Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco
There are loads of places to mooch around and get your holiday souvenirs on this lovely square although to be honest you are there for one reason, and one reason only, and that is the famous Ghirardelli chocolate.
Expect big queues at the weekend, if you want to sit inside, although the takeaway queue wasn't too bad. We had a Chocolate Fudge Sunday to share.
What to buy: The ice creams in the Ghirardelli Ice Cream shop have to be seen to be believed. When you enter the shop they normally give you a free sample of their chocolate.
We would have bought some for the folks back home, if we were not heading, in the car, to the heat of Death Valley. I don't think they would have survived in the trunk.
thanks to the italian immigrant who was a visionary enterpreneur, Domenico Ghirardelli, the Girardelli Square is A Landmark and a tribute to San Francisco's Pioneering Spirit. Gihardelli Chocolates are not produced here anymore although they still have demo machines.
What to buy: the hot fudge sundae at $ 8.00, the earthquake (8 scoops of luscious ice cream good gor 8 people) at $ 24.00 and the assorted candies and chocolate bars, yum!
Hours: Mon-Thu 9:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m.
Fri-Sat 9:00 a.m.-12:00 a.m.
Sun 9:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m.
What to pay: 8 bucks for a classic hot fudge sundae, 6 bucks for iced coffee, 20 bucks for a pound of chocolates.
900 N Point Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 441-2663 Richter's Music Boxes & Gifts
Neighborhood: Fisherman's Wharf
in Ghirardelli Square
Okay here goes. I worked here for about 8 years and have to say it has the best collection of music boxes outside of Italy. From high end reuge boxes from Sorrento Italy to the touristy favorite musical cable cars. There are dolls, handpainted Fedeskino Russian boxes, Lladro, figurines musical and otherwise. A vast array of collectible gifts to suite everyone's taste. It's been in Ghirardelli Square for over 30 years with a long established history within the city and around the world. People and yes celebrities alike, I've met many there shop on an annual basis for various occasions. It's not just music boxes but much more.
The salespeople are well educated, know their product and have been there for years. The manager has been there well over 25 years. The prices are not expensive and on certain items, high end, the staff is negotiable.
If you are ever looking for that perfect gift - you'll find it at Richter's. Talk to Julie the manager.
What to pay: ANywhere from $4.99 on up.
In a folder at the Square we read that "As the first successful mixed-use redevelopment project in the country, Ghirardelli Square has been a San Francisco landmark for many years." In our opinion that's quite true!
It officially opened a multi-level restaurant and became retail destination on November 29, 1964. In 1982 Ghirardelli Square was granted National Historic Register status to ensure its preservation for future generations.
Ghirardelli Square is a historic San Francisco destination and we wanted to visited it! It offers shopping San Francisco style, waterfront dining near Fisherman's Wharf, art galleries, family events, walking tours and more. We found out that it's on of San Francisco locals' favorite fun things to do in the city and why visitors like us love the square.
It's history is large and it's a long story to tell about Ghirardelli. Let's just say that Domingo Ghirardelli's business was growing that large that they he and his sons had to purchase an entire block of property for their headquarters in 1893 to acommodate the company's growth. Right here on North Point Street theybegan a rather spectacular building program that extended over 11 years. The final result was the current Ghirardelli Square. It's trully filled with history and does date back to the mid-1800s. Ghirardelli Square was the original site of the family's factories as well as home to many of its employees.
The Ghiradelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop at Ghiradelli Square was a real treat.
We had a chocolate milkshake each and it was easily the best milkshake we have ever had. It cost around $3.00 each including tax.
Next door is the chocolate shop. When we walked in we were given free samples of the Chocolate with a Caramel Centre and we were immediately hooked.
We then went on the spend a fortune on chocolate for friends, family and of course ourselves.
What to buy: Chocolate Milkshakes and anything else chocolate.
What to pay: $3.00 milkshake (approx) and chocolate gifts from around $5.00
Eating soup from a sour dough bread bowl .This is a must do when you are in San Francisco ,there are of course several places where you can buy this specialty here in Fisherman's Wharf
Boudin was the first one we saw ,we did not
eat there but this was a busy place for buying French sour dough bread.
Actually I have not understood this place, but I like it.
This is a closed area at the end of Fisherman's Wharf (see another tip in this category for location and directions), containing a couple of restaurants, one of them recommended by the Lonelyplanet guide but ridiculously expensive. I'm also good at recommending superexpensive restaurants saying that "there is an exclusive atmosphere". How useful.
A place to rest after the long walk (we reached Ghirardelli from the Coit Tower and, I ensure you, it's a loooong way.
The most interesting part we visited is located on the lower plaza. Right there we saw the original 1860 cast iron chocolate grinder from France and other chocolate making equipment which were still operating on a small scale in the Ghirardelli Chocolate Manufactory. We also had a great sandwich for lunch.
Furthermore we walked a part of the self guided historic tour which gave us a very good impression of the fact that the shops at Ghirardelli Square always strive to stay ahead of trents and it continues to update its merchant mix with new, one-of-a-kind shops and culinary experts from around the world.