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Winter holidays 2012: December special events, and what’s open on Christmas

on November 30, 2012

The Oakland North staff has found places to eat, celebrate, shop and pray during the holiday season. We hope we found something especially for you. We have also included information about the holiday schedules of local favorite attractions as well as the AC Transit and BART transportation schedules.

Check back frequently because we’ll continue to update this page as we learn of more Oakland holiday events. Got one to tell us about? Email

City of Oakland holiday parking

Oakland will offer free parking every Saturday between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day: November 24 and December 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29. Parking at all city-metered spaces throughout Oakland will be free for the time period posted on the meter or kiosk (30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours or 5 hours). The program also provides two hours of free parking at four city-owned garages. Call for more information.

Need to entertain the kids during the winter break? Have family or friends in town? Here are some activities and attractions that will be open this holiday season, listed in chronological order.

Holiday Ice
November 18 – January 5
Oakland Ice Center, 519 18th Street, Oakland, CA, (510) 268-9000

Ice-skating! Skate one session and get the second session for 50 percent off. Closed on Christmas Day. Click here for more information. 

Jack London Square Christmas Tree Lighting and Holiday Pop Up
Tree Lighting: November 30, 7 pm, Jack London Square, foot of Broadway, Oakland
Pop Up: 5 – 9 pm, Jack London Pavilion, 98 Broadway, Oakland

The lighting of the tree will include a “snowfall” and a visit from Santa and two of his reindeer. Canned food and toys will be collected for the Toys for Tots and Alameda County Food Bank programs. At the pop up holiday sale, local merchants will be offering selections of clothing, art, home decor and more. More information here.

Holiday Estate Tour
December 1, 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Dunsmuir-Hellman Historic Estate, 2960 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland, CA, (510) 238-3052

Tour this 37-room estate, which sits on 50 acres of land decorated for the holiday season with turn of the century ornaments. For more information about admission and location go here.

America’s Children’s Holiday Parade
December 1, 2012, 2 p.m.
Broadway 14th to 20th Streets, Oakland, CA (510) 874-4808

There will be a parade featuring performers with balloons, lights, clowns and a marching band and other entertainment. For more information go here.

7th Annual Jingletown Winter Art Walk
Saturday, December 1 and Sunday, December 2, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
(510) 499-3445

More than 35 artists will showcase their work in venues located between the Park and Fruitvale Street bridges. For a list of artists and exhibit locations go here.

6th Annual Yule at the Oakland Zoo
Saturday, December 1, 1 p.m.
Oakland Zoo, 9777 Golf Links Road, Oakland, CA, (510) 632-9525 x100

The California Revels ring in the holiday season with singing and dancing. For more information click here.

4th Annual Piedmont Avenue Tree Lighting Ceremony & Holiday Stroll
Saturday, December 1, 5 p.m.
Key Route Plaza, 41st Street and Piedmont Ave., Oakland CA (510) 428-1838

This year’s decorations will be unveiled, children will perform holiday favorites and Santa Claus will pay a visit in time to light the tree and take pictures with the families. For more information go here.

December 3 – December 31, 5:30-9 p.m.
Oakland Zoo, 9777 Golf Links Rd., Oakland, CA, (510) 632-9525 x100

Thousands of LED lights brighten Oakland’s night sky. Ride through Candy Cane Lane. Take the Outback Express train and rock around the Christmas trees in the Children’s Zoo. Closed December 24-25. For more information go here.

Ensembles and Orchestras – Art Talk Series
December 4 – January 12
Vessel Gallery, 471 25th Street, Oakland, CA, (510) 893-8800

Original artwork and jewelry by local artists will be showcased. For more information go here.

Montclair Village Annual Holiday Stroll
Thursday, December 6, 6-8:30 p.m.
Mountain Blvd, (510) 339-1000

Special discounts and promotions will be offered by more than 40 merchants, along with food and live entertainment. For more information about participating vendors go here.

Holiday Cheer and Coat Drive at Farley’s East
December 6, 5-9 p.m.
Farley’s East, 33 Grand Ave., Oakland, CA (510) 835-7898

Please bring your gently worn coats. They will be donated to St. Vincent de Paul of Alameda County along with a portion of the proceeds from this happy hour event. For more information please call the restaurant.

Great Wall of Oakland transformed into the World’s Largest Christmas Tree

Friday, December 7, 6-11 p.m.

Grand Avenue between Broadway and Valley Street, next door to Luka’s Taproom and Lounge in Oakland’s Uptown district.

Oakland Home for the Holidays. The event is part of Oakland’s Art Murmur and will be the city’s first digital tree lighting ceremony. Look forward to viewing holiday inspired short films and multi-language/cultural cards created by children from the Oakland YMCA as well as other events and performances. For more information go here.

Holiday Wreaths
Saturday, December 8, 2-4 p.m.
Museum of Children’s Art – Main Library, 125 14th Street, Oakland, CA (510) 238-3134

Make wreaths for the holiday. For more information go here.

Holiday Smooth Jazz Concert
Saturday, December 8, 6-9 p.m.
African American Museum and Library at Oakland, 659 14th Street, Oakland, CA  (510) 637-0200

Live music, food and beverages are offered at this event. Please RSVP. For more information about donations and toy drive go here.

Holiday Gifty Art Sale & Open House

Saturday, December 8; 12-6 p.m. and Sunday, December 9; 12-4 p.m.

The Crucible, 1260 7th Street, Oakland (510) 444-0919

Admission is free for this event. Craftsmen will demonstrate welding, glass blowing and metal casting. Purchase items and sign up for classes. Fun for the whole family. For more information go here.

Oakland East Bay Symphony’s Holiday Celebration
Sunday, December 9, 4 p.m.
Paramount Theater, 2025 Broadway, Oakland, CA (510) 465-6400

Featuring the Oakland Symphony Chorus, Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, Piedmont Choirs, Mt. Eden High School Choir, and Klezmer band Kugelplex. For more information about show time and ticket prices go here.

Community Menorah Lighting
Sunday, December 9, 5:30-6:30 p.m.
Splash Pad Park, Between Grand and Lakeshore Avenues across from Grand Lake Theater (510) 545-6770

Menorah lighting to celebrate the beginning of Hanukkah. For more information go here.

Kwanzaa Celebration
Wednesday, December 12, Noon-1pm
Oakland City Center, Broadway at 13th Street, Oakland, CA (510) 628-9170

The West African Highlife Band performs African and world music selections at the holiday celebration. Admission is free. For more information go here.

The Nutcracker at Scott’s Seafood
December 12, 6-8 p.m.
Scott’s Seafood in Jack London Square, 2 Broadway, Oakland, CA (510) 444-3456

The Oakland Ballet Company performs. For more information go here.

Fairy Winterland
December 14-23, Noon-7pm
Children’s Fairyland, 699 Bellevue Ave., Oakland, CA (510) 238-6876 or (510) 452-2259

Fairy Winterland celebrates the winter holidays from around the world including, Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Las Posadas, Diwali, and Chinese New Year. The events will include storytelling, crafts, a light show and a visit from Santa. For more information go here.

3rd Annual Crèche Festival
Friday, December 14 – Sunday, December 16
The Cathedral of Christ the Light, 
2121 Harrison Street
Oakland, CA (510) 893-4711

The three-day event celebrating the traditional nativity scene, begins with a reception, continues with a lesson in crèche making and concludes with a live jazz performance. For more information about events scheduled as part of the celebration please go here.

“Fröhliche Weihnacht” beim OTV in Oakland

Saturday, December 15, 6 p.m.
Bjornson Hall, 2258 MacArthur Blvd., Oakland, CA 94602,  (650) 697-1577 Or (510)-653-6564

A traditional German Christmas concert. For more information go here.

The Nutcracker
December 22-24
Paramount Theater, 2025 Broadway, Oakland, CA (510) 465-6400

The Oakland Ballet Company performs. Music live by Oakland East Bay Symphony, Conducted by Michael Morgan.

Holidays on Lakeshore Avenue
December 21 – 22, 5-7 p.m. Fri; 3-5 p.m. Sat
Lakeshore Ave. between Lake Park and Trestle Glen (510) 451-1257

There will be a horse-drawn carriage, entertainment, special holiday offerings from merchants and a visit from Santa. For more information go here.

Dining – Restaurants that will be offering special meals on Christmas or Christmas Eve:

Kincaid’s Bayhouse
Jack London Square, One Franklin Street, (510) 835-8600
December 24, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (last reservation 8:30)

Community Services — organizations offering free holiday meals, food or toy giveaways

Alameda County Food Bank
7900 Edgewater Drive, Oakland, CA 94621, 1-800-870-FOOD (3663) or 510-635-3663

Holiday Hotline: Call the helpline, enter your zip code and you will be given information about organizations in your area that will be distributing food throughout the month of December. The holiday information line is open 24 hours beginning December 1 through December 25.

Harbor House Ministries
December 15, 10 a.m.
1811 11th Ave. Oakland, CA, 510-534-0165 ext. 206

Toys and other items are donated to the Harbor House Christmas Store located at the address listed above. You must come to the organization on a Tuesday and sign-up between 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to purchase items at a reduced price from the store on December 15. For more information go here.

Holiday Toy Drive/Community Holiday Party and Toy Giveaway
December 15, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Allen Temple Baptist Church, 8501 International Blvd., Oakland, CA, (510) 544-8910

Donations accepted from now until December 14. The drive provides gifts for children and young adults ages 0-18. For more information about gift giving and the holiday party go here.

Mayor’s Community Toy Drive 2012
Register for the toy give-away, by signing up in person at City Hall (14th and Broadway) on Sunday, December 2 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For donors, bring your toy donations to locations around the City of Oakland including the fire and police departments, Oakland libraries, the Port of Oakland and Chabot Space and Science Center starting December 1. More information here.

Need that last-minute gallon of milk, or have no time to prepare a dessert for the holiday party? These Oakland stores will be open on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day:

Hometown Market
241 10th St., Oakland, CA (510) 835-2379
Christmas Day – 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Lucky Supermarket
247 E. 18th Street, Oakland, CA  (510) 272-0467
Christmas Day 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Northside Supermarket
4505 Market St., Emeryville, CA (510) 654-5914
Christmas Eve 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Christmas Day 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Meat department 7 a.m.-2 p.m.)

6310 College Ave., Oakland, CA (510) 654-6992
Christmas Day – Closed

5130 Broadway, Oakland, CA (510) 658-6612
Christmas Day – Closed

Smart & Final
901 Broadway, Oakland, CA (510) 251-8221
Christmas Day – Closed

Village Market
5885 Broadway Terrace, Oakland, CA (510) 547-3200
Christmas Eve 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Christmas Day – Closed

Whole Foods
230 Bay Place, Oakland, CA (510) 834-9800
Christmas Day – Closed

Yasai Produce Market
6301 College Ave., Oakland, CA (510) 655-4880
Christmas Eve 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Christmas Day  – Closed

Which public services and attractions will be open or closed on Christmas?

Oakland Public Library System

Main library and all branches closed December 22 through December 31

Oakland City Parks & Recreation Centers

All centers will be closed Christmas Day

Oakland Museum of California
1000 Oak Street, Oakland, CA (510) 318-8400

Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Regular hours return Wednesday, December 26.

Museum of Children’s Art
538 Ninth Street, Oakland, CA (510) 465-8770

Closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Oakland Zoo
9777 Golf Links Road, Oakland, CA (510) 632-9525

Closed Christmas Day. Zoo Lights resumes on Wednesday, December 26 at 5:30 p.m.

Chabot Space and Science Center
10000 Skyline Blvd., Oakland, CA (510) 336-7300

December 22-January 6 – Open everyday except Christmas. Sun.-Thurs 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sat. and Sun. 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.  New Year’s Eve – Balloon Drop


On Christmas Day follow the Sunday schedule for times and stop locations. Regularly scheduled service resumes on Wednesday, December 26.

AC Transit

All AC Transit Local and Transbay lines will run on a weekend schedule on Christmas Day. Regularly scheduled service resumes on Wednesday, December 26.

And last of all, if you think you’ve done a little too much holiday celebrating…

AAA Tipsy Tow Program
Monday, December 24 – Tuesday, December 25, 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

AAA Tipsy Tow Program offers a one-way ride for driver and his/her vehicle a free tow home up to 10 miles for drinking drivers in Northern California – members and non-members alike – from 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve until 6 a.m. Christmas morning. Call (800)-222-4357 (AAA-HELP) and tell the operator “I need a Tipsy Tow.” For more information click here.

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