Thanksgiving in San Francisco 2024: Where to Go & What to Do

Misty mornings, iconic Golden Gate Bridge views, and an abundance of world-class eateries attract millions of visitors to the Bay area each year.

Thanksgiving in California may seem like an unusual option. But tons of coastal charm and epicurean options guarantee an unforgettable Turkey Day. Follow along to discover the best of Thanksgiving San Francisco!

Rub elbows with the rich and famous at Madame Tussauds, or spend your Turkey Day running through the streets of San Jose.

November in San Francisco brings pleasant temperatures, waning crowds, and lots of holiday cheer. From heart-pounding hikes in Muir Woods to mouthwatering mashed potatoes and stuffing, a San Francisco Thanksgiving is always a great time.

Whether you are wondering about the weather in San Fran in November or are clueless about what attractions will be open during the holiday weekend, our California experts have you covered.

Ready to celebrate Thanksgiving in San Francisco? Read on…

San Francisco Weather Thanksgiving

Many people flock to San Francisco in the summertime for surf and sunshine. However, travelers in the know will set their sights on San Francisco. San Fran in November is full of stunning fall foliage and crisp, cool temperatures.

Kick off the holiday season in a cozy cable knit sweater as you enjoy the weather in San Francisco Thanksgiving. Prime yourself for an abundance of nature as you take in the peak of leaf peeping.

Be sure to check out the splendid gold-changing Ginko and purplish-red Dogwood trees before you tuck into your turkey breast and pumpkin pie. High temperatures of the low 60s and moderate rainfall make the Golden Gate City one of California’s top places to spend Thanksgiving. While you may be blessed with a few days of low 70s, we suggest packing layers and a light jacket. 

Need to make your San Fran getaway even easier on your wallet? Bundle your accommodations and activities for epic savings with any of our San Francisco Vacation Packages

path with sand and rocks on the side with body of water and view of golden gate bridge during sunset at Crissy Field in San Francisco, California, USA
photo credit: Michael Emono via Unsplash

San Francisco Hotels

Freshly baked sourdough, romantic cable car rides, and bustling Union Square nightlife. You’ll never have to wonder what to do in Thanksgiving in the Golden City. Take advantage of scenic moments on Fisherman’s Wharf, world-class museums, and more when you plan to give gratitude in San Francisco.

Need help with where to go on Thanksgiving weekend? Treat yourself to sumptuous accommodations everywhere, from Russian Hill to Little Italy, when you book one of our San Francisco Hotels.

From awe-inspiring Bay views to lavish amenities, Tripster provides lodgings for every budget and style. As always, book stress-free, knowing you are always guaranteed our lowest rates online. 

exterior of The Marker Hotel during sunset with view of street in San Francisco, California, USA
photo credit: The Marker San Francisco

What to Do in San Francisco for Thanksgiving

Lush botanical gardens, under-the-sea adventures, and photo-bombing your favorite celebrities. While Thanksgiving Day is all about the food. Intrepid tourists will discover a world of options when it comes to San Francisco attractions. Perfect that pose, put the pedal to the medal, or give thanks in nature when you tackle our best places to go for Thanksgiving fun:

Madame Tussauds San Francisco

Step up that selfie game because you’re going to want to document every moment at Madame Tussauds San Francisco. Cuddle up closer than ever before to beloved pop icons, actors, and athletes when you visit this world-renowned wax institution. From Tu Pac to Taylor Swift, Tussauds delivers hours of A-list-worthy experiences.

Pose with Stephen Curry, or show off your best Single Ladies’ dance moves with Beyonce. Step into the Spirit of San Francisco when you stroll across the Golden Gate Bridge or jam out with Janis Joplin.

Fill up your Turkey Day weekend with boat cruises, museums, and more, with our extensive San Francisco Things to Do list

Aquarium of the Bay

Head down to the iconic Pier 39 waterfront for a Turkey Day full of sea lions, green moray eels, jellyfish, and more. The Aquarium of the Bay is home to over 20,000 species and dozens of interactive exhibits. Budding marine biologists will love doing a deep dive into the diverse marine life of San Francisco Bay.

Spot the bright orange Garibaldi fish and observe swirling schools of anchovies. Or let yourself be hypnotized by a 725-gallon cylinder tank of Moon Jellies. Don’t forget to prime those fingers for the feel of anemones, rays, skates, and sea stars in the touch tank.

Entrance to the Aquarium of the Bay - San Francisco, California, USACalifornia Academy of Sciences

Combine education with interactive entertainment when you and your family delight in one of the greenest museums in the world. California Academy of Sciences is open on Thanksgiving Day so learners of all ages can wander through Northern California habitats, a world-class digital planetarium, and four-story living rainforest.

Observe African Penguins, meet an albino alligator, or virtually climb to the top of a towering Redwood. From earthquake simulations to free-flying birds, this natural history museum delivers hours of fun. 

Family participating at an Interactive Exhibit at California Academy of Sciences - San Francisco, California, USAGolden Gate Park

Fresh air, spellbinding scenery, and abundant flora await visitors to San Francisco’s most renowned park. Schedule a mini Turkey Day respite, when you spend a day giving gratitude for the beauty of Golden Gate Park. Then, reap the benefits of small crowds when you swing by the tree-topped Bunny Meadow.

Admire the five-story pagoda, Drum Bridge, and Bamboo in the Japanese Tea Garden. Or bring a coffee and a snack to observe the waterfall and birdlife on Strawberry Hill.

Play tourist all week long when you carve out a day (or three) to take in North Beach, Golden Gate Park, and more with a San Francisco Sightseeing Tour.

View looking over the Golden Gate Recreation Area full of greenery with the ocean in the background in San Francisco, California, USA
photo credit: Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy via Facebook

San Francisco Skyline Sightseeing Hop-On Hop-Off Tour

Sneak in some sightseeing before your stuffing and sweet potatoes when you conquer the City by the Bay with Skyline. Your San Francisco Skyline Hop-On Hop-Off Tour provides up to 2 hours of double-decker delights. Cruise through the city’s streets as you visit over 40 San Francisco landmarks and attractions.

From the sparkling waters of North Beach to Chinatown and Haight Ashbury, Skyline lets you soak in the sights at your own pace. With over two decades of sightseeing expertise, you are guaranteed epic photo opportunities, multilingual commentary, and sizzling open-top vistas.

close up of streets of chinatown in san francisco, California USA
photo credit: Kevin turcios via Unsplash

Muir Woods & Sausalito Half-Day Tour*

Step into a world of verdant beauty and wonder when you walk amongst the ancient Redwood trees. An ideal accompaniment to any Thanksgiving weekend itinerary, the Muir Woods and Sausalito Half-Day Tour promises an ethereal escape into the old-growth forests of the Muir Woods National Monument. Spend hours losing yourself in this ‘living museum’ surrounded only by the sights and sounds of mother nature.

After the woods, wander through the charming streets of Sausalito as you soak in the seaside scenery and Mediterranean ambiance. Conclude your day of Northern California adventure by traveling back across the Golden Gate Bridge


Hello, there, mountain man! Escape the confines of the city and marvel at Yosemite, Muir, and Sonoma with an Incredible Outdoor Adventure in San Francisco.

trail through muir woods national monument
Muir Woods National Monument

San Francisco Thanksgiving Events

PIER 39 Tree Lighting Happier Holidays Celebration

Twinkling lights, uplifting seasonal tunes, and dazzling ornaments are arranged with artistic precision at the Pier 39 Tree Lighting Happier Holidays Celebration. Usher in the happiest season with magical musical moments framed by this 60 ft tall stunning Carlton Christmas Tree from Siskiyou County.

Gather round every half hour from November through January, to watch this tree transform. After you witness the synchronized festive light and music show, be sure to stroll along the pier for more holiday shopping, dining, and people-watching.

Macy’s 33rd Annual Great Tree Lighting*

The Magic of Macy’s never disappoints! Get your fill of multi-colored lights, sizzling Black Friday sales, and more when you head to Union Square this Christmas season. Merry makers of all ages can congregate by Union Square Park to observe a sustainable and reusable tree adorned with a medley of energy-efficient LED lights and ornaments.

*Please note that the official tree lighting ceremony date is TBD.

Looking to slip into the holiday spirit with some spectacular vino? Prime that palate when you treat yourself to any of our outstanding Sonoma & Napa Valley Wine Tours.

Christmas tree and people in Union Square, San Francisco, CA, USA

Silicon Valley Turkey Trot

Warm up that appetite for a day of feasting and football when you kick off Thanksgiving morning with The 19th Annual Silicon Valley Turkey Trot. Then, stretch those calves and prepare to sweat for a good cause when you choose to compete in the 5k, 10k, or Kids Fun Run in downtown San Jose.

Enjoy hours of fun, including a sponsored costume contrast and kid-friendly activities. For almost 20 years, the Turkey Trot has worked to donate over $10 million to local charities. 

Where to Go for Thanksgiving Dinner in San Francisco

Calling all foodies! For the amateur home chef, nothing is more tantalizing than a home-cooked Thanksgiving meal. However, sometimes vacation plans prevent us from chef-ing it up in the kitchen come November. Savor all manner of delicacies, from prime rib to luscious fall ragu, when you reserve a Thanksgiving Dinner out:

Hornblower Dinner Cruise

Set sail for a thoroughly unique Thanksgiving at sea when you dine with Hornblower. Savor the incredible San Francisco cityscape, a dynamic local DJ, and a winter holiday menu. While you can’t tuck into gravy and stuffing on November 23rd, you can make a date with the sparkling Bay for Black Friday.

The Buena Vista

Warm your soul with this Fisherman’s Wharf cafe’s signature Irish coffee before digging into a plate of holiday favorites. Not feeling the turkey? Opt for The Buena Vista’s savory Dungeness crab omelet served with grilled sourdough. 

Park Chalet

Inhale that fresh ocean air and enjoy the crackling fireplace as you warm up to tackle the Chalet’s three course Thanksgiving Day menu.

Zingari Restorante & Rooftop

Revel in the elegance of this renowned Union Square eatery as you munch away on osso buco. Sip expertly mixed cocktails as you sway in time to the live jazz music. Holiday service begins at 12:00 p.m. and features a four course menu. 

Mathilde French Bistro

Sublime French fare, and a heated patio, all nestled away in SOMA. Treat your family to a lavish meal of Filet Mignon, Roasted Turkey, Risotto, and more at Mathilde

Presidio Social Club*

Forget about toiling over a hot stove and praise the kitchen gods for the return of Presidio’s Thanksgiving Dinner! Relish sweet potato gnocchi, prime rib, pumpkin cheesecake, and more at this locale favorite. 

*Presidio is one of many restaurants près de Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

View of the outdoor lounge area with black and white stripped chairs with fire pits in the middle and plants lining the outer edge at Charmaine’s Rooftop Bar & Lounge in San Francisco, California, USA
photo credit: Charmaine’s via Facebook

Staying in SF well into December? Then, be sure to check out our guide to the 7 Best Streets to View Christmas Lights in San Francisco.

Picturesque Golden Gate Bridge views, the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean, and a plethora of educational activities.

The City by the Bay might seem like it’s been plucked straight out of a Hitchcock film. But this dazzling Northern California metropolis musters more than its fair share of holiday charm.

Shake up your traditional Thanksgiving Day plans when you cruise through Chinatown, North Beach, and the Embarcadero on an open-top bus.

Or, savor the wonders of the ocean sans a single splash when you visit the otters and jellies at the Aquarium of the Bay.

Intrigue your palate with an unforgettable meal of brioche stuffing and spiced riesling gravy. Or pause for a moment of gratitude in the beautiful Japanese Tea Garden.

From Redwoods to roasted turkey, there’s no better place to count your blessings than San Francisco. 

Tell us, How Will You Spend Your Thanksgiving in San Francisco?

Did we miss any of the best San Francisco Thanksgiving activities?

Leave us a comment below and let us know your Thanksgiving San Francisco plans!

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Written by Isis Maya Nissman

A New York native, Isis-Maya spent most of her professional life working in TV production until a vacation whisked her away to Central...

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