Holiday Shopping Season Kicks Off in Union Square
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Holiday Shopping Season Kicks Off in Union Square
Holiday favorites return including the Holiday Ice Rink, Macy’s Great Tree, Santa, and the Bill Graham Menorah
3 November 2021 San Francisco: Union Square is excited to welcome shoppers back this holiday season. With a mix of festive only-in-Union Square activities including the Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square and the Macy’s Great Tree, Bill Graham Menorah, in addition to world-class luxury shopping, Union Square San Francisco has something to offer everyone visiting us this holiday season.
“Union Square, already the crown jewel of San Francisco, comes to life during the holidays in a way that captures the spirit of our City like no other,” says Union Square Alliance Executive Director Marisa Rodriguez. “Visitors and San Franciscans alike can find the warmth and joy of people gathering from every corner of the globe during the holidays in Union Square. Come visit us and share in the experience of a classic San Francisco hallmark.”
From Elegance to Essentials, Union Square is proud to showcase the best holiday gift shopping on the West Coast. Within our walkable neighborhood, you can visit five department stores, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, and Macy’s, and the best shopping experience at Westfield San Francisco Centre, as well as a collection of the finest designer boutiques in the world from Chanel, Gucci, Hermes, Cartier and Louis Vuitton. Don’t miss out on our local and legacy, Only in SF retailers including Gump’s, Britex Fabrics, and Lang Antique & Estate Jewelry.
Through November and December, retail events and promotions will be updated regularly at www.visitunionsquaresf.com/eventsand on our popular Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Every year, the Union Square Alliance installs decorative lighting in and around Union Square for the holidays. Festive lighting decorates palm trees in the park, trees and festival lighting on Maiden Lane, and trees at the Powell Street Cable Car turnaround. Lights turn on November 1 and run through February.
Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square :
The Holiday Ice Rink in Union Square returns this year! The Ice Rink opens November 3, 2021 and closes for the season January 17, 2022. The rink is open from 10 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. daily. Please note these important events dates:
• Opening Ceremony. Wednesday November 3, 9:30 – 10:00 a.m.
• Flashback Fridays presented by 80s+: November 12, December 10, and January 14, 7:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. sessions
• Drag Queens on Ice: Thursday December 2, 7:00 – 9:30 p.m.
• Silent Skate Party: Thursday, December 9, 7:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. sessions
• Polar Bear Skate: Wednesday, January 1, 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.
General Admission for the ice rink Including skate rental: $19, locker rental: $3, and skate helper: $6. To purchase tickets and for more information, visit UnionSquareIceRink.com.
Macy’s Great Tree:
The holidays would not be complete without Macy’s Great Tree which will shine bright in Union Square bringing holiday cheer throughout the season. San Franciscans can enjoy Macy’s Great Tree from November 19 through January 1.
Bill Graham Menorah:
Chabad SF presents the Chanukah Menorah Lighting in Union Square, November 28 through December 6. The Bill Graham Menorah, lighting up SF since 1975, was the first giant public menorah outside of Israel and has inspired thousands of Menorahs around the world! Join us for the Bill Graham Menorah Day celebration on the first night of Chanukah: Sunday, November 28 at 2 p.m. for music, traditional foods, and a Menorah Lighting with dignitaries. The menorah will light up Union Square Park for the eight days of Chanukah as follows:
• Sunday, November 28: Bill Graham Menorah Day
2:00 – 6:00 p.m. Live Music & Festive Entertainment
4:45 p.m. First Lighting Ceremony
• Monday, November 29 through Thursday, December 2
4:30 p.m. Gathering
5:00 p.m. Lighting Ceremony
• Friday, December 3
2:30 p.m. Gathering
3:00 p.m. Lighting Ceremony (early program due to Shabbat)
• Saturday, December 4
7:30 p.m. Gathering
8:00 p.m. Lighting Ceremony (later program due to Shabbat)
• Sunday, December 5
4:30 p.m. Gathering
5:00 p.m. Last Lighting Ceremony
For more information, visit BillGrahamMenorah.org
Holiday Treats at Union Square Coffee and Alma :
The two cafes in Union Square Park, Alma and Union Square Coffee, have created special menus of festive offerings! From November 2 to January 17, the cafes, owned and operated by McCalls Catering & Events, will serve up a selection of seasonal specialty food and drinks including Irish coffee, apple cider chai lattes, eggnog lattes, peppermint hot chocolate- all which can be fully customized for those over 21 years of age at Alma! The cafes will complement park activities with rotating kiosks serving special treats during Chanukah, Christmas, and New Year’s celebrations.
Westfield San Francisco Centre Christmas Tree:
Westfield’s famous upside-down Christmas tree returns! The 50-foot, chandelier-like spruce, covered in crystals, rises the second week of November, with Westfield and San Francisco magazine presenting its annual Holiday Tree Lighting Event on December 1, from 6 to 9 p.m. This ticketed event ($75) will feature cocktails, spirit tastings, bites from the city’s best chefs, live entertainment and more.
This year, Santa is traveling from the North Pole to make several stops in Union Square. Santa Claus returns to delight children of all ages at Macy’s this holiday season and the cherished holiday tradition will return in-person this year. Macy’s Santaland will open for in-store visits on Friday, November 26 and will be located on the lower level of Macy’s Union Square next to Holiday Lane (170 O’Farrell Street.) To provide all guests with a safe and enjoyable environment, visits to the winter wonderland will be conducted by advance reservation only. To reserve a special visit with Santa Claus, guests should visit macys.com/Santaland. Reservations will open five days in advance of the desired visit date to allow for the most access possible to guests wishing to attend in-person.
Baron Davis & the Black Santa Company are hosting a Meet & Greet from Black Santa and Mrs. C., at the Westfield San Francisco Centre. “With all that’s going on in this country, and particularly in the African-American community, I want to offer heroes and role models through storytelling. Black Santa is the first character. His mission is to celebrate diversity, the joy of giving and the magic of good. He’s here to bring people together and have fun.” says founder & NBA All-Star, Baron Davis. Black Santa will make personal appearances November 26 – 28 and December 11-12.
New Openings and Reopenings:
• Ula Restaurant will open early November at the historic mosaic-filled 450 Post Street location and will feature Mediterranean dining and cocktails.
• Bottega Veneta has opened a temporary location at 135 Maiden Lane while their Geary Street location undergoes a renovation and expansion.
• Longtime San Francisco favorite Gump’s has expanded their footprint to offer more toys and gifts this holiday season. Visit their Holiday Pop Up next door to their permanent location at 250 Post Street.
• Macy’s Fun and Games Toy Shop has arrived for the holidays, street level next to their main entrance on Geary Street.
• James Bond’s favorite timepiece company Omega is slated to open at 103 Geary Street just in time to celebrate Daniel Craig’s final appearance as 007.
•Holiday revelers rejoice, Miracle Christmas Cocktail Pop Up Bar at Pacific Cocktail Haven is back this year, at PCH’s new location at 550 Sutter Street.
•Saatva, America’s Smarter Luxury Sleep brand arrives just in time for the holidays on November 22 at 128 Post Street.
•Hotel Stratford located at 242 Powell Street on the Cable Car line, has reopened following an extensive top to bottom, multimillion renovation showcasing European design sensibilities and modern simplicity.
Small Business Saturday Westfield San Francisco Centre presents the Patchwork Show Modern Makers Festival, a free community event celebrating the shop local movement, on Small Business Saturday, November27, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Peruse artisan wares from over 50 local, independent artists and enjoy DIY crafts stations, music and activities. Make a return visit to Patchwork’s two-day holiday market, December11 and 12,also from 10a.m. to4p.m.located on Level 4 under the Dome.
Salvation Army Red Kettle Campaign:
The Salvation Army is hosting their Celebrity Bell Ringing event again this year! A San Francisco tradition for 40 years, visit Macy’s on Friday, December 10 from 1 to 4 p.m as local celebrities help raise funds for those in need. For more information visit sanfrancisco.salvationarmy.org.
Live Performances Feinstein’s at the Nikko continues to bring nationally recognized performers to San Francisco throughout the holiday season in their new Nikko Live Showroom, including Tony Award winner Lena Hall, famed television and Broadway star Marilu Henner, and an exciting range of festive and fun holiday concerts. For performance dates and tickets, visitfeinsteinssf.com. Brat Pack, the acclaimed’80s theatrical concert has extended performances to run through January 1, 2022. Visit BratPackLive.com for dates and tickets.
Visit San Francisco Playhouse for Twelfth Night from November 24, 2021 to January 15, 2022.Thismusical adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night was named one of the best theatrical productions of 2018 by Time, The Hollywood Reporter and The Washington Post. Twelfth Night is a rousing contemporary musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic romantic comedy about mistaken identity and self-discovery. Featuring an original jazz-funk score by Shaina Taub, Twelfth Night is a soulful shake-up of a Shakespearean classic. For tickets visit
About the Union Square Alliance: The Union Square Alliance was founded in 1999 as San Francisco’s first Business Improvement District. The Alliance is a 501(c)4 organization, funded by property owners in the area, which 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 Alliance. 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.
For more information on holiday happenings in Union Square, go to www.visitunionsquaresf.comorfollow us on Facebook @UnionSquareSF, Instagramat @unionsquaresf and Twitterat@unionsquaresf. To participate in the conversation and follow the campaign, use the hashtag #unionsquaresf.