There are lots of reasons to visit San Francisco, but even more reasons during the holidays. Here are a few suggestions to enjoy an awesome holiday season in San Francisco.

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October 18, 2018
The holidays in SF are awesome!

5 Reasons Why San Francisco is Always Awesome During the Holidays

There’s no better way to get into the holiday spirit than to spend a night — or if you’re lucky, a long weekend — in the bracing air and twinkling lights of San Francisco. The hustle and bustle of holiday shoppers on the prowl for unique gifts, the musical performances and artistic displays, and the ultra-cozy winter dining scene all create the perfect backdrop for making your list and checking it twice — or for a quick escape before the season ends.

'Tis the season for savings, and you can get some of the lowest rates of the year in one of the best cities on Earth right now.

Best Areas to Stay in San Francisco for the Holidays

Where can you grab great deals on hotel rooms during the holidays? Snag some of the lowest prices of the year in one of these great locations:

Diverse Neighborhoods

Warm up during the holidays by exploring some of San Francisco’s greatest neighborhoods. Get a sense of how people here celebrate the holidays in style.

  • Chinatown: For many San Franciscans, celebrating the holidays with an incredible Chinese meal is a tradition. Take a walking tour of Chinatown during the holidays to see how this unique neighborhood makes Christmas special.
  • Fillmore: Shop until you drop and catch up on all the up-and-coming trends. Fillmore appeals to those with varied interests; it has quaint bookstores, flower shops and even hardware outlets scattered among the upscale clothiers. You'll be able to find everything on this one cosmopolitan stretch of San Francisco.
  • Outer Sunset: Head due west towards the Pacific Ocean to discover the quiet side of San Francisco. Wide, windswept beaches beckon and tranquil residential neighborhoods are home to friendly local shops, cafes and restaurants.

Light Art

For something cool to break up those traditional holiday activities, be sure to check out Illuminate SF, a city-wide display of some of the greatest light art in the country. With works by such luminaries as Jim Campbell, Ned Kahn, James Turrell and Leo Villarreal, you’ll be amazed by the glowing beauties lighting up the parks and public spaces of the City by the Bay. Best of all, the show is free, so you’ll be able to save your cash for wining, dining and shopping this season.

Dining Galore

Speaking of dining options, there’s something delightful to be had in every neighborhood of San Francisco. The holidays are the time for enjoying the best food and drink, so go ahead and be a little bit gluttonous before your New Year’s resolutions kick in come January.

  • Union Square restaurants attract local foodies, so you know they have to be good. For fine French cuisine, try Gaspar Brasserie or 398 Brasserie. For incredible Thai food, head to Kin Khao, a Michelin-starred favorite.
  • For a bit of history with your meal, try the Tadich Grill, California’s oldest restaurant and the first mesquite grill in the country. You can sip a martini while enjoying impeccable service from white-coated waiters.
  • Another historic choice is the Cliff House, where San Francisco's bigwigs enjoyed the same sunsets you’ll be privy to at the far western tip of the city.
  • For the foodie who likes to try new restaurants while the iron is still hot, the Mission District is the neighborhood to check out, as there are new options popping up here every week.

Fine Holiday Shopping

In addition to the selection of retail giants in Union Square—including Macy's, Nieman Marcus and Westfield San Francisco Centre, which includes Bloomingdale's and Nordstrom—San Francisco is a maker’s paradise and is full of small boutiques and galleries that you won't find anywhere else. Try these spots for utterly unique gifts to wow your loved ones:

  • Destination Fragrances: Now you don’t have to leave your heart in San Francisco when your trip is done. Instead, bring home a candle designed to evoke the local aromas of your favorite San Francisco neighborhood.
  • Lot No. 1: The Levi’s store on Market Street lets you custom-order a pair of jeans made specifically the way you want. Levi’s are a true California tradition, and this is one of only two spots in the world that offer this level of customization.

Next Steps

Ready to book your trip to San Francisco for the holidays? Get started today by choosing a neighborhood as your home base and booking a great deal on a place to stay. Then decide where to dine and which areas to explore for the perfect holiday shopping trip or cultural experience. In San Francisco, the holidays are truly the most wonderful time of the year, so book your trip today!

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