Energetic, chaotic, exciting—just a few words to describe the prestigious shopping blocks around Union Square; if there is a beating heart of the city, this is it. With stores ranging from high-end designers such as Burberry, Christian Dior and Chanel to more budget-friendly options such as Forever 21, Gap and H&M, Union Square has much to offer the fashion lover. Union Square has a great vibe, with an almost circus-like feel; with street performers and bustling crowds, the area's high energy certainly inspires its visitors. Located in the heart of the city, just a 15-minute walk from Chinatown and the Embarcadero, Union Square is a convenient stop on a tour of the city.
Not only is Union Square filled with numerous shops dedicated to clothing and accessories, but also a wide array of stores to suit every shopper's taste. Union Square is bursting with art galleries, both for viewing and buying pieces; for example, the family owned and operated Gallery 444 showcases only original prints, paintings, and sculptures. Several theatres, including the American Conservatory Theatre, offer visitors a cultural experience amidst the commotion of a daylong shopping excursion. Indeed, those looking for a break from shopping need not leave the area; numerous cafes, delis, restaurants, and ice cream shops line the streets. Some even offer visitors a bit of San Franciscan history along with delicious food; both Boudin Sourdough Café and Ghirardelli Chocolate Sweet Shop make their home in the Union Square area.
The square was built and dedicated in 1850 by the city's first American mayor, John Geary. Its name comes from the pro-Union rallies held there during the American Civil War; today, the term "Union Square" has come to describe more than just the square itself, but also encompasses the surrounding shops and restaurants.
Visitors and locals enjoy not only the enthusiastic shopping, but also the many events that take place in the square throughout the year, including concerts, art shows, protests, and the annual Christmas tree and Menorah lighting. Located just a five minute walk from the square near the Powell Street BART station, the iconic San Francisco trolley offers rides to both the young and the young at heart.
If you're up for fighting the crowds, spend an enjoyable day shopping, eating, and experiencing the city in Union Square.
BART Stop: Powell St. or Montgomery St.