San Francisco – December 2002
The tree’s lit, Macy’s has its windows done up, and the Powell Street Cable Car just came back online after a three-week maintenance shutdown in November. No better time than Christmas to make the pilgrimage to Union Square, rendered all the more lovely by its recent multi-million dollar renovation. Top shopping awaits, at department stores (Niemans, Saks), fashion outposts (Tiffany, Hermes, Prada), and local boutiques along Maiden Lane, so named for its Barbary Coast days as the top brothel row in town.
Beyond the Shopping District, you’ll find plenty of opportunities for securing holiday treats: Unearth vintage Art Deco accessories, furniture, and jewelry at Deco the Halls at the Concourse Exhibition Center, (12/7-8, 8th and Brannan, 650-599-3326,); find deals on local crafts, fashion, clothing, and body products at Santa’s Black Market at SomArts Gallery (12/15, 934 Brannan, 415-695-9100).
Land new gear or bid on a bike at the SF Bicycle Coalition‘s Winter Fest and Auction (12/8, SomArts, 415.431.BIKE). Pick up that perfect pocket rocket or fetish wear for the naughty ones at the female-owned Good Vibrations, celebrating 25 years of flaunting the goods (1210 Valencia St., 800-289-8423).
Fill the kids with culture via a pair of Christmas Classics: Steven Anthony Jones scrooges it up in A Christmas Carol at the ACT Theatre (12/7-29, 415 Geary, 749-2ACT), while the San Francisco Ballet, America’s oldest, tackles Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, at the War Memorial Opera House (12/10-29, 301 Van Ness Ave., 865-2000.)
Explore Victorian-era San Francisco on the Haas-Lilienthal House Holiday House Tour. This period museum, an elegant 1886 Queen Anne replete with wooden gables and authentic furniture and accessories, decks its halls with holiday decorations, music, requisite Christmas tree, and treats. 12/8, 2007 Franklin St.,441-3004.) Snow falls indoors daily during Metreon’s Winter Wonderland. 11/29-12/31, 101 Fourth St., 369-6000
American watercolorist Winslow Homer’s dual driving passions – painting and fly-fishing – set the scene for Casting a Spell: Winslow Homer, Artist and Angler opening Dec. 7 at the Legion of Honor. Fifty paintings spanning Homer’s career lend insight into the creative process, and a glimpse of 19th-Century natural world and sporting life. Museum free each Tuesday. Lincoln Park, 34th and Clement, 12/7-02/03; 415.863.3330 www.thinker.org
Gridiron fans gather as top college squads square off New Year’s Eve at the inaugural Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl, at Pac Bell Park. Air Force is readying itself for a Big East opponent (Pittsburgh? BC?), yet to be determined. 4th and King, 12/31; 415.-947-BOWL, www.sfbowl.com
Get musical gifts, and your groove on each Friday at Amoeba Records, for Mandala, the free-form rotating DJ series on its in-store stage. The Christmas Jug Band sits in 12/15. (1855 Haight St, 831-1200.) Catch a limited run of Martin Scorcese’s signature rock and roll sendoff, The Last Waltz, while noshing New American cuisine at Foreign Cinema (2534 Mission, 12/1-8, 648-7600.)
– Jay Cooke is a San Francisco-based travel, food, and culture writer.