Best Christmas Lights and Sights in San Francisco Area
article and images by Carole Terwilliger Meyers
I’ve always enjoyed all the wonderful Christmas sights and events in the Bay Area and have written about them since my very first book, which was actually a booklet, titled “Getting in the Spirit: A Guide to Bay Area Christmas Events.” This page is inspired by that and by my appearance on John Hamilton’s On-The-Go talk show on KGO on December 14, 2014. Here are some seasonal events and sights for you to get out there and enjoy!
see some spectacular light displays
●in two small neighborhoods in Pleasanton
Christmas Cane Lane
4000 block of Walnut Dr./Ray St. 5:30-10pm, through Jan. 1. Free.
Almost every house on this cul-de-sac goes way overboard with lights and decorations. Cars move slowly around the entire perimeter. A delight.
3671 Chelsea Court. 6-9pm, through Dec. 31. Free.
34th year! You can walk through this home's computer-controlled acre of back yard musical and moving holiday scenes. The display includes an electronic light show, snowy penguin scene, Mrs. Claus house, Santa's golf land, and a train town. Santa sometimes shows up on the last weekend before Christmas.
●in your own neighborhood
●at the zoo
ZooLights at Oakland Zoo
(510) 632-9525. Nightly 5:30pm-9pm, through January 4, 2015 (closed on December 24 & 25. ZooLights is not included in regular Zoo admission; additional fee.
Visit the zoo at night to see this holiday light display featuring hundreds of thousands of sparkling lights illuminating the evening sky. Video.
view a live Nativity
Oakland Mormon Temple
4766 Lincoln Ave., (510) 531-1475. December 14, 19, 20, 21; 7:00-8:00 p.m. Free.
A spectacular bay view is included.
frolic at a Christmas fair
Great Dickens Christmas Fair
Adjacent to Cow Palace, (800) 510-1558. Fee; $10-$22. No pets.
36th annual. See “A Christmas Carol” brought to life at this re-creation of Christmas in Victorian London. After playing spirited parlour games, purchasing some fine yuletide gifts, and feasting on period food and drink, even the grumpiest Scrooge will capture the season’s spirit. Entertainment is continuous and includes parades, theatrical performances, and caroling--even dancing with Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig and guests at their celebrated party. And as if this isn't enough, Her Majesty Queen Victoria and consort Prince Albert always attend. Visitors are encouraged to dress in period costume.
purchase some last-minute gifts
Telegraph Ave Holiday Street Fair
Berkeley, between Dwight and Bancroft. December 14, 20, 21, 23, 24, 11am-6pm. Free.
Root beer soap, tie-dye everything, music, food.
Berkeley Artisans Holiday Open Studios
This self-guided tour allows participants to meet the artists in their studios and to purchase quality gifts.
adopt a Christmas kitty
See the cute SFSPCA kitties in the windows at Macy's.
And while you’re in the area, stroll Union Square to see the window displays and lights.
stroll through a gingerbread house
Fairmont Hotel, 950 Mason St./California St.. Free.
You can actually walk through this two-story gingerbread house in the hotel’s lobby, and it smells as delicious as it looks!
cut your own Christmas tree
Carole Terwilliger Meyers blogs at Travels With Carole.
copyright 2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers