The Best Christmas Spots in San Francisco

christmas light displays, Christmas Tree, Travel Blog, Union Square, San francisco, christmas, december

The best Christmas spots in San Francisco include Christmas events in the bay area, pop-up carolers, 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…

The Best Christmas Activities in San Francisco

The Best Christmas Activities in San Francisco
The Best Christmas Activities in San Francisco

1. Ice Skating in Union Square

In the centre of San Francisco you’ll find Union Square. During the festive months it’s home to an outdoor ice-skating rink. 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 ).

Ice skating in Union Square San Francisco
Ice skating in Union Square

In Union Square you’ll also find a huge Christmas tree, sprinkled with a generous helping of fairy lights.

The Christmas tree at Union Square San Francisco
The Christmas tree at Union Square

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2. See the Decorations at Macy’s

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.

Macy's at Christmas
Macy’s at Christmas

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3. Watch a Christmas Show

A short five minute walk from Macy’s will bring you the beautiful and well-loved theatre, ACT (American Conservatory Theater) 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’.

There are many other theatres and venues in San Fran, but the ACT is a firm favourite.

A Christmas Carol at the ACT in San Francisco
Watch A Christmas Carol at the ACT

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4. See the Christmas at the Hyatt Regency

The most glitzy Christmas spot in San Francisco is the Hyatt Regency hotel. It does not hold back whatsoever.

Hundreds of lights 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.

Christmas at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco
Christmas at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco
Christmas at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco
Christmas at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco

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5. Hear the Carolers at Ferry Building

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.

Carolers at Ferry Building
Carolers at Ferry Building

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6. Join Santa Con

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.

Santa Con in San Francisco
Santa Con in San Francisco
Santa Con in San Francisco
Santa Con in San Francisco

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7. Drink at Top of the Mark

The elegant Mark Hopkins Inter Continental has a Christmas tree and entrance worthy of any top Christmas movie. Head to its Top of the Mark 19th floor bar to see the twinkly lights of the city.

Mark Hopkins Inter Continental at Christmas
Mark Hopkins Inter Continental at Christmas
 Mark Hopkins Inter Continental at Christmas
Mark Hopkins Inter Continental at Christmas

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8. See the Lights at Westfield Shopping Centre

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.

Westfield Shopping Centre in San Francisco
Westfield Shopping Centre in San Francisco

9. Eat the Hotel’s Candy

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?

Candy canes
Candy canes

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The Best Christmas Activities in San Francisco (1)
The Best Christmas Activities in San Francisco

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

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