clock menu more-arrow no yes

Where to Embrace the Holiday Spirit in San Francisco

View as Map

[Photo via Erik Wilson]

The holidays are in full swing, which typically means shopping mayhem and very high electricity bills. With that in mind, we thought it best to publish a map of some of San Francisco's best holiday attractions, from Tom and Jerry's world famous holiday decorations to simple stuff like a free holiday card class or a trip to the Great Dickens Christmas Fair. After the jump, our map where to embrace the holiday spirit.

Read More

1. Gingerbread House at the Fairmont

Copy Link
950 Mason St.
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 772-5000
Visit Website

The world-famous giant gingerbread house at the Fairmont San Francisco stands more than 22 feet high and 23 feet wide and includes thousands of home-baked gingerbread bricks and around two thousand pounds of royal icing and candy.

2. Union Square Ice Rink

Copy Link
Post St & Stockton St
San Francisco, CA 94108

As if iceskating (or at least trying) wasn't fun enough, this temporary ice rink in Union Square has a view of Union Square's gigantic Christmas tree, along with all the holiday decorations from the surrounding stores, like the infamous Macy's wreaths display. Union Square's temporary holiday ice rink runs through January 21, 2013. It's open daily from 10am to 11:30pm.

3. Tom and Jerry's House

Copy Link
3650 21st St
San Francisco, CA 94114

Eureka Valley residents Tom and Jerry's gingerbread Victorian is home to a 65-foot tree covered in lights and gigantic ornaments. It's surrounded by gift-wrapped boxes bigger than most car garages, and two gigantic stockings hang above the garage. Santa also makes regular appearances during the holiday season, giving out candy canes and listening to what the local kids want for Christmas. [Photo via Whole Wheat Toast]

4. SPCA Holiday Windows

Copy Link
170 O'Farrell St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 397-3333
Visit Website

If you find yourself on the corner of O'Farrell and Stockton streets, do not be alarmed by the mob of people gathered on the corner. They're simply enjoying the impossibly adorable kittens and puppies that are hanging out in their holiday-themed temporary home and are up for adoption through the SPCA. The SPCA holiday adoption window displays are a seven-year tradition that has helped the SF SPCA raise nearly $400,000 and find homes for 2,300 animals. Can't make it? There's a webcam.

5. "SantaConCert"

Copy Link
429 Castro St.
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 864-5000
Visit Website

The San Francisco's Gay Men's Chorus will host a special event on Christmas Eve at the Castro Theatre. Over 250 gay men in red suits will celebrate the quintessential icon of the season—Santa Claus.

6. Hyatt Regency

Copy Link
5 Embarcadero Center
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 788-1234
Visit Website

At 17-stories tall, the atrium at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco is the largest in the world. During the holidays, streams of white lights cascade all the way from the ceiling, and snow falls in the lobby several times a day. You also won't be able to miss the hotel's gigantic Christmas tree that's located in the lobby.

7. Embarcadero Ice Rink

Copy Link
4 Embarcadero Center
San Francisco, CA 94111

San Francisco's other temporary holiday ice rink is located in Justin Herman Plaza on the Embarcadero. It runs until January 6, 2013 and is open 10am to 10pm Sunday through Thursday and 10am to 11:30pm Friday and Saturday.

8. Great Dickens Christmas Fair

Copy Link
Cow Palace Exhibition Halls, 2600 Geneva Ave
Daly City, CA 94014
(800) 510-1558
Visit Website

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair and Victorian Holiday Party have been a holiday tradition since the 1970s. The Cow Palace gets transformed to resemble the streets of Victorian London for four weekends.

9. City Hall

Copy Link
1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Pl.
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 554-4000

City Hall's exterior is all light up in green and red for the holiday season. Inside City Hall is the the World Tree of Hope, which has thousands of origami paper cranes with with wishes written on them from school children to President Obama. [Photo via Ramón Burgos-Ruíz]

10. Holiday Songs and Stories

Copy Link
4400 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94112

Come join in the holiday spirit at the Excelsior Branch of the San Francisco Public Library. Enjoy songs and stories with Librarian Marianne and her guitar. She'll be performing on Thursday, 12/20/2012, from 3:15 - 4:00.

11. Union Street

Copy Link
Van Ness Ave & Union St
San Francisco, CA 94123

The 23rd annual Union Street Holiday Program is a month-long extravaganza celebrating the holidays. The program stretches from Van Ness to Steiner on Union and from Union to Lombard on Fillmore. The store's on the streets spare no expense in lighting up their window displays and exterior with holiday spirit, and the parking meters are wrapped to resemble candy canes. On Saturday, December 22nd, caroling will happen in the courtyard of St. Mary's the Virgin Episcopal Church.

12. Holiday Crochet event

Copy Link
1135 Powell St.
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 355-2888
Visit Website

Holiday crochet at the Chinatown Branch of the San Francisco Public Library. You can make a crocheted flower or a coaster with Christmas ribbon. These crochet projects are for people knowing the basics of crochet, i.e., making a foundation chain, single crochet & double crochet. Materials provided. For teens, ages 10 and older. Space is limited, so call today to reserve a spot. Photo by Anomalous_A.

13. Holiday Card Making Event

Copy Link
345 Randolph St.
San Francisco, CA 94132
(415) 355-5615
Visit Website

DIY holiday cards at Ocean View Branch Library. Tuesday, 12/18/2012, from 3:00 - 4:00pm. Photo via Shutterstock

Loading comments...

1. Gingerbread House at the Fairmont

950 Mason St., San Francisco, CA 94108

The world-famous giant gingerbread house at the Fairmont San Francisco stands more than 22 feet high and 23 feet wide and includes thousands of home-baked gingerbread bricks and around two thousand pounds of royal icing and candy.

950 Mason St.
San Francisco, CA 94108

2. Union Square Ice Rink

Post St & Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94108

As if iceskating (or at least trying) wasn't fun enough, this temporary ice rink in Union Square has a view of Union Square's gigantic Christmas tree, along with all the holiday decorations from the surrounding stores, like the infamous Macy's wreaths display. Union Square's temporary holiday ice rink runs through January 21, 2013. It's open daily from 10am to 11:30pm.

Post St & Stockton St
San Francisco, CA 94108

3. Tom and Jerry's House

3650 21st St, San Francisco, CA 94114

Eureka Valley residents Tom and Jerry's gingerbread Victorian is home to a 65-foot tree covered in lights and gigantic ornaments. It's surrounded by gift-wrapped boxes bigger than most car garages, and two gigantic stockings hang above the garage. Santa also makes regular appearances during the holiday season, giving out candy canes and listening to what the local kids want for Christmas. [Photo via Whole Wheat Toast]

3650 21st St
San Francisco, CA 94114

4. SPCA Holiday Windows

170 O'Farrell St., San Francisco, CA 94102

If you find yourself on the corner of O'Farrell and Stockton streets, do not be alarmed by the mob of people gathered on the corner. They're simply enjoying the impossibly adorable kittens and puppies that are hanging out in their holiday-themed temporary home and are up for adoption through the SPCA. The SPCA holiday adoption window displays are a seven-year tradition that has helped the SF SPCA raise nearly $400,000 and find homes for 2,300 animals. Can't make it? There's a webcam.

170 O'Farrell St.
San Francisco, CA 94102

5. "SantaConCert"

429 Castro St., San Francisco, CA 94114

The San Francisco's Gay Men's Chorus will host a special event on Christmas Eve at the Castro Theatre. Over 250 gay men in red suits will celebrate the quintessential icon of the season—Santa Claus.

429 Castro St.
San Francisco, CA 94114

6. Hyatt Regency

5 Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, CA 94111

At 17-stories tall, the atrium at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco is the largest in the world. During the holidays, streams of white lights cascade all the way from the ceiling, and snow falls in the lobby several times a day. You also won't be able to miss the hotel's gigantic Christmas tree that's located in the lobby.

5 Embarcadero Center
San Francisco, CA 94111

7. Embarcadero Ice Rink

4 Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, CA 94111

San Francisco's other temporary holiday ice rink is located in Justin Herman Plaza on the Embarcadero. It runs until January 6, 2013 and is open 10am to 10pm Sunday through Thursday and 10am to 11:30pm Friday and Saturday.

4 Embarcadero Center
San Francisco, CA 94111

8. Great Dickens Christmas Fair

Cow Palace Exhibition Halls, 2600 Geneva Ave, Daly City, CA 94014

The Great Dickens Christmas Fair and Victorian Holiday Party have been a holiday tradition since the 1970s. The Cow Palace gets transformed to resemble the streets of Victorian London for four weekends.

Cow Palace Exhibition Halls, 2600 Geneva Ave
Daly City, CA 94014

9. City Hall

1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Pl., San Francisco, CA 94103

City Hall's exterior is all light up in green and red for the holiday season. Inside City Hall is the the World Tree of Hope, which has thousands of origami paper cranes with with wishes written on them from school children to President Obama. [Photo via Ramón Burgos-Ruíz]

1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Pl.
San Francisco, CA 94103

10. Holiday Songs and Stories

4400 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112

Come join in the holiday spirit at the Excelsior Branch of the San Francisco Public Library. Enjoy songs and stories with Librarian Marianne and her guitar. She'll be performing on Thursday, 12/20/2012, from 3:15 - 4:00.

4400 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94112

11. Union Street

Van Ness Ave & Union St, San Francisco, CA 94123

The 23rd annual Union Street Holiday Program is a month-long extravaganza celebrating the holidays. The program stretches from Van Ness to Steiner on Union and from Union to Lombard on Fillmore. The store's on the streets spare no expense in lighting up their window displays and exterior with holiday spirit, and the parking meters are wrapped to resemble candy canes. On Saturday, December 22nd, caroling will happen in the courtyard of St. Mary's the Virgin Episcopal Church.

Van Ness Ave & Union St
San Francisco, CA 94123

12. Holiday Crochet event

1135 Powell St., San Francisco, CA 94108

Holiday crochet at the Chinatown Branch of the San Francisco Public Library. You can make a crocheted flower or a coaster with Christmas ribbon. These crochet projects are for people knowing the basics of crochet, i.e., making a foundation chain, single crochet & double crochet. Materials provided. For teens, ages 10 and older. Space is limited, so call today to reserve a spot. Photo by Anomalous_A.

1135 Powell St.
San Francisco, CA 94108

13. Holiday Card Making Event

345 Randolph St., San Francisco, CA 94132

DIY holiday cards at Ocean View Branch Library. Tuesday, 12/18/2012, from 3:00 - 4:00pm. Photo via Shutterstock

345 Randolph St.
San Francisco, CA 94132