Weekend Picks: Sacramento Polar Express, Berkeley Botanical Garden Holiday Pop-Up Shop, San Francisco Presidio Tree Lighting Forest Walk, and Martinez Santa Beer Crawl

December 6, 2017

Are you feeling festive yet? If not then head to any of the magical holiday events happening this weekend along the Capitol Corridor! Ride the Polar Express in Sacramento, find some unique gifts in Berkeley, take an enchanted walk through the Presidio in San Francisco or enjoy a Santa-themed bar crawl in Martinez.

Polar Express: 11/29 – 12/21, Sacramento

Relive the magical journey of THE POLAR EXPRESS™ on an hour-long train ride to the North Pole. Wednesdays through Sundays, through December 21, enjoy hot chocolate and cookies while riding with many characters from the story. Once reaching the North Pole, Santa himself will come aboard gifting each passenger a silver sleigh bell, the “first gift of Christmas.” Tickets start at $45 per person for the 3:30pm departures and $50 for evening departures.

Getting there: Take the train to the Sacramento Station, which is a short 5-minute walk from the museum.

Botanical Garden Holiday Pop-Up Shop:12/7 – 12/10, Berkeley

Come have a fabulous time finding beautiful and unusual gifts for the holidays at the Botanical Garden Holiday Pop-Up Shop. From 11am to 4pm, Wednesday, December 6 to Sunday, December 10 at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden, choose from a unique selection of gifts from local vendors, as well as hand-crafted gifts from the Garden. This free event will directly benefit the Botanical Garden.

Getting there: Take the train to the Richmond Station or Oakland Coliseum Station, connect to BART, and get off at the Downtown Berkeley stop, which is about half a mile from the garden.

Presidio Tree Lighting Forest Walk: 12/8, San Francisco

Bring the whole family and partake in the annual, magical tree-lighting ceremony at the Presidio Tree Lighting Forest Walk. On Friday, December 8, starting 5pm, join the Presidio Community in the decades-old neighborhood tradition of gathering around the lit up tree to sing holiday classics along with the Golden Gate Carolers. The tree will light up promptly at 5:30pm, and there will be light refreshments and kids activities in the Presidio Community Y gymnasium. There will also be a guided lantern-lit evening forest walk at 6:30 pm. The free event runs until 6:45pm and the location is at the Main Post, across from Presidio Community Y (corner of Lincoln Boulevard & Funston Avenue).

Getting there: Take the train to the Richmond Station or Oakland Coliseum Station. There you can connect to BART for service into downtown San Francisco. Discount BART tickets and MUNI tokens are available for purchase in the Café Car. From any of these San Francisco bus or BART stops, you can walk or take public transit using Google Maps.

Santa Beer Crawl: 12/9, Martinez

Dust off your Santa suits and ugly Christmas sweaters because it’s time for holiday cheer at the Santa Beer Crawl in downtown Martinez. On Saturday, from 2:30 to 5:30pm, join the jolliest bunch of Santas this side of the Bay as they roam the downtown corridor of Martinez. Sample beers from over 20 great craft breweries stationed inside the small businesses along Main Street. Santa costumes and ugly sweaters are encouraged, and while you sample you can enter to win fabulous prizes from downtown businesses. Tickets are $35 at the door. Take pre-purchased ticket confirmations to the ticket booth next to Creek Monkey Tap House, 611 Escobar Street beginning 1pm for early check-in.

Getting there: Take the train to the Martinez Station, and it’s a short stroll to downtown.


Written by Sylvia Sheehan
Photo courtesy Charity Vargas