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San Francisco December 15–21: Zoo Lights & Musical Reflections 2016

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Zoo Lights

Courtesy of Zoo Lights

Zoo Lights

The best of what to do in and around San Francisco this week

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Go wild this week with multiple chances to get into or learn about nature. The Mexican Museum’s new exhibit will teach visitors about the spiritual importance of Central American animals, and the San Francisco Zoo opens its gates at night for a lit-up holiday party. Or spend part of your weekend helping the butterfly populations of San Bruno Mountain Ridge. Later, head to Oakland’s Chapel of the Chimes for a 2016 year-in-review that focuses on Bay Area musicians we’ve lost this year.

AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.

December 10 | Now open: Restaurant
Slice House by Tony Gemignani
San Francisco’s world pizza champion (multiple times!) debuts a new Slice House location that pays tribute to the psychedelic image of ’60s Haight-Ashbury in its design. Tony Gemignani is known for mastering different regional and international styles of pastas and pies as well as using several types of ovens (gas, coal, wood-fired), and his Slice Houses are great for sampling new tastes. Unlike his other locations, this Slice House will also serve hamburgers. Carnivores can spar with the El Diablo (serrano peppers, Calabrese aioli, smoked provolone, arugula, and agave syrup), while a Honey Hippie Veggie Burger (mozzarella, red onion, arugula, peppadew peppers, and honey) makes for a meatless alternative.
1535 Haight St., San Francisco | website

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December 15 | Museum exhibit
"Fascination With Fauna: The Portrayal of Animals in Pre-Hispanic Art"
Have a primal evening at Fort Mason with the opening reception of the Mexican Museum’s last exhibit of the year. Fascination With Fauna: The Portrayal of Animals in Pre-Hispanic Art illuminates the spiritual and societal importance of four-legged and winged creatures alike in Central America and Peru with a collection that features pottery, ceremonial objects, and artifacts that are more than 2,000 years old. The exhibit runs through December 26.
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM | The Mexican Museum, 2 Marina Blvd., San Francisco | Free | website

December 16 - 30 | Zoo
Zoo Lights
The San Francisco Zoo is best viewed through Zoo Lights, the holiday-oriented after-dark program that happens annually in the second half of December. (Normally, the 100-acre grounds, which include a conservation center and park, close at 5 p.m.) Surprisingly, it can be a good place to pick up some gifts and also have a bite in a special marketplace that isn’t typically there. Add in some carolers and the seasonal transformation is complete.
5:00 PM - 8:00 PM | San Francisco Zoo, Sloat Blvd. and 45th Ave., San Francisco | From $19 | website

Slice House

December 17 | Escape the city
San Bruno Mountain Ridge Hike and Restoration for Butterflies
This weekend, have a great escape without going far from the city. A 30-minute hike up the San Bruno Mountain Ridge culminates in rare Bay Area views and the chance to garden to encourage the growth of two local endangered butterfly populations: the Mission blue and callippe silverspot. You’ll plant both host and nectar plants and hopefully see the beauties you’re helping to feed.
10:00 AM - 2:00 PM | Firth Memorial Park, 301 Glen Park Way, Brisbane | Free (with online reservation) | website

December 18 | Music
Musical Reflections of 2016
Oakland’s Chapel of the Chimes has planned a public concert that doubles as a chance to honor, in a reverent and uplifting way, losses that the Bay Area music scene has had this year, including Mills College professor and experimental music pioneer Pauline Oliveros and the young victims of the recent Ghost Ship fire in the Fruitvale District. Several dozen artists from a wide array of styles, including the Temple of Light Georgian Community Choir, the William Winant Percussion Group, and Carletta Sue Kay, will be performing simultaneously in different chapels and corners, which you’ll be able to roam freely.
11:00 AM - 3:00 PM | Chapel of the Chimes, 4499 Piedmont Ave., Oakland | Free | website

Tamara Palmer is a daily news writer, rapper confidante, DJ, and celebrity chef ghostwriter from San Francisco.

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