Friday, November 13, 2015

A game plan for enjoying the city, and
avoiding the sales-hungry crowds.
You're in San Francisco for Thanksgiving this year and
have a free day to roam the city.
Since you decided against joining the Black
Friday mobs in Union Square, what to do instead? In a city that has plenty of
inventive ways to spend time, you've got options.
From wasting away the
afternoon sipping Irish Coffee to ice skating outdoors in California's fall
sunshine, here are nine ways to spend your Black Friday away from the mall.
Burn away any lingering tryptophan effects at Davies Symphony Hall, with
the San Francisco Symphony's rendition of Tim Burton's "The Nightmare
Before Christmas." 2.
Get in the winter spirit at the Holiday Ice Rink at
Embarcadero Center.
Each year, this is the largest outdoor ice rink in the Bay
Area—and arguably the most photo-worthy, with the Ferry Building and bay
just across the street.
Burn off some of that stuffing with a citywide scavenger hunt.
Quest Adventure allows you to form a team and use your smartphone as your
guide on this three-hour citywide adventure, learning bits of local lore along
the way.
The quest begins at Yerba Buena Gardens and takes you on a route to
Union Square, Chinatown, and Fisherman's wharf, and you can pick the start
time that works best for you.
Technically, the Celebration of Craftswomen fair at Fort Mason Center
counts as shopping, but it's nowhere in the realm of the Black Friday
Showcasing quality handmade art from 300 local female artists working
with mediums like ceramics, jewelry, glass, fiber, leather, wood and other
fine arts.
Far, far, from Union Square, on the west side of the city, tucked deep in
the verdant pocket of Golden Gate Park, is the Botanical Garden.
Stroll the
55-acre park that features more than 8,000 plants from around the world, and
decompress from the holiday madness.
Hungry? Join Avila Tours' North Beach Food Tour for a few hours of
sampling the Italian cuisine of one of the city's most vibrant
Learn about the history of the Barbary Coast and secret
passageways once used to smuggle in booze during prohibition.
Plus, stop at
four North Beach staples for Italian fare, wine, and a cocktail (book ahead).
Swap consumerism for a culture fix at the Asian Art Museum near San
Francisco City Hall.
The current exhibition, "Looking East" evaluates the
art that emerged from Japan and influenced the Western art world after it
opened its port to international trade in the 1850s.
Inside, you'll find
rare works from prominent Japanese artists and more than 170 objects.
decorative paintings, prints, drawings and textiles.
Nothing says "decompress" to a San Franciscan like a long, slow
afternoon nursing a strong and frothy Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista,
watching the fog roll in off the bay.
There's only one reason to brave the holiday crowds clogging Union
Square on Black Friday: for the annual tree lighting ceremony.
83-foot-high Christmas tree is decked with more than 33,000 lights and 1,100
The ceremony starts at 6 p.m., but arrive early (and with hot cocoa
in-hand) for a prime viewing spot.
Jenna Scatena is on the San Francisco Bay Area beat for Travel +
Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
In the Bay Area for Thanksgiving? Here's what to do in San
Francisco on Black Friday—and has nothing to do with shopping.

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