Top 10 Holiday Party Ideas in San Francisco
Published by Josh Hirsch.
The end of the year is the best time to celebrate your team’s Bay Area successes. Before closing out the books in December, don’t forget to throw a big party. These 10 San Francisco holiday party ideas will get your crew out of the office and having the time of their lives.
Tips for Planning a Corporate Holiday Party in San Francisco
Don’t just ‘wing’ your holiday party. A holiday party is an investment. You’ll want everyone on your team to take part in the festivities — and remember how much fun they had throughout the new year.
- Ask around to find out what your coworkers want to do — you don’t want to be the only one enjoying the evening.
- If you plan on an activity that includes a lot of downtime (going to dinner, the movies, etc.), organize a few ice breaker games to ensure everyone mingles.
- Do something that celebrates San Francisco! Take advantage of your city.
- Combine your party with a bonding activity to get the most out of your investment.
- Take photos, make goodie bags and write a roundup of highlights of the event; the more reminders teammates have of the party — even after the part is over — the easier it’ll be to remember the fun.
Top 10 Holiday Party Ideas in San Francisco
Take a Food Tour
Get to know your city like the back of your fork on a food tour of some of San Francisco’s most iconic neighborhoods.
Taste dim sum in Chinatown, pasta in North Beach and tacos in the Mission District. The best part is that your team will bond over their newfound knowledge of the city and its cultural history. What’s better than planning your holiday party at a sitdown dinner? Keeping everyone engaged and mingling on a food tour!
Head to the Beach
San Francisco’s weather is so mild that you can enjoy the beach year-round. While we don’t advise splashing in the water, we do recommend scheduling a few of the below activities:
- Plan field games (like tug-of-war and tag football) to keep everyone active
- Cater a picnic to enjoy in between activities
- Keep the festivities going well into the night with a bonfire
- Plan for everything: schedule an indoor backup activity or a rain day should the weather take a turn for the worst
- Head to Ocean Beach if you’re looking for something nearby; take a bus up to Marin County if you want something a little more lowkey
Play Some Games
While you can definitely schedule a few games at the beach, we also recommend a few other venues for holiday fun.
- Rent out a video game arcade
- Play pool, skeeball or darts in a local bar
- Schedule some time at an escape room
- Rent out a roller rink
- Play a few rounds of put-put golf
- Go bowling
Hit the Wineries
One of the best reasons to be based out of San Francisco is that you get to take advantage of all the nearby attractions — including wine country.
Book a luxury bus to take you up to Sonoma or Napa valleys and enjoy the day sipping wine. Your team will learn all about the production of vino while enjoying some fresh air. Just make sure that everyone on your team is cool with an alcohol-only activity. And don’t forget to plan some food-related stops, too.
Go to the Movies
Going to the movies is possibly one of the most sacred traditions in American history (next to baseball!). And it’s drastically changed over the years. These days, it’s not just about the movie itself. It’s about the experience.
If you’re looking to go to the movies as a big group, you can rent out a theater that sells food, drinks and even alcohol. Most of these movie theaters sell catering and bar packages along with the theater rentals.
Play in the Presidio
Getting back to our ‘keepin’ it in SF theme,’ this San Francisco holiday party idea is all about celebrating your city.
Instead of heading to the beach, come to the Presidio to play games and break bread. You could even schedule a private tour of the park to learn even more about your fair city.
Listen to Some Music
Nothing says bonding more than food and music. And San Francisco is known for its music scene.
Did you know you can rent out one of the most iconic music venues in the city? The Fillmore has enough space to hold thousands of employees, so this holiday party idea is perfect for larger companies and organizations.
Sometimes you just need to go all out when you want to celebrate. Luckily, San Francisco has plenty of swanky spots to do just that. Some of the top swanky San Francisco holiday party idea locations include:
Before knocking back a few cocktails, schedule a tour of the establishment through the manager to ensure your coworkers stay engaged.
Go Out to Dinner
Sometimes there is just no substitution for going out to dinner. While we obviously recommend taking a tour of the neighborhood before sitting down to eat, we also believe breaking bread (in any form) is the perfect way to celebrate your successes. Luckily, San Francisco is known for its food scene — and you’ll have plenty of spots to choose from.
Some of our favorite special event spots in the Bay Area include:
- The Gourmet Ghetto in Berkeley (Chez Panisse if you’re ready to go all out!)
- Mr. Jiu’s in Chinatown
- Sausalito for seafood
- Aziza by the Presidio
Escape to Alcatraz (or Sausalito)
If you’re up for more adventure, we recommend taking the party out of Downtown — without leaving the iconic city sites out of your plans.
There’s no better way to party than by boat. Luckily, San Francisco is surrounded by water. We recommend taking a nighttime boat ride to Alcatraz, around the bay or even over to Sausalito. While we happen to think that reaching these areas by boat is a treat in itself, you can also make the boat the event.
Schedule a dinner boat to sail you around the harbor or the bay for a few hours while you thank your team for an amazing year.