San Francisco is gorgeous the entire year, but the city seems to have a special, welcoming, festive flair particularly during the holiday season! No matter what you celebrate, or don’t celebrate, it hosts wonderful things to do with your loved ones, making it an exceptional place to visit.
Ice Skating is one of those activities that simply brings on the holiday cheer! It easily gets you in the spirit by having fun and doing an activity that is meant for winter particularly in San Francisco where snow is not a staple in December. San Francisco offers some great places for ice skating with amazing views. The best options are the Embarcadero Ice Rink where there are gorgeous views of the water, the Bay Bridge, and the Ferry Building. Or, you could go skating at Union Square Ice Rink where you are in the center of the holiday spirit and there’s shopping galore!
If you do choose near the Embarcadero Center, definitely take advantage of the Bay views for pictures but remember it will be chillier closer to the water so bundle up! There is also fantastic shopping in the Ferry Building, and Blue Bottle Coffee so if you need some warming up after skating, you will be able to find a quality latte close by. There are also delicious restaurants nearby including Boulevard and Chaya. Since it is near the hustle and bustle of the Embarcadero Center buildings, there is plenty of shopping around as well.
As for Union Square, if it’s quintessential holiday surroundings and the gorgeous view of the tree puts you right in the spirit! It is the hub of shopping, restaurants, theaters, and tourists so make sure that you are prepared for the hectic vibes. Also, remember to bring a camera as there are perfect opportunities to get a good snap in!
Parking is not easy to come by at either venue so plan ahead accordingly!
The holidays are a wonderful time to go to events with family members and one of the most wonderful pastimes is to see a show. San Francisco has a fantastic performing arts culture and there are plenty of ballets, operas, and musicals to choose from. It’s a wonderful opportunity to dress up and get festive, grab drinks and go out for a night at the theater. Please visit the following websites for what is playing in the area this season, SHN, San Francisco Opera, and San Francisco Ballet.
To ensure that you make the most of your experience, please keep in mind that most theaters do not allow food so find out what some of the wonderful restaurants San Francisco have to offer. The Financial District is your best option near the musical theaters and Hayes Valley is best to check out for the ballet or opera. Also, make sure that you are dressed appropriately for the events as they are not often casual occasions! Ubering is your best bet and as always in such a city, planning ahead if you are driving is always advised.
Shopping in Union Square
The buildings and ambiance of Union Square are decked to the fullest during the holiday season. It is a wonderful place to go during this time of year, not only to get some amazing shopping done but to feel the happy, cheerful energy that this time of year brings. It gives you a very San Francisco-esque vibe and that rush of a holiday in a big city. Not to mention the tree in the center is stunning. Optimal for photos and finding a gift for someone special.
Macy’s is well known for it’s gorgeous window, the wreath display and is one of the best places to shop during the holiday season. There are also high-end shops sprinkled around the area so find a map and make a plan of what your target stores are. As always, best to be prepared and to wear comfortable shoes! There can be a lot of walking involved!
Christmas tea is a tradition that allows you to enjoy each other’s company and take your time at a table rather than the all-too-familiar rush of eating at a busy restaurant. Tea rooms are always decorated to a tee (pun intended) during the holidays and serve delicious sandwiches, baked goods, and a variety of kinds of tea. It is always fun to get festive and dressed up and enjoy the ambiance and traditional setting of enjoying afternoon tea! San Francisco hosts many phenomenal places to find one that works for you go here: http://sf.eater.com/maps/best-afternoon-tea-high-tea-parlors-san-francisco-map-guide
However, if you are willing to splurge on such an event, I would highly recommend high tea at the Fairmont, particularly during the holiday season. It is in a gorgeous neighborhood and is absolutely stunning. The décor is beautiful and it is a perfect holiday affair. It is also child-friendly as there is a Gingerbread Holiday Tea that is hosted where guests can enjoy sparkling wine and cider along with their tea and most importantly, children can enjoy gingerbread house making. It is all enjoyed with piano accompaniment.
Union Street Fantasy of Lights
One of the most beautiful and popular streets in San Francisco gets a bit festive during the holiday season. Parking meters are decorated, shops are transformed, parking is validated, stores stay open longer and open houses are available for visits with offered refreshments.
Parking is more abundant in this neighborhood but please beware that you might have to park uphill so be sure that your wheel is facing the correct way and that you are comfortable ad prepared to walk. There are also restaurants for any craving on Union Street once you are done browsing. If you want to change it up for a new atmosphere, just walk a couple blocks to Chestnut street and you will find a whole new area to explore. This event is in a great neighborhood with access to a lot of shops. It’ll make you feel like a local! For more details, please visit: