Holidays hit full swing with tree, menorah lightings in Union Square 

click to enlarge MIKE KOOZMIN/THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Mike Koozmin/the S.F. Examiner
The holiday season is hitting full swing in San Francisco with several annual traditions.

Macy’s on Union Square will celebrate the holiday season with its 24th annual tree-lighting ceremony beginning at 6 tonight. The festive event will take place in the square — bordered by Sutter, Post, Geary and Stockton streets — across from Macy’s.

The Union Square holiday ceremonies were launched with the lighting of the 25-foot-tall menorah on Wednesday, the first day of Hanukkah. As part of the 39th annual celebration, candles will be lit on the menorah on each of the eight days of Hanukkah at about 5 p.m. most days through Wednesday. Lightings are scheduled at 3:30 p.m. today and 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The San Francisco tradition is the brainchild of late rock ’n’ roll concert promoter Bill Graham.

For the tree lighting today, Macy’s encourages visitors to arrive at Union Square early for the best viewing locations. The tree is scheduled to be lit at 6:40 p.m.

To further get into the holiday spirit, visitors can also enjoy the season at Union Square by lacing up their skates for the ice rink, which opened earlier this month. The rink is open daily from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. through Jan. 20.

In addition to Union Square, a lighting ceremony is planned for the holiday tree at 555 California St. beginning at 5 p.m. Tuesday. The seventh annual event hosted by Vornado Realty Trust features Grammy-nominated singer Carly Rae Jepsen. Honorary chairs Karen and Ronnie Lott (a former 49er) and current 49ers Marcus Lattimore and Alex Boone will light the holiday tree. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

“This incredible holiday event marks the beginning of the season for the community of the city of San Francisco. UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital is the proud beneficiary of this wonderful evening that brings so much joy to children and their families,” Mark R. Laret, chief executive officer of UC San Francisco Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital, said of the 555 California St. lighting.

IF YOU GO

Holiday sparkle

Holiday tree lighting: 6 p.m. tonight. Union Square, across from Macy’s

Menorah lighting: Today through Wednesday. 5 p.m. most days, 3:30 p.m. today and 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Union Square

555 California St. tree lighting: 5 p.m. Tuesday.

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