Tree Lighting Ceremonies

A San Francisco Bay Area Holiday Tradition

Nothing puts people in the holiday spirit quite like a beautiful lighting display, particularly if they don’t have to spend their weekends putting the lights up and taking them down again. If you happen to live in the Bay Area or are planning a visit in late November, you may want to check out one or more of the following San Francisco tree lighting ceremonies:

  • Ghirardelli Square Tree Lighting Ceremony
    Carolers who can really sing, a 50-foot tree festooned with lights and giant chocolate bars, puppet shows for the kids, theatrical performances, superb chocolate eats and drinks and much more, all held in San Francisco’s Ghirardelli Square. Scrumptious.
  • Tree Lighting Celebration at Pier 39
    The shops and other attractions at Pier 39 put on their holiday finery at this annual event and roving Disney characters make it fun and magical for kids of all ages. The festivities kick off around noon on the last Saturday in November and continue through Sunday with the official tree lighting ceremony beginning at 6 p.m. on Saturday night.
  • Union Square Tree Lighting Ceremony
    Black Friday is not the only reason for people to visit Union Square on the day after Thanksgiving each year. The annual tree lighting ceremony is also a powerful draw and doesn’t cost a dime. Bay Area crafters set up booths throughout the Square for holiday gift ideas, musicians perform during the afternoon and evening and there are lots of places to grab something to eat and drink that provide a great view of the lighting ceremony.
  • Embarcadero Center Building Lighting Ceremony
    The tree lighting ceremony is the highlight of the Embarcadero’s annual Winter Carnival. Once the tree is lighted, the holiday spirit is further kindled by a fireworks display over the Bay. This family-oriented event features lots of things for kids to see and do, including an ice show on the nearby ice rink.
  • Holiday Festival of Lights at Fisherman’s Wharf
    Even jaded Bay Area residents who wouldn’t venture anywhere near this touristy place at any other time of the year head to Fisherman’s Wharf for this annual festival. Pretty lights lining the inner and outer lagoon, combined with the intoxicating scents of roasted garlic, freshly baked sourdough bread, fresh seafood and other treats give everyone and everything a festive glow.

The holiday season adds a bit of sparkle to the stunning San Francisco skyline each year and hitting one or more of these tree lighting ceremonies is sure to lighten your spirit without necessarily lightening your checking account balance. So dress warmly and visit one or more of these festive events and kick-start your holiday season in style!