Caltrain Holiday Train
After a year in hibernation, the “world’s largest toy train” returns — an actual, full-size Caltrain decked out in 75,000 glittering lights that took two months to decorate. Santa and his elves ride this seemingly endless parade of lights on wheels to treat folks to a festive holiday show on the platform at S.F.’s Caltrain Station before departing south to bring fun and joy to families at four stops down the Peninsula. Bring an unwrapped gift to donate to Toys for Tots in case you need to get off Santa’s naughty list.
Sunday, 4 p.m. to 5:10 p.m. 4th and King., S.F. holiday-train.org
Japanese digital art collective NAKED has planted its inspirational and immersive art experience in Tokyo, Singapore, Paris and now in San Francisco. Design your own digital dandelion, make a wish and then “blow” on it (metaphorically these days, of course) to send its fluff to drift to all of the other Dandelion Project locations in the world for the purpose of blooming flowers in each city and creating an interconnected digital garden of peace.
Through Jan. 21. Friday, Saturday and Sunday noon to 7 p.m., Japan Center Malls. naked.co
Let’s Glow S.F.
Another week, yet another light show, right? But this one’s different. It’s big. REALLY big. San Francisco is now home to the largest holiday projection mapping event in the United States. What does that mean exactly? Four towering buildings in the Financial District — all within a short walk from each other making it an easy tour on foot — will turn their entire facades into giant film screens featuring back-to-back five-minute winter light shows made of striking 4K projections of ice castles, polar bears, galloping ice horses and other videos created by local and international artists.
Through Dec. 12, 5:30-10 p.m. nightly. Downtown San Francisco. downtownsf.org/events/letsglowsf
“Halo Halo Holidays” Filipino Xmas crawl
Five venues invite you to a festive day of outdoor shopping and food trucks in SOMA Pilipinas, San Francisco’s Filipino Heritage District. The highlight is the free 19th Annual Parol Lantern Festival at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (4-8 p.m.) with free samples of traditional Filipino holiday treats and a showcase of glorious and glowing handmade parol lanterns, the quintessential Filipino symbol of joy and hope in the lead-up to Christmas.
Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Multiple locations near Mission and 4th. Prices vary by location. Free-$5. kapwagardens.com, parollanternfestival.com
Santa Skivvies: Holiday underwear run
If you’re brave (and warm) enough to drop trou and show off your post-COVID bod, just make sure your tighty-whities are red for this festive romp through the Castro benefiting the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. The easy, 1.3 mile run loops back to Noe and Market streets for an award ceremony and a Santa drag show under the watchful eye of The Lookout. Of course there’s a Santa drag show!
Dec. 12, 11 a.m, Noe and Market streets. Free to watch, $40 to run + fundraise. santaskivviesrun.org
Visit Funcheap.com for a hand-picked list of more fun, free and cheap things to do in San Francisco.