This is that moment before the holidays when San Francisco seems to take a deep breath and take stock. Here are a few things we’re looking forward to in November.

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October 29, 2018

Things to Do in San Francisco This November

Now is the moment before the holidays when San Francisco seems to breathe deep and take stock. Here are a few things we’re thankful for that visitors can experience.

Dia de Los Muertos Procession

On Nov. 2, 2018, the annual Festival of Altars and Day of the Dead procession will take place in the Mission District. Staging of the Day of the Dead procession will begin on Bryant St. and the Festival of Altars will take place in Garfield Park from 4-11 p.m. The procession begins at 22nd and Bryant streets at 7 p.m.

Blast From the Past TV Dinner Party

Finn Town will be hosting a cozy TV Dinner Party on election night, Nov. 6, 2018. Enjoy entertainment throwbacks like I Love Lucy while you indulge in a hearty home cooked Salisbury Steak, "Better Than Swanson's" Fried Chicken, or Fish Sticks. Close out the night by watching the election results with your community.


Snow Days at Aquarium of the Bay

What's cuter than river otters frolicking around mounds of snow? Answer: nothing. On Veteran's Day, Nov. 11, 2018, Aquarium of the Bay's river otters will wake up to a winter wonderland, where they'll be able to slip and slide on a thousand pounds of snow. Don't miss out on your chance to witness an insurmountable amount of river otter cuteness during the holidays!


Napa Valley Film Festival

The annual Napa Valley Film Festival (NVFF) lights up Northern California’s premier wine country destination, Nov. 7-11, 2018. Now in its eighth year, NVFF has established itself as the ultimate celebration of film, food and wine, and as one of the most entertaining, inspiring and memorable experiences for cultural travelers and film fans. USA Today has ranked NVFF among the top 10 film festivals in the United States. And unlike most big events, during which locals head for the hills, NVFF is embraced by locals as one of their favorite events of the year.


More Film Fare

Ten days of celluloid mayhem are captured at the 15th annual Another Hole in the Head Film Festival, beginning on Nov. 28, 2018, at the New People Cinema in Japantown. The San Francisco Film Society (SFFS) has announced the full lineup for Doc Stories, Nov. 1-4, 2018. This year’s program showcases films that address pressing issues from political indoctrination in Syria to maternal mortality rates in the U.S. The American Indian Film Festival takes place Nov. 7-11, 2018 at Brava Theater Center. New Italian Cinema is happening Nov. 30 - Dec. 2, 2018 at the Vogue Theater. Cinematografo Film Festival and Industry Forum (CFFIF), now in its second year, is a new film series and networking event designed to elevate emerging and established Filipino-American and Filipino talent. It will take place at Japantown’s AMC Kabuki Theater, Nov. 8-11, 2018. Launching at the New People and Castro Theaters, 3rd i’s San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival promotes diverse images of South Asians through independent film, Nov. 1-4, 2018. The fifth annual SF Urban Planning Film Fest, Nov. 11-18, 2018, features an extensive combination of film screenings and in-depth panel discussions at SPUR and other locations.

Unique Markets and Craft Fairs

Get set for the holidays and shop at some of these upcoming markets and fairs featuring unusual and locally made gifts. In celebration of Native American Heritage Month, the fifth annual California Indian Market at the Oakland Museum of California, Nov. 2 and 3, 2018, features jewelry, baskets, prints and other modern interpretations of Indian motifs. Be sure to check out West Coast Craft, Nov. 17 and 18, 2018, and the Renegade Craft Fair, Nov. 10-11, 2018, too. For more singular gifts and souvenirs, don’t forget San Francisco’s street artists. Since 1972, the San Francisco Arts Commission has licensed artists to sell their original works on the city’s bustling streets. Fisherman’s Wharf, Embarcadero Plaza at the foot of Market Street, and Union Square are among the areas where they’ll be found.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) is not only home to In Situ, where chef Corey Lee earned himself a Michelin star, but also to a constellation of artists who inhabit this space. This month, SFMOMA offers the exclusive West Coast presentation of the contemporary survey, “Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World.” Taking over SFMOMA's entire seventh floor, this exhibition will be filled with works representative of China's social transformation and globalization. Also on view this November is "Brassaï," a collection of images highlighting Parisian life, society, and culture between the two world wars.


Saucy Awards

A tempting local favorite returns on Nov. 12: the annual Saucy Awards & Gala, presented by the Golden Gate Restaurant Association. Considered the Oscars for the Bay Area restaurant community, this event will honor luminaries in 21 categories.

Illuminate SF

Now in its sixth year, Illuminate SF Festival of Light includes 37 dramatic, eco-friendly light art installations and a variety of light-related events and activities. Accessible by public transportation and free to view, the diverse range of works by light artists is found throughout the city. Check back soon for updates on new and upcoming light art installations around the city!

Watch a Warriors Game

The 2018-2019 NBA season has kicked off and November is a perfect time to watch the Golden State Warriors defend their back-to-back championship titles. On Nov. 5, all fans in attendance will receive a championship replica mini-trophy. On Nov. 8, the first 10,000 fans will receive a lapel pin and all fans will receive a commemorative poster. Be one of the lucky 10,000 fans to get a Splash Brothers limited edition bobblehead on Nov. 26. This will be the last season the Warriors will play on their home turf at Oracle Arena in Oakland before playing on their new stomping grounds at Chase Center for the 2019-2020 season. If you can't make it to Oracle, here are a few of our favorite places to watch the game around the city.

49er Football at Levi's Stadium

Watch the San Francisco 49ers take on the Oakland Raiders, New York Giants, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the month of November. Named Venue of the Year in 2015, Levi's Stadium is an attraction in it of itself. You'll find a ton of restaurants and even a 49er Museum within this premier sports and entertainment venue. Located in Santa Clara just south of San Francisco, Levi's Stadium is accessible by car or by Caltrain.

Bacon & Beer Classic at AT&T Park

On Nov. 10, 2018, go to AT&T Park to enjoy some of the best things in life: bacon and beer. Indulge in three hours of unlimited bacon and craft beer, live music, and even a bacon eating contest. If you want the VIP experience, you can get all the perks that are included in general admission, plus early entry to the festival, exclusive access to the dugouts and the warning track, and three exclusive bacon-infused dishes only made available to VIP attendees.

Holiday Hits

From the return of the Great Dickens Christmas Fair & Victorian Holiday Party to the twinkling tree at Union Square there will be much to the delight and enchant this holiday season. Skate in front of City Hall or beside the Embarcadero Center, catch the special holiday edition of Beach Blanket Babylon, take a holiday lights tour on Big Bus, or get tickets for Taylor Mac's Holiday Sauce at the Curran. Attention, holiday shoppers: those adorable pets up for adoption from the SPCA will return to the windows of Macy’s on Nov. 17, while the foot of Stockton Street becomes Winter Walk SF, an inviting holiday pop-up plaza, Nov. 23-Dec. 31, 2018.

San Francisco Art Institute Art Sale & Open Studios

Each year, the San Francisco Art Institute's (SFAI) second campus at Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture transforms into an all-campus art sale. This free-entry event, Nov. 10 and 11, 2018, will include exhibitions, open studios, a student art sale and more. The 67,000-square foot renovated pier, with spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay, is the new home for over 160 art studios for students, faculty, and visiting artists. There's also 4,300 square feet of new public exhibition space, open to the public and free of charge, including a flagship gallery, a graduate student-run gallery, and Gray Box media and performance space.

Veterans Day Parade

On Nov. 11, 2018, the San Francisco Salute to Veterans Parade will begin at 11 a.m. at North Point St. and the Embarcadero and wend its way through Fisherman’s Wharf. The lead unit will be 100 veterans from Bay Area motorcycle clubs, who will roar down Jefferson St. past the reviewing stand at Leavenworth St. Units from seven San Francisco high school JROTC programs will march, as will the Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band, Newark Memorial H.S., and U.S. West Tian Guo bands. The Native Sons of the Golden West will march with a half-block long California state flag, and a large group of veterans will carry flags of the 50 states. All veterans will be honored, including a special tribute to the 100th commemoration of the armistice that ended World War I. Visitors can also see special exhibits in the lobby of the War Memorial Veterans Building on Van Ness Ave., just across from City Hall. These artifacts trace how San Francisco was shaped by the entire wartime experience.

Cirque du Soleil extends VOLTA production

Experience one of Cirque du Soleil's most popular productions, VOLTA, at AT&T Park, kicking off on Nov. 15, 2018 and running through Feb. 3, 2019. Witness energetic acrobatic performances and become inspired by the heartwarming theme of self-discovery, freedom, and love.

Curious Contraptions

Opening Nov. 8, 2018 at The Exploratorium is “Curious Contraptions: Inside the Fairy Tale Factory,” an interactive exhibition of more than 30 charming and often playful sculptures known as automata. These whimsical machines are brought to life by intricate arrangements of handmade crams, cranks, and other simple mechanisms. Each sculpture performs an absurd miniature drama, often reflecting its maker’s sense of humor. Visitors will be able to see and investigate the simple mechanisms used to make these automata move. Curious Contraptions is included in the price of admission.


Walt Disney's Love of Trains

Home for the Holidays at Carolwood returns at The Walt Disney Family Museum, Nov. 15, 2018 through Jan. 7, 2019. This annual exhibition brings to life Walt's well-known love of trains with an elaborate three-dimensional model of the Disney Family home on Carolwood Drive in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles—featuring Walt’s personal steam locomotive, the Lilly Belle, chugging along his Carolwood Pacific Fair Weather Route. Visitors can enjoy extra holiday spirit with a display of replica Walt Disney Company Christmas cards designed by Disney artists.


Botanicals and Brews

Stroll through the Conservatory of Flowers and its Beer Garden in Golden Gate Park on Friday, Nov. 16. Complimentary craft brews from San Francisco's own Standard Deviant Brewing and New Bohemia Brewing Co. will be part of admission to this event. You can also be the first to experience the five-week light and sound exhibition, "Night Bloom," on Nov. 30, 2018. Journey through five different luminous displays and indulge in light up activities, selfie stations, and of course, dazzling flowers in full bloom.

Scrumptious Seasonal Favorites

Check out 21st Amendment’s Fireside Chat English-style ale, available through December in six pack cans and on draft, or Anchor Brewing's Coffee Porter made with Four Barrel Flash-Chilled Coffee. Now that's one way to start your morning! Humphry Slocombe is scooping up pumpkin hazelnut ice cream and Ghirardelli Chocolate has the perfect upgrade for a traditional s’more: Milk Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Caramel. The fire rings at Ocean Beach are ready and waiting!

It’s Ale Time!

Anchor Brewing will soon release its 44th annual Christmas Ale, sold only from early November to mid-January. Always laced with rich and decadent flavors, their Christmas ales continue a long tradition of featuring a tree on the label. Available at the Anchor Public Taps on De Haro Street, Christmas Ale is also sold at select stores throughout the Bay Area and, of course, at local bars and restaurants.

Leap for Joy

Celebrating 20 years of world-class hip-hop, seventeen of the most sophisticated hip hop dance companies from across the globe will gather at the Palace of Fine Arts Theater, Nov. 16-18, 2018, for the annual San Francisco International Hip-Hop DanceFest (SFIHDDF). In addition to performers from London, Amsterdam, Singapore, Mexico City, and Spain, there will be dancers from Houston, Denver, Nashville, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and locally from Redwood City, Oakland, and San Francisco. More than 100 individuals will take the stage at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, mixing skillfulness with artistry and storytelling.

San Francisco International Auto Show

One of San Francisco’s favorite Thanksgiving traditions is the 61st annual International Auto Show at The Moscone Center, Nov. 21-25, 2018. Northern California’s premier auto exhibition, it features vehicles from 37 global manufacturers. In addition to 2018 model vehicles, the Auto Show will feature Ride & Drive opportunities, classic cars, tricked-out vehicles and aftermarket products.

Chinese in the Sunset

The culmination of an extensive research project about the lives of Chinese Americans in San Francisco’s Outer Sunset District, “Chinese in the Sunset,” presented by the Chinese Historical Society of America (CHSA), delves into the history of racial restrictions preventing Chinese and other people of color from living in the area, how social attitudes evolved and how the vibrant community of today came to be. Now showing through Nov. 25, 2018 at CHSA, 965 Clay Street.

The Shop Around the Corner

Small Business Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, is the best way to support neighborhood businesses. Sometimes they’re no bigger than a walk-in closet, but inside you always find the perfect present—and gift wrapping is included.

San Francisco is a Boomtown

Learn more behind the rapid growth of California's two most prominent cities, San Francisco and Los Angeles, through a series of rare photographs at the California Historical Society (CHS). From photographs of San Francisco on fire following the 1906 earthquake, to pictures of the Hollywoodland housing development, you'll be able to see the evolution of these cities through the lens of anonymous and well-known artists alike. "Boomtowns: How Photography shaped Los Angeles and San Francisco, Selections From the California Historical Society Collection," closes on March 10, 2019.

Winter Park Ice Rink at Civic Center

Scheduled to open on Nov. 30, 2018, is Civic Center's first-ever ice skating rink and winter-themed park. Festivities will take place right in front of City Hall, every day from noon to 10:00 p.m., through Jan. 6, 2019. This 6,000-square-foot ice rink and lighted forest will be the perfect place for date night or family fun!

Macy's 29th Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony

Macy's Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony takes place on Nov. 23, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. Be sure get there early for the best spot! Following the tree lighting, explore the shops around Union Square. After all, it's never too early to start checking gifts off your holiday shopping list!

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