San Francisco loves the holidays so much that it can’t limit itself to a single giant Christmas tree. There are actually dozens: Macy’s soaring 80-foot-plus tree in Union Square, an officially nondenominational tree at City Hall, and another majestic tree at PIER 39. But once you’ve wished for peace on Earth and goodwill to all, there’s still plenty to do besides sip an eggnog latte at the nearest third-wave coffee shop. Between major art shows, musical events and big performances, winter is brimming with culture.

A Pip of a PPIE

San Francisco is still celebrating the centennial of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) and the de Young Museum marks this grand exposition which covered 76 city blocks with “Jewel City: Art from San Francisco’s Panama-Pacific International Exposition” through Jan. 10, 2016. At the heart of the PPIE was one of the most ambitious art exhibitions ever presented in the U.S., encompassing more than 11,000 works. To mark this anniversary, “Jewel City” reassembles more than 200 works by major American and European artists, most of which were on display at this defining event. Purchase tickets.

Westfield San Francisco Centre

From Nov. 19-Dec. 31 Westfield San Francisco Centre’s iconic dome will come to life each night with “Nutcracker Under the Dome,” a one-of-a-kind animated 3D show. The San Francisco Ballet’s “Nutcracker” is the inspiration for this extraordinary visual experience crafted by local technology innovators, Obscura Digital. A lively cast of holiday characters including sugar plum fairies and toy soldiers comes to life under the dome. The six-minute show crescendos as more toys join the brigade and the entirety of the 102-foot dome becomes one gigantic holiday music machine. Show times are 5 p.m. until closing.

Odysseo Opens Nov. 19 at AT&T Park

“Odysseo,” the latest production of the internationally known entertainment company Cavalia, opens Nov. 19 under the White Big Top at AT&T Park. The $30 million extravaganza is the world’s largest touring company and features 75 magnificent horses and 45 riders, acrobats, dancers and musicians. Equestrian arts and high tech theatrical effects unfold under the largest touring tent on Earth.

Illuminate SF Festival of Light

Light art will illuminate block after block of San Francisco’s corrugated surface Nov. 26Jan. 1 for the Illuminate SF Festival of Light. The third annual light fantastic includes 27 dramatic, eco-friendly light art installations — 11 more than in 2014 and three times the number of the inaugural celebration in 2013 — accessible by public transit and admission-free. A two-month celebration during the longest nights of the year, it features free light art tours, nighttime neighborhood walks, artist talks and participatory experiences. Many of San Francisco’s intimate neighborhoods will also light up shopping districts, streets and galleries, and host participatory holiday activities. On Jan. 30, 2016, The Bay Lights will shine again, this time forever, as a gift to the people of California thanks to the generosity of private donors and Illuminate the Arts.

SHN Musical Romps

SHN offers two holiday diversions onstage this season: “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder,” Dec. 1-27 at the SHN Golden Gate Theatre and “A Christmas Story, The Musical,” Dec. 9-13 at the SHN Orpheum. “Gentleman’s Guide,” winner of the 2014 Tony Award for Best Musical, tells the tale of a distant heir to a family fortune who decides to eliminate eight pesky relatives (all played by one man) who are between him and riches. “A Christmas Story” chronicles the pursuit of young Ralphie Parker to secure the gift of his dreams: an official Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-Shot Range Air Rifle.

For more information about holiday events, activities and festivities in San Francisco, visit

The San Francisco Travel Association is the official destination marketing organization for the City and County of San Francisco. For information on reservations, activities and more, visit or call 415-391-2000.  San Francisco Travel also operates Visitor Information Centers at Hallidie Plaza, 900 Market Street at the corner of Powell and Market streets and on the lower level of Macy’s Union Square.

American Express® is the official Card partner of the San Francisco Travel Association.

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) offers non-stop flights to more than 39 international cities on 33 international carriers. The Bay Area’s largest airport connects non-stop with 77 cities in the U.S. on 14 domestic airlines. SFO is proud to offer upgraded free Wi-Fi with no advertising. For up-to-the-minute departure and arrival information, airport maps and details on shopping, dining, cultural exhibitions, ground transportation and more, visit Follow SFO on and

# # #

Note to editors: For news and story ideas, follow @SFMediaRelation on Twitter and @OnlyinSF on Instagram.  Photos and press releases are available at



Maralyn D. Hill, M.Ed.,  The Epicurean Explorer

Executive Editor,

Luxe Beat Magazine Digital Editions now online at

Freelance Lifestyle Journalist

Member: International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA)

Member: Society of American Travel Writers (SATW)

Member: Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ)

ment’or – Inspiring Culinary Excellence

Blogs: Where and What in the World & Success with Writing

Follow me: @maralynhill