For the past few years, construction of the City Creek Center took the glow off much of downtown Salt Lake City. That will change this year as the new shopping center will join The Gateway, Temple Square, the Downtown Alliance and the Gallivan Center in offering holiday events, traditions and decorations.
The holiday season at City Creek Center kicks off at 7 p.m. Thursday, when Santa will appear.
Mall owners have been working for more than a year to create holiday decorations around a lantern theme for the center's first Christmas season, said Linda Wardell, general manager.
Near the center's food court, Santa will sit in a 30-foot-tall lantern that weighs almost 2,000 pounds. Workers have placed throughout the center four storybook-themed lanterns, which contain dioramas featuring classic holiday stories, such as A Christmas Carol, The Nutcracker, The Night Before Christmas and The Twelve Days of Christmas.
A decorated tree will stand at Richards Court, and the center's fountains will be choreographed to "Let It Snow," "Carol of the Bells" and the theme from "The Nutcracker," with shows starting hourly.
Macy's is bringing back the traditional "candy windows" made popular by the old ZCMI department store. The decorated windows will also be unveiled Thursday.
The Gateway will offer new holiday decorations as well. A 50-foot spruce surrounded by smaller trees was placed Thursday around the Olympic Legacy Plaza fountain, which will be decorated with more than 600,000 lights that will be choreographed to the music during nightly water shows, said marketing director Rochelle Fraser.
Santa will arrive Saturday at The Gateway in a starlight mini-express train and will greet visitors at the south end of the center, near the shopping center's restaurants.
Lights at Temple Square are scheduled to be turned on at dusk on Friday, Nov. 23, and will be on display nightly through Jan. 1. The LDS Church-owned plaza will feature nativity scenes, lanterns and floating lights, as well as free concerts.
Linking all of the downtown festivities will be the Jingle Bus, a free bus that travels an endless loop to the Gallivan and City Creek centers, Temple Square and The Gateway. The bus will run nightly from 5 to 10 p.m., and guides will tell stories about the buildings and sights along the route, said Nick Como, communication director for the Downtown Alliance.
Twitter @tribtomwharton Lighting up downtown
City Creek • The holiday season at the downtown shopping center kicks off Thursday, Nov. 15, at 7 p.m. when Santa will appear on the rooftops of buildings before making his way to the Regent Court, where he will greet shoppers through the holidays.
Also • Visitors waiting to see Santa can provide a cellphone number, and then leave the area. They'll receive a text when their turns have arrived.
More • Two special Santa events are also planned. On Thursday, Nov. 29, from 2 to 8 p.m., Santa will be talking through American Sign Language. And a Santa paws event will take place Thursday, Dec. 6, from 6 to 9 p.m., where visitors can have their dogs' photos taken.
Temple Square • The annual lighting ceremony at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' iconic block will be at dusk Friday, Nov. 23. The lights will be lit until 10:30 nightly through Tuesday, Jan. 1.
Gallivan Center • The lights will be turned on Friday, Nov. 23, at 5:25 p.m.
More • New this year at the center is a Holiday Market, where invited vendors will sell locally made products. The market kicks off Friday, Nov. 23, and continues Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
Ice rink • The rink is scheduled to open at 6 p.m. nightly beginning Friday, Nov. 16. Call 801-535-6117 for information.
The Gateway • The shopping center's Starry Starry Nights Spectacular kicks off on Saturday, Nov. 17, with a concert featuring Kurt Bestor and the One Voice Children's Choir. More than 600,000 lights, choreographed to the music of the Olympic Legacy Fountain, will be turned on nightly, with fountain shows at 5, 6, 7 and 8 p.m. The lights will stay lit through Tuesday, Jan. 1.
More • New this year is a Holiday Market, Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Vendors will be offering locally made products.