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Holidays in San Francisco: Christmastime by the Bay

Embrace San Francisco’s Christmas spirit on a narrated exploration, enjoy tea in a Christmas-bedecked Victorian house, and be inspired at the Legion of Honor Fine Arts Museum.
Rating (5)
Program No. 22080RJ
6 days
Starts at

Holidays in San Francisco: Christmastime by the Bay

Embrace San Francisco’s Christmas spirit on a narrated exploration, enjoy tea in a Christmas-bedecked Victorian house, and be inspired at the Legion of Honor Fine Arts Museum.
6 days
Starts at
Program No. 22080 RJ
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At a Glance

‘Tis the season to be jolly in San Francisco! Explore and learn about the City by the Bay amid the sights and sounds of the Christmas season. On a docent-led visit, explore San Francisco’s most beautiful museum, the Legion of Honor. Come to know the stories behind beloved Christmas traditions. Learn little-known facts about your favorite Christmas music, both sacred and secular. Journey through the majestic art of Christmas from the Annunciation to the Adoration of the Magi. Be entertained at two holiday performances in some of the city’s acclaimed performing-arts venues.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Relish an exploration of one of San Francisco’s iconic Victorian homes bedecked in Christmas regalia followed by a holiday tea.
  • See gaily decorated hotel lobbies and city highlights on a narrated bus excursion.
  • Enjoy a Christmas Day boat excursion on San Francisco Bay, sailing under both the Golden Gate and Bay bridges.

General Notes

This program is limited to 48 participants with many activities divided into two groups of 24.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Golden Gate, The Life and Times of America's Greatest Bridge
by Kevin Starr
Starr covers the history and meaning of this beloved icon and great American feats of engineering in this slim portrait.
San Francisco, A Cultural History
by Mick Sinclair
Organized more thematically than chronologically, this easy-to-read introduction to the city and its neighborhoods will appeal both to first time visitors and those who know and love the city.
A Crack in the Edge of the World, America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906
by Simon Winchester
Geologist, master storyteller, traveler and journalist, Simon Winchester succeeds again in this fast-paced, utterly fascinating account of the great 1906 earthquake that devastated San Francisco.
Fifth Chinese Daughter
by Jade Snow Wong
First published in 1945, Jade Snow Wong's memoir is a simply told, moving story of family life in pre-WWII San Francisco Chinatown.
Slouching Towards Bethlehem
by Joan Didion
A classic collection of essays on the1960s cultural climate, first published in 1968. In the acclaimed title essay, Didion vividly describes the landscape, mood and culture of '60s San Francisco.
Behold! Illuminations of the Virgin's Reactions to the Annunciation
by Susanna Lombardi
This collection of artwork focuses on the Virgin Mary’s reaction to the Annunciation. Lombardi argues that the common theme is the exploration of the genesis of the life force, which she claims is the greatest mystery of all.
The Lucky Ones, One Family and the Extraordinary Invention of Chinese America
by Mae Ngai
Ngai, a professor of history at Columbia University, uncovers the story of the Tape family in post-Gold Rush, racially explosive San Francisco.
San Francisco's Nob Hill
by Katherine Powell Cohen
An installment in the Images of America series devoted to San Francisco’s Nob Hill, a neighborhood with a compelling history, including its early days as a lookout point during the Gold Rush and its architectural boom at the hands of the moguls of the Central Pacific Railroad. Today the neighborhood is notable for its elegant buildings and residences as well as Grace Cathedral.
A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Books
by Charles Dickens
This Everyman's Library edition includes the favorite redemption tale of misanthrope Ebenezer Scrooge as well as The Chimes, The Cricket on the Hearth, The Battle of Life and The Haunted Man.
Inventing the Christmas Tree
by Bernd Brunner
From its German origins to world-wide phenomenon, Brunner explores the origins, myth and meaning of the familiar holiday tree in this wide-ranging, brisk short history.
Wildsam Field Guide to San Francisco
by Wildsam Field Guides
This beautifully produced pocket guide to San Francisco is designed for the soulful traveler with a bygone sense of place. Contributors include local artists, musicians and writers who compiled recommendations, essays, illustrations and interviews intended to move the traveler beyond their itinerary.
Christmas Stories
by Diana Tesdell (Editor)
These choice selections, in an Everyman's pocket edition, celebrate Christmas with short fiction that includes Elizabeth Bowen's Green Holly, Dancing Dan's Christmas by Damon Runyon, A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote, Willa Cather's The Burglar's Choice, and works by Charles Dickens, Leo Tolstoy, John Updike, Alice Monroe, John Cheever, Grace Paley, and others.
San Francisco: A Food Biography
by Erica J. Peters
At the ideal intersection of rich farmlands and the Pacific Ocean, San Francisco is a reputable food destination. Peters delves into the city’s culinary history, from early Spanish missions and ongoing immigrant influences to current fixation on local ingredients.
The Maltese Falcon
by Dashiell Hammett
Set in San Francisco, this is Dashiell Hammett's classic story of Sam Spade, the archetypal hard-boiled detective.
Travelers' Tales San Francisco
by James O'Reilly (Editor), Larry Habegger (Editor), Sean O'Reilly (Editor)
Experience San Francisco from the inside out with this engaging, insightful and entertaining selection of mostly contemporary eyewitness reports -- a terrific literary profile of a dynamic city.
Cool Gray City of Love, 49 Views of San Francisco
by Gary Kamiya
A kaleidoscopic love letter to one of the world's great cities, San Francisco, by a lifelong Bay Area resident and co-founder of Salon.
Infinite City, A San Francisco Atlas
by Rebecca Solnit
Solnit's quirky collection of maps documents the cultural riches and diversity of San Francisco.
Gold Fever, One Man's Adventures on the Trail of the Gold Rush
by Steve Boggan
Rich in history and economics, Boggan's travelogue follows the trails of the original 49ers -- to San Francisco and beyond -- where Americans still risk life and limb for lucrative gold strikes.

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