A Tough Nut to Crack

Family-Friendly Nutcrackers Around Town

san francisco nutcracker!

Winter may not bring snow to San Francisco, but our city will still swirl with no fewer than five holiday productions of The Nutcracker.

Never fear the avalanche of options; we’ve cracked this nut for you.

San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker
The spin:
The dazzler earned its local stripes long ago with epic sets, never-ending costume changes, and a familiar 1915 San Francisco setting — not to mention the dramatic snowstorm in the first act.
Best for: Ages 5+.
Save the date: Opens Fri.
Take your seat: War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave., at McAllister St. (415-865-2000). Tickets online at sfballet.org. Adults and children, $22-$275.

City Ballet School’s The Nutcracker
The spin:
More informal (and affordable) than the Opera House, the classic two-hour production showcases up-and-coming City Ballet students.
Best for:
Ages 3+.
Save the date: Opens Sat.
Take your seat: Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, 3301 Lyon St., at Bay St. (415-563-6504). Tickets at 415-392-4400 or online at cityboxoffice.com. Adults and children, $20-$35.

World Dance Fusion’s The Jewish Nutcracker, a Maccabee Celebration
The spin:
A new one entirely, with Clara transformed into Miriam and her dream into a retelling of the story of Hanukkah. Hour-long matinees promise to hold them rapt with a mix of flamenco, Chinese dance, and capoeira.
Best for:
Ages 3+.
Save the date: Opens Dec. 15.
Take your seat: ODC Dance Theater, 351 Shotwell St., b/t 17th & 18th Sts. Tickets at 415-863-9834 or online at odcdance.org. Adults, $25; students/seniors, $20; kids, $15.

The Dance-Along Nutcracker: Clara’s Magical Mystery Tour
The spin:
A 95-minute romp loosely based on the classic, with the audience on its feet for dance numbers. Think tie-dye, Motown, and a fairy booth for accessorizing your getup.
Best for: Ants-in-their-pantsers of all ages. (But take cotton for tiny ears; the band can get loud.)
Save the date: Opens Sun.
Take your seat: Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St., at 3rd St. Tickets at 415-978-2787 or online at sflgfb.townalive.com. Adults, $25; children, $16.

Mark Foehringer’s Nutcracker Sweets
The spin:
Designed specifically for young fans, the whimsical production full of colorful costumes and live music clocks in at a manageable 50 minutes.
Best for:
Ages 3-7.
Save the date: Opens Sat.
Take your seat: Children’s Creativity Museum (formerly The Zeum), 221 4th St., b/t Howard & Folsom Sts. (415-820-3320‎). Tickets online at brownpapertickets.com. Adults and children, $20-$35.

this week in san francisco!

Home for the Holidays Open House
Mingle with marine mammal patients and vets, listen to a reading of The Revenge of the Sea Otter, and finish off with complimentary cider and snacks.
Why: Seal the deal.
When: Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: The Marine Mammal Center, 2000 Bunker Rd., Sausalito (415-289-7325). Free.

San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra Presents Peter and the Wolf

Chita Rivera narrates the perennial classic, followed by a holiday sing-along.
Why: Sounds good.
When: Sat., 1 & 4 p.m.
Where: Davies Symphony Hall, 201 Van Ness Ave., at Grove St. Tickets at 415-864-6000 or online at sfsymphony.org. Adults, $15-$57; ages 17 and under, half price.

Reindeer Rendezvous
Meet live caribou in town for the holidays and learn how they tough out life near the Pole.
Why: Strengthen your Santa story.
When: Thru Jan. 16. Daily, 12:30 p.m.
Where: California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Dr., in Golden Gate Park (415-379-8000). Event is free with museum admission. Adults, $30; kids 12-17, $25; kids 4-11, $20; kids 3 and under, free.

Photo: Austin Forbord / Courtesy of Rapt Productions

War Memorial Opera House
301 Van Ness Ave
@ McAllister St
San Francisco, CA 94102
The Marine Mammal Center
2000 Bunker Rd
Sausalito, CA 94965
Palace of Fine Arts Theatre
3301 Lyon St
@ Bay St
San Francisco, CA 94123
55 Music Concourse Dr
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA 94118
Davies Symphony Hall
201 Van Ness Ave
bt Grove & Hayes Sts
San Francisco, CA 94102
221 4th St
@ Howard St
San Francisco, CA 94103
351 Shotwell St
bt 17th & 18th Sts
San Francisco, CA 94110
Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
701 Mission St
@ 3rd St
San Francisco, CA 94103