HapPIER Holidays lights up SF with cheer


Erik Cheng

Along with the larger decorations such as lights and ornaments, the pier is decorated with small bows and details that add to the festive feeling.

Planned and executed by Pier 39, San Francisco’s waterfront is decorated with lights and houses multiple tourist attractions. 

In addition to the usual holiday decorations, the pier specially ordered a 60-foot tall tree and adorned it with unique lighting designs. According to the pier’s website, the tree came from a farm in Siskiyou County

The massive tree acts as a beacon, drawing in more visitors to the pier and more customers to the shops. (Erik Cheng)

Synchronized with festive Christmas music, the tree’s lights beckon large crowds to photograph the behemoth tree as it lights up like a kaleidoscope. Even unlit, the tree can be seen from miles away and stands well over the many buildings nearby.  

Additionally, the pier itself was full of families. In a larger area of the street, a carousel carried children around as their parents watched. Nearby a drop tower and magic show gathered large crowds of onlookers.

Shannon Page and her partner Eric, who wanted his last name to remain anonymous for privacy reasons, have visited the pier in the past and enjoyed the unique attractions on display.

“The carousel is especially beautiful right now and nice with the two stories. We were just talking about it. Eric was talking about how he used to ride it when he was little. And I love the carousel. My kids loved it. It’s especially pretty at night,” Page said.

According to Eric, the carousel had been a staple for well over a decade. Each year, onlookers flock to the massive spinning light show with their families.

The constantly packed carousel continues to run well into the night as children rush to get a chance to ride the spinning machine (Erik Cheng)

Festivalgoers come to enjoy the tree and lights, but also the experience. Axel Roman and his girlfriend, Edith Perez, have visited the pier in the past but noted that their experiences were different. 

“We came to the pier when it was daytime so that we could see the sea lions. Now, there are more decorations since it’s closer to the holidays,” Roman said. 

The pier offered a chance for many families to escape life and enjoy themselves for the night. Parents and kids alike were seen enjoying sweets, exploring museums, and shopping at the many stores at the pier. Page and her partner were among those, initially coming to eat at their favorite restaurant but staying for the experience.

“So I like seeing those little things, and I know the kids seem to like it. All our kids are grown, so it’s just the two of us, but it’s nice to see nice stuff; no people getting robbed and no riots. Just calm family fun,” Page said.