If you’re staying in — or coming to — SF this holiday season and looking for fun things to do, look no further. There is actually a ton of stuff going on across the city in the next couple of weeks.

Whether you want to get in the holiday spirit somewhere near Union Square, or just go out on the town and check out a new play, a classic musical, some comedy, or The Nutcracker, here are 16 things you should have on your radar as the holiday season kicks into high gear.

1. Mamma Mia!, Golden Gate Theatre (Dec. 8 - 10) The timeless Mamma Mia! is back in SF, with just a few performances left this weekend, and it's a feel-good classic for any time of the year. It’s the ABBA musical's 25th anniversary tour, and while there’s no Meryl Streep or Cher, the actresses in this production are full-on, fantastically talented divas. (Plus, it’s a good follow-up to Golden Gate’s other recent diva story, ‘Tina - The Tina Turner Musical.’)

2. Off The Record with Trevor Noah, SF Masonic Auditorium (Dec. 8 - 14, 2023) The former host of the Daily Show is on the road this year, with a whole week in SF. Apparently, every show will be a little bit different, but the comedian is planning to touch on topics from breaking news to politics to race to his childhood in South Africa.

Ruben Ingwersen (left) and Jérémi Levesque in 'Dear San Francisco: A High-Flying Love Story.' Photo credit: Kevin Berne

3. Dear San Francisco, Club Fugazi (Dec. 8, 2023 - Jan. 6, 2024) The historic North Beach club is starting a run of a new cirque show called "Dear San Francisco." It features a blend of acrobatics, choreography, spoken word, video projections, shadow play, and original music to tell the story of our city’s history and culture.

4. To Kill A Mockingbird, Golden Gate Theatre (Dec. 12 - 18, 2023) The Aaron Sorkin-adapted and Bartlett Sher-directed “To Kill a Mockingbird” is back in SF, after running in 2021 (a pandemic-related scheduling shift from 2020). The novel has transcended its literary roots to become "one of the greatest plays in history," according to NPR.

5. San Francisco Ballet - The Nutcracker, War Memorial Opera House (Dec. 13 - 30, 2023) Over 150 dancers will perform this Tchaikovsky holiday classic with the SF Ballet Orchestra. There are some great promo deals you can find in the schedule, too.

6. A Christmas Carol, ACT's Toni Rembe Theater (Dec. 6 - 24, 2023) Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is a holiday season tradition for ACT, and continues to delight new audiences. ACT continues ramping back up to full steam, post-pandemic, and their rendition of the timeless Dickens classic is a fixture in Union Square this time of year. Plus, this run will see the first-ever sensory-friendly performance of the show on December 18, designed to cater to neurodiverse audiences and individuals with sensory sensitivities.

7. The Lion King, Orpheum Theatre (Nov. 22 - Dec. 30, 2023) Disney's classic musical adaptation of the family favorite film has returned to the Orpheum Theatre. And every ticket sold for weekday performances, excluding weekends and holidays, will come with a $5 donation to the San Francisco Zoo, using promo code SFZOO1, per Hoodline.

The Hot Box Girls (l to r: Alison Ewing, Malia Abayon, Melissa WolfKlain, Jill Slyter, and Brigitte Losey) perform in San Francisco Playhouse's "Guys and Dolls."

8. Guys & Dolls, SF Playhouse (ongoing through Jan. 13, 2024) Sometimes classic shows can feel dated and stale, but SF Playhouse’s production of Guys and Dolls feels fresh, mostly due to a dynamic cast led by the standout, crystalline vocals of Abigail Esfira Campbell as Sarah Brown, stoic double takes of Joel Roster as Nathan Detroit, and the show stealing performance of Melissa Wolfklain as Adelaide. Ms. Wolfklain’s comic timing, impeccable singing, and single-minded intensity as the chronically engaged Adelaide draws the show’s disparate elements together, and when she exhorts Sarah to “Marry the Man Today” we fully engage with her belief that people can change, and we can help them do it. Director Bill English’s staging makes great use of the playhouse’s turntable, and choreographer Nicole Helfer brings a lighthearted touch to classic numbers like “A Bushel and a Peck” and “Luck Be a Lady.” Find tickets here. -Stephen Sultan

9. RUTHLESS! The Musical, New Conservatory Theatre Center (Dec. 1, 2023 – Jan 7, 2024) This black-comedy musical satirizes stardom in Old Hollywood and Golden Age, but feels perfectly 2023. Plus, it features local drag legend Countess Katya Smirnoff-Sky (aka J. Conrad Frank), and has drag happy hour Wednesday shows hosted by SF’s own Martha T. Lipton.

10. San Francisco Gay Mens Chorus, various Bay Area locations (Dec. 8 - 24, 2023) The San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus (SFGMC), the world's first openly gay chorus, is performing all over the Bay this holiday season, from SF’s Sydney Goldstein Theatre and the Castro Theater, to Berkeley’s Zellerbach Auditorium, to Sonoma County’s Green Music Center. Over 300 members will sing in these “Holiday Spectacular” performances.

11. SF Symphony, Davies Symphony Hall (month of December) Davies Symphony Hall will host a few different symphonic groups throughout the month. You can check out the “holiday brass” run with only the brass section of the San Francisco Symphony, the nativity-based George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah,” the “Merry-achi” performance with Mariachi Sol de Mexico, a 20th anniversary “Love Actually” screening with a live instrumental performance, or the gospel “colors of Christmas” seasonal show.

12. The Golden Girls Live: The Christmas Episodes (ongoing at the Victoria Theatre through Dec. 23) The annual SF drag tradition of having four drag queens (and supporting cast members) reenacting episodes from The Golden Girls live on stage has returned. New York-based queen Coco Peru has stepped into the role of Dorothy after the passing of Heklina earlier this year, and D'Arcy Drollinger (Rose), Holotta Tymes (Sophia), and Matthew Martin (Blanche) are back putting on a hilarious show — with Xmas song sing-a-longs during the commercial breaks. Find tickets here.

The Jinkx and DeLa Holiday Show

13. A Drag Queen Christmas at The Curran (Dec. 9); and/or the Jinkx and DeLa Holiday Show at The Warfield (Dec. 18 - 19) A bevy of Rupaul's Drag Race stars are returning to SF in December. 'A Drag Queen Christmas' brings host Miz Cracker, guest Todrick Hall, plus winners, fan favorites, and OGs including Sasha Colby, Heidi N Closet, Trinity the Tuck, Jimbo, Crystal Method and more. Then, the self-described “queens of Christmas” Jinkx and Ben DeLaCreme are putting on a "high-camp, side-splitting romp" once again at the Warfield.

14. Ali Wong, SF Masonic Auditorium (Dec. 16 - 24) San Francisco native Ali Wong is back to doing stand-up after a small break while she played her most dramatic role yet in the Netflix series Beef earlier this year. Now, she’s got a mini residency in the city for some new material, and grab tickets fast, because they’re selling out quickly.

15. LCD Soundsystem, Bill Graham Civic Auditorium (Dec. 30, 2023 - Jan. 1, 2024) LCD Soundsystem can’t stop touring, and even after playing Oakland’s The Fox last year and literally just wrapping up a multi-week residency in New York City, they’re coming to SF for New Year’s Eve. Openers include 2manydjs and Peaches.

16. Potted Potter, Palace of Fine Arts (Dec. 19, 2023 - Jan. 7, 2024) This kid-friendly play is an “unauthorized” Harry Potter experience (unaffiliated with known TERF JK Rowling), so you can feel OK about reliving your childhood. It’s a parody comedy play that condensed all seven Harry Potter books into 70 minutes.