While the sun is setting earlier, the lights are coming out in Marin for the next two months, with holiday fun and cheer coming your way. To help navigate the season and keep your spirits bright, we present our select guide to holiday events, shopping, performances and other artsy offerings leading up to Christmas.
Marin Turkey Trot Work up an appetite with 1-mile, 5K and 10K runs. Proceeds benefit San Francisco–Marin Food Bank. Packet pickup, Nov. 26 and 27; race, Nov. 28. Indian Valley College, 1800 Ignacio Blvd., Novato. $25–$55. marinturkeytrot.com.
San Rafael Parade of Lights & Winter Wonderland Fortieth-annual event in the heart of Marin features a grand parade and tree-lighting ceremony, with snow sledding, kids activities, a holiday market and more. Festive window displays light up the scene while live music and holiday entertainment packs in families from around the Bay Area. Nov. 29–30. Fourth and B streets, San Rafael. Friday, noon to 8pm; parade begins at 5:30pm; Saturday, 9am to noon. sresproductions.com.
Point Reyes Open Studios Spend part of Thanksgiving weekend with artists in their studios throughout West Marin during the free, self-guided tour. Includes displays and demonstrations. Nov. 29–Dec. 1, 11am–5pm. pointreyesart.com.
Bolinas Museum Turkey Trot Tenth-annual family-friendly walk is a popular post-Thanksgiving tradition in West Marin. Prizes, treats and Bloody Marys await at the finish line. Nov. 30. 48 Wharf Road, Bolinas. 8am registration, 9am trot. $15–$25; kids 9 and under are free. 415.868.0330.
Sausalito Gingerbread House Competition & Tour Thirteenth-annual citywide event features more than 30 businesses and merchants participating in creating festive and delicious gingerbread houses. Most are on display within walking distance of each other, meaning this is a family-friendly diversion from the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping. Dec. 1–31. Downtown Sausalito. Maps are available at participating merchants or at Sausalito.org.
Point Reyes Path of Lights Main Street in Point Reyes transforms into a festive avenue, with shops open, a tree-lighting ceremony, West Marin Choir performing traditional caroling, and barbecue and refreshments. Dec. 6. Toby’s Feed Barn, 11250 Hwy 1, Point Reyes Station. 5pm. Free. soundorchard.org.
ICB’s Winter Open Studios More than 90 painters, sculptors, fabric artists, jewelers, photographers and other artists under one roof all open their doors for this long-running event to let you discover new and unique works of art where they are created. Dec. 6–8. Industrial Center Building, 480 Gate Five Road, Sausalito. 11am–6pm. Free admission. Icb-artists.com.
Dickens’ Family Victorian Holiday Party Hosted by characters from Charles Dickens’ works, this annual party boasts Victorian parlor games, dancing, crafts and light refreshments. Dec. 6. Falkirk Cultural Center, 1408 Mission Ave., San Rafael. 6pm. $9–$12. falkirkculturalcenter.org.
Sensitive Santa Holiday event for children with special needs features an online sign-up to eliminate the stress of waiting in a line, a sensory-friendly playground and activities, therapy dogs from Marin Humane Society and a professional photographer. Dec. 7. All Children’s Academics, 1665 Grand Ave., San Rafael. Free; $20 donation includes raffle ticket. 415.258.9572.
Breakfast with Santa at Sausalito Yacht Club Fun family event features breakfast prepared by elves and a visit from Santa. Dec. 7. Sausalito Yacht Club, 100 Humboldt Ave., Sausalito. 8:30am and 10am. $15–$18; kids under 2 eat free. RSVP required. cityofsausalito.perfectmind.com.
Sausalito Woman’s Club Holiday Open House Santa makes an appearance for this community event. Toys for Tots and Giving Tree donations are appreciated. Dec. 8. Sausalito Women’s Club, 120 Central Ave., Sausalito. 3pm. 415.332.2700.
Mill Valley Winterfest Twentieth-annual celebration includes snow-sledding, a visit from Santa, live entertainment, refreshments, children’s activities and a tree-lighting ceremony. Dec. 8. Downtown Plaza, 85 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley. 11am–5pm. enjoymillvalley.com.
Sausalito Winterfest Thirty-second annual event includes Saturday’s Lighted Boat Parade on the water with dozens of brightly decorated vessels and fireworks. Then, Sunday’s Jingle Bell 5K features a runner’s brunch and children’s fun run. Dec. 14–15. Sausalito Waterfront. Saturday, 6pm; Sunday, 8:30am. Winterfestsausalito.com.
Osher Marin Festival of Lights Marin’s biggest Hanukkah party includes festive foods, glow-in-the-dark dancing, live music, an artisan crafts marketplace and kids’ activities like Lego dreidel building, bouncy house hopping and cookie decorating. All are welcome. Dec. 15. Osher Marin JCC, 200 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael. 11:30am–2pm. Free admission. 415.444.8000.
Marin Center’s Pop-Up Holiday Boutique Shop for locally-produced original arts and crafts including jewelry, woodworks and fashion accessories. Dec. 12–22, Marin Center Bartolini Gallery, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 11am–7pm. Free. marincounty.org.
Dance Palace Artisan Craft & Holiday Market This 49th-annual event offers art and fine crafts from favorite local artisans and boasts an expanded holiday market with live entertainment, kids’ craft stations and gourmet food. Dec. 6–8. Dance Palace, 503 B St., Point Reyes Station. Friday, 4–9pm; Saturday, 10am–5pm; Sunday, 10am–4pm. Free admission. dancepalace.org.
Mill Valley Holiday Craft Fair Fifteenth-annual fair features over 55 artists selling handmade arts and crafts, including jewelry, glasswork, fiber arts, ceramics and more. Dec. 7. Mill Valley Community Center,
180 Camino Alto, Mill Valley. 10am–4pm. Free. millvalleyrecreation.org.
Belvedere-Tiburon Landmarks Society Holiday Art & Craft Sale Local artists bring a wide range of gifts and holiday items to browse in a farm-cottage setting. There will be jewelry, glass works, knitted items, vintage books and baked goods, with door prizes and hot cider. Dec. 7, Landmarks Art & Garden Center, 841 Tiburon Blvd., Tiburon. 10am–4pm. Free. 415.435.1853.
Muir Beach Holiday Arts Fair Head to the coast for some holiday shopping that boasts unique and handmade fine art, crafts, jewelry, gourmet treats, holiday knickknacks and more. Dec. 7–8. Muir Beach Community Center, 19 Seacape Drive, Muir Beach. Saturday, 10am–5pm; Sunday, 10am–4pm. Free admission. muirbeachartsfair.com.
Marin Indoor Antique Market Christmas Show Over 70 booths of antiques and collectibles features vintage and estate jewelry, furniture, Native American and Asian art and more. Dec. 7–8, Marin Center Exhibit Hall, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. Saturday, 10am–6pm; Sunday, 10am–5pm. $8. 415.473.6800.
Spirited Marin Holiday Marketplace Festive shopping village features Marin-based sellers and raises money for local nonprofits, with a special Airstream photography exhibit, seasonal drinks, music and more. Dec. 7–8. Marin Country Mart, 2257 Larkspur Landing Circle, Larkspur. Saturday, 10am–5pm; Sunday, 11am–5pm. spiritedmarin.org.
Marin Center Just Dance Academy Winter Performance commences Nov. 24. 2pm. $22–$27. Home for the Holidays features veteran stand-ups delivering holiday laughs Nov. 30. 8pm. $30. Stapleton Ballet performs The Nutcracker. Dec. 7–8. 1pm and 5pm. $26–$39. Performing Arts Academy of Marin’s Holiday Spectacular gets festive Dec. 7–8. Saturday, 7pm; Sunday, 1pm. $25. Mayflower Chorus presents Sounds of the Season Dec. 7–8. Friday, 8pm; Saturday, 2:30pm and 7:30pm. $8–$22. Marin Ballet’s Nutcracker returns Dec. 14–15. 1pm and 5pm. $25–$45; Candy Cane Party following each 1pm performance is $10. Sister’s Christmas Catechism offers holiday mystery Dec. 21. $60. Marin Dance Theatre’s Sophie and the Enchanted Toyshop makes for a sweet treat Dec. 21. The Sewer Band’s Holiday Concert returns for the 62nd year Dec. 23. 7pm. Free. 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 415.473.6800.
Sweetwater Music Hall Start the holidays with a post-Thanksgiving bash featuring rock band Petty Theft Nov. 29. 8pm. $27–$32. A Rat Pack Christmas pays tribute to Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. Dec. 10. 8pm. $27. The Christmas Jug Band make their way back to town for two spirited shows including a Sunday night family show, Dec.15–16. Sunday, 7pm; Monday 8pm. $19–$27. A holiday tribute to Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack features live music by Jason Crosby and Magic in the Other Dec. 22. 7pm. $27–$32. 19 Corte Madera Ave., Mill Valley. 415.388.3850.
Throckmorton Theatre Michelle Schmitt’s 12th Annual Holiday Concert benefits the community once again Dec. 5. 8pm. $25–$50. Deborah Winters and the Peter Welker All Star Band jazz up the holidays with joy Dec. 6. 8pm. $28–$45. Narada Michael Walden Foundation’s Annual Holiday Jam returns for its 23rd year Dec. 14. 8pm. $125–$175. 142 Throckmorton Ave., Mill Valley. 415.383.9600.
“Winter Solstice” MarinMOCA opens an exhibit that heralds the winter season with traditional landscape works and contemporary artworks that express the moodiness of the weather and the magic of the holidays. The show opens with a reception on Nov. 16. 500 Palm Dr., Novato. 5pm. Free. 415.506.0137.
Dominican Chorale Fall Concert Conducted by Francisco Ortiz, community choral ensemble sponsored by Dominican University of California sings Charles Gounod’s “St. Cecilia Mass” and Eric Whitacre’s “The Chelsea Carol.” Nov. 22. St. Raphael Church, 1104 Fifth Ave., San Rafael. 8pm. $15–$20. dominican.edu/chorale.
Holidays in Harmony Novato Music Association Chorus comes together in song for this annual, family-friendly winter concert. Dec. 6–8 and Dec. 14. St. Vincent’s Chapel, 1 St. Vincent Drive, San Rafael. Times vary. $5–$20. novatomusicassociationchorus.org.
Marin Symphony’s Holiday Concerts Spend the most wonderful time of the year with the acclaimed symphony orchestra, who present several concerts throughout the season. First, the chamber chorus shines in the Holiday Choral Concerts by Candlelight, Dec. 7–8, at the Church of Saint Raphael, 1104 Fifth Ave., San Rafael. Saturday, 7:30pm; Sunday, 4pm. $20–$32. Next, the symphony presents its annual Holiday Pops concert, led by musical director Alasdair Neale and featuring beloved classics and contemporary musical treats on Dec. 17, at the Marin Center’s Veterans Memorial Auditorium, 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 7pm. $20–$25 and up. marinsymphony.org.
Kitka: Wintersongs The Oakland-based women’s vocal ensemble channels Eastern European melodies with traditional vocal styling. Kitka perform a program of critically acclaimed, winter-inspired music ranging from Slavic folk carols to Eastern Orthodox choral works, Yiddish, Sephardic and Hebrew songs for Hanukkah. Dec. 7, the Kanbar Center for the Performing Arts, Osher Marin JCC, 200 N. San Pedro Road, San Rafael. 8pm. $15–$42. 415.444.8000.
First Presbyterian San Anselmo Chancel Choir Daniel Canosa conducts and the choir, joined by community singers, orchestra and soloists, present Vivaldi’s “Gloria.” Dec. 8. First Presbyterian Church, 72 Kensington Road, San Anselmo. 10am. Free. 415.456.3713.
Mill Valley Philharmonic Marin volunteer orchestra continues its 20th season with a family-friendly program, Nutcracker & Other Holiday Favorites, that celebrates the season with selections from Handel’s Messiah and Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker as well as Victor Hely-Hutchinson’s A Carol Symphony. Dec. 11–14. Open dress rehearsal on Dec. 11 and performance on Dec. 13 at Mt. Tamalpais United Methodist Church, 410 Sycamore, Mill Valley. Performance on Dec. 14 at First Presbyterian Church, 1510 Fifth Avenue, San Rafael. Times Vary. $20. millvalleyphilharmonic.org.
Stapleton Theatre Company The theater arts division of the Stapleton School of the Performing Arts celebrates its Silver Celebration, marking 25 years of inclusive, multi-generational theater. Dec. 14. The Playhouse, 27 Kensington Road, San Anselmo. 7:30pm. stapletonschool.org.
Marin Oratorio Boyd Jarrell directs the College of Marin choir’s performance of Bach’s Mass in B minor. Dec. 14–15, James Dunn Theatre, College of Marin, 835 College Ave., Kentfield. Saturday, 7:30pm; Sunday, 3pm. $15–$20. 415.457.8811.
Singers Marin Group of adult choruses team up with the youth choruses from Stapleton School of Performing Arts for their annual holiday concert, Tis the Season … Sharing Traditions. Dec. 21. St. Vincent’s Chapel, 1 St. Vincent Dr., San Rafael. 4pm. $18–$35. singersmarin.org.