Best Things to Do in San Francisco This January

Looking for the coolest things to do in San Francisco in January? We’ve got you covered. One of the most beloved cities in the world, the city by the bay offers an incredible New Year’s fireworks show attracting people from all over the bay area and beyond. However, once the celebrations wane, there is still plenty to do. We’ve done the deep research for you on the best things to do in San Francisco including museums, cultural events, food tours, athletic events, hikes and more. Speaking of food, we also have an extensive list of our best restaurants in San Francisco, and if you’re planning a weekend, the best places to stay. There’s plenty happening with the arts, with Sketchfest and FOG Design + Art coming to the city.

January is cold in San Francisco, with temperatures in the 40s-50s and eight days of rain on average. You can still explore the city’s trails however, and if you stick to the coast, there’s a chance you could see a gray whale, as their season begins in Dec/Jan.

New Years
Photo by Cedric Letsch/Unsplash

New Years

San Francisco’s New Years celebrations take over the city thanks to its spectacular fireworks show, where you can view fireworks all along the Embarcadero at midnight while watching the countdown on the Salesforce tower. The fireworks show usually lasts about 15 minutes and is synced to music with speakers along the promenade. There’s also the option of viewing the fireworks from across the bay on Treasure Island or from the water on a cruise.

Photo: Courtesy of Union Square Ice Rink

Union Square Ice Rink

Through January 16

Looking for a cute date idea? How about a nice holiday skate in Union Square’s annual Holiday Ice Rink? Put on your pair (or rental pair) of skates and glide across the fresh ice with your date. After that, you two can warm up with some hot cocoa at Union Square Coffee, then explore the rest of the downtown area. 

More info:

MoAD_800x450_courtesy of MoAD
Photo: Courtesy of MoAD

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service

January 16

Lots of places offer ways to celebrate MLK day that give back to the community. MOAD hosts an annual Day of Service, offering free admission plus family activities including a scavenger hunt, chalk drawing, and a performance that reflect the importance of MLK’s vision for a world of peace, justice, equality, and inclusion through MoAD’s current exhibitions.

DavidAlanGrier_sf sketchfest_800x450
Photo: David Alan Grier

SF Sketchfest

January 20-February 5

The huge line-up of comedians at SF Sketchfest has in the past included Cheech and Chong (with Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong); original “Saturday Night Live” cast-member Laraine Newman; David Alan Grier (“In Living Color”); Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Sarah Vowell, Adam Savage, and many, many more.

Fog Design + Art

January 19-22

Celebrating modern art, architecture, technology and design, Fog Design + Art offers dynamic exhibits, custom installations, pop-up galleries, presentations and discussions every year at Fort Mason.


ZineEX Wine Festival

January 26-28

ZinEX is a three-day wine and food extravaganza and is one of the only festivals dedicated to a single grape variety. Experience the classic character of Zinfandel at four extraordinary events featuring a diverse selection of wines and styles.


Bay Area Brew Fest

January 28

The Bay Area Brew Festival returns from a three year hiatus, featuring over 50 breweries, hundreds of beers, food trucks, dj, and much more! Admission is available for one of two sessions, with options of general admission, early admission and VIP admission.

More info:

Looking for more things to do in the area?

Visit our What to Do in Northern California page!

Scroll to Top