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Christmas in Union Square, San Francisco
Christmas in Union Square, San Francisco

Traveling abroad is always the end goal, but I believe that we should take a moment to appreciate the beauty within the states. There are so many beautiful places to travel including Texas, Florida, New York, and California, to name a few. However, for the sake of time, we are going to focus on San Francisco, California. 

Side Note: I brought up traveling in the states because it is a very affordable alternative to traveling abroad. Flying in the states still counts as traveling and you will still create a plethora of memories. Also, you don’t need a passport for interstate travel. But if you’d like to have one, please refer to Our Travel Abroad Check List

The  Dewey Monument next to the Union Square Christmas Tree

Among the many things to do in San Francisco during the winter holidays, I highly recommend that you visit the Union Square. This block is surrounded by one of the largest selections of department stores, upscale boutiques, gift shops and art galleries in the entire country.

Typically, we avoid downtown during high tourist times of the year, as it can become pretty congested, however, this holiday season we were up for a local adventure. We’ve decided to deem the first weekend in December of every year, “Christmas Union Square Day!” This day is dedicated to getting dressed up and going downtown to check out some of the festivities this major tourist destination has to offer in true style.

Admittedly, I am excited about visiting the various boutiques and shopping centers, who wouldn’t be? If you could see the lit scenery and lively faces, along with the aroma filled by the delicious food carts – you would be overjoyed as well.

Giant Gingerbread House at the Fairmont Hotel

Downtown is home to many of San Francisco’s most luxurious hotels. Not only are these fancy hotels for hobnobbing, during the holidays their lobbies often transform into grand displays of Christmas opulence. The historic Fairmont San Francisco is amongst them, and we decided this was a perfect first stop for our magical outing.

This hotel has spent the last century enchanting locals and travelers with holiday festivities and lively ambiance with its decorations and its two-story, life-sized Gingerbread House.  The mind-boggling attractions stand over 25 feet high, 35 feet wide and 10.5 feet deep. It also features more than 6,000 house-made gingerbread bricks 1,650 pounds of candy and 3,300 pounds of royal icing. After gazing at the scrumptious supersized dessert, we opted for a delicious hot chocolate at the grandiose Laurel Court Restaurant inside of the hotel, to satisfy our sweet tooth. 

Hot cocoa served just right at the Laurel Court Restaurant inside of the Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco

Cable Car Ride!

Cable Car heading down California. 

Union Square sits at the bottom of a pretty steep hill, and there was no way we were up for a hike today. The iconic cable car up made for a great mode of transportation to and from the Fairmount. The best part about riding in the cable cart is the experience of traveling while also sightseeing and enjoying hot chocolate. These memories are timeless, priceless in fact. I enjoy these small moments briefly because I know that time stands still for no one.

Macy’s Holiday Windows

Macy’s Department stores are famous for displaying their holiday spirit every year through their stunning holiday window displays predating back to the 1870s. Did you know that the department store was the first store to feature holiday windows just for the fun and joy of the season? Both my husband and I can recall our favorite Macy’s windows throughout our lifetimes. Our Christmas Union Square Day would not be complete without visiting the San Francisco store and checking out the windows. We even stopped inside for a picture with Santa and to drop off our wishlists at the Letters to Santa mailbox.

Other things to do in Union Square

December weather in San Francisco is very comfortable which makes outdoor activities and shopping a breeze. Unfortunately Violet and Iris were a little too young for other Union Square holiday attractions, like ice skating and staying up late for the “Light the Night” tree lighting celebration at the Westfield San Francisco Shopping mall, but there’s always next year! 

Union Square, San Francisco

What are your favorite states to travel to? Do you have any holiday traditions? New or old? Please share them with us. We’d love to hear them.  

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