27 Must-See Holiday Shows, Concerts + Ballets in the Bay Area

|December 1, 2017

We already rounded up 25 Festive Holiday Events in the San Francisco Bay Area which includes festivals, races, parades, lighting ceremonies and more. If you were wondering where all the spectacular ballets, concerts and performances were on that blog post, they’re right here!

Because the region hosts some of the most prestigious and beloved shows in the country, we thought they deserved their own dedicated guide. Below, you’ll find family classics, annual musical celebrations, and traditional shows with modern twists. To celebrate the 25 days of Christmas, we went a little overboard with 27 festive Bay Area events. Enjoy!

The Game’s Afoot | Ross

November 16 – December 17 at Ross Valley Players 

San Francisco Christmas plays, concerts and ballets holiday events 2017

Elliot Hanson as Simon Bright and Ellen Brooks as Martha Gillette, photo courtesy of Gregg Le Blanc, Cumulus Light Photography

Get ready to gasp and laugh through this lively and glittering whodunit set during the holidays in 1936. Join the fun as Broadway star William Gillette plays Sherlock Holmes and invites his fellow cast members to his castle for a weekend of holiday revelry. When one of the guests is stabbed to death, this event quickly turns dangerous. Directed by TheatreBayArea award winner Christian Haines, it’s a must-see this season! Buy your tickets online.

The Christmas Ballet | Bay Area

November 17 – December 24 in Walnut Creek, Carmel, Mountain View and San Francisco

The Christmas Ballet from Smuin Contemporary American Ballet is touring through four Bay Area cities this year. You can see the local holiday favorite in Walnut Creek from November 17 and 18, in Carmel December 1 and 2, in Mountain View December 6 – 10 and in San Francisco December 14 – 24. Choose your show and buy your tickets here!

A Christmas Story: The Musical | San Francisco

November 22 – January 13 at San Francisco Playhouse

Did you know everyone’s favorite holiday movie has been turned into a beloved live musical? See the magic and laugh your heart out all the way through January 13, 2018, at San Francisco Playhouse! Tickets start at $35 and you can buy them online here.

A Christmas Carol | San Francisco

December 1 – 24 at A.C.T.’s Geary Theater

Performances for this Bay Area holiday tradition sell out quickly so buy yours ASAP! The show returns this year with a sparkling, music-infused production. Bring your family, bring your friends and check your humbugs at the door.

A Noh Christmas Carol | San Francisco

December 1 – 24 at Theatre of Yugen

Japanese plays San Francisco Christmas holiday shows 2017

Photo courtesy of Alex Sinclair

A Noh Christmas Carol is an avant-garde Japanese-influenced retelling of the Dicken’s classic everyone has come to know and love. Ebezo Sukurooji is visited by the ghost of his business partner Mashima Jabukei and warned to change his miserly ways. Using the classic Japanese theatre styles noh, kyogen and kabuki, Sukurooji is taken on a fantastical journey to remind him of the value of life beyond money and figures. Buy your tickets here.

Holiday Brass | San Francisco

December 3 at Davies Symphony Hall

On December 3, Holiday Brass is returning to Davies Symphony Hall. Including seasonal songs like Joy to the World, Silent Night, and Prokofiev’s Lieutenant Kijé Suite, the San Francisco Symphony brass section will fill the space with a festive mix of classical and popular holiday favorites.

Deck the Hall | San Francisco

December 3 at Davies Symphony Hall

For this new family favorite, there are four different shows throughout the day on December 3. Sing and dance along with members of the San Francisco Symphony, guest artists and costumed characters. And your tickets include post-concert festivities with treats, arts and crafts, entertainment and more!

The Second City’s Dysfunctional Holiday Revue | Berkeley

December 5 – 31 at Berkeley Repertory Theatre

Berkeley Repertory Theatre East Bay Area Holiday Shows Christmas Concerts Theater

(front row) Emily Fightmaster; (back row) Laurel Krabacher, Ian Owens, Scotty Nelson, Carley Moseley and Jo Scott in The Second City’s Dysfunctional Holiday Revue at Berkeley Rep; photo by Timothy M. Schmidt

With shows throughout the month of December, Chicago’s legendary comedy theatre The Second City is making its first-ever Berkeley Rep appearance! With a healthy dose of satire, you’ll laugh along to twisted holiday film classics, family gatherings and Christmas carols. Buy tickets here and arrive early for Holiday Happy (Half) Hour.

Cirque de la Symphonie | San Francisco

December 6 + 7 at Davies Symphony Hall

San Francisco Symphony Cirque de la Symphonie Charlie Brown Live Christmas plays theater San Francisco 2017

Alexander Streltsov and Christine Van Loo, photo courtesy of San Francisco Symphony

For two nights in a row, you can watch and listen as Cirque de la Symphonie and San Francisco Symphony merge great music with spectacular acrobatics. With a festive selection of holiday hits mixed in, it’s the perfect show for anyone looking for festive sounds and plenty of excitement!

Not So Silent Night 2017 | Oakland

December 8 + 9 at Oracle Arena

This rocking show is hosting two nights of fun this December. Whether you’re buying tickets for Night 1 or Night 2, you’re sure to find a band on the lineup that you can jam to — especially if you love The Killers, Weezer or Manchester Orchestra! See the full lineups for each night here.

The 32nd Annual Christmas Revels | Oakland

December 8 – 17 at Scottish Rite Center

Holiday Events and shows in the Bay Area San Francisco

Photo courtesy of California Revels

This year, The Christmas Revels are celebrating the shortest day of the year with song, dance, spirited folk tales and Scottish flare. Be there for haggis and Hogmanay, first-footing, wool-waulking, mouth music and even Guising! Buy your tickets here.

The Santaland Diaries by David Sedaris | Santa Rosa

December 8 – 23 at Left Edge Theater

This festive David Sedaris comedy is based on the outlandish and true chronicles of his brief stint as an elf in Macy’s SantaLand. Leave the kids at home for this one and laugh your way through this new holiday classic. Choose your show and buy tickets online.

Bach Collegium Japan Plays J.S. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio | San Francisco

December 9 at Davies Symphony Hall

This holiday season, internationally-renowned conductor Masaaki Suzuki and the Bach Collegium Japan present J.S. Bach’s magnificent Christmas Oratorio in their Davies Symphony Hall debut. There’s just one show on December 9, so don’t miss out! Buy your ticket here.

Symphony Pops: A Holly Jolly Pops | Santa Rosa

December 10 at Ruth Finley Person Theater

Shows and concerts holiday season san francisco bay area

Image courtesy of Luther Burbank Center for the Arts 

This 3 p.m. Sunday show is the perfect festive event for your whole family! Featuring the Santa Rosa Symphony along with special guests Roustabout Theater, Santa Rosa Symphonic Chorus and Bay Area vocalists Tina Meals and Jonathan Poretz, you’ll hear Sleigh Ride, We Need a Little Christmas, White Christmas, The Little Drummer Boy and Ave Maria plus dancing Santas and an audience sing-a-long! Buy tickets here.

A Merry-Achi Christmas | San Francisco

December 10 at Davies Symphony Hall

Mariachi Sol de Mexico is returning to Davies Symphony Hall for one show this holiday season. Their boisterous show will be a festive musical tribute to Mexico’s Christmas traditions for a truly international celebration. Buy tickets online today!

Holiday Soul with the San Francisco Symphony | San Francisco

December 12 + 13 at Davies Symphony Hall

You have two chances to hear the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir’s powerhouse vocals and gorgeous harmonies this December. For 2017, they’re joining forces with the best-selling female gospel artist of all time, CeCe Winans, and Edwin Hawkins, the Grammy-winning originator of Oh Happy Day. Choose your date and purchase your tickets online.

San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker | San Francisco

December 13 – 30 at War Memorial Opera House

San Francisco Ballet Nutcracker 2017

Koto Ishihara in Tomasson’s Nutcracker (c) Erik Tomasson

On Christmas Eve 1944, the audience at San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House experienced the American premiere of Nutcracker. Today, thanks to the San Francisco Ballet, you can still see all the glory, the dancing and the beautiful choreography that made it an instant classic.

Under the Streetlamp: Hip to the Holidays | Santa Rosa

December 14 at Ruth Finley Person Theater

Featuring former leading cast members of the Broadway musical “Jersey Boys,” Under The Streetlamp is a rock and roll celebration of music from the 1950’s – 1970’s. At their holiday show, Hip to the Holidays, they’ll be performing all the holiday classics with the rocking twist we’ve come to love! Get tickets here.

Handel’s Messiah | San Francisco

December 14 + 15 at Davies Symphony Hall

San Francisco Symphony Cirque de la Symphonie Charlie Brown Live Christmas plays theater San Francisco 2017

Photo courtesy of San Francisco Symphony and Orange Photography 

This breathtaking performance of Handel’s Messiah will feature the San Francisco Symphony and the famous “Hallelujah” Chorus of 100 voices in harmony. Make it your new holiday tradition and buy tickets online today.

Hip Hop Nutcracker | Redwood City

December 15 + 17 at Fox Theater

If you’re looking for an exciting spin on holiday classics, look no further than Peninsula Ballet Theater’s Hip Hop Nutcracker! Paying homage to both the traditional Nutcracker and the future of dance, you’ll see the beloved story and dance to a whole new genre of song. Buy tickets here.

Roustabout’s Apprentice Program: White Christmas | Santa Rosa

December 15 – 17 at Carston Cabaret

Support the award-winning training program for student actors, singers and dancers this holiday season and attend one of four White Christmas performances. Now a famed family favorite across the globe, the show will include I Love a Piano, Blue Skies, I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm and all the other classics we’ve come to know and love.

Peninsula Ballet’s Nutcracker | Redwood City

December 16 + 17 at Fox Theater

You’ll have three chance to catch the Peninsula Ballet Theatre’s production of Nutcracker this holiday season. Tickets start at just $35 and you’re sure to be wowed as over 125 characters in sumptuous costumes dance their way across the stage.

You can also see the autism-friendly performance of the Nutcracker on December 14!

Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker | Santa Rosa

December 17, 18 and 19 in Cupertino, Santa Rosa and San Francisco

Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker is the original show right out of Russia and they’re touring the entire country this holiday season. They have four shows coming up in the Bay Area: Cupertino on December 17 at 3 and 7 p.m., Santa Rosa on December 18 and San Francisco on December 19. See every city on the website here and buy your tickets.

A Charlie Brown Christmas — Live! | San Francisco

December 21 – 24 at Davies Symphony Hall

Charlie Brown Live Christmas plays theater San Francisco 2017

Photo courtesy of San Francisco Symphony

Buy your tickets to this festive event so you can welcome Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the entire Peanuts gang to the Davies Symphony Hall. With seven shows throughout the weekend, your family has plenty of chances to catch the heart-warming, kid-friendly show. Choose your showtime here.

Berner Presents: Cookies Xmas Party 2017 | San Francisco

December 23 at The Warfield

Gilbert Milam Jr., better known as Berner, is a Bay Area artist who is making fast strides in the local rap scene. Find out why at this festive party at The Warfield this December! Get your tickets here.

The Brian Setzer Orchestra | San Francisco

December 24 at The Warfield

Grammy-Award winning artist Brian Setzer and his 19-piece orchestra are serving a huge dose of retro holiday cheer with their festive show Christmas Rocks! Featuring music from their latest Christmas album, “Rockin’ Rudolph,” their three other best-selling holiday albums and other original Brian Setzer hits, it’ll be a rousing show you don’t want to miss.

A Drag Queen Christmas | San Francisco

December 27 at The Warfield

Join contestants from RuPaul’s Drag Race as they perform live on stage and rock the catwalk to celebrate the holidays even after Christmas Day! All ages are welcome at this fun-loving show and you can get your tickets here. Find full tour details on the website.

Looking for more?  

You can find even more events — like holiday-themed races and festivals — on our blog post 25 Festive Holiday Events in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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