Sunday, December 21, 2008

San Francisco dresses for the holidays

Visitors in San Francisco can take a stroll along Market Street, where, for the first time in 103 years, the street will be decked out for the holiday season. Five-foot-wide snowflakes, illuminated by energy-saving LED lights, will be hung from Market Street's signature "Path of Gold" light poles.

The poles that run the length of Market from Steuart to Castro streets were originally installed in 1916 and will cast a distinctive amber glow on one of the city's main thoroughfares throughout the holiday season.
(Peter DaSilva)

The ice rink is the closest thing to snow you'll find in San Francisco. The temporary ice rink (it stays open for nine weeks, through Jan. 4) offers outdoor skating and lessons.
(Peter DaSilva)

San Francisco and environs may be short on snow in December, but the area has more than enough jingle to make your holidays sing. You may not be able to take a sleigh ride through Golden Gate Park, but here are 10 places where you can find plenty of Christmas cheer in the shops, restaurants and shows from Union Square to South of Market.

1. If this time of year has you longing for a touch of tradition, the Great Dickens Christmas Fair may fill the bill, but you'll have to hurry because Sunday (Dec. 21) is the last day. This holiday adventureland, a short drive from downtown, re-creates Victorian London, down to the last details.

Hundreds of costumed players, including Father Christmas, Oliver Twist and Tiny Tim, will roam the decorated winding lanes, while creative characters hawk their wares through 90,000 square feet of lamp-lighted shops, theatrical shows and English pubs.

A Christmas pantomime at the fair.
(Great Dickens Christmas Fair)

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