One of San Francisco’s most beloved holiday events is Golden Gate Park’s Annual Holiday Tree Lighting, happening from 4-8pm on Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023. This exciting afternoon is the ultimate kick-off for December and the holiday season, as Golden Gate Park will be decked out with endless festive activities.
The annual lighting of Uncle John’s Tree will take place at McLaren Lodge on Stanyan Street. Guests can see the 100-foot-tall Monterey Cypress tree aglow with over 800 bulbs, a tradition which dates back to 1929.
Guests can also explore the fan-favoriteEntwined LED light installation in Peacock Meadow. The whimsical installation is an otherworldly ecosystem of glowing trees, bushes, and other natural elements created from colorful pixel-like LED lights. This year, it will center around a new Elder Mother Tree reaching 30 feet tall and casting an expansive canopy of light.
Families can enjoy kids’ activities, carnival games, live music, food trucks, and performances. Find all temporary carnival rides on JFK Promenade east of Nancy Pelosi Drive. All activities are free and there will be plenty of food and drink for sale from local food trucks.
In addition to the new light displays and carnival games, guests can enjoy arts and crafts, cookie decorating, letters to Santa, and the SF Library Book Mobile on JFK. The park will also host an accessible archery range west of McLaren Lodge, as well as a hockey shoot-out and climbing wall on JFK.
A decent amount of foot and vehicle traffic is expected in and around the park during the event. Consider reading through SF Rec & Park’s guide, which breaks down accessible parking, ASL intepretation, golf cart services, and other accommodations. As in past years, SF Bicycle Coalition will provide free bike valet parking for those who decide to cycle to the event.