Best Winter Activities

Tilden Hotel – Best Winter Activities in San Francisco

San Francisco may not turn into a snow-covered winterscape this time of year, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a whole slew of seasonal attractions on tap. From festive holiday happenings to natural spectacles, the City by the Bay delivers in the winter fun and wonderment departments on every count. Tilden Hotel offers you an elegant, merrily decorated, and exceedingly well-positioned home base from which to enjoy it all.

Here’s a look—not exhaustive, by any means—at some of the classic winter activities the Bay Area tempts with!

Indoor Attractions

Are the skies on the leaky and gray side of things? No worries: At Tilden Hotel, you’re in the midst of some of the country’s finest cultural institutions, offering illuminating, inspiring, and cozy havens to happily wile away the day.

There are the world-class museums, for instance: the California Academy of Sciences, the Asian Art Museum, the Beat Museum, the de Young Museum—which includes, as an added bonus, a marvelous panoramic view from its observation floor. Winter comes chockablock with live performances: programs and productions by the San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Ballet, American Conservatory Theater, and other local treasures, plus concerts at such fabled venues as the Fillmore Auditorium and the Great American Music Hall.


We’ll also point out the charm of our very own Tilden spread, which includes the Tilden Cafe and Douglas Room restaurant, plus our 24-hour fitness room: Our hotel is a wonderful place simply to hole up within! You’ll also be mere steps away from the many shops and restaurants of Union Square.

Don’t miss these great holiday bars:

  • Miracle at Pacific Cocktail Haven, Kevin Diedrich’s acclaimed cocktail bar becomes the Bay Area Miracle passport holder and now opens an hour earlier, so you can basically stop working after lunch and start drinking Koala-La La La, La La La La’s.
  • Deck the Halls, at Sutter and Polk, you can easily be surrounded by giant candy canes and gift wrapped presents while drinking a dozen or so themed cocktails like the exquisitely named Yellow Snow (Hennessy cognac, orgeat, orange liqueur, and lemon).
  • Naughty or Nice Pop-up: 11:30am to 8pm Sunday through Wednesday; 11:30am to 10pm Thursday through Saturday at Twenty-Five Lusk, 25 Lusk St. (SoMa), If you’re in the mood for some holiday indulgence, head to the decked-out rooftop for Naughty or Nice, a pop-up with plenty of photo ops, festive drinks—think bourbon peppermint hot chocolate—and decadent bites like organic latkes. Bring a new, unwrapped gift to donate to Toys for Tots San Bruno.

Holiday Decorations & Events

Speaking of Union Square, it offers some of the city’s best holiday decorations, including a grand and glittering Christmas tree and the storefront decorations of Macy’s. Other San Francisco landmarks done up in delightful festiveness in the holiday season include Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, and Market Street.

You’ll also see some great holiday lights and other decorations at the San Francisco Zoo, where this year the usual ZooLights celebration, not being held due to construction work, is being replaced by Joy at SF Zoo, which’ll include such cheery wonderlands as Candy Cane Lane, Tinsel Town, Peppermint Plaza, and the Flying Reindeer Academy. Joy at SF Zoo runs on weekends through December 29th; from the 20th through the 23rd, meanwhile, the zoo’s hosting an Ugly Sweater Weekend in honor of the holidays.

The Oakland Zoo, meanwhile, holds its Oakland Zoo Lights through January 5th. It’ll feature lit-up gondolas and the Outback Express Adventure Train, a host of special light displays and rides, live entertainment, and daily visits by Santa Claus through December 23rd.

Surfing & Whale Watching

Winter’s a great time to hit up the Bay Area’s oceanfront, which is at its roughest and most romantically tempestuous this season. Unless you’re an elite surfer, you’ll probably want to leave the impressive breaks of winter to the professionals, but needless to say spectating from shore at places such as Half Moon Bay is its own thrilling experience.

From December into the spring, this is also prime time for watching North Pacific gray whales ply our local nearshore waters on their extraordinary journey between Alaska and Baja California. Along with vantages along headlands and bluffs, you can join any number of whale-watching cruises to see these barnacled giants spout and dive.
Join Us at Tilden Hotel for a Winter Escape to San Francisco

We’ve barely scratched the surface of San Francisco’s winter appeal, but hopefully, we’ve sketched out enough of a picture to draw you here and experience the magic firsthand. Reserve your accommodations at Tilden Hotel for a winter escape in the Bay Area today!