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All the Things for Jews (and Lonely Gentiles) to Do on Xmas in SF

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This wonderful post was written by Corinne Avganim. Follow her SF shenanigans as @rinnells on instagram.

Your Guide to Christmas in The City

If you haven’t spent a Christmas in San Francisco, you’ve been missing something special. December 25th might just be one of my top five favorite days of the year in this city. Why? Well, for one thing…PARKING. All of the glorious, free parking. Being as no one here is actually from here, the city totally empties in a mad exodus for family and civilized torture. It’s like Burning Man week on crack. And the streets are empty. Empty, beautiful, and if we’re lucky, perfectly drizzled.

Plus, with everyone up to their own shenanigans and no obligations of my own, I have the perfect excuse to indulge in a totally unproductive day – which are few and far between in our little city of hustle and bustle.

Usually, my Jewish Christmas consists of not much more than gathering at a friend’s place for a well-deserved lazy day. I wake up, hit the corner store for booze and treats, and trek across town to join my fellow Christmas orphans in a cuddle puddle of champagne, jalapeño poppers and movie marathoning. It’s pretty much magic.

This year, however, things are different. I’m old. And my even older sister is married and settled in Brooklyn (SHOUT OUT TO BAS-NY!). I have in-laws and all the holiday splitting fun that comes with them. And, in a trick of Jewish calendar fate – yes, we have our own calendar system…educate yourselves, would you?! – this year, Hanukkah lands on the week leading up to Christmas.

Broke-Ass pro tip: flights are cheaper on holidays.

So…my sister and brother-in-law are flying into SFO on Christmas Eve to celebrate a somewhat belated Hanukkah. Knowing SFO as I do, I’m counting on them not being here untilChristmas Day. With my mom and aunt coming in to join the holiday festivities, it became rapidly apparent that I was going to have to actually plan something.

I’m Jewish. In a transient city. On Christmas. What’s even open??

In an act of desperation, I texted my city guide go-to.

And here I am. And here you go. You’re welcome.



I mean…do I even need to say it? Eating is our favorite. Especially Chinese food on Chritsmas. The bible wills it so! I mean, not really. But I did hear this funny story on Muni last week…

Apparently, whoever wrote the bible lost track of Jesus for about 20 years (no, but seriously). The wives’ tale is that he was on the hunt for some wise men. As the tale goes, his journey led him to China where he holed himself up in a monastery and was only fed a full meal (of Chinese food, of course!) once a year on his birthday. Tuh-duh. Mystery unraveled.

So, yeah. Whatever the reason, we love us some Christmas dim sum. Take a walk around Chinatown’s bright and festive city blocks and you’re sure to bump into one of many open eateries.

New Lun Ting Café
670 Jackson Street
10:30a – 9:30p

Hunan Home’s Restaurant
622 Jackson Street
11:30a – 9:30p

Z & Y Restaurant
655 Jackson Street
11a – 9:30p

Wild card option: the best bagels in town.

House of Bagels
5030 Geary Boulevard
6a – 6p


Gelt-Free Goodness:

Give your wallet a holiday breather with some city freebies.

San Francisco Botanical Gardens
1199 9th Avenue
10a – 5p

Contemporary Jewish Museum
736 Mission Street
11a – 5p

Holiday Boats at Fisherman’s Wharf
300 Jefferson Street
10a – 10p

And these spots are just a few of our city’s beautiful must-sees. You can always drive, bike or hike your way up to famous sites like Alamo Park, Coit Tower or Twin Peaks. Or just cruise around the fancier neighborhoods to scope all the lights.


Gelt-Worthy Goodness:

If you’re willing to break out a few shekels ($) and looking for a movie day alternative, here’s where you should put them.

Ice Skate Downtown
Union Square, Downtown SF
10a – 11:30p

Additional rink locations: Embarcadero CenterYerba Buena

San Francisco Zoo
Sloat Boulevard @ The Great Highway
10a – 4p

It’s a Jewish Christmas, San Francisco @ Make Out Room
3552 22nd Street
6 – 11p

Can’t stop, won’t stop? Check out Broke-Ass Stuart’s calendar of events. Still scurred? Read up on How to Survive Your Family During the Holidays.


images from, pintrest.

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.