The cable cars are decorated for the holidays.

Best Areas to Stay in San Francisco for the Holidays

'Tis the season for San Francisco! Not only is the city full of holiday cheer, it's also full of great hotel deals.

We might not have ski slopes for the snow bunnies or tropical sun for the heat misers; but if it's holiday happenings and plenty of spirit you're looking for, San Francisco is the place to be this season.

No matter what you're looking to do during your holiday visit, we know the perfect place for you to stay.

Best Area to Stay for
Christmas Tree Lightings

Fisherman's Wharf

Each year, PIER 39 and Ghirardelli Square host their tree lighting celebrations to welcome the holiday season. You can always count on plenty of holly-jolly magic and merriment for the whole family. Stay within walking distance of the Wharf to catch the lighting of these two majestic trees and other festivities. Kimpton Alton Hotel and San Francisco Marriott Fisherman's Wharf are both chic and comfortable options close to all of the action.

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Best Area to Stay for
Holiday Concerts

Civic Center / Hayes Valley

Love a good show? Every year, the San Francisco Symphony offers a festive lineup of concerts, performances and musical events for all ages to enjoy. Centrally located on Market Street is the San Francisco Proper Hotel, boasting gorgeous décor and the spectacular rooftop bar, Charmaine's. The LINE Hotel is among San Francisco's newest and chicest places to stay. Yotel San Francisco blends the charm of the restored 1905 Grant Building with high-tech amenities, such as self-check-in kiosks, signature SmartBeds and super-fast Wi-Fi.

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Exterior of the Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall at night with streaks of light from passing vehicles.
Head to the Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall in Hayes Valley to catch the San Francisco Symphony.

Best Area to Stay for
Gingerbread Houses

Nob Hill

Every year, some of San Francisco's best hotel bakers pull out all the stops, creating enormous confections to celebrate the season. The most famous of these is the enormous gingerbread house that takes over an entire wall of the famous Fairmont San Francisco's lobby. Just down the hill, the Westin St. Francis San Francisco showcases its collection of sugar castles. Other Nob Hill hotels perfect for a holiday splurge include The InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco, which features the legendary Top of the Mark sky lounge and a scenic panorama of the city and bay; and The Ritz-Carlton San Francisco, the city's only AAA Five-Diamond hotel.

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Best Area to Stay for
Ice Skating

Union Square

Looking to take to the ice during your stay? At the Westin St. Francis San Francisco, you'll be but a few steps from the Union Square ice rink, where you can skate beneath twinkling lights and a towering tree. Union Square is also not far from the Yerba Buena Ice Rink, which is indoors. You can also hop on the Central Subway and ride to the rink at Thrive City! You'll have plenty of hotel options to choose from in this neighborhood, including Hotel Nikko, the Grand Hyatt San Francisco, and the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, to name a few.

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Best Area to Stay for
Holiday Lights


Winter nights in San Francisco get their extra sparkle from Illuminate SF's Festival of Light, which sees more than 60 light art installations come to life. Most of these artworks are in public spaces and can be seen on a leisurely stroll through the city. Others are found within San Francisco's many museums—and no neighborhood is home to more museums that SoMA. Stay at the stylish Hotel VIA, with views overlooking the ballpark and the bay, or at the stately St. Regis hotel, which is right next door to SFMOMA.

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Point Cloud inside Moscone Center