The holiday season normally means multiple trips to your local stores and shopping centers in order to find that perfect gift for your family and friends. Nonetheless, here on The San Francisco Peninsula, shopping centers and malls offer more than just “a place to shop”. Throughout the holiday season, our shopping centers are filled with holiday joy, family-friendly events, meet-and-greets with Santa, and much more! Here is a list of some of the events going on at our shopping centers this holiday season.  

The Shops at Tanforan
Location:  San Bruno, CA

This shopping mall should definitely be on your radar during the holidays, because it’s sure to be packed with holiday fun! The Shops at Tanforan will get the holiday season started with Santa’s Arrival on Saturday, November 11th from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. This event will feature fun activities for the entire family, such as arts & crafts, face painting, balloon twisters, holiday DJ dance party and, of course, an appearance by Santa himself. No worries if you can’t make it! Santa will be available for visits and photos throughout the entire holiday season. On top of that, there will be other fun events such as Cookie Decorating with Mrs. Claus, or the pet-friendly Paws & Claws, where you may bring your dog or cat – or both – for photos with Santa Claus.


Hillsdale Shopping Center
Location: San Mateo, CA

Another must-go for the holiday season, Hillsdale Shopping Center starts it off with their Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on Friday, November 17th. This year’s festivities will begin at 5:30 pm with a live “Holly Jolly Holiday Countdown,” followed by the lighting ceremony and capped by the arrival of Santa Claus. Everyone will have a chance to take photos with Santa throughout the holiday season until Christmas Eve. And, if photos aren’t enough, you’ll also have the opportunity to have breakfast with Santa himself! This is your chance to learn what Santa likes to eat at the North Pole, so make your reservations soon. There will also be great kids events happening during the holidays such as the Kris Kringle Kookie Decorating Class or the Santa's Craft Workshop where kids can make crafts with Santa. As you can see, Hillsdale will definitely have something for everyone during the holidays If you’re still not convinced, check out this Bay Area LIFE Holiday Segment to learn more.


Stanford Shopping Center
Location: Palo Alto, CA

Now, if you happen to be visiting the southern region of San Mateo County during the holidays, you’ll absolutely need to visit Stanford Shopping Center. This open-air shopping and dining destination is located in the heart of Silicon Valley and offers more than 140 world-class specialty stores, ranging from luxury brands to local favorites. During the holidays, Santa will be available for photos throughout the day; keep in mind that times vary so we recommend checking the schedule before heading out. There will also be other special events taking place throughout the holiday season, such as “Pet Photos with Santa", where your pet may pose with Santa, and the “Breakfast with Santa,” where you’ll be able to join Santa for a super-fun morning of treats and entertainment!


Location: San Francisco, CA  

If you’re planning on making the trip to San Francisco, we highly recommend heading over to PIER 39 during the holiday season. The pier will be beautifully decorated and houses many shops and restaurants that are guaranteed to keep you busy – in a fun way. This year’s Tree Lighting Celebration will take place on Sunday, November 19th and will feature some special friends from the Disneyland Resort. So, plan a visit and experience the magic — sing songs, see your Disney friends, and welcome the holiday season with a day of holly-jolly magic for the whole family. The fun culminates at 6:00 pm as the Disneyland Resort helps illuminate PIER 39’s majestic 60-foot tree against a stunning backdrop of the San Francisco skyline. The tree will remain illuminated throughout the holidays and will serve as the perfect backdrop for your holiday pictures!


See all that San Mateo County/Silicon Valley has to offer! Order a free visitor guide today and start planning your trip!