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Best Christmas Celebrations in San Francisco California

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Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremonies
Best Christmas Celebrations in San Francisco California
© 2008 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.
San Franciscans have a batch of Christmas traditions of their own, including a lighted city skyline and some great musical events. The traditional Christmas tree lighting ceremonies draw big crowds, who continue to visit throughout the season. Big trees go up at:
  • Union Square: The traditional Macy's tree is lit for the first time on Thanksgiving1 weekend. Placed in the middle of Union Square, the tree is 80 feet tall (nearly 7 stories) and covered in 21,000 twinkling LED lights. The best place to watch the ceremonies is in the square, but you can also make a reservation at Burger Bar in Macy's Union Square, where you can see it all from the windows.

  • Pier 39 :Pier 39's tree-lighting happens the weekend before Thanksgiving, with a 60-foot-tall tree located near the entrance to the pier shopping area. Afternoon concerts are followed by the tree's first lighting in the early evening.

  • Ghirardelli Square: Ghirardelli's 50-foot-tall Christmas tree is decorated with oversized Ghirardelli Chocolate bars and it's first lit during Thanksgiving weekend. Musical performances, puppet shows and stilt walkers lead up the first lighting.

  • Golden Gate Park: The tree in Golden Gate Park is a live one, a 100-plus-year-old Monterey cypress at McLaren Lodge, 501 Stanyan St. (and Fell). This event takes places on the first Thursday of December.

1 Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.

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