Join us for the annual countdown to lighting of the iconic Monterey cypress tree in Golden Gate Park’s east end—a San Francisco holiday tradition that began in 1929.
The annual tree lighting celebration, held by the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, features live music, cookie decorating, carnival rides, food trucks, and more! Additionally, Entwined: Elder Mother will debut in front of Peacock Meadow.
Free bike valet provided by SF Bicycle Coalition!
Known as Uncle John’s Tree in honor of Golden Gate Park’s designer and first park superintendent John McLaren, the more than 135-year-old giant cypress was first illuminated with 800 bulbs on McLaren’s 84th birthday.
American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation will be provided at this event. For other accommodations, email email@example.com or call (415) 831-6841 with at least 72 hours notice to help ensure availability.
Want to Volunteer for this event?
If you're interested in volunteering for this event, there are two shifts from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. and 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. that will support set up/breakdown and activities such as cookie decorations, the hockey shootout and more. Sign up to volunteer at this link.
Event details, including accessibility information
Point your phone's camera at the QR code below to get the event map on your phone
Driving to the event
Traffic will be heavy in and around Golden Gate Park during this event. If you drive, we recommend arriving early. Following is information about parking and passenger drop-off.
General information about driving to Golden Gate Park
You can find general information about driving to Golden Gate Park by visiting the Getting to Golden Gate Park by Car page on our website.
General and Accessible Parking
Information about general and accessible parking can be found on the Getting to Golden Gate Park by car page on our website.
Disability parking for the Tree Lighting event
There are existing blue zone parking spaces close to the event that are listed on the Getting to Golden Gate Park by car page on our website. In addition, we will be reserving parking for people with disabilities in the following locations:
- Eight (8) spaces at the McLaren Lodge Annex Lower Parking Lot at Fell and Stanyan Streets
- Fourteen (14) spaces on Nancy Pelosi and JFK in front of the Goldman Tennis Center
- Enter at the barricade at Nancy Pelosi and Bowling Green Drive
- Show your placard or license plate to the staff or Park Ranger for access
Paratransit, rideshare, taxis, and personal vehicles can drop off in passenger loading zones. Note that Paratransit will not be able to drop off inside the event. The closest passenger loading zone to the event is at the intersection of Nancy Pelosi Drive and Bowling Green Drive
Passenger Loading Zones
There will be a temporary passenger loading zone at Nancy Pelosi Drive And Bowling Green Drive, 450 feet from the JFK Promenade.
- There is an accessible passenger loading zone in front of the Goldman Tennis Center on Nancy Pelosi and JFK
- Show your placard or license to the staff or Park Ranger at the barricade at Nancy Pelosi and Bowling Green for access
General information about taking public transportation to Golden Gate Park can be found on the Getting to Golden Gate Park by Public Transit page on our website
- Bus lines that drop off near the event are listed below.
- 7, 33 to Haight and Stanyan
- 21 Hayes to Hayes and Stanyan
Free Bicycle Valet Parking
- Free bicycle valet parking will be provided by San Francisco Bicycle Coalition
- Bicycle parking will be located at the beginning of the Promenade at Kezar and JFK, near McLaren Lodge
Golden Gate Park Free Shuttle
The Golden Gate Park shuttle will run its regular schedule, with a modified route, the day of the event
- The shuttle will run normal hours from 12 noon-6 p.m.
- No shuttle service for these stops on 12/7:
- McLaren Lodge
- Tennis Center/Dhalia Dell
- Conservatory of Flowers
Click this link for a printable shuttle map for 12/7/23.
We will have two golf carts to assist people with mobility disabilities during the event. One golf cart will seat six people, and one will have a wheelchair ramp and can seat four people in addition to one person using a wheelchair
- Golf carts will assist people with mobility disabilities traveling between McLaren Lodge and the activities on the JFK Promenade
- Let a staff person know if you need a ride and they will contact the driver
JFK Promenade surface
The JFK Promenade is an asphalt surface that is mostly level and flat. There is a small uphill section of the Promenade between Kezar Drive and Conservatory Drive East. After you enter the event at this entrance, there is a gradual downhill portion of the promenade, leading to the section in front of Peacock Meadow, where the food court is located.
Front of Line wristbands
- Front of line wristbands, for children with disabilities who have difficulty waiting in lines, will be available at the stage at McLaren Lodge and at the information table at Nancy Pelosi Drive and JFK.
- Wristbands allow child with a disability and up to 5 companions to go to the front of the line for rides and activities
- Front of line wristbands may only be used once for each ride or activity
- Front of line wristbands may not be used for food truck lines
American Sign Language Interpretation
American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation will be available at the stage. If you need an interpreter at another area of the event, please come to the stage, or visit the information/first aid tent at Nancy Pelosi Drive and JFK.
Pets and Service and Support Animals
- This event will be very loud and very crowded. We recommend that you do not bring pets to this event. If your pet is aggressive or disruptive you may be asked to remove the pet.
- Service and support animals are always welcome. If your animal is aggressive or disruptive you may be asked to remove the animal
- ASL interpretation will be provided at the stage, which is front of the holiday tree at McLaren Lodge, at Stanyan and Fell.
- Seating will be reserved for ASL users with unobstructed viewing, close to the stage on the side where the interpreters are
- Space with unobstructed viewing will be reserved for wheelchair users and companions on the pathway facing the stage
- Elder Mother exhibit
- The Elder Mother exhibit is on the JFK Promenade, at the intersection of Conservatory Drive East. The exhibit is approximately 760’ from McLaren Lodge
- Carnival rides
- All carnival rides will be placed on the JFK Promenade, approximately 100’ east of Nancy Pelosi Drive. These temporary carnival rides offer limited accessibility. Visit the information booth, located at Nancy Pelosi Drive and JFK, to learn about individual rides and if transferring is possible
Archery will be located on the lawn west of McLaren Lodge. Mobi-mats will be used to create an accessible surface
Arts and crafts, cookie decorating, letters to Santa and the SF Library Book Mobile will be on JFK east of Conservatory Drive East, approximately 500’ from McLaren Lodge
- Hockey shoot-out and climbing wall will be located on JFK, west of Conservatory Drive East, approximately 650’ from McLaren Lodge or 550’ from Nancy Pelosi Drive
Food trucks will be located on JFK near Peacock Meadow, west of Conservatory Drive East, approximately 800’ from McLaren Lodge or 400’ from Nancy Pelosi Drive
Accessibility questions during the event
If you have questions about accessibility during the event, please visit the entertainment stage at McLaren Lodge or the information/first aid station at Nancy Pelosi Drive and JFK Promenade or look for a staff person with a radio.
For accommodations requests, please contact RPDAccess@sfgov.org or 415-831-6834. Please note that submitting your request at least 72 hours before the event will help ensure availability.