Traveling at the Holidays – Is it on your list this year?

Traveling at the holidays : Macy's Christmas tree at night
Macy’s Christmas tree at night in San Francisco

Traveling at the holidays – Do you love it? Is it a hassle? Would you rather hunker down and stay close to home?

I believe I never really considered traveling at the holidays until the kids were grown or at least until the nest was almost empty and they were in their teens. Wearing heavy coats, worrying about potential lost gloves, bigger crowds all seemed too much to deal with when the kids were young.

All of our immediately family lived within in driving distance so we never had to fly out of necessity. Now that we primarily travel as a couple, I look forward to the extra excitement of going somewhere at Christmas.

I am a big fan of lights and festive decorations. I love how the city, any city, seems to sparkle this time of year. Even the strip malls and grocery stores look so much better with those clear lights stretched across the roof.

Our holiday trip this year~

Traveling to San Francisco from Southern California is an easy, quick flight and with no potential snow to add any extra discomfort. When you live in an area where the temperature is rarely below 60, frosty wind and lots of rain can dampen your spirit, however, part of the fun of traveling in December is that it is so different. Changes in the weather and different clothing requirements make it a novelty. I relish the opportunity to wear fun boots, colorful scarves and the warm winter coat I wear only a couple of times a year in Southern California.

We have plans to go back to San Francisco next week to enjoy the holiday celebration and to visit our son Nick who just moved there for his first job after graduating from UCLA. He is looking forward to showing us “his” San Francisco. Craig and I are thrilled to have the opportunity to see the city through Nick’s eyes.

We plan to take him to a couple of our favorite spots and he will take us to his new hangouts. At 22, he enjoys such different activities than we do, that this will be an entirely new way to enjoy this beautiful city!

If you do have the opportunity to plan a trip to San Francisco this month, here is what you could see and do!

The Magic of Christmas in San Francisco~

The true meaning of Christmas we carry in our hearts, but the magic of Christmas in San Francisco is a wonderful sight to behold! This spectacular coastal California city manages to capture the splendor of the holidays and we are fortunate to live just an hour plane ride away. Craig and I try to get away for a few days each year in the month of December to soak up the holiday cheer and exquisite architecture of San Francisco.

Small neighborhood shops, large department stores, fancy hotels and trendy restaurants go all out to decorate and celebrate for the holiday season. Twinkle lights, gorgeous window displays and several gingerbread mansions are displayed for visiting guests to enjoy as well as the lucky residents.

Union Square – Daytime

Union Square is the heart of the city and the best place to begin and spend your free time. It is surrounded by busy stores, large and small, lined with glorious hotels and is definitely where most of the shopping activity can be found!

Traveling at the holidays - Union Square Christmas Tree
The gigantic “Macy’s Believe” Christmas Tree in Union Square

Traveling at the holidays: Shopping at Tiffanys
The iconic Tiffany Store is adorned with the famous Tiffany blue boxes


Tiffany creates special holiday window scenes that are different every year.


Clever wreaths made of Tiffany boxes
Clever wreaths made of Tiffany boxes


Christmas in San Francisco
The view from high above at the Grand Hyatt


The Williams-Sonoma store on Union Square is especially delightful at Christmastime!


A beautiful and luxurious french stove from La Cornue offers hot apple cider to the shoppers


A colorful red and white tree made of Peppermint Bark! They offer samples of this delicious holiday treat too.


 San Francisco at night

Craig and I taking a Union Square selfie


Christmas in San Francisco
The breathtaking view from our room at night


Many of the office buildings throughout the city participate in the festivities!


The Garden Court at The Palace Hotel, a San Francisco landmark


A neighborhood of gingerbread houses at The Palace Hotel


The pastry chefs at the hotel create masterpieces that smell so good!




Just look at the detail!


The gingerbread display complete with a moving train at the Westin St. Francis Hotel


Ice skaters enjoying the temporary ice rink in Union Square under the lights of the tree


Lively holiday carols are playing and everyone has such a great time!


The Fairmont Hotel sparkles!
The Fairmont Hotel sparkles!


The impressive Christmas tree and imposing two story gingerbread house at The Fairmont Hotel


Gingerbread Mansion
This magnificent two-story gingerbread mansion is my favorite! It smells like cinnamon, ginger and cloves. To enhance the experience, we are allowed to walk inside and see it up close. The attention to detail is truly spectacular.


All of the fabulous decorations can be enjoyed for free. Christmas in San Francisco is one of many exciting cities that bring the holidays to life! There is still time to visit this year.

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Happy Holidays to all!



One more idea…Have fun close to home~

Even if traveling at the holidays is not on your wish list, there are places to see right close by. Take a drive through a neighboring town and take in the sights of the festive decor and even attend a tree lighting. Most cities light a grand tree and/or a menorah and are free to the public. All of the big hotels pull out the stops this time of year with giant gingerbread houses, magnificent light displays and holiday music. I guarantee it will start your holiday season off right!

Enjoy the holidays! Do you have plans to travel?

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6 thoughts on “Traveling at the Holidays – Is it on your list this year?”

  1. How lovely. I love how special our ‘ordinary’ places look during the holidays. We generally stay close to home for the holidays but some day I want to gather the family together in the mountains for a Christmas ski trip!! Have a beautiful holiday Suzanne!!

  2. LOVED LOVED LOVED the pictures! Thank you for sharing. I, too, love SF during the holidays. Was there the year of “Occupy” and saw people’s camped out just down the street. By the way, back at home, did you see the theme of the Rose Parade this year? 😉

  3. When my daughter was in highschool her specialty choir sang at the Fairmont (and other places around SF) during December. It was great fun to see the sights and ask the holiday decorations around the city. Enjoy!


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