Discover the Adventure
San Francisco's Union Square

Union Square is the Heart of San Francisco

As Portsmouth Square is the Heart of Chinatown, and Huntington Park is the Heart of Nob Hill, Union Square Park is definitely the Heart of San Francisco!

Art Faire on the Square by Wolf RosenbergArt Faire on the Square by Wolf Rosenberg

The park dates back to the Civil War era and, in fact, was named for the numerous and frequent pro-union rallies and demonstrations that took place there during that period.

Today, Union Square in San Francisco is more than just the 2.6 acre plaza that's bordered by Stockton, Powell, Post, and Geary Streets.

First and foremost, it's The City's major shopping area, an important cultural center, and San Francisco's main theater district, and it extends for many blocks beyond the plaza.

Union Square Shopping

The San Francisco Union Square shopping district is where the elite meet to shop and the "ladies who lunch" come to do lunch!

Here are just some of the stores you'll find surrounding the plaza itself:

  • The largest Macy's outside of New York City with several floors of clothing, jewelry, housewares, shoes, cosmetics...
  • A beautiful Neiman Marcus with its elegant rotunda and stained-glass ceiling high above you - both of which were part of the Gold Rush Era City of Paris store...
  • Gucci's - always unique for product and service...
  • Arthur Beren's designer shoe store...
  • Saks Fifth Avenue, with six floors of sophisticated and elegant shopping...
  • Some great stores are just off the plaza on side streets, like Gumps Department Store which has been around since 1861, and Xanadu Gallery on Maiden Lane (it's in San Francisco's only Frank Lloyd Wright building)...
  • At one end of the plaza you'll find a lovely little restaurant with outdoor seating called Emporio Rulli - order a coffee and pastry, or a glass of wine and something a little more substantial, and do some serious people watching...
  • At the other end of the plaza you'll find TIX where you can purchase same day, half-price tickets for plays and shows...
  • And the plaza itself often provides entertainment in the form of artists' booths, or musical and dance performances; once we ran across a bunch of people with torn and dirty clothing, bloody bandages, etc. - turned out there was a city-wide disaster preparedness exercise of some sort going on that day!

Union Square Highlights

SF Cable Car on Wheels by Wolf RosenbergSF Cable Car on Wheels by Wolf Rosenberg

Surrounding this San Francisco attraction you'll also find:

  • Galleries of fine arts - Xanadu for tribal arts; Christopher Clark Fine Art for Chagalls, Picassos, and Toulouse-Lautrecs...
  • Hotels that range from the small and quaint boutique (alĂ  the King George Hotel), to the personality-plus (Sir Francis Drake with it's London Beefeater-clad doorman), to the luxury-endowed (The Westin St. Francis with its world-class service)...
  • Restaurants like John's Grill (of Maltese Falcon fame), The Rotunda at Neiman Marcus (a good "ladies who lunch" spot), or Daily Grill (comfortable and clubby)...

And there's theater - the Union Square area is San Francisco's premier theater district:

  • Catch a local production at A.C.T. (the American Conservatory Theater), or ATSF (Actors Theatre of San Francisco)...
  • Or how about a traveling Broadway or Off-Broadway show at the historic Alcazar Theatre...
  • Or musical productions like Voca People and Ballroom with a Twist at Marines' Memorial Theatre...

You'll find your choices for on any given evening are myriad, including everything from experimental and fringe theatre to full-on Broadway musical productions like Lion King, The Phantom of the Opera, and Wicked!

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