Holiday Season Gets Underway This Weekend

Here are some of the best things to do in the Bay Area

Bob Pryor
November 22, 2019 - 2:47 am
 A man dressed as Santa Claus rides a motorcycle in Union Square on December 14, 2012 in San Francisco.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Bay Area is getting into the holiday spirit with the festive lighting of Christmas decorations at the Embarcadero Center on Friday evening in San Francisco. There will be a carnival and fireworks display as part of the event. 

In the East Bay, the WizardWorld pop-culture convention takes place Saturday and Sunday at the Oakland Convention Center. And in Napa, bargain hunters can get their shop on at the annual Gifts ‘n Tyme Holiday Craft Fair.

College football fans may be psyched for the 122nd annual Big Game between Cal and Stanford Saturday afternoon. For fans of the pro game, there will also be the 49ers taking on the Green Bay Packers in Santa Clara Sunday. 

For any night owls and early risers who might drive on the Bay Bridge, keep in mind that Caltrans has multiple lane closures planned for both directions on Saturday night into Sunday morning and Sunday night into Monday. 

SOUTH BAY:

Sun, Nov 24 at 5:20pm: The 49ers play the Green Bay Packers in Levi's Stadium. Parking lots will open at 1:50pm; stadium gates will open at 3:20pm. Full City of Santa Clara Traffic Advisory is here.

  • Areas and roadways affected: There will be increased traffic on Highways 101 and 237, I-880, the Lawrence and San Tomas Expressways, and Great America Parkway. Traffic impacts will begin to be felt from around 1:45pm until game time and then again after the game lets out (guesstimated at around 8:45pm). Tasman Drive will be closed from Convention Center Drive to Centennial / Marie P DeBartolo Way beginning at 1:30am and will remain closed through the game. Parking will also be prohibited on the posted areas of Lick Mill Blvd.

EAST BAY:

Fri, Nov 22 (4pm-9pm); Sat, Nov 23 (10am-7pm); Sun, Nov 24 (10am-4pm): Oakland: WizardWorld Bay Area takes place at the Oakland Convention Center at 550 10th Street. This is the inaugural Bay Area appearance for this multi-city pop culture convention featuring comics, sci-fi, graphic novels, toys, art, collectibles, costume contest, writers, artists, and personalities from the world of movies, television and gaming. Celebrity guests set to attend include Jeff Goldblum and Holly Marie Combs.

  • Pro tip: The 12th Street BART Station is right across the street from the Convention Center, making BART the hands-down way to get to this event. There are certainly parking garages in the downtown area. If you’re going to drive, though, I’d use an app to do some price comparisons beforehand.

Sat, Nov 23 at 10pm thru Sun, Nov 24, end-of-service: BART will have delays of 25 minutes or more as it runs trains on a single track in the area south of Hayward in order to do track work. 

PENINSULA:

Sat, Nov 23 at 1:00pm: Stanford Stadium: The Cardinal play the UC Berkeley Golden Bears in the 122nd annual “Big Game”.

  • Pro tip: It’s a short walk from Caltrain’s Stanford Station to the Stadium but be aware: Not all trains make the Stanford stop. To find out which train you need to take, pre- and post-game, follow the links on this page. Also: There are no ticket machines at Stanford Station, so don’t forget to use the mobile ticket app or purchase a Day Pass before heading out to the game.
  • Areas and roadways affected: There will be heavy traffic on Embarcadero Road, Oregon Expressway, University Avenue, Galvez Road, and, especially, El Camino Real from mid-morning to game time and again after the game lets out. The “back door” approaches from I-280 – Sand Hill, Alpine, and Page Mill Roads – will also see heavy traffic.

SAN FRANCISCO:

Fri, Nov 22 from 4pm-7pm: San Francisco: The Embarcadero Center Building Lighting Ceremony kicks off with a “family fun carnival” featuring Santa and Mrs. Claus, face painters, arts and crafts, and cookie decorating. At 6pm the Holiday Ice Rink at Embarcadero Center will feature a performance by Snoopy and the Peanuts gang, followed by fireworks and the turning on of the four Embarcadero Center buildings’ 17,000 lights. 

  • Pro tip: All Muni Metro lines travel to this area, as do the F Market and E Embarcadero streetcar lines and the various Market Street bus lines. If you’re coming in from out of town, debarking at Embarcadero Station will put you within easy walking distance of the festivities. 
  • Areas and roadways affected: There will be quite a bit of extra transit patronage and pedestrian traffic in this area. Some folks will no doubt drive and park in the underground Embarcadero garages, but Friday afternoon/evening traffic along the Embarcadero is hard to make much worse than it is.

NORTH BAY/SOLANO:

Fri, Nov 22 (10am-6pm); Sat, Nov 23 (10am-6pm); Sun, Nov 24 (10am-4pm): 45th Annual ‘Gifts ‘n Tyme’ Holiday Craft Fair takes place in the Chardonnay Hall of Napa Valley Expo at 575 Third Street. It features 85 booths of local and regional artists of fine crafts, artwork, holiday pieces, and gourmet foods, plus the Napa Valley Lions Club’s annual bake sale. Free admission, free parking.

  • Pro tip: Traffic shouldn't be a problem, but on the off chance that Expo parking reaches capacity, you can always check out the lots and garages just across the river in Downtown Napa.