2020 Winter Lights Around The Bay
Winter is coming. The holidays are just around the corner and we all could use a little extra holiday cheer to lift our spirits and start looking forward to the new year (and the end of 2020).
While big tree lighting events and holiday festivals are mostly cancelled for this year or have gone virtual, you can still find plenty of twinkling holiday lights around The Bay to help you get into the holiday spirit.
Bay Area’s Best 2020 Holiday Lights
Nov. 18 – Dec. 31, 2020
Westfield Centre, 865 Market St., Level 4 Under the Dome, SF
San Francisco’s famous Inverted Christmas Tree, the 50-foot chandelier-like tree, covered in crystals, is back for the holidays under the iconic Emporium Dome.
Winter Wonderland Holiday Market: Friday, November 27, 2020 | Christmas Tree Stroll: November 27 through the holiday season
Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco
New for 2020 – Pickup some gifts at the festive holiday market, and then take a self-guided Christmas Tree Stroll to see beautiful trees decorated by the talented students at the Academy of Art, up throughout the holiday season. *Please note, we haven’t confirmed if they’ll be lit, but what kind of Christmas tree doesn’t have lights? The square will also be decked out in holiday lights, starting on 11/27.
New for 2020 – The iconic 19-foot-tall, 152-foot-wide “Ghirardelli Square” sign recently returned to the square after a refresh with newly installed LED lighting that will allow for special colors whenever needed for the holidays or for special events or honors. We hope this means the sign will illuminate red and green for Christmas, and blue and white for Hanukkah.
December 10, 2020 to February 28, 2021 | Sundown to 8:30p
Possible extension to June 1, 2021
Peacock Meadow (between McLaren Lodge & Conservatory of Flowers)
Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
New for 2020 – A whimsical wonderland of 20-foot tall lighted trees will shine to honor the park’s 150th anniversary. It’s an immersive light experience where visitors can explore paths and sit under a grove of entwined sculptural trees while practicing social distancing.
Week of December 6-12, 2020 – January 31, 2021
The Exchange on Sixteenth (SoMA)
1800 Owens St., San Francisco, CA
New for 2020 – The Kilroy Star’s 30,000 sparkling LED lights will illuminate the SF skyline and can be seen from miles away. The dazzling lights will configured to oscillate in various rhythms and patterns.
Oakland Zoo and Glowfari will be CLOSED at least through January 7 due to Stay-At-Home order. They plan to reopen Glowfari in early 2021 if possible Check Oakland Zoo website for updated information
November 12 to December 27
The street sparkles with cheer every night beginning at dusk. Holiday lights embroider every tree from Hearst to Virginia and glowing balls of light dangle from the branches, all season long.
Every evening at sunset, over 220 state-of-the-art LED lighting fixtures illuminate City Hall’s exterior. The building frequently changes the lighting scheme to honor special occasions. Expect red and green lights for Christmas, red, green and black for Kwanzaa, blue and white for Hanukkah, and gold for New Year’s.
12/13 – 12/25 Red/green – Holiday Season
12/26 Red/green/black – 1st Night of Kwanzaa
12/27 – 12/30 Red/green – Holiday Season
12/31 Gold – Happy New Year
November 27-December 18
Mac Dutra Plaza, Half Moon Bay
– Dec. 4: Holiday Tree Lighting | 6pm
– Dec. 11 – Menorah Lighting for Hanukkah | 6pm
– Dec. 18 – Festive Nativity scene and an appearance by Santa | 6pm
The Half Moon Bay Coastside hosts a month-long celebration featuring beautiful holiday lights, artisan shopping, and weekly festivities.
One of the largest public displays in the entire Bay Area with more than 3.3 million LED lights and over 140 LED projections, SFO usually lights up for the holidays for the month of December (but the info for 2020 hasn’t been announced yet; we expect it to be similar to past years).
Nov. 21, 2020 – Jan. 3, 2021
Filoli, 86 Cañada Road, Woodside
$28 from 10 am – 4 pm; $38 from 4 pm – 8 pm
Tix required in advance – Buy Tickets
Follow the one-way route to stroll and enjoy the beauty of the winter garden adorned with lights and colorful decor. Cozy up to a fire pit under twinkling lights and sip on hot cider or mulled wine. Please note, Filoli’s Garden, Holiday Lights, Clock Tower Shop, and Estate Trail remain open, but Filoli’s historic House is currently closed.
Nov. 27, 2020 – Jan. 3, 2021
History Park, 635 Phelan Ave, San Jose
$10 from 4-5 pm; $20 from 5-10 pm
Tix required in advance – Buy Tickets
Christmas in the Park returns in 2020 as a drive-thru event features your favorite annual displays plus some new immersive features dreamed up for 2020 like a tunnel of lights.
Discovery Kingdom, Vallejo – December 14 – January 3 – $14.99- Reservations required
As one of the largest holiday drive-through events in Northern California and the only one inside a theme park, the Holiday in the Park Drive-Thru Experience will include a number of immersive, distinctly different areas. The 135-acre theme park, will be filled with an exquisite palette of colorful twinkling lights and festive music. . Previously this was a walkthrough experience, but has recently been updated to drive-thru
Dec. 12 – 25, 2020
Cripps Place (and surrounding streets), Fremont
FREE – Donations benefit their supported charities
Continuing the tradition since 1967, over 80 homes participate in a cheerful neighborhood holiday display of Christmas lights and unique handmade plywood decorations. 2020’s event will be drive-thru only.
Nov. 27 – Dec. 31, 2020 | Dusk to 9:15 pm
4770 Lincoln Ave., Oakland
The Oakland Temple becomes a wonderland of more than 100,000 lights strewn around their lush gardens. Bonus: Don’t miss the spectacular views of San Francisco and Oakland below.
November 26, 2020 – January 23, 2021
All over San Francisco – Map
Go on a self-guided tour to see 45+ light sculptures in 17 neighborhoods from 30+ artists in SF’s annual Festival of Light that shines a light on The City’s ever-expanding light art scene.
Through New Years (most likely)
3650 21st St., San Francisco
Delighting San Franciscans for over 30 years, see the famous 65 foot tall live Christmas tree and elaborate decorations take over the charming gingerbread Victorian in Noe Valley.
Haas-Lilienthal House dating back to 1886 lights up for the holidays for the first time ever. 2007 Franklin Street (btwn. Jackson and Washington), San Francisco. December 22 & 23, 2020 | 5:45 PM-9:00 PM
December 4-30, 6-9pm – $20
Brought to you by Santa Clara County Parks and first presented in 1999, Fantasy of Lights is a spectacular 1.5 mile Drive-Thru extravaganza of holiday lights and displays for the entire family. It is now in its 22nd year and has become a cherished holiday tradition. It is bigger, better and brighter than ever before thanks to the transition to environmentally friendly LED displays.
Due to COVID-19 they are presenting a virtual event “Chanukah Live” each night with Facebook Live They are asking the public to Stay Safe at Home.
A display in Newark features a 35 foot inflatable Santa, a 25 foot Christmas tree, 2 20ft candy canes, a 20 ft present on the roof and a 25 ft present with Candy Canes.
28 different homes participate in lighting up for the holidays. See the map.