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Visit These Stunning Holiday Trees in San Francisco

Written by Peter-Astrid KaneArt by Benjamin FanjoyPublished Dec. 17, 2022 • 9:00am
Union Square’s Christmas tree stands behind an ice skating rink filled with skaters. | Benjamin Fanjoy/The Standard

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If there’s one thing that forest-worshipping pagans and even the most devout Christians can agree on, it’s this: Holiday trees are awesome! Whether you favor prim, tasteful white lights or you’re the kind of family that searches out pickle-shaped ornaments that look like Nicolas Cage while untangling strings of fat bulbs together, San Francisco is—perhaps unsurprisingly—full of majestically bedazzled conifers.

The Standard is always your place for evergreen content, but we’ve gone from the Palace Hotel’s Garden Court to Golden Gate Park’s McLaren Lodge to bring you this rundown of the city’s oversized firs and pines. Do note that the tree at Pier 39 was removed a week before Christmas because it dried out. And don’t forget, if you just want to gawk at a maximally decorated house, there’s always this one.

Civic Center Plaza Tree

You really can’t miss this one: City Hall’s tree stands opposite the dome in Civic Center, lording it over all those pollarded sycamores on either side. | Benjamin Fanjoy/The Standard

McLaren Lodge’s “Uncle John’s Tree”

501 Stanyan St., Golden Gate Park

A fake train carrying presents sits below the light-filled “Uncle John’s Tree” outside McLaren Lodge at the eastern end of Golden Gate Park. | Benjamin Fanjoy/The Standard

555 California St. Tree

555 California St., the boxy brown skyscraper that’s the 4th-tallest building in San Francisco, has this illuminated beauty on its plaza. | Benjamin Fanjoy/The Standard

Union Square Christmas Tree

The Macy’s building stands behind the Christmas tree, installed as ever in the center of at Union Square. | Benjamin Fanjoy/The Standard

Neiman Marcus Tree

150 Stockton St.

A light-strung display fills the entrance to Neiman Marcus near Union Square. | Benjamin Fanjoy/The Standard

The Palace Hotel Christmas Tree

2 New Montgomery St., SoMa

The Palace Hotel’s Christmas Tree stands about 30 feet tall inside the famed Garden Court. | Benjamin Fanjoy/The Standard

The Fairmont Hotel Christmas Tree

950 Mason St., Nob Hil

Not to be outdone is the Fairmont Hotel’s lobby tree on Nob Hill. | Benjamin Fanjoy/The Standard

Grace Cathedral’s “World Tree of Hope”

1100 California St., Nob Hill

Handwritten origami notes fill Grace Cathedral’s 17th annual “Rainbow World Fund World Tree of Hope” atop Nob Hill. | Benjamin Fanjoy/The Standard

Honorable mentions: The tree at Thrive City outside Chase Center, a tree inside of City Hall and the Tenderloin People’s Holiday Tree at Boeddeker Park (246 Eddy St.) The tree at Pier 39 was removed last week after it dried out.

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Peter-Astrid Kane can be reached at [email protected]


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