The Civic Center Plaza has always been an interesting place. The scenes constantly shift, depending on the day and hour, but the shadows of the suffering have made it unlikely that you’d bring your family to hang out unless it involved some kind of celebration or protest.

Well, that might be changing. Games of soccer (poppy-foot) have sprung up on the small grassy fields. Two updated playgrounds and a soon to open Bi-Rite Street Cafe promise to bring even more life. And starting November 30th, another change could dramatically shift how we use the plaza and in turn, bring holiday fun to this unique San Francisco landmark.

The production company that puts on The Safeway Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square, Willy Bietak Productions, has announced The Winter Park at Civic Center, in front of City Hall. Will the Civic Center be safe and cleaned up enough for everybody, especially families, to want to hang out? That’s the big question.

Like its close cousin at Union Square, Winter Park at Civic Center will be set up to showcase a number of special events on the ice; including themed dance and skate parties, a First Responders celebration, donation drives, a family friendly drag queen event and more.

Willy Bietak is especially thrilled to expand San Francisco’s seasonal offerings to the Civic Center, hoping that it will be “a central gathering place for Bay Area families to enjoy unique holiday experiences, with the incomparable backdrop of San Francisco’s City Hall.”

As part of the effort to make Winter Park a place for both visitors and locals alike, the Tenderloin Community Benefit Program is inviting each child attending public school (grades K–12) in the Tenderloin district the opportunity to get out on the ice for free. Phil Ginsburg, General Manager of the San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department is “excited to welcome this festive new attraction to provide an inclusive, accessible addition to the cultural landscape at Civic Center.”

Let’s hope it all goes well, and that when it all comes to a close in January, a day at Civic Center will have indeed equaled a day of holiday fun.

Winter Park
November 30th – January 6th
Open daily, 12noon – 10pm

Ticket prices for regular admission are $20 and $15 for children eight years old and under, with figure skate or hockey skate rental included in the cost of admission.

More info about the Civic Center Area Redevelopment:

Bi-Rite Street Cafe

MidMarket Neighborhood Development