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East Bay Winter Bucket List

It’s time for s’mores, skating, sing-alongs, and holiday cheer.


Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square // by Jerry Yim

Getting in the holiday spirit can take a little extra effort without winter’s snowy cue. But don’t worry:  Here are six ways to get your winter fun on.

1. Enjoy some fluffy white stuff in Berkeley. Yes, really. Snow Day in the Gourmet Ghetto fills the streets of North Berkeley with real snow. Bring your own carrots and lumps of coal to build a snow family. Then, sip cider, toss snowballs, and cap off the day with pizza at The Cheese Board Collective. December 4, gourmetghetto.org.

2. Savor a 1920s Christmas in Wales, with Christmas Revels. The show, A Revels Christmas In Wales, at Oakland’s Scottish Rite Center, features mummers, cloggers, and a chance to sing along. December 9–11 and 16–18, californiarevels.org.

Courtesy of Simply Fondue

3. For the all-time winter favorite: Roast your own marshmallows for s’mores at Lafayette’s American Kitchen (american-kitchen1.com); or warm up over a flaming chocolate fondue, with marshmallows for roasting then dipping, at Simply Fondue (simplyfonduelivermore.com) in Livermore.

4. Lace up your skates, and twirl like Alamo’s own Kristi Yamaguchi at these outdoor ice rinks: Walnut Creek on Ice (through January 16, walnutcreekonice.com); The Little Ice Rink in Alameda (through January 8, thelittleicerink.com); and San Francisco’s Holiday Ice Rink at Embarcadero Center (through January 8, embarcaderocenter.com) and Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square (through January 16, unionsquareicerink.com).

Great Dickens Christmas Fair // by Beppe Sabatini

5. Indulge in a Gingerbread Christmas, with a visit from the famed author-illustrator Jan Brett herself. Brett will demonstrate her illustration magic at this Rakestraw Books event held at Monte Vista High School’s performing arts center in Danville. December 11, rakestrawbooks.com.

6. Escape to Victorian London, with holiday carolers, lamp-lit lanes, and colorful characters—including Oliver Twist and Tiny Tim—when San Francisco’s Cow Palace turns into the Great Dickens Christmas Fair. Check out Mad Sal’s Dockside Ale House Music Hall Review while sipping house-made hot buttered rum, and find unique gifts: hand-pounded leather, heirloom drink ware, and—why not?—a crystal tiara. Weekends through December 18, dickensfair.com.

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