What began as an artistic, well-intentioned way to raise money during the holidays has turned into a spectacle of 1,000-plus drunk, wet Santas puking outside of Vertigo Bar. And it’s back. The annual SantaCon nightmare returns this Saturday.
This year’s vomit-flecked merriment will begin early on Saturday and end late in the evening. Privileged bros and broettes will be out in full force and fully loaded on flavored vodkas and Red Bulls. San Francisco denizens should brace for the worst, hope the best.
Stay in the Avenues. While we’ve seen the occasional Santa in the Inner Sunset and on Clement, the chances of crowds heading to the Outer Sunset or Cliff House are low. (However, we can’t promise that it will be safe for no one and nothing is safe during SantaCon.)
Avoid going through Union Square if at all possible. For whatever reason, these infused revelers like to converge upon Union Square while your Curbed SF editor shops for Guerlain parfum at Neiman-Marcus. As evidenced by the above image, they’re loud and they’re everywhere.
Stay away from North Beach. Lawrence Ferlinghetti never wanted it to be this way.
The Mission will be miserable. What people used to think of the Marina in the ’90s goes double for the Mission District of 2016. Bro’ing. Hurled epithets. Vomit. It’s the worst of the neighborhood’s privileged behavior only amplified by daytime binge drinking and sexy Santa attire.
Nix the Marina. Speaking of which, Union Street will be your worst nightmare. Avoid at all costs.
This map might save your life. See this map? Steer clear of any and all points on it. Pretend you’re on The Walking Dead and the map points are all clusters of zombies.
And 7 fun things to do that are far away from SantaCon:
Madeleine Albright’s pin exhibit at the Legion of Honor. Read My Pins boasts an impressive range of more than 200 pins and brooches from the personal collection of the former Secretary of State (1997–2001).
Shop local in Hayes Valley. Plenty of adorable restaurants, boutiques, and design shops in this neighborhood without the plethora of bars. This makes Hayes Valley an ideal spot for shopping with a low risk of running into too many SantaCon monsters.
Holiday LEGO Show in Palo Alto. The Museum of American Heritage in collaboration with LEGO presents their 13th annual LEGO show. Visitors can take in a variety of LEGO designs made by members of the club (e.g., train layouts, Bay Area landmarks, castles, miniature cities, sculptures, and more.)
Sunrise tour of Muir Woods. A great chance to break in your new pair of LL Bean Maine Boots, this three-mile stroll through Muir Woods (mostly flat) will be a great way to take on a chilly morning. Expect views galore, toned calf muscles.
Get out of town. Visit one of these charming small Bay Area towns. Go take a walk around Lake Merritt. Head to the Peninsula and check out the homes in Atherton.
Pray for daylight. If you haven’t seen The Crown yet, a) what is the matter with you? And b) this weekend would be the perfect time to binge watch what is arguably the best TV programming of 2016. Order in. Light some candles. Make it a weekend inside. Sometimes solitude is the only sane response to the lunacy of SantaCon.