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November Guide 2017: Family-friendly Events in San Francisco

family-friendly things to do san franciscoHere are our top picks for family-friendly things to do in San Francisco this month that celebrate the fall season and Thanksgiving without jumping the gun to Christmas tree lightings and Santa visits. If you are interested in all things holiday, check out our SF Holiday Guide.  

If you find yourself on the Peninsula, check out things to do in the area from Mid-Peninsula Moms Blog, and Wine Country Moms Blog has you covered for trips up north.

Know of something else fun going on around town? Email us at [email protected] or leave a comment below! 

November 2 

Day of the Dead SF

Altars in Garfield Park and Procession beginning at 22nd St. and Bryant

In Mexico, neighbors gather in local cemeteries to share food, music, and fun with their extended community, both living and departed. The celebration acknowledges the ongoing relationship with ancestors and loved ones who have passed away. The public altars in Garfield Park will be open from 4:00-11:00 PM. The evening procession at 22nd St and Bryant begins at 7:00 PM. Free. Please, no alcohol. 

November 5

Golden Gate Half Marathon & 5K

890 Beach St

Cheer on the runners in the annual event. Strollers and dogs are not allowed to participate in the runs. 7:00 AM start, festival at finish line.

YMCA Learn to Ride Program

Presidio Main Lawn

Let YBike’s awesome instructors teach your kids how to ride a bike at Off the Grid Presidio Picnic. Bikes and equipment provided. All ages welcome. No pre-registration required; just drop by, the south end of Main Post Lawn. 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM. Free

Story Time and Family Walk

SF Botanical Gardens Library, 1199 9th Ave

Every first and third Sunday of the month meet in the cozy children’s book nook for lively readings of nature-themed stories. Afterward, families can enjoy a special docent-led family Garden walk that brings the stories to life. Be sure to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Suitable for children aged 4-8. 10:30-11:30. Free for SF residents.

Surfrider Foundation Beach Clean Up

Ocean Beach

Meet across from the Beach Chalet at Stairwell 17 to volunteer to help clean up Ocean Beach. Buckets and other supplies will be provided. Clean up happens every first and third Sunday of the month and no advanced registration is required. 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

November 11

Bay Area Science Discovery Day

AT&T Park

There will hundreds of hands-on activities, opportunities to meet local scientists and engineers, and plenty of fun and educational entertainment. Free (but RSVP to get updates). 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM.

Bay Area Children’s Theatre Old MacDonald: Beyond the Farm Opens

Children’s Creativity Museum

Enjoy this clever adaptation of the classic children’s song Old MacDonald meant for kids ages 6 months to 3 years old. Playing in San Francisco from November 11 – November 26. Show times at 10:00 AM and 11:15 AM. 

Renegade Craft Fair

Fort Mason Center Festival Pavilion

Renegade returns to Fort Mason Center Festival Pavilion with a festive weekend celebration of all things handmade! Find one-of-a-kind gifts for friends and family, discover top independent maker talent from around the country, and enjoy a memorable Holiday weekend of local food vendors, seasonal cocktails, DJ sets, DIY workshops, photo ops, and more. 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM 

November 12

SF Birth and Baby Fair

Golden Gate Club Presidio

Buy your tickets to this annual event to take advantage of a day of shopping, workshops, and specially set up communal areas. We’ll have a table there, too, so make sure you stop to say hello! $12. 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

Inner Sunset Flea Market & Merchant Hop

Irving St. @ 9th-10th

The market is open on the second Sunday of every month through October and is full of family fun, food, and finds. 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

Renegade Craft Fair

Fort Mason Center Festival Pavilion

Renegade returns to Fort Mason Center Festival Pavilion with a festive weekend celebration of all things handmade! Find one-of-a-kind gifts for friends and family, discover top independent maker talent from around the country, and enjoy a memorable Holiday weekend of local food vendors, seasonal cocktails, DJ sets, DIY workshops, photo ops, and more. 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM 

November 18

International Auto Show

Moscone Center

Opening day of the auto show, which will run through Sunday, November 26. Ooh and aaah at the 2018 models from the world’s largest car manufacturers and the latest technology. Children under 12 years old are free. 

West Coast Craft (WCC) Show

Fort Mason Festival Pavilion

The celebrated West Coast Craft (WCC) fair returns to Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture just in time for holiday shopping. A juried exhibit of more than 250 artisans, WCC features designers, and craftspeople who draw inspiration from the mood and aesthetics of the West Coast lifestyle, as well as local materials and innovations. Enjoy browsing for fine craft items including ceramics, sculpture, fiber arts, textiles, home furnishings, paper goods, wood crafts, bath and body products, and more. Free. 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

November 19

Healthy Holiday Tarts Pop-Up Shop

470 Alabama St.

Come visit this fun pop-up shop to taste delicious tarts and sip tasty cocktails. Take home your favorite desserts for the holidays sweetened only with organic Medjool dates. $15 (admission waived with pie pre-order).  4:00-7:00 PM.

International Hip Hop DanceFest

Palace of Fine Arts

Enjoy groundbreaking hip hop performances by professional dance companies from around the globe. Today’s matinee performance will feature a kids’ freestyle circle on stage after the performance. 2:00 PM.

Fall Chocolate Salon

San Francisco County Fair Building Auditorium, Golden Gate Park

Chocolate aficionados, fanatics, lovers and addicts can taste & experience the finest in artisan, gourmet & premium chocolate. 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Adults: $25 at door. Children 6 – 12 years: $10. Children under 6 years old: free.

West Coast Craft (WCC) Show

Fort Mason Festival Pavilion

The celebrated West Coast Craft (WCC) fair returns to Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture just in time for holiday shopping. A juried exhibit of more than 250 artisans, WCC features designers, and craftspeople who draw inspiration from the mood and aesthetics of the West Coast lifestyle, as well as local materials and innovations. Enjoy browsing for fine craft items including ceramics, sculpture, fiber arts, textiles, home furnishings, paper goods, wood crafts, bath and body products, and more. Free. 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Story Time and Family Walk

SF Botanical Gardens Library, 1199 9th Ave

Every first and third Sunday of the month meet in the cozy children’s book nook for lively readings of nature-themed stories. Afterward, families can enjoy a special docent-led family Garden walk that brings the stories to life. Be sure to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Suitable for children aged 4-8. 10:30-11:30. Free for SF residents.

Surfrider Foundation Beach Clean Up

Ocean Beach

Meet across from the Beach Chalet at Stairwell 17 to volunteer to help clean up Ocean Beach. Buckets and other supplies will be provided. Clean up happens every first and third Sunday of the month and no advanced registration is required. 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

November 23

San Francisco Turkey Trot, 3 & 5 mile walk/ run

Polo Field, Golden Gate Park

Break out your turkey costumes and come kick off a great Thanksgiving with an invigorating fun run or walk in the park, before the parades, football games, and feasting commence! The 8:00 AM 100 meter Kids Gobbler Chase (ages 10 and under) is free for children of registered runners. 8:40 AM start for Adult runs. $40 entrance fee.

Illuminate SF Light Art Festival

Around the city

Between now and January 1, explore various glowing art installations around the city. Join a guided tour, follow a self-directed one, and keep checking the website for special lighting events over the holidays. Free.

November 25

The holiday season officially kicks off. Check out our SF Holiday Guide for the details.

November 26

Surfrider Foundation Beach Clean Up

Baker Beach

Meets on the last Sunday of each month, join the group at the picnic table near the beach entrance to volunteer to help clean up Baker Beach. Buckets and other supplies will be provided.  No advanced registration is required. 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Throughout the Month

Bay Area Children’s Theatre Old MacDonald: Beyond the Farm

Children’s Creativity Museum

Enjoy this clever adaptation of the classic children’s song Old MacDonald meant for kids ages 6 months to 3 years old. Playing in San Francisco from November 11 – November 26. Show times at 10:00 AM and 11:15 AM. 

International Auto Show

Moscone Center

The show runs from Saturday, November 18 to Sunday, November 26. Ooh and aaah at the 2018 models from the world’s largest car manufacturers and the latest technology. 11/18 – 11/26, Children under 12 years old are free. 

Illuminate SF Light Art Festival

Around the city

From November 23 to January 1, explore various glowing art installations around the city. Join a guided tour, follow a self-directed one, and keep checking the website for special lighting events over the holidays. Free.

Museum of Ice Cream

1 Grant Ave

Expect to see lots of Instagram pictures from this pop-up museum.  Tickets must be purchased in advance and are already sold out, but you can sign up for their newsletter to keep tabs on additional ticket releases. Children under 3 years are free. $38 per person.

The Color Factory

575 Sutter St

This two-story interactive pop-up exhibition celebrates color and material, featuring work by a collection of artists and collaborators. It’s a must-see, but plan accordingly. Tickets must be purchased in advance (sold out at time of publishing) and strollers are not permitted inside. Join their newsletter to stay up to date on new ticket releases. $32 per person. Children under 2 are free. Open 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM every day except Wednesdays.

Free Museum Admission Days

Every month, participating museums, including the California Academy of Sciences, Exploratorium, de Young Museum, and Conservatory of Flowers offer free admission on designated days.

Every Monday

Chinatown Walking Tour

Portsmouth Square

Learn about the history and daily lives of the largest Chinatown outside of Asia on this tour hour walking tour of the neighborhood. Meet at the parking garage elevators on the park level ten minutes before the tour begins. 10:00 AM and 1:30 PM. Free.

Every Wednesday

Tots and Tails Story Time

SPCA 2343 Fillmore St

Visit the SPCA’s 2nd floor conference room for animal-themed stories and a tour of the Pacific Heights adoption center.  Recommended for children 5 years old and younger. 2:00 PM. Free.

Every Saturday

Chinatown Walking Tour

Portsmouth Square

Learn about the history and daily lives of the largest Chinatown outside of Asia on this tour hour walking tour of the neighborhood. Meet at the parking garage elevators on the park level ten minutes before the tour begins. 10:00 AM. Free.

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