Winter Activities in Oakland, California
Oakland, California, a vibrant city in the Bay Area, transforms into a hub of winter activities, blending urban excitement with unique local charm.
As the temperatures drop, the city comes alive with various events and experiences tailored to every taste and interest.
From cultural festivities and outdoor adventures to culinary explorations and artistic expressions, Oakland offers a rich tapestry of things to do during winter.
Whether you’re drawn to the dazzling light displays at local zoos, the elegance of ballet performances, or the warmth of comedy shows, Oakland’s winter calendar is packed with options.
For those who love the outdoors, the city’s scenic parks and trails provide a beautiful backdrop for winter walks. Meanwhile, food enthusiasts can indulge in diverse culinary trails and explore vibrant markets.
Oakland’s winter is also a time for community and celebration, with events that bring people together to enjoy the season’s cheer.
From family-friendly festivals to exciting nightlife, there’s something for everyone. This guide to winter activities in Oakland is your gateway to enjoying all the city offers during this festive season.
Graham Lustig’s The Nutcracker – Oakland Ballet Company
Graham Lustig’s The Nutcracker, performed by the Oakland Ballet Company, is a must-see event for ballet enthusiasts and those who cherish holiday traditions.
Under the skilled baton of guest conductor Pamela Martin, the performance brings to life the timeless story of The Nutcracker.
Martin, with her extensive experience working with orchestras and ballet companies, including the Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre and the Vallejo Symphony, ensures a captivating musical accompaniment to the ballet.
The Oakland Ballet’s rendition of The Nutcracker blends classical grace and artistic excellence. The performance features a cast of talented dancers, bringing to life the magical world of Clara, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and the Nutcracker Prince.
Set to Tchaikovsky’s iconic score, this ballet is a visual and auditory feast, perfect for welcoming the holiday season.
Whether you are a ballet fan or looking for a festive family outing, Graham Lustig’s The Nutcracker by the Oakland Ballet Company is an enchanting experience that should not be missed.
Fairy Winterland at Children’s Fairyland
Fairy Winterland at Children’s Fairyland in Oakland is a magical, multicultural event that has been an Oakland tradition for 18 years.
Scheduled for December 15-17, 20-23, and 26-30, 2023, from 12 pm to 7 pm, this event brings families together to celebrate the festive season with a dazzling array of activities and decorations.
This year’s theme, “United by Light,” highlights the universal significance of light in holiday celebrations across the globe.
From sparkling trees to glowing lanterns, Fairy Winterland celebrates light and its power to bring hope, peace, and togetherness.
The event features educational holiday displays, candle making, Rangoli chalk art, ornament making, free hot cocoa, and cider.
Additionally, visitors can enjoy the Festival of Lights Parade, Santa’s Dance Party, storytelling, puppet shows, and festive music worldwide.
Fairy Winterland is an ideal destination for families looking to immerse themselves in the joy and wonder of the holiday season, celebrating the diverse cultures that make Oakland unique.
Glowfari at Oakland Zoo
Glowfari at Oakland Zoo is a wildly popular lantern festival that illuminates the zoo with hundreds of larger-than-life animal lanterns.
Running from December 1-23, 26-31, 2023, and into January 2024, this family-friendly event is an enchanting experience for all ages, from 5 pm to 9 pm.
This year’s Glowfari features new themes, including the forests of North America with native wildlife like mountain lions and wolves, the Arctic with puffins and polar bears, the Deep Ocean with rare sea creatures, and a stroll through the swamp encountering alligators and other Bayou animals.
The train ride through Madagascar is highlighted, showcasing lemurs, chameleons, and unique flora and fauna.
Visitors can meet Santa on select dates and enjoy food and beverages at the zoo’s restaurants and snack spots.
Glowfari is a visual spectacle and supports Oakland Zoo’s conservation and education programs. It’s an outdoor winter event, so guests are advised to dress warmly.
Glowfari at Oakland Zoo is a fantastic way to experience the magic of the holiday season, with stunning lantern displays and a festive atmosphere.
Holiday Tea – Claremont Club & Spa
The Claremont Club & Spa’s Holiday Tea is a delightful experience that combines the elegance of classic high tea with festive holiday décor and live music.
This event is a perfect way to enjoy the holiday season in a luxurious setting. The Holiday Tea is offered every Saturday and Sunday from December 2nd to December 30th, with additional dates on Friday, December 22nd, and Friday, December 29th.
Adults can enjoy the tea for $135, while children under 12 are priced at $85. The event occurs at The Lobby Bar of the Claremont Club & Spa, starting at noon.
The Holiday Tea includes a variety of classic high-tea accompaniments, delightful desserts, and sandwiches, making it an ideal outing for those who appreciate the finer things in life.
Whether you’re looking to start a new holiday tradition or want to enjoy an afternoon of luxury, the Holiday Tea at Claremont Club & Spa is an exquisite choice.
Salsa Bachata Sunday At Brooklyn Basin – Oakland, CA
Salsa Bachata Sunday at Brooklyn Basin in Oakland, CA, is a vibrant and lively event for dance enthusiasts.
From 1 pm to 7 pm, this event is known as the biggest and best salsa and Bachata event in the area, offering an outdoor and free dancing experience.
The event is scheduled for December 17, from 12 pm to 6 pm, at Rocky’s Market Brooklyn Basin, located at 288 9th Ave, Oakland, CA.
This event is a fantastic opportunity for seasoned dancers and beginners to immerse themselves in the energetic world of salsa and Bachata.
With a backdrop of beautiful scenery and the lively atmosphere of Brooklyn Basin, participants can dance the day away, enjoy the music, and meet fellow dance enthusiasts.
For those who love Latin dance or are curious to try something new, Salsa Bachata Sunday at Brooklyn Basin is an unmissable event, promising a day filled with rhythm, energy, and fun.
Make a Festival Style Headdress with Zip Ties
The “Make a Festival Style Headdress with Zip Ties” workshop, hosted by The Headdress Workshop, is a unique and creative event on Sunday, December 17, from 2 to 4 pm at Mannequin Madness in Oakland, CA.
This two-hour workshop is designed for festival-goers who want to add a personal touch to their attire, whether for music festivals, renaissance fairs, Burning Man, or local street fairs.
Participants will be guided by creating a sustainable headdress using faux flowers, shells, and feathers.
The workshop is suitable for everyone, from beginners to seasoned crafters, and focuses on using a glue gun for assembly.
Additionally, attendees can participate in an in-studio photoshoot to showcase their creations.
This workshop is a fun pre-festival activity and a therapeutic experience, proven to decrease stress and improve mental health.
It’s a perfect opportunity to spend quality time with friends while engaging in a creative endeavor.
Holiday Street Fair at Telegraph Avenue
The Holiday Street Fair on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, CA, is scheduled for Saturday, December 16, and Sunday, December 17, 2023.
This festive event, located between Dwight and Bancroft Way next to the U.C. Campus, offers a unique shopping experience with abundant good cheer, great music, and fine food.
Featuring over 200 local artisans, the fair presents a wide array of handcrafted items, perfect for holiday gift shopping.
Attendees can find everything from fine, original art to inexpensive gifts, all in one place.
The fair is known for its festive lights, colorful decorations, and friendly multicultural shopping atmosphere, making it an ideal destination for holiday shoppers.
Whether looking for unique gifts or want to soak in the festive atmosphere, the Holiday Street Fair at Telegraph Avenue is a delightful experience.
Oaktown Improv – Oakland Improv Community
Oaktown Improv in Oakland offers a vibrant community for improv enthusiasts, featuring monthly improv shows, weekly improv jams, and ongoing classes.
Their events are primarily held on Zoom, except for the Sunday in-person jam at Snow Park in Oakland. The next in-person jam is scheduled for December 17, 2023.
Oaktown Improv is dedicated to authentic self-expression and co-creation. Their events are designed to help participants express themselves more authentically and powerfully.
The focus is on embodying real people in real situations, emphasizing comedy that arises naturally from human interactions rather than forced humor.
The benefits of improv extend beyond the stage, helping individuals become more at ease in groups and improving public speaking skills.
Some even find that improv principles aid in business success. Oaktown Improv is committed to teaching the art of improv, allowing others to discover their joy and find value in this creative practice.
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