It’s cold—it’s San Francisco, after all. It’s also crowded—it’s Union Square—but that adds to the happy energy. Your ankles are wobbly, and you don’t dare look up at the window decorations on the top five of Macy’s seven floors, or at the perfectly symmetrical Christmas tree nearby. You can smell sausages from the vending cart, and coffee and hot chocolate from the cafe. If you don’t think too hard, you can imagine you’re skating figure eights in perfect time to the holiday music. The Union Square Holiday Ice Rink epitomizes big-city Christmas like not much else.
Whatever you do, you’re going to need somewhere to stay, because it’s impossible to do San Francisco in a day trip at the holidays—too much to see, too much traffic. Here a few favorite places to spend the night: Lodge and Inn at the Presidio.
How many times have we driven through the Presidio, always after a walk in the wind on Crissy Field Beach, and eyed the brick buildings that face the grassy meadow of the parade ground, asking, “How cool it would it be to live here?” While some housing does exist in the Presidio, visitors have options for spending the night: Nowadays two inns grace the grounds of this National Historic Landmark District, and they’re within walking distance of one another. The Inn at the Presidio, which opened in 2012, has 22 rooms in a circa-1903 Georgetown Revival-style building; these fill up fast. The newer property, Lodge at the Presidio, opened this past summer with more space: 42 rooms spread out across its three stories, and many of those rooms look out on the Golden Gate Bridge.