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6 San Francisco experiences to give and get this holiday

6 San Francisco experiences to give and get this holiday
Photograph: Courtesy the Fatted Calf

What do you give the friend or family member that really does have everything? The answer is easy: This Christmas, give 'em an experience they'll never forget. (This is also a great option when you've completely run out of time and/or gift ideas.) We've rounded up the city's best activity gift ideas—no wrapping paper necessary. 

Butchering class: Local foodies work from fully stocked kitchens, but some serious butchery knowledge is a fun and informative gift for the budding chef in your life. 4505 Meats and The Fatted Calf both offer locals the opportunity to learn from their experts. 

San Francisco from the sky: We're a city known for our skyline (because it's the best in the country). Take a true city view-fan on a helicopter tour high above San Francisco, swinging by Coit Tower, Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. Some local companies off wine country helicopter tours, perhaps for the passengers who need a little liquid courage before taking off. 

Whale watching: Take advantage of the marine mammals' annual migratory swim south with a whale watching tour. Most local tour outlets leave from Sausalito or San Francisco and head out to the Farallon Islands. Expect to see the massive humpback whale, our region's most common species. 

Pasta making: It can be tough to get a reservation at the Mission's most popular pasta spot, so why not learn from the head chef himself and make your favorite flour+water creations at home? Chef Thomas McNaughton takes his students above the restaurant for a hands-on pasta making class. Stick this gift in someone's stocking with the caveat you get to taste the results. 

Tattoo gift certificate: Give them the gift you know they really want, yet will never do without a push. San Francisco is home to a spectacular collection of truly artistic tattoo parlors. And a little (or a lot) of ink is truly an SF experience to remember. 

Scuba classes: Help the adventurer in your life learn to scuba dive in just two weekends. While the waters around the Bay Area might be cold, they're filled with fascinating marine and plant life one can only see with a wetsuit and a tank. The region's best diving is a short drive down to Monterey Bay, but classes are available right here in SF.