Escapes: Holiday fun


Pets in windows

As the holiday season wraps up, don’t miss your last chance to adopt a new furry friend – or just gawk at the window displays.

It’s the 27th annual “Holiday Windows” event at Macy’s on 170 O’Farrell St., San Francisco. Join the crowds of small children peering into elaborately decorated window displays featuring super-cute, adoptable puppies and kittens. Last year, nearly 300 animals found homes and $80,000 went to the SPCA.

Next Sunday marks the final window display day, but until then, meet your future pet from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. any day of the week. If you want to scope the selection in advance, check out the live stream at



What: The annual DIY Last Night party has been taking over downtown Santa Cruz since 2005, celebrating the new year in a do-it-yourself, decentralized, spontaneous, public fashion. Without city permits, things are always subject to change. But expect a parade of musicians, puppeteers, dancers and stilt-walkers to gather and run wild into the night.

When: 5 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Pacific Avenue and Spruce Street, Santa Cruz

Cost: Free



Hike into 2014

What: For a healthy start to the new year, join the San Francisco Sierra Club for a moderately challenging trek up Mount Tamalpais, the highest peak in the Marin Hills. It would probably tie in nicely with your New Year’s resolutions, right?

When: 9:15 a.m. Wednesday

Where: Meet in front of 7-Eleven, 329 Miller Ave., Mill Valley

Cost: Free

Information: RSVP with James Bonsey at (510) 527-5345 or


Three acts for laughs

What: Join the Actors Ensemble of Berkeley for the first production of the season, “Relatively Speaking.” It’s three comedic acts by legendary writers: Woody Allen’s “Honeymoon Motel,” Elaine May’s “George Is Dead” and Ethan Coen’s “Talking Cure.”

When: 8 p.m. Friday for opening night, continues through January

Where: Live Oak Theatre, 1301 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley

Cost: $10-$12


– Janelle Bitker