Children under 5 are always free); Pickwick Club 2017 Season Pass: $105.00 (a $330.00 value); Adult Twilight Tickets, available after 3:00 PM: $18.00 (available only at the box office); Child Twilight Tickets, available after 3:00 PM: $10.00 (available only at the box office)
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ODC/Dance’s adaptation of the Margery Williams classic about a child’s stuffed toy rabbit that becomes real. The tale of love, hope and loyalty moves even cynical adults.
Dates: Sat, Nov 25 at 4 p.m.; Sun, Nov 26 at 2 p.m. (Milk & Cookies Party); Thu, Nov 30 at 11 a.m.; Fri, Dec 1 at 11 a.m.; Sat, Dec 2 at 1 p.m. & 4 p.m.; Sun, Dec 3 at 2 p.m.; Thu, Dec 7 at 11 a.m.; Fri, Dec 8 at 11 a.m.; Sat, Dec 9 at 1 p.m. & 4 p.m.; Sun, Dec 10 at 2 p.m.
Location: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater, 700 Howard St., San Francisco
Cost: Tickets vary
04 of 17
In this autobiographical one-man show, Brian Copeland returns to his childhood in Oakland one Christmas, when he searched town for the perfect present for his mom and then set out to earn the money to buy it.
Dates: Fridays and Saturdays, December 8 to 23, 2017 (except December 16)
Location: The Marsh, 1062 Valencia St., San Francisco 94110.
Cost: Tickets $20-100. Ages 10+.Continue to 5 of 17 below.
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San Francisco Symphony's specials include a performance of A Charlie Brown Christmas accompanied by the symphony, the SFS Chorus, dancers and narrators, plus pre-concert activities and a New Year’s Eve celebration featuring Seth MacFarlane.
Dates: December 2017
Location: Davies Symphony Hall, Grove St. at Van Ness Ave., San Francisco 94102
Cost: Tickets $15 and up; some concerts half-price for ages 17 and under
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Holiday music is heightened in Grace Cathedral's grand setting. The concert series features the cathedral's Choir of Men and Boys (which turned 100 years old in 2013); a carol sing-along ideal for children, with "toys" that have come alive; and Grace's giant organ and a brass ensemble.
Dates: Through December 23, 2017
Location: At Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St., San Francisco 94108
Cost: Tickets varyContinue to 9 of 17 below.
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A Chanticleer Christmas
The Grammy-winning, home-grown, all-male ensemble sings music of peace and inspiration, ranging from carols to Renaissance pieces, in churches and cathedrals around the Bay Area.
Dates: December 10 to 23, 2017
Location: In San Francisco, Berkeley and other Bay Area cities
Cost: Tickets vary
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San Francisco Ballet has special claim to the magical Christmastime ballet that's produced in cities nationwide: it was the first company to dance Nutcracker in America, in 1944. Artistic director Helgi Tomasson's production is set in San Francisco in 1915.
Dates: December 13 to 30, 2017
Location: War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco 94102
Cost: Tickets vary
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Nutcracker meets Pirates of the Caribbean in this unique performance. The audience dances along with the cast in the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band's annual twist on the classic tale.
Dates: December 9 (3 p.m. and 7 p.m) & 10 (11 a.m. and 3 p.m.), 2017
Location: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St., San Francisco
Cost: Adults - $30; Child, Student and Senior - $18Continue to 13 of 17 below.
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Mark Foehringer Dance Project|SF performs a Nutcracker catered to kids (over age 2): Packed with action and live music. Condensed to 50 minutes. All performances are matinees. Afterward, the cast meets the audience for pictures.
Dates: December 9 to 23, 2017
Location: At Cowell Theater, Fort Mason Center, Marina Blvd. at Buchanan St., San Francisco 94123
Cost: $20.50 to $42.50
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This show includes acrobatics, juggling, contortions, trapeze stunts and other exciting circus acts, plus comedy, music, and high jinks. Performers include veterans from Teatro Zinzanni, Circus Bella, and the New Pickle Circus.
Dates: December 22 to 28, 2017
Location: Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St., San Francisco 94110
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If you want a classic Nutcracker at prices less than in San Francisco, head to the East Bay. The Oakland Ballet performs in the historic Paramount Theatre, accompanied by the Oakland East Bay Symphony. Choreography is by artistic director Graham Lustig.
Dates: December 22, 23, & 24, 2017
Location: The Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, Oakland 94612.
Cost: Adults: $23 to 90; Seniors (62+): $19.50 to $76.50; Children: $19.50 to $76.50Continue to 17 of 17 below.
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During Christmas, what’s a Jew supposed to do? Go for food and Jewish comedy at a Chinese restaurant. Cathy Ladman, Wendy Liebman, and Gabe Gulman headline a dinner and a cocktail show each night.
Dates: December 23 to 25, 2017; 5 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
Location: New Asia Restaurant, 772 Pacific Ave., San Francisco. Not recommended for those under age 13.
Cost: 5 p.m. Dinner Show (7-course set menu): $72; 8:30 p.m. Cocktail Show (vegetarian dim sum): $52