christmas spirit 101: san francisco edition

December 5, 2013

written by
Bri Martinez

How are we supposed to get into the Christmas spirit in snowless San Francisco?

It just can’t be Christmas without snow, right?


We’ve been trying to figure out the best ways to get into the Christmas spirit while being surrounded by palm trees and fog instead of the commonly-pictured frosted window panes and snowstorms. While the unusually cold weather this week has certainly helped to set the mood of Winter, we thought we might share some of our favorite ways to get into the Christmas spirit sans ice and snow:

Take a walk down Market Street and enjoy the sights (trees wrapped in Christmas lights, store window displays, snowflakes on street lamps) and sounds (street musicians playing Christmas tunes!) of the season. You can also experience these sights and sounds by hopping on the F-Market Streetcar for an added retro Christmas feel!


Check out the Nutcracker Under the Dome light show at Westfield Mall. It’s free and it plays every half hour starting at 5 pm.


Or you can go see the San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker for yourself. Many of us 300FeetOuters have it on our calendars for this month! In addition to watching the beautiful production of the SF Ballet’s Nutcracker, we, personally, also enjoy seeing the pole banners and bus side ads throughout the city — and it’s not just because we designed them. We love seeing those little reminders of a Christmas tradition that many people enjoy in cities around the world.


Walk down The Embarcadero to watch the Bay Lights illuminate the Bay Bridge. Yes, this display has been installed since March 2013 and will continue through March 2015, but there’s something different about it this time of year. By combining the Bay Lights with the lights on the buildings of Embarcadero Center, you’re surrounded by decorations that ooze Christmas spirit.



Head to Union Square to see the Macy’s Christmas Tree and go ice skating. This is definitely one of the more decorated areas of the city, so if you feel the need to be fully-immersed, be sure to check it out! Stop in to Neiman Marcus and have lunch in the Rotunda where you can bask in the glow of the Christmas tree, as well as watch all the hustle-and-bustle happening across the street in Union Square. While you’re in Union Square, definitely take the time to peer into the San Francisco SPCA Holiday Windows at Macy’s on Stockton Street and O’Farrell Street. The SF SPCA has adoptable animals in the windows and the cuteness is almost too much to handle.



Remember – if all else fails, you can always just remind yourself that you’re in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. So while there may not be snow, there are definitely gorgeous views to be had any time of the year… and you can always throw some Christmas lights on a palm tree!


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