Last Saturday we started getting into the festive spirit by visiting the life-size gingerbread house at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. This was also the first activity on my Christmas list of fun activities to get in the mood for Christmas!
The gingerbread house is the centre piece of an elaborate Christmas display in the lobby of the Fairmont Hotel – a swanky hotel near downtown San Francisco.
The house is free for visitors to look at, but since Saturday was the opening day we had to wait in a long line to get in – Little M’s patience was definitely tested! Thankfully we had taken plenty of snacks and toy cars, so the time passed fairly quickly and before we knew it we were in!
The gingerbread house is spectacular and well worth a visit if you are in the area. The huge two-story house is over 22 feet high and over 23 feet wide! It’s made from real homemade gingerbread, cemented together with royal icing and decorated with sweets and candies.
You can walk right through the house and marvel over the train track that winds around the outside. (Little M especially loved the train!) Our furry friends even have a gingerbread doghouse nearby to the main house!
As well as the gingerbread houses, there is a giant Christmas tree in the lobby and many other holiday displays which all provide plenty of fun and festive photo opportunities. There is also a ‘North Pole Nook’ where kids can write letters to Santa Claus.
On the opening day we were also joined by Santa Claus, a Balloon Elf and a Christmas Fairy which made the whole atmosphere feel very festive. There is a restaurant adjacent to the lobby, where you can splash out on a Gingerbread Holiday Tea and you can also buy more informal hot chocolate and cookies.
Little M was obsessed with watching the train going round the track and loved going inside the gingerbread house – although I had to stop him breaking off pieces to munch! However it was VERY busy on the opening day and although it was fun to see Santa I wished we had waited and gone on a weekday when it would have been quieter. He did get a little overwhelmed after a while and we decided to go elsewhere for a festive treat to eat.
If you are planning a visit to the house, especially with kids, I would recommend going on a weekday when it would be less busy. The gingerbread house is open now until January 1st 2016.
The hotel is located on California and Mason streets, so is a great opportunity to take a ride on one of San Francisco’s famous cable cars, either up to the hotel, or back down the hill. We chose to walk the steep walk up to the hotel from the downtown area and then rode all the way down the California Street Line to the Embarcadero – spectacular!
We enjoyed the peace of the Embarcadero after the busyness of the hotel and sat and enjoyed the views for a while. Overall a fun, although slightly tiring day, but I’m starting to feel in the mood for Christmas!
Are you in the mood for Christmas yet? What are you doing to start feeling festive?