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As we are officially in the midst of the holiday season, the Christmas fervor and frenzy of obligatory gift shopping and vacation-planning reign supreme. This week’s investigation will zoom into a list of ten NON-traditional venues for holiday-season events – hopefully, a unique touch of individuality to tweak the imagination for those who cannot yet seem to pinpoint that “one perfect party spot.” Here they are, in no particular order. 

1. SS Jeremiah O’Brien

Pier 45, Fisherman’s Wharf | San Francisco

SSJeremiahOBrien | CruisingTheBay | FroomzBlog

Named after the first American to capture a British naval vessel during the Revolutionary War, the Liberty Ship SS Jeremiah O’Brien was built in 1943  in South Portland, Maine and has made seven World War II voyages, ranging from England and North Ireland to South America, India and Australia.

The 441 foot SS Jeremiah O’Brien is available for lease to cruise around the beautiful San Francisco Bay for up to 800 passengers. It can be used for day, evening or weekend events for corporate or non-profit functions and private events. Individual areas available for rent include:

SSJeremiahOBrien | FroomzBlog

To date, it is the only active Liberty Ship in its original configuration and one of two Liberty ships still known to be active, the other one being the SS John W. Brown in Baltimore.

The ship has been reviewed by the Queen of England and visited by US Presidents, but it’s most famous for having served as back-drop for James Cameron’s major motion picture, Titanic. For more information about venue rental packages, visit SS Jeremiah O’Brien on Froomz.

2. Los Altos History Museum

51 S. San Antonio Rd. | Los Altos, CA
Square Footage: 8400 | Max Occupancy: 400

LosAltosHistoryMuseum-01 |FroomzBlog

A memorable setting for special events, the Los Altos History Museum is an impressively rustic, yet refined, three-level, 8200 square-foot building. The vaulted entryway and indoor balcony which encircles the three-story space graciously welcomes guests to an inspiring collection of regionally significant historical artifacts that sit in surroundings of blond polished wood floors, soaring ceilings, and glass doors that take in a view of the courtyard.
LosAltosHistoryMuseum-02 |FroomzBlog
LosAltosHistoryMuseum-03 | FroomzBlogAcross the beautifully landscaped courtyard is the landmark J. Gilbert Smith History House. Built in 1905, this Craftsman-style shingled farmhouse has been meticulously refurbished and sets a nostalgic tone for outdoor weddings and events. This juxtaposition of the modern main museum and the charming facade of the History House is bridged by the spacious red-brick courtyard framed by antique-style verdigris lamps, post of native California blooms and ornamental cherry trees.

Facing the abundant gardens is the redwood pergola that sits elegantly at the top of the courtyard. This is the perfect location for outdoor wedding ceremonies and other special occasions. Rental rates start at $1500. For detailed pricing packages, visit Los Altos History Museum on Froomz.

3. The Payne Mansion

1409 Sutter Street, San Francisco
Square Footage: 3500 | Max Capacity: 250

PayneMansion_Ballroom | FroomzBlogBuilt in 1881, the Payne Mansion is one of San Francisco’s most iconic Victorian-era buildings. This historical landmark features a grand ballroom, five separate event spaces, and a catering-quality kitchen.

Originally home to Theadore F. Payne and his family, the mansion has served as a restaurant, office building, and even a YMCA.

Today, the Payne Mansion is listed in the prestigious National Register of Historic Places and was recently featured in Martha Stewart Weddings. The mansion can host a variety of social and corporate events, from weddings and charity fundraisers to company off-sites and training seminars, including intimate gatherings for 20 to grand get-togethers for 250 guests.

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Throw your own unforgettable event at this amazing venue. Take your pick from the banquet rooms for rent below from $300 or rent the entire mansion for as low as $3,750.

Book your next meeting, party or event at the Payne Mansion on Froomz!

4. Appelblom Jewelry

appelblomjewelry_venuerental_froomz-91.jpgEver thought about celebrating amid sparkling gems and jewels? Now you can at  Appelblom Jewelry. Located in the heart of downtown San Mateo, this gem of an event space carries everything from fine jewelry to sterling silver baubles, along with vintage pieces to exotic pearls.

With space for up to 60 guests (100 including the private patio), Appelblom can host a variety of events, from bridal showers and bachelorette parties, to press conferences and launch parties. Rates start at just $250 for a two-hour rental. For more information on available packages or to book your own party at Appelblom Jewelry, visit them on Froomz.

5. California Academy of Sciences

55 Music Concourse Dr, San Francisco

CaliforniaAcademyofSciences | FroomzBlog

Next on the list is the California Academy of Sciences. As one of the largest museums of natural history in the world, it is located in a massive 412,000 square feet green building complete with a solar canopy, coral reef exhibit, four-story tropical rainforest, jean-insulated walls (think Levi’s), and a living roof, this is definitely a worthy venue for your consideration.

CaliforniaAcademyofSciences-Interior | FroomzBlog

With 12 different settings offered for event spaces with a total capacity of 3,000 guests, customers can arrange anything from dinner parties to overnight sleepovers within close proximity to thousands of animal and plant specimens from around the world.

6. Aquarium of the Bay

Pier 39, San Francisco

AquariumOfTheBay | FroomzBlog

Shamu lovers, anyone? Next up is the Aquarium of the Bay, located on the waterfront at Pier 39. As a 65,000 square feet marine nature center with over 20,000 aquatic creatures, the place has a total capacity of up to 550 people. Guests can get up close and personal with everything from sharks, rays, sea stars to  blue-tongued skinks and chinchillas.

AquariumoftheBay-Tunnel | FroomzBlog

Event specials ranging from children’s birthday party packages to overnight sleepovers are offered to large parties, while the Farallon Room is available for smaller get-togethers like cocktail receptions or team meetings, targeting a more mature clientele.

The venue also features a theater with a full stage and tiered seating for up to 270 guests, along with a large lobby that’s perfect for receptions or refreshment breaks.

7. San Francisco Zoo

1 Zoo Road, San Francisco

SF Zoo | FroomzBlog

Seriously, a zoo? That’s right! While mostly thought of as grounds for animal-loving spectators, the San Francisco Zoo also functions as a spectacular venue for receptions, parties, picnics, and even weddings.

With a plethora of event-spaces, the San Francisco Zoo offers these potential venues for your consideration:

  • SF Zoo - Exterior Shot | FroomzBlogThe Leaping Lemur Café (octagon-shaped room): up to 75 guests
  • Event Tent: up to 400 people
  • African Savanna:  up to 150 guests
  • Bernard Osher Great Hall: large room, accommodates 300 people
  • Playfield Lawn: outdoor-event oriented, holds up to 2,000 people
  • Lemur Private Event Room: up to 60 guests
  • Carousel Building: features a 1920-era carousel, accommodates up to 150 guests

8. Walt Disney Family Museum

104 Montgomery Street, San Francisco

WaltDisneyMuseum | Froomzblog

Let your inner child soar out and come experience the heart of Disney at the Walt Disney Family Museum, located in the Presidio of San Francisco.

The museum details the extensive endeavors and life timeline of Walt Disney, spread out over three separate historic buildings.

The lobby of the Main Building, café, and porch and all accommodate events with a capacity of up to 200 people. The theater building seats up to 115 guests, while the remaining Riley Building’s Special Exhibition Hall can accommodate up to 250 people.

9. The Cheese School

2155 Powell St. San Francisco
Square Footage: 1500 | Max Capacity: 50

TheCheeseSchool_BanquetSet-Up | FroomzBlog

If the words chevre, roquefort, tomme de savoie and munster make your mouth water, then consider holding your holiday event at The Cheese School.

Located in the north beach area of San Francisco, The Cheese School offers classes in beginning cheese making, fondue-making, wine and cheese pairing, and cheesemonger programs. Rent the entire venue for as low as $375 for three hours, which includes all plateware, stemware, and serveware. From training sessions to cocktail parties, corporate gatherings to culinary events, this 1500 square foot space can accommodate up to 50 guests. For detailed pricing packages, visit The Cheese School on Froomz.

10. Boothby Center for the Beverage Arts 

1161 Mission St. San Francisco, CA
Square Footage: 1300 | Max Capacity: 100

BoothbyCenterforBeverageArts | FroomzBlogLove spirits and libations? Then consider the Boothby Center for the Beverage Arts, where you can explore the world of locally-based distillers and crafty cocktail concoctions. With Mixology 101 classes like “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” and “When It’s Cocktail Time in Cuba,” guests can learn learn about the beverage culture of San Francisco and beyond.

BoothbyCenterforBeverageArts_TeamBuildingThe venue can also be booked to host a variety of events ranging from educational seminars, product launches, team builders to cocktail parties. The event space has dark walnut floors with empty walls and track lighting. It is completely customizable for your event and a blank page for your designers or staging company. To book the Boothby Center, check out their available rental packages on Froomz.


If none of these rock your boat, check out these museums, art galleries and photography studios, all available to rent on Froomz. And if you know of an awesome event space not listed here, we’d love to hear about them!