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Annual Holiday Lights Kick Off Season Around Union Square

Media Contact:  David Perry & Associates, Inc/David Perry  (415) 676-7007 / 

Tonight, Tuesday, November 24
Annual Holiday Lights Kick Off Season Around Union Square

Seasonal Events Take Creative, Virtual Turn but Traditions Continue in Union Square — “The Heart of San Francisco”

24 November 2020 — San Francisco, CA:  If ever there was a time to make the Season Bright – brighter than the year that has been – that time is now. With the Macy’s annual Holiday Tree fully lit, the San Francisco Police Department’s new community ambassadors and our own “Clean & Safe” team of Union Square Ambassadors on the job every day and evening to keep the public safe and informed, this is the week that San Francisco officially gets its Holidays on! Starting today, Tuesday, November 24 at sundown, the annual “Festival of Lights” kicks off across San Francisco, with Union Square and the surrounding area lit large with LED and other electronic displays to warm every heart.  The palm trees in Union Square Park are lit and oversize ornaments adorn Powell Street. Hallidie Plaza and Maiden Lane are also decked with seasonal designs and “snowflakes” will fall via impressive projections on the buildings surrounding the Square to give the public an immersive Holiday experience.

Additionally, while COVID protocols mandate social distancing, outdoor dining and constant attention to hygiene, the stores, restaurants and hotels in “The Heart of San Francisco” are very much open for your end-of-year shopping, relaxation, dining and mid-day unwind beneath the Macy’s Great Tree, now lit through the New Year.   Also, to make sure that everyone is prepared to safely enjoy the season, Union Square Ambassadors will be distributing masks, free of charge, to those in need and visitors to the Park. 

“Perhaps no other Holiday in the last 102 years will be more important, more memorable than this,” said Karin Flood, Executive Director of the Union Square Business Improvement District. “For over 170 years, Union Square has been the vibrant heart of San Francisco where memories are made. This year, those memories are even more precious. So, be smart, be careful but be aware that our shops, restaurants and hotels are open, ready and safe to serve you this Holiday Season. Plus, our ‘Shop & Dine’ program in the Square allows for people to get takeout food and enjoy it in the Square at our socially distanced tables, sanitized between every use.”

For more information on the ‘Shop & Dine’ program, people may go to

And, with Thanksgiving just two days away, these Union Square icons have special offers:

From digital doggies and cyber kittens, to Santa delivering curbside versus down your chimney, there’s a lot going on in Union Square that will make the 2020 Holiday Season historic and memorable.  Following is an list of the some of the special events taking place this Holiday Season.

Macy’s Holiday Windows (November 23 – January 6).   This year special videos of rescue animals and SF SPCA shelter alumni are featured for passersby at the corner of Stockton and O’Farrell as well as inside Macy’s and also for online viewing at  This year’s windows will also take the form of a thank you letter to first responders, essential workers, marchers for equality, and San Franciscans who showed their grit, good humor, and hopeful spirit during a tumultuous year. Throughout the season, several of our Animal Assisted Therapy pets will be making surprise visits at Macy’s. These specially trained therapy animals, accompanied by a volunteer and handler, are ready to make your holidays a little merrier. Keep an eye out when you’re shopping! Inside Macy’s, shoppers can take selfies at four “Instagrammable moment” stations featuring giant cutouts of cats and dogs. Learn about the animals’ stories and share the holiday joy with friends by using hashtag #SFSPCAholiday.   Holiday Windows is sponsored by Macy’s and Purina

Neiman Marcus Personalized Holiday Experiences: This holiday season, Neiman Marcus San Francisco is here for you with personalized experiences that celebrate the magic of the season and help curate unique gifts for everyone on your list. Whether customers prefer to shop in store or from the comfort of their home, Neiman Marcus’ top priority is providing unique holiday experiences to bring the magic to holiday gifting.  Also this year,  Neiman Marcus unveils a new and modern “Chandelier Tree” to celebrate the season and light up the store’s prominent four-story windows at Stockton and Geary Streets. And for customers looking to enjoy Neiman Marcus classics such as our popovers, chocolate chip cookies, or chicken broth, Neiman Marcus will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays for to-go orders from The Fresh Market. And the holidays just aren’t the same without a visit from Santa Claus. Neiman Marcus is helping customers continue this tradition by offering new, socially distant ways to see Saint Nick including by virtual appointment or curbside service. Starting on the Saturday after Black Friday and occurring every Saturday until Christmas from 12pm to 6pm customers who order curbside pickup can have their gifts hand delivered to their car by the jolly guy himself, Santa. Additionally, Neiman Marcus is creating safe and special experiences for customers who want a personalized moment in-store, including a Holiday Gift Lounge where customers can shop a curated selection of merchandise, a Social Distance Lounge where customers and their friends can enjoy champagne and holiday treats together while watching one of Neiman Marcus’ Virtual Holiday Events, which will run throughout November and December, and feature personal appearances from designers and holiday experts.  

The Westin St. Francisco Annual Donation Drive. For the last six years, San Francisco’s iconic Westin St. Francis has place donation boxes in its Powell Street lobby. This year, four charities have been selected: 

  • Since 1942, Guide Dogs for the Blind (GDB) has been creating partnerships between people, dogs, and communities. With exceptional client services and a robust network of instructors, puppy raisers, donors, and volunteers, they prepare highly qualified guide dogs to serve and empower individuals who are blind or visually impaired from throughout the United States and Canada.
  • De Marillac Academy believes that neighborhood of residence and socioeconomic status should not determine a child’s access to a quality education or ultimate success in life. De Marillac’s holistic program liberates students and graduates to lead lives of choice, meaning and purpose. Every day, De Marillac Academy unites philanthropists with low-income families to break the cycle of poverty through education.
  • Celebrating its 40th anniversary the Bay Area  Sports Hall of Fame (BASHOF) is committed to celebrating sports greatness while inspiring youth sports participation throughout under-served communities in the Bay Area. The first Enshrinement Banquet was held in 1980 and honored Bay Area sports legends Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays, Hank Luisetti, Ernie Nevers and Bill Russell.   Today, 40 years later, the BASHOF Youth Fund has given more than $3 million dollars to over 500 youth organizations in the Bay Area.
  • Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. More than 10 million kids enter a children’s hospital like Children’s Hospital every year. To provide the best care for kids, children’s hospitals rely on donations and community support, as Medicaid and insurance programs do not fully cover the cost of care. Since 1983, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals has helped fill those funding gaps by raising more than $7 billion, most of it $1 at a time through Miracle Balloon icon campaigns. Its various fundraising partners and programs support the nonprofit’s mission to save and improve the lives of as many children as possible.

The Westfield San Francisco Centre. Tree lightings, virtual scavenger hunts and more are planned this holiday season at Westfield San Francisco Centre. The shopping destination will welcome guests eager to safely experience their favorite traditions with family and friends by offering festive experiences, exclusive shopping events, and a variety of services designed to complement consumers’ online shopping. Westfield will continue to go the extra mile this holiday season by providing services and amenities designed to ensure that customers have a safe and seamless experience. Westfield San Francisco Centre will offer Curbside Pickup; Line Pass, a Westfield app-based virtual queuing and appointmentservice to help make visits to the center more efficient; gift wrapping; Ask An Elf (also known as Answers on the Spot); complimentary shopping bags; as well as Guest Service Ambassadors. Westfield San Francisco Centre kicked off the holiday season with the launch of Shop Your Heart Out, a 10-day program that drives donations to local charities by offering guests access to exclusive offers from multiple retailers throughout its centers—from discounted sales, to gifts with purchase, and more. These initiatives continue Westfield’s commitment to the local community through a program that was launched in March under the hashtag #WestfieldCares. Throughout the season, Westfield San Francisco Centre will have additional programs, such as the Bay Area’s first indoor Christmas Tree Farm, celebrity pop-ups, and shopping experiences specific to the local community. For more information about holiday events, hours, locations and resources, shoppers can visit 

  • This year, Westfield San Francisco Centre has partnered with One Warm Coat as the need for warmth this Winter will be greater than ever before. Gently worn coats will be graciously accepted at donation barrels located next to the Concierge on level 1, November 27 – December 31.
  • Another first for Westfield San Francisco Centre is the Westfield Holiday Hunt, an immersive, augmented reality scavenger hunt that brings the magic of the holidays to life using CGI technology. Guests will discover unique QR codes displayed throughout each center. When scanned, they will unlock exclusive, original characters and artwork such as a snowman concierge that welcomes and guides you on your hunt; a flying Santa sleigh; and customizable winter wonderland photo backgrounds. Shoppers will receive special discounts or offers from retailers throughout the center, following each experience they unlock.
  • Westfield San Francisco Centre will virtually “Light the Night” at its 5th annual Tree Lighting Ceremony Thursday, December 3 at 7pm. The 50-foot, chandelier-like tree, covered in crystals, first appeared in 2016. Hosted by Emmy Award Winning TV Personality & KTVU Meteorologist, Rosemary Orozco, the evening will include special performances from the Luminescent Grand Piano featuring Shaina Evoniuk with her LED Violin.

E&O Kitchen and Bar. The holidays are going to look different this year, but one thing you can count on is E&O’s Black Friday All Day Happy Hour! Shop til you drop then head our way foroysters, butternut squash dumplings, fritter bites, steamed pork buns, salt & pepper calamari, andtamarind hoisin glazed ribs. Keep cozy under our brand new parklet with one of our signaturecraft cocktails for $7, beer for $3.50 and wine by-the-glass for $4. E&O will also be bringing back Blue Fridaythis year. On Friday, November 27, when you buy one shot of Johnny Walker Blue Label Scotch Whisky with your meal, you’ll get a second on the house! National Fritter Day is December 2. E&O is going all out this year with brand new fritter focused menu items: fritter classics including E&O’s Famous Fritter Burger and Famous Indonesian Corn Fritter Bites and all day happy hour pricing on fritter items going for four days. Happy hour fritter pricing will be available all day, Wednesday, December 2 – Saturday, December 5. Order E&O dishes, drinks and unique pantry staples are all available on Toast, Door Dash, and Uber Eats for same-day pick-up and delivery orders Tuesday – Saturday, 11am – 7pm.

The Grand Hyatt San Francisco. Right on Union Square! Make Grand Hyatt San Francisco your holiday shopping destination with free parking and a Macy’s gift card!  Stay at Grand Hyatt San Francisco this holiday and enjoy free overnight self parking and a $25 gift card to Macy’s. The hotel is located just two minutes from Union Square directly across from Macy’s west coast flagship store. Self-parking for one vehicle and convenient in-and-out privileges is located at the Sutter Stockton garage located adjacent to the hotel. Safety enhancements for the well-being of all our guests and colleagues include protective masks, employee temperature checks, and hospital-grade disinfectants. 

About the Union Square BID:
The Union Square Business Improvement District (BID) serves members and creates a high-quality visitor experience by managing and activating public spaces, attracting new investment, and advocating for the District’s future success. Union Square is the vibrant heart of San Francisco and an international destination where visitors come to enjoy exceptional retail experiences, luxury hotels, world-class cultural institutions, and great public spaces found only in the City by the Bay. A lively 27-block community surrounding Union Square Park in the heart of San Francisco makes up the Union Square BID. It is generally bordered on the north by Bush Street, on the east by Kearny Street, on the south by Market Street and on the west Taylor Street. Within this service area there are approximately 600 parcels.  The original USBID was founded in 1999 and focused primarily on cleaning and safety issues. Today’s expanded USBID continues to recognize the need for providing cleaning and maintenance and critical public safety services, though has since added destination marketing, advocacy, beautification and capital improvement programs to enhance the experience of the Union Square area and contribute to a safer and more vibrant community.