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The holiday season is a whimsical time of the year, and San Francisco doesn’t hold back on the festivities, lights, and overall spirit throughout. There are so many things to do and see in the city that will get anyone into the Christmas mood, so bundle up and head to San Francisco to explore all the wonderful Christmassy activities!
Union Square turns into a Christmas wonderland during the holiday season. Everything from Macy’s to Saks Fifth Avenue and the rest of the surrounding shops are decked out to the max. The Christmas tree in the center is the biggest in the area and seems to drip Christmas spirit. At the beginning of the holiday season, a huge annual tree-lighting festival takes place to start the season off right. Get some shopping done at some of the world’s best stores, dine at one of the many lovely restaurants, or simply wander Union Square to feel the holiday magic!
A holiday tradition since 1994, this special parade includes more than 60 boats completely decked out with lights and other holiday décor. The parade begins just off of Pier 39, and the boats continue past Fisherman’s Wharf, to Fort Mason and the St. Francis Yacht Club. The parade then rounds Crissy Field and returns to the waterfront. The beauty of the route is that there are a number of great locations with fantastic views of the parade. This year, it takes place on December 15, and it’s free!
Explore all the holiday lights and decorations throughout the city while aboard a vintage Mack fire engine. Get into the holiday spirit as your knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide takes you through the Embarcadero, Fisherman’s Wharf, Market Street, and Union Square. This intimate tour fits about 12 people, and it is absolutely magical to see all the lights in the city while holiday music plays. They even offer fire jackets to keep warm during the evening, which makes for amazing photos!
This is an absolute must when it comes to Christmas traditions. Round up the kids and make sure to get a picture with Santa. Even if you don’t have kids, you’re sure to get a great holiday photo. There’s a handful of places where you can find Santa ready for photo ops in San Francisco during the holidays, including Pier 39, Westfield Shopping Center, The Ritz Carlton, and Macy’s in Union Square, just to name a few.