- Huntington Park on Nob Hill
White bulbs adorn the (non-fir) trees that line the park at California and Taylor streets. While you're on Nob Hill, step into the two-story-tall gingerbread house at The Fairmont San Francisco, made of yummy-smelling gingerbread bricks, royal icing, candy canes, Christmas tree Peeps and other sweets. Some visitors have evidently tried to sample parts of the edible house, but we don't recommend it.
- Golden Gate Park Tree
A winter tree-lighting tradition in Golden Gate Park began in 1929, when then-park superintendent John McLaren had the trees lit along Fell Street to try to cheer up San Franciscans burdened by the Great Depression. The tradition has since been trimmed to one tree: A long-standing Monterey cypress at McLaren Lodge, 501 Stanyan St. (and Fell).
- The Tom and Jerry Christmas Tree
The centerpiece is the decked-out live tree, but this fantastic tableau also includes giant stuffed animals, Tom's and Jerry's stockings and presents. Imagine the 60-foot pine as a standard living-room Christmas tree, and then the gargantuan decorations seem normal size. A model Ferris wheels, trains and other contraptions with moving parts entertain the short-attention-span generation. Santa appears nightly until about 9:30 pm through Christmas Eve.
Get the behind-the-scenes story of the Tom and Jerry Christmas Tree scene, which is on 21st Street between Sanchez and Church streets, in San Francisco.
- Picardy Drive
Storybook homes (think small-scale castles) are always charming and cute, but more so when they’re dressed with lights. The houses, built in the 1920s, have turrets, arched windows, and peaked roofs, and the lights strung between them reflect the friendship and cohesion of this five-block stretch just west of Mills College.
On Picardy Drive, from 55th Ave. to Seminary Dr., East Oakland.