Five must

San Francisco is among the most popular holiday destinations in the Christmas season


Westfield San Francisco Centre

San Francisco is among the most popular holiday destinations in the Christmas season. Macy’s 80-foot-plus tree in Union Square, an officially nondenominational tree at City Hall is renowned. However, San Francisco has plenty to offer: art shows, musical events and big performances.

A Pip of a PPIE: San Francisco still celebrates the centennial of the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) and the de Young Museum marks this exposition, which covered 76 city blocks with ‘Jewel City: art from San Francisco’s PPIE’, through January 10, 2016. At the heart of the PPIE was one of the most ambitious art exhibitions presented in the US, 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 event.

Westfield San Francisco Centre: From November 19 to December 31, Westfield San Francisco Centre’s iconic dome will come to life each night with ‘Nutcracker Under the Dome’, an animated 3D show. The San Francisco Ballet’s ‘Nutcracker’ is the inspiration for this visual experience crafted by local technology innovators, Obscura Digital. A cast of holiday characters, including sugar plum fairies and toy soldiers, will come to life under the dome. The six-minute show will progress as more toys join the brigade and the entire 102-foot dome becomes one gigantic holiday music machine.

Odysseo at AT&T park: ‘Odysseo’, the latest production of the internationally known entertainment company, Cavalia, opens on November 19, under the White Big Top at AT&T park. The US$ 30 million production 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 in the world.

Illuminate SF Festival of Light: Light art will illuminate block after block of San Francisco’s corrugated surface from November 26 to January 1 for the Illuminate SF Festival of Light. The third annual light festival will include 27 dramatic, eco-friendly light art installations – 11 more than in 2014 and thrice the number of the inaugural celebration in 2013 – accessible by public transit and with free admission. The two-month celebration will feature free light art tours, night-time neighbourhood walks, artist talks and participatory experiences. Many of San Francisco’s intimate neighbourhoods will also light up shopping districts, streets and galleries, and host participatory holiday activities. On January 30, 2016, The Bay Lights will shine again, as a gift to the people of California.

SHN Musical Romps: SHN offers two holiday diversions onstage this season: ‘A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder’ on December 1-27 at the SHN Golden Gate Theatre and ‘A Christmas Story, The Musical’ on December 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, who are between him and the 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.

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