A trip to San Francisco in California is a lot more festive than you might imagine. From pop-up carolers to light adorned trees, windows, fire engine trucks…and well just about anything, it really is a good place to get super excited for Santa’s upcoming visit. Here are some of the best spots for a sprinkling of holiday fun…
A major square in the centre of San Francisco, Union Square is home to an outdoor ice-skating rink during December. Christmas cheer blasts from the speakers as newbie skaters wobble alongside retired pros. Book ahead online, particularly if you want to take part in one of the special sessions, such as the singleton skate night. If you opt for that one you’ll get a candy-striped headband with an extending mistletoe branch – perfect for accidentally bumping into your favourite bit of eye-candy (and extremely entertaining to watch, particularly if you’re a very jet-lagged couple ).
In Union Square you’ll also find a huge Christmas tree, sprinkled with a generous helping of fairy lights.
Look up or walk across the street and you’ll see the classy wreaths in the windows of the famous department store, Macy’s. Step inside and you’ll easily lose a good few hours, especially if you head up to the Christmas section. You’ll find every kind of bauble you could ever imagine here.
A Christmas Carol
A short five minute walk from Macy’s will bring you the beautiful and well-loved theatre on Geary Street. During December you can watch an amazing production of A Christmas Carol. The original story was written by Charles Dickens, known by many as ‘the man who invented Christmas’.
In the opposite direction, but still just a quick tram ride away, you’ll find possibly one of the most glitzy Christmas spots in the city. The hotel, Hyatt Regency, does not hold back whatsoever. Hundreds of lights (or at least it seems that way) hang from the ceiling, Christmas songs ring through the air, twinkly reindeers nod, Nutcracker soldiers march…there’s even a miniature Christmas village complete with flying Santa and a replica of the Golden Gate Bridge. Not only that, but throughout the day there’s a snow show with flakes falling from the sky.
Near to the Hyatt Regency you’ll find Ferry Building. It’s filled with gorgeous boutique stalls and cafés. In December, particularly at the weekend you’ll also find carolers and twinkly lights.
Every year for the past twenty years locals have dressed in Santa outfits on a particular Saturday in December. It’s not just a couple of keen festive lovers, but thousands of people, both young and old. They start early in the morning, making their way round the city singing carols, spreading holiday cheer and naturally, stopping in one or two pubs along the way. They generally end in Union Square where the typical crowds become a sea of Santa hats.
Many hotels have bowls of candy canes that you can help yourself to when you check-in. The reception desk at Clift has a rather impressive bowlful, don’t you think?
Top of the Mark
This bar spot at this very elegant hotel has a Christmas Tree and entrance worthy of any top Christmas movie.
Westfield Shopping Centre
To celebrate the ballet production of the Nutcracker (being shown in San Francisco), the dome in the Westfield Shopping Centre is regularly showered in a light projection display (for a limited time). It’s worth a pause or two.
Do you have any more Christmas spots to add to this list? What are the Christmas displays like where you live or where are your favourites? X