Travel Webcast

SAN FRANCISCO: GREAT HOLIDAY DISPLAYS

San Francisco is a holiday destination that is literally glowing with displays, decorations and tree-lighting events. The following is a roundup of some of the great lightings and displays in the city by the bay:

!!! 11th Annual Parol Lantern Festival and Parade, Dec. 14 at 5 p.m. in Jessie Square: Celebrate in festive Filipino style. More than 25 local organizations will march through Yerba Buena Lane with traditional Christmas lanterns, or parols, lighting up the neighbourhood. Following the parade there will be music, games and entertainment. Free. (http://www.kularts.org/parol.php)

!!! Palace Hotel’s Gingerbread Chateau benefit SFCASA, through Dec. 30, Palace Hotel, 2 New Montgomery St.: Designed by Executive Pastry Chef Renee Cade, the Palace Hotels’ Gingerbread Chateau measures eight by 16 feet. The three-room chateau features a hand-tied, licorice thatched roof. In the marzipan made kitchen, apple elves prepare a holiday feast. The kitchen table is laden with delights made entirely out of edible ingredients. The foyer is adorned with a crystallized sugar chandelier. The animated living room scene showcases a sugar and spice decorated tree. Outside, the chateau is landscaped with candied planter boxes filled with cookie crumb soil and fondant flowers. A moving wafer waterwheel and chocolate pond complete the French county holiday garden. (http://www.sfpalace.com)

!!! Conservatory of Flowers celebrates “Boomtown: Barbary Coast,” through March 16, 2014 in Golden Gate Park: San Francisco’s rowdy past comes to life this holiday season at the Conservatory of Flowers’ newest garden railway exhibition, “Boomtown: Barbary Coast.” In a display landscaped with hundreds of dwarf plants and several water features, model trains wind their way along miniature docks crowded with replicas of the clipper ships that brought fortune seekers to California. Trains will then zip past whimsical recreations of the city’s most important landmarks such as Portsmouth Square, Chinatown’s Waverly Place and Maiden Lane. The Conservatory is open Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The exhibit will be closed on Christmas and New Year’s Day. (http://www.conservatoryofflowers.org)

!!! Holiday Sugar Castle at Westin St. Francis, through Jan. 2, 2014 at Union Square: The Westin St. Francis executive pastry chef Jean-François Houdré created his signature 12-foot rotating holiday sugar castle in the Main Lobby of the hotel. Originally created in 2005, this magnificent Sugar Castle continually grows larger each year. Resembling a French Chateau, the castle weighs more than 1,200 pounds and features 20 grand circular towers, 30 rooms, glowing windows and a running train. New this year is the addition of the top 2012 “newsmakers” on display throughout the castle, including life-like elf replicas of politicians, celebrities, athletes and personalities. Free. (http://www.westinstfrancis.com)

!!! ’Tis the Season for Science at the California Academy of Sciences: Through Jan. 5, 2014, Monday-Saturday 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.; closed on Christmas. California Academy of Science, Golden Gate Park: The California Academy of Science is getting a winter makeover for the holidays. The popular ’Tis the Season for Science exhibit returns for a third year, bringing with it the sights, sounds, and smells of the season. Experience indoor snow flurries, get up close and personal with live reindeer at the East Garden and immerse yourself in a snow-themed mini-dome show. (http://www.calacademy.org)

!!! Luxury Collection Holiday Tree and Palace Hotel Glass Ornaments, through Dec. 26, Palace Hotel, 2 New Montgomery St.: The Palace Hotel presents its first ever Luxury Collection holiday tree, inspired by more than 80 unique Luxury Collection hotel destinations worldwide. The ornaments adorning the tree are indigenous to each property. Also on display on the tree are exquisite holiday ornaments inspired by two of the treasures within the hotel and hand blown, painted and decorated. (http://www.sfpalace.com)

!!! Annual Victorian Holiday Time at Queen Anne Hotel, through Jan 1, 2014: Each year the Queen Anne dresses up the interior of the hotel in grand Victorian style. It’s a sight to see with Christmas trees, wreaths, garlands, a winter wonderland, Santas and more. Visitors can take a step back in time and see how warmth and charm were created more than a century ago. (http://www.queenanne.com)

!!! Hyatt Regency San Francisco’s “Home for the Holidays,” through Dec. 30, Hyatt Regency San Francisco: Although it never snows in San Francisco, the Hyatt Regency San Francisco is predicting snowfall throughout the holiday season in its dramatic, Guinness Book of World Records’ Largest Atrium Lobby in the world. Complementing a 1,000-piece Department 56 Snow Village, thousands of cascading lights and a dramatic 45-foot tree, snow will fall three times a day in the hotel’s lobby, through Dec. 30. Free. (http://www.sanfranciscoregency.hyatt.com)

!!! Japanese Toys! From Kokeshi to Kaiju: Through May 11, 2014 in Terminal 3 at San Francisco International Airport. The Japanese imagination has led to many of the world’s most extraordinary toys. In this whimsical exhibit, Kokeshi dolls, menko playing cards, and battery-operated robots are among the quintessential toys on display. Vinyl kaiju figures, Ultraman novelties, and a dress made entirely from plush Hello Kitty dolls are some of the unexpected items on view. Japanese Toys! From Kokeshi to Kaiju is located in Terminal 3, Boarding Area F. The exhibition is located post-security and is only accessible to passengers ticketed for travel through Terminal 3. There is no charge to view the exhibition. (http://www.flysfo.com)

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