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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Holiday Light and Other Displays in the Bay Area

The holidays are so well known for dark nights and bright lights, I thought we'd do a round-up of some fun Bay Area light displays.

HOTEL SNOWFALL
The Hyatt Regency San Francisco (Embarcadero) has thrice daily snowfalls in its atrium lobby, along with thousands of holiday lights and a 30 foot tree. Look for it through December 31st. Get there at 1, 6 and 8 p.m. daily for the show. 

ILLUMINIQUE
The Westfield Shopping Centre in San Francisco has a new 3-D holiday light spectacular this year. It starts at 5 p.m. nightly, when the mall's dome turns into a multi-media surround theater, with lights and a holiday story harkening back to a 19th century toy shop. It's call Illuminique Under the Dome and runs for four minutes every half hour from 6 to 8:30 through December 31st (Sundays the mall closes at 8). Get a preview here.

TRAIN OF LIGHTS
The Niles Canyon (East Bay) Train of Lights has holiday runs through December 29th. The Santa Cruz Holiday Lights train runs through December 23rd.

SUGAR CASTLE
When shopping in Union Square, stop by the Westin St. Francis to see their pastry chef's sugar castle resembling a French chateau. It weighs more than 1,200 pounds and is completely edible, with 20 circular towers and 30 rooms. Kids will also love the train that circles around it. Look for it through January 3, 2012.

ZOO LIGHTS
One of my favorite holiday traditions is zoo lights, where the zoos light up at night with themed light displays. The Oakland Zoo has a light show open nightly (except 12/24 and 12/25), train rides, other rides and other activities.

GILROY GARDENS HOLIDAY LIGHTS
The Gilroy Gardens Holiday Lights Symphony of Lasers and fireworks runs through December 30 (see here for dates). It's free with admission and a lot of fun (we've been in the past). Plus, there's outdoor ice skating, a Santa's Workshop, a Charlie Brown Christmas show and rides. Get $30 tickets here that include a buffet dinner. If you buy the same deal at the gate, it's $40. I assume you can buy tickets without the dinner at the gate too, but those prices weren't online.

FISHERMAN'S WHARF AND BOAT PARADE
Check out the holiday displays and lights at Fisherman's Wharf. The Boat Parade is on December 16th starting at 6 p.m., when several of the area's boating clubs have a parade of lighted boats. Details here.

BEST PLACES TO SEE THE LIGHTS

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