The Union Square Christmas Tree

The Union Square Christmas Tree

2016 Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremonies at Union Square, San Francisco CA

In the middle of Union Square a Christmas tree stands 80 feet tall, decked with thousands of glittering white lights and huge red and gold baubles. At the very top is a 6 foot tall red star that resembles the Macy’s logo. That’s no coincidence – the tree, as well as the annual tree lighting ceremony is put on by Macy’s in the middle of Union Square. The lighting celebration takes place in the midst of shopping insanity on Black Friday (and in 2014, rain storms and political protests to boot). The 25th annual lighting ceremony began at 6pm on November 28th and the tree was beautifully illuminated after some festivities. One way to avoid the crazy crowds and get a great view of the tree is by snagging a good table at the Cheesecake Factory in the Macy’s building, which overlooks the entire square.

With the multistory Macy’s store as a backdrop, a smaller tree on the building and the traditional wreaths in all of the upper windows, the whole scene around the tree is a beautiful sight and the perfect photo op. The tree remains lit every evening through to the New Year.

Unsurprisingly, the giant tree is a fake, made up of large panels and put together like a 3D puzzle. Knowing that makes it somewhat less impressive, but also greener (as in environmentally friendly, though it’s probably greener in color, too), and an old giant tree is spared every year, since the faux fir has been reused since 2011.

A decorated Cable Car passes Union Square

A decorated Cable Car passes Union Square

Other Christmas decorations around Union Square include Tiffany box wreaths and window displays at Tiffany & Co., displays at Macy’s and Saks, and the huge indoor tree at Neiman Marcus, which is also fake and about as big as the one outside in the square, but more impressive because it’s wedged inside a building. Around the square, the palm trees are lit with Christmas lights, making for a very Californian Christmas.

Santa stops by Union Square a few times each December to say hi to children and find out what they want for Christmas this year. He also poses for photos to send out for Christmas cards. These meet and greets take place at the Westfield mall and inside Macy’s.


Here is a Map showing location of Union Square, San Francisco :

Map of Union Square, San Francisco

Union Square Map


Published On: Tuesday, December 9th, 2014