SF weekend: Ice rink returns to Union Square, $10 pet cuddling sessions, artisan gift fairs, more

Photo: Raman B./Flickr
By Teresa Hammerl - Published on November 07, 2019.

With Halloween behind us, the first festive signs of the holiday season are starting to emerge, including an ice rink and a pair of artisan gift fairs. But if you aren't quite ready for the descent of winter, you can also check out an India-centric film festival or cuddle with some adorable, adoptable animals.

Here's where you can get out and about this weekend in San Francisco. 

Union Square Ice Rink

Photo: John Loo/Flickr

A San Francisco holiday tradition returns this weekend: ice-skating in Union Square. While the big tree won't go up until November 29, skaters can enjoy the festive lights, sights and sounds of the season a little early. Skating sessions run 90 minutes apiece, with special "skate helpers" for youngsters learning the ropes of the rink.

Also on tap: a photobooth and selfie station; "learn to skate" classes offered every Saturday and Sunday morning; and a trio of "Flashback Fridays" with '80s music (November 8, December 13 & January 10). 

When: Wednesday, November 6 - Monday, January 20

Where: Union Square, 333 Post St.

Price: $18 adults (includes skate rental); $13 kids

International South Asian Film Festival

Photo: Via International South Asian Film Festival

Celebrating the cultures of India, Sri Lanka and the American and British diaspora, this festival will screen over a dozen programs of narrative and documentary features and shorts by independent filmmakers. 

This year feaures a special focus on "Young Voices," with films about topics like women's rights, Indian comedy and the state of India's LGBTQ+ community. And for the first time, the festival will offer a free "master class" for aspiring filmmakers, spotlighting documentarian Nishtha Jain, a key player in India's #MeToo movement. 

When: Thursday, November 7 – Sunday, November 10

Where: New People Cinema (1746 Post St.) & the Castro Theater (429 Castro St.)

Price: Individual films $11, passes $35 – $110

The Cuddle Experience at Macy's

Photo: The San Francisco SPCA/Facebook

Need a furry friend to give you a break from your daily stressors, but barred from pet ownership by landlords or allergies? Head down to Macy's in Union Square for this event with the San Francisco SPCA, which is offering 10-minute cuddle sessions with adorable – and adoptable – animals. The requested $10 donation will support the SPCA's rescue efforts. 

When: Friday, November 8, 2 p.m.

Where: Holiday Lane, Macy's Union Square

Price: $10 gets you ten minutes

Holiday Fair at Pinterest

Photo: SFMade/Facebook

It's hard to believe, but holiday shopping season is already upon us. Get your list checked off early with this holiday fair curated by Pinterest, featuring more than three dozen local SF makers. Items for sale will include jewelry, tea, food items, wine, holiday cards and decorations, stationery, bags, body products, men’s and women’s apparel and pet gear. Pinterest will offer holiday treats for shoppers as well. 

When: Saturday, November 9, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Where: Pinterest, 651 Brannan St.

Price: $5 suggested donation at the door; proceeds benefit SFMade, which advocates for local manufacturers

Holiday Artisan Fair

Photo: HarshLight/Flickr

If that's not enough holiday shopping for one day, you can also head to this holiday-themed fair of makers in Golden Gate Park, hosted by the de Young Museum. 17 local makers will be on hand to sell their wares, including jewelry and accessories, textiles and home decor.

When: Saturday, November 9, 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Where: de Young Museum, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr.

Price: Free

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