Best SF Bay Area
Events, Weekends & Festivals 2021
We limit our picks to ONLY the best events in the SF Bay area in 2021, personally handpicked for local insiders to enjoy. Many are unique world-class affairs. A few are just a lot of fun. The events below are organized by month & regularly updated including local Pacific Coast time. Also see regular weekly events at the end of each month below and recently past events.
DECEMBER 2021 — SF Bay Area Events & Weekends
Parade & Night of Lights Between Main Street & Kelly, in nearby Half Moon Bay
Friday, 12/3/21, 12/10/21, 12/17/21, 6 pm, Free
This local home-made event is a big favorite of Half Moon Bay residents and their children. There is a parade & Santa Claus Friday starting 6:15 pm (come early) Friday 12/3/21 and caroling & live music starting 6 pm Friday 12/17/21 and more. Mainly locals attend. See details.
Drive Through Dickens London, Cow Palace, 2600 Geneva Blvd, Daley City
3 weekends, Saturdays & Sundays, 12/4/21-12/19/21, 11 am-5 pm, $25/vehicle including up to 7 occupants.
See an outdoor version of the Dickens Christmas Fair from the comfort of your car. Tickets must be purchased online in advance and some times/dates may already be fully booked. See more details.
Breeding Sea Lions Tour, Ano Nuevo State Park, 27 miles south of Half Moon Bay
12/15/21 – 3/31/21 (every day except Christmas and last weekend in January). Admission $7 + $3.99 reservation fee
See 2.5 ton, 16 foot long elephant seal bulls skirmish for dominance during breeding season. Thousands of seals and sea lions gather for a 3-month orgy of fighting, mating, and birthing. This naturalist-led tour of the world’s largest mainland breeding colony for the northern elephant seal is about 2.5 hours and 3 miles long. Advance reservations are highly recommended since available slots fill up quickly, especially on weekends. See more details.
Lighted Boat Parade, Fisherman’s Wharf
Friday evening, 12/17/21, 6-8 pm, Free
More than 75 lighted decorated boats will parade along the waterfront (from Pier 39 to the St Francis Yacht Club and back) in this annual parade. The Fisherman’s Wharf Fishing Fleet will remain lit at night during the holiday season; best viewing of the fleet is from Jefferson Street between Jones & Taylor. See details.
The BAIC Corkscrew Regatta, Bair Island, just south of Redwood Shores
Saturday 12/18/21, first race starts at 11 am.
This head-style (time trial) race covers a 15 km long, beautiful and challenging marine obstacle course with a twisty 17 turns around Bair Islands.
- Winter Solstice (shortest day of the year), Tuesday 12/21/21
- Christmas Eve, Friday 12/24/21
- Christmas, Saturday 12/25/21
- New Years Eve, Friday 12/31/21
- More Holidays
Christmas Day, Saturday 12/25/21
The beautiful 55-acre San Francisco Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park is free to non-residents (as well as to residents as usual) all day Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day. By the way, the nearby California Academy of the Sciences is open every day of the year including Christmas and New Years Day … see Academy admission fee details.
Gray Whale Migration Season, Numerous locations along the Pacific coast
12/15/20 – 5/31/21, Paid boat tours or Free from shore
Watch some 20,000 gray whales migrating from the Arctic to Baja, Mexico. Tour boats leave San Francisco, Half Moon Bay, Moss Landing and Monterey during this season. Or, watch them from on shore. See more details.
USS Hornet New Years Eve Gala 2021 – USS Hornet Aircraft Carrier, Alameda
Friday 12/31/21, 7:30 pm-1 am, Admission $60-$99/person
Dance to a classic 16-piece Big Band and watch SF’s New Years Eve fireworks from the deck. There are three dance floors on the enclosed, heated hangar decks of this famous World War II aircraft carrier which is now a National Historic Landmark. This is a big, fun event which 800-1000 people attend. It is run by and proceeds benefit the USS Hornet Museum. See more details (Note: reserved seating usually sells out at least one week before the dance).
New Years Day, Saturday 1/1/22
Fun & Free WEEKLY Events & Activities (note: directly double check with the event itself for updated details)
- Swing Dancing in the Park – Sundays, 11 am-2 pm, year round. Free dancing & beginners lesson in Golden Gate Park.
- Bicycle Sundays – Open Sundays round subject to weather. Main roads are closed to cars on Sundays at both Golden Gate Park and Canada Road (off Hwys 280 & 92, Belmont) for bicyclists & skaters of all levels to enjoy.
- Pro Sports
- College Sports: In the Bay Area you can see a variety of interesting collegiate sports up close and at low cost. Check Stanford’s schedule for all sports. Also see the Cal Berkeley, San Jose State and San Mateo Jr. College event schedules.
- FREE Monthly Museum Days:
Many San Francisco Bay Area museums have free admission days once a month. Here are some links.