How to Celebrate the Holidays — New Year's Eve in San Francisco


The San Francisco Travel Association has assembled a list of top activities and attractions for the final day of 2012. Here are just a few...

27th Annual Japanese Bell Ringing Ceremony 

Dec. 30, 2012

Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin St. 

Gather loved ones and take a swing at an actual object from the museum’s collection, ringing in the New Year by gently striking a 2100-lb. 16th-century bronze bell from a temple in Japan. Stick around afterwards for art activities. Members can take a swing at the bell earlier in the morning. For more information on scheduling and tickets visit

Fireworks by the Bay

Dec. 31, 2012

Mission Street on The Embarcadero Pier 14

The City and County of San Francisco’s New Year’s Eve free, midnight fireworks show will be staged from barges located 1,000 feet out in the bay off of Pier 14 (foot of Mission Street on The Embarcadero). The best public viewing locations are the wide sidewalks that run on both sides of The Embarcadero between Mission and Howard Streets. The pyrotechnics can also be viewed along The Embarcadero in the vicinity of Washington Street and Justin Herman Plaza. (Note: As this is a family event, no alcohol is allowed.)

California Twilight Cruise with Red and White Fleet

Dec. 31, 2012

Pier 43 ½ 

On this casual two-hour cruise, passengers enjoy views of the city’s sunset over the Pacific Ocean, live guitar entertainment, hearty appetizers from the buffet and a beverage from the bar. Passengers on the cruise sail along the San Francisco skyline with its modern skyscrapers and historic landmarks, past Alcatraz and under the legendary Golden Gate Bridge.

“Beach Blanket Babylon” at Club Fugazi

Dec. 31, 2012

678 Green St.

Beach Blanket Babylon rings in 2013 with two special performances on Monday, Dec. 31, 2012 at 7 and 10:15 p.m. Both shows feature a pastiche of the best and worst of 2012 – Beach Blanket Babylon style. Guests at each show will receive champagne and truffles. The second show - ending at the stroke of midnight - features post-show dancing until 1:30 a.m. Packed with spoofs of pop culture and political characters, gigantic hats and one show-stopping number after another, the show continues at Club Fugazi in San Francisco’s North Beach district. 

New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball at Davies Symphony Hall

Dec. 31, 2012

201 Van Ness Ave.

The San Francisco Symphony welcomes 2013 with its annual New Year’s Eve Masquerade Ball December 31, 2012. Michael Francis leads the Orchestra and soprano Susanna Phillips in a concert with the Orchestra of waltzes, and masked party-goers dance the night away before and after the Orchestra’s performance to the big band sounds of the Peter Mintun Orchestra, the swing music of the Martini Brothers, and Super Diamond playing Neil Diamond covers. Revelers anticipate the countdown to 2013 with complimentary sparkling wine, beginning right after the Orchestra concert, and culminating in a celebratory toast and a massive balloon drop at midnight. Doors open and entertainment begins at 8 p.m. Concert begins at 9 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at


Hotel Events

San Francisco NYE International Ball at the Palace Hotel

Dec. 31, 2012

2 New Montgomery St.

Celebrate the New Year in luxury at the Palace Hotel’s New Year’s Eve dinner dance. Reservations are available from 6–9 p.m. at the Pied Piper Bar & Grill. Enjoy dancing to the music of the Cosmo Alley Cats as chefs prepare a five-course prix fixe menu. Festive party favors and a champagne toast are included.


NYE at the W San Francisco

Dec. 31, 2012

181 Third St.

Ring in 2013 at the W San Francisco. Enjoy live DJ sets by six top San Francisco's DJs while indulging in a four-hour premium open bar from 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. The evening will conclude with party favors, midnight balloon drops and a one-of-a-kind countdown.

'Passport to the World' 2013 at Westin St. Francis

Dec. 31, 2012

335 Powell St.

This glitzy event will feature a diverse mix of music, fashion, art, culture and sophistication. Venture from room to room, experiencing different music and entertainment throughout. Enjoy all-inclusive beverages, a stylish fashion show, live 80s cover band, 15 DJs from around the world, live art, stilt-walkers and exhibitionists. Visit for more details.

New Year’s Eve Reception and Dinner at Top of the Mark

Dec. 31, 2012

Intercontinental Mark Hopkins, 999 California St.

Toast the New Year at one of San Francisco’s most iconic destinations – Top of the Mark. From 6:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m., enjoy a special reception, entertainment, dinner, dancing and a Champagne toast at midnight. Start the evening with Champagne and hors d’oeuvres. Following the reception, guests can enjoy a seated four-course dinner with a bottle of Moet & Chandon Imperial before dancing the night away and toasting the New Year with a glass of Moet Chandon Rose. Rounding out the festivities is live entertainment from pianist Michael Athens and the Megatones, a Bay Area rock and roll band. The InterContinental Mark Hopkins lobby will also celebrate the New Year with live music from 5 - 9 p.m. by the Al Marshall Trio. 


Dec. 31, 2012

495 Geary St. 

Known for its over-the-top parties, New Year’s Eve is the perfect holiday to spend in the opulent atmosphere at CLIFT. Connecting the space between Velvet Room and Redwood Room, and featuring live music, cocktails and an exuberant vibe, CLIFT is a prime location to ring in the New Year. Featuring DJ Jazzy Jeff, and a hosted premium bar from 9 p.m.-2 a.m. and passed appetizers from 9-10 p.m. 

Beyond San Francisco

Bay Area Discovery Museum

Dec. 31, 2012

557 McReynolds Rd., Sausalito

Join The Bay Area Discovery Museum for its annual family-friendly Noon Year’s Eve Party from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Count down to noon and watch the ball drop in Festival Plaza. Dance along to the museum DJ and create party hats to celebrate the Noon Year. Tickets are $11 for ages 6 months and up.


USS Hornet’s New Year’s Eve Gala

Dec. 31, 2012

USS Hornet Museum

707 W. Hornet Ave, Pier 3, Alameda

Welcome 2013 with the ultimate New Year’s Eve party aboard the USS Hornet Museum. From 7:30 p.m.-1 a.m. revelers can enjoy live music, a silent auction, cash bars and food concessions, and a midnight countdown with the spectacular view of the Bay Area skyline. Guests will be able to view San Francisco fireworks from the flight deck, weather-permitting. Spend the evening dancing to the sounds of 3 O’Clock Jump, a 17-piece band made up of some of the best swing and jazz musicians from the Bay Area. Free dance lessons will be provided throughout the evening by Jim Truesdale, a former Fred Astaire instructor. Proceeds from a silent auction will benefit the USS Hornet Museum. Food and drink are not included but can be purchased on board. For information and reservations call 510-521-8448 x 282.

Ahwahnee New Year's Eve Dinner Dance

Dec 31, 2012

Northside Dr., Yosemite National Park

Ring in the New Year with The Ahwahnee’s Black and White ball. Chef Percy Whatley will serve up a five-course dinner with dancing to follow. Attendees are encouraged to dress in black or white formal attire. There are two-and three-night packages available, including lodging for two at either The Ahwahnee or the Yosemite Lodge at the Falls, tickets to the dinner dance, a portrait sitting and New Year’s Eve brunch in the Ahwahnee Dining Room.


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