Try These 5 Holiday Traditions In San Francisco!


Every December, San Francisco takes center stage as the region’s most dazzling showcase of all things holiday. To get your annual dose of Christmas cheer, I highly recommend making a quick trip to the city this month to experience all the festive sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of the season.

Here are 5 fabulous holiday activities to check out when you visit SF:


  1. Visit The Sugar Castle At The Westin St. Francis.

Reaching 12 feet high, this enchanting confection housed in one of the city’s most beloved hotels is the creation of Chef Jean-Francois Houdré and weighs over 1,200 pounds. Each year the masterpiece is augmented with new features, so stop by and check out what this year’s version has in store.

  1. Enjoy A Santa Tea At The Palace’s Garden Court.

The Garden Court Restaurant is the crown jewel of the glamorous Palace Hotel, and this time of year guests can reserve an afternoon Santa Tea session beneath the restaurant’s century-old glass dome, surrounded by Italian marble pillars, Austrian crystal chandeliers, and perhaps the most famous Christmas tree in the city.

  1. Skate The Ice At Union Square.

Nestled amidst iconic retailers like Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Macy’s, the Union Square Ice Rink is an ideal spot to take a break between holiday shopping trips. Hit the ice while serenaded by energetic holiday music, then step over to the newly opened patisserie/rotisserie hybrid Miller & Lux Provisions to taste delicious hot cocoa and exciting seasonal delicacies.

  1. Climb Aboard A Christmas Trolley.

Is there a more San Franciscan way to see this amazing city than by cable car? Hop on for an evening tour of historic landmarks and dazzling light displays all around the city, and bring a Santa hat and an ugly sweater to add some extra holiday cheer!

  1. Book A Santa Suite At The Fairmont.

If you’re seeking the ultimate Christmas experience, look no further than the Fairmont in Nob Hill. This stunning Edwardian retreat offers guests the opportunity to book a Santa Suite—a family-friendly luxury suite bursting with Santa-themed décor. Be sure to stop by the 22-foot-tall gingerbread house in the hotel’s foyer; it’s bedecked with 3,800 gingerbread cookies and hundreds of pounds of See’s Candies!


For other classic holiday activities happening in and around San Francisco this time of year, check out my full list of events!