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December 2010 Hotel Manager's Picks | Sheraton Fisherman's Wharf Hotel

Hotel Manager’s Picks | December 2010

Make San Francisco your Home for the Holidays. The only thing you won't find in San Francisco this holiday season is snow. Expect instead a flurry of fun ... ice rinks, tree lightings, theatre, music and a delightful mix of new and old traditions - it all adds up to one cool Yule.

I can't think of another city where the holiday lights are as magical. Fisherman's Wharf, Union Square, Chestnut and Union Streets and along the Embarcadero are all spilling over with yule tide decorations that will immediately put you in the holiday mood as you stroll the streets after dusk. The shopping displays at Union Square are always worth a special trip, and are only a cable car ride away from our location. 

Craig Schwan

Speaking of the holidays, be sure to bring your sweetheart to Fisherman's Wharf for our 17th annual Holiday Lights & Sights Boat Parade. It's a "must-see" event that is guaranteed to put you in a romantic mood for the holidays.

Just announced and for the 18th consecutive year, Condé Nast readers voted San Francisco as the #1 city to visit in the United States. Come visit to see what Condé Nast readers are all agog about ... and while you're here, enjoy the holiday lights and sights and seasonal good cheer.

To help plan your stay, visit our Local Events page on our website for details of some of the more interesting events that are happening in San Francisco this month. Regardless of what you have planned, enjoy visiting our beautiful city.

What's your favorite spot in San Francisco? Let us know at or Share on Facebook.

Happy Travels ... Craig Schwan, General Manager

City Pick

In San Francisco through January 2, 2011, Cavalia is an extravagant production involving magnificent horses from all over the world, riders, aerialists, acrobats and dancers, as well as musicians and a vocalist.

Created by Normand Latourelle, co-founder of Cirque du Soleil, five years were spent on research and then another five conceiving the show and training animals and acrobats before "Cavalia's" world premiere in August 2003 in Quebec.


The production made its U.S. premiere in February 2004 in San Francisco. Since then, "Cavalia" has played to more than 2.5 million people with 1,600 performances.

"Cavalia" has grown to roughly twice its original size since 2004 with a cast of 100, including 45 humans and 55 horses representing 12 breeds, but Latourelle's inspiration began with a single steed. Latourelle recruited the quarter horse Choice, now 23 and retired to "Cavalia's" Sutton, Quebec, farm, as an extra for a village scene in Légendes Fantastiques, a show inspired by French-Canadian folk tales that he produced in Drummondville, Quebec.

Constantly evolving, Cavalia opens under the largest touring White Big Top in the world on November 16 at At AT&T Park. For more information call: (866) 999-8111

Dining Pick

Waterbar, under the tutelage of Farallon chef-owner Mark Franz and designed by Pat Kuleto, casts its net over seafood while providing floor to celining aquariums filled with fish and large windows overlooking San Francisco Bay and Oakland.

Waterbar's interior is spectacular - at least in the main dining room - but the dramatic design pales in comparison to what's outside. Kuleto does his best to pull the focus back to the interior.


The large menu, executed by chef and partner Parke Ulrich, is based on local and sustainable seafood, some of which is bought directly off the boat.

With the restaurant's watery vistas, the shellfish platter is the thing to order. It looks like edible art, and features a cascade of lobster, crab, five shrimp, three clams, six oysters, Florida stone crab claws and a small ramekin of scallop ceviche. It's impressive in its scope, however if If diners don't want the traditional chilled platter, they can choose a wood-oven-roasted platter that includes some of the same ingredients.

Perhaps the best appetizer is the oysters baked with sauerkraut ($13 for four). Plump and just warm, they're served on a bed of house-made kraut with a dollop of cream.

Another signature is the rock cod Colbert ($29), Waterbar's version of fish and chips. The whole fish is fried and arranged as if swimming across the plate, enrobed in batter the color of graham crackers. The tail and head are left on, but the bones are removed and a remoulade and a tuft of fried parsley fill the cavity. 

Relax Pick

Fun Takes Flight at House of Air
A revolutionary indoor trampoline park, House of Air, recently opened in a former airplane hangar in San Francisco's Presidio.

Taking the building's original use for flight quite literally, the new attraction offers a cutting edge array of trampoline structures and programs for walk-in guests with organized classes. Note to any skeptics: these are not one's typical backyard trampolines. The Matrix, House of Air's main trampoline structure, consists of 42 conjoined trampolines.

House Of Air

Larger than a regulation-sized basketball court, it is surrounded on all sides by trampoline walls set at angles to the floor. Visitors have other bounce options: 2X Bowl, a freestyle trampoline concept modeled after skateboard park designs; the Colosseum, 22 conjoined trampolines designed for organized sports such as trampoline dodge ball and basketball; the Training Ground, for performance-based training for top gymnasts, board sport specialists and professional athletes, by appointment or group class only; and the inflatable Air Junior Bounce House for children three- to six-years old.

House of Air, located at West Crissy Field, in the Presidio of San Francisco, is open daily; reservations recommended for weekend use. For information call (415) 345-9675.

Romantic Pick

Holiday Lights & Sights Boat Parade
The Fisherman's Wharf Community Benefit District and the St. Francis Yacht Club will join once again to present the oldest and largest lighted holiday boat parade on San Francisco Bay.

More than 100 boats, each festooned with lights and holiday decorations, will parade along the waterfront starting at 6:00pm. A holiday tradition since 1994, this year's parade will include members of the St. Francis Yacht Club, Fisherman's Wharf Fishing Fleet, Golden Gate Yacht Club, PIER 39 Marina, and the Sea Scouts. The parade route will begin just off of PIER 39, proceeding west past Fisherman's Wharf, Fort Mason and the St. Francis Yacht Club, and will turn around off of Crissy Field.


What a great way to get in the holiday mood!  Enjoy the boat parade on Friday, December 17, 2010 all along the waterfront from PIER 39 to Aquatic Park. 

Show Pick

San Francisco Symphony Holiday Program
The San Francisco Symphony offers more than two dozen special concerts and performances for the holidays.

Audience favorites include Deck the Hall, Dec. 5; Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf narrated by Eden Espinosa, Dec. 11;  Colors of Christmas featuring Peabo Bryson, Stephanie Mills, Ben Vereen and Oleta Adams, Dec. 13-15; Blind Boys of Alabama, Dec. 19; ‘Twas the Night Christmas concert, Dec. 22-23; and a festive New Year's Eve gala on Dec. 31.


All holiday program details are available at or call 415-864-6000 for information and ticket sales.

Family Pick

Pixar: 25 Years of Animation
Walt Disney's arrival in Los Angeles in the 1920s firmly established California as a magnet for animation artists.

Home to a number of leading studios, the San Francisco Bay Area has emerged as a global center for animation today. Pixar: 25 Years of Animation provides an unprecedented look at the renowned East bay-based studio and showcases the creative work behind its wildly successful computer-animated films.


After its opening in New York and its five-year  international tour, this exhibition comes home to the nearby Oakland Museum. The presentation includes all of the artwork from the original presentation at MOMA, plus art from Ratatouille, WALL•E, Up, and Pixar's latest film, Toy Story 3.

Getting there couldn't be easier, as the Oakland Museum is only one block from the the Lake Merritt BART station. For further information, call (510) 238-2200.



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