We visited Ghiraldelli square just because we wanted to taste the famous Chocolate store. The square took its name of Domingo Ghirardelli that took the square in 1893 and made here the base for the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company. You can still see the big signs with the factory’s name but the company moved to San Leandro in the 60s but although the first plan for the square was to turn into an apartment building it became a complex of restaurant and shops. One of them is the Ghirardelli Chocolate store with lot of nice chocolates in many sizes and shapes.
Anyway, some of the chocolate samples we tasted were good and also the famous icecream sundaes from the ice cream shop which was great but we got disappointed of the surrounded area, as I said it is just full of shops and restaurants. We had our breakfast at Lori’s Diner, we enjoyed the view and continued walking east towards Pier 39. If you are short on time there’s no reason to come here but it was ok for us that wanted to buy a box of chocolates and visit the National Maritime Museum which is near.
The world famous Ghiradelli Square is a mecca for the true chocolate lover, though just for the record the square is not actually made of chocolate, though it might as well be as there is a Ghiradelli chocolate shop and ice cream parlor that serves decadent ice cream treats smothered in Ghiradelli's finest. For those who aren't big chocolate lovers there are other places in the square that are not chocolate related like McCormicks Seafood which overlooks the bay and has excellent seafood dishes. The Square itself is beautifully done and of course is highlighted by the easily recognizable Ghiradelli sign that towers over the square. Located just a few blocks away from Fishermen's Wharf the locations is hard to beat as well. There is also a park and small beach in front of the Square.
Are you in the mood for a chocolate boost, ice cream and/or sundaes? This is the place to go. iconic, long lines but still good despite the cost. Still crowded and sometimes hard to find a seat indoors. Ghirardelli Square is an absolutely beautiful square with a nice view of Fisherman's Wharf and historical feel to it. The smell of chocolate is absolutely tantalizing!
In 1893, Domingo Ghirardelli purchased the entire city block in order to make it into the headquarters of the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, By the 1960's, the manufacturing operations moved to a new facility in nearby San Leandro. When word got out that the old factory might be sold in order to make way for condominiums, the community was galvanized and, through the generosity of wealthy San Franciscans who purchased the property, it was transformed into what is now Ghirardelli Square, a combination of history, shops, and fine eating establishments. Now a preserved historic landmark, Ghirardelli Square remains faithful to its roots - a small manufacturing facility still operates on the grounds, and an original chocolate grinder from France, bought by Domenico in 1860, is on display. the rest they say is History! hence it became an Icon of Chocolate in San Francisco!
Ghiradelli Sqaure is Currently under Renovation
Although there are some interesting restaurants clustered about Ghirardelli Square, we were drawn there for the chocolate confections.
As we bumped our way through the store, passing crowded tables laden with chocolate candy in see-through bags trimmed with bright ribbons, I selected an assortment for us and some dark chocolate pieces for my mother--my kindred spirit in all things chocolate!(picture 2)
Meanwhile, our grandson stepped into the ice cream line, which seemed to go on and on, out the door and then some. After a time, he received his mounded Cookies and Cream waffle cone (which by the way, was cheaper than that at Fisherman's Wharf) and we all settled at a patio table to rest our feet.
Soon, a pigeon wandered over and seemed very interested in our grandson's treat. He ripped a small piece from the cone and tossed it to the ground in front of the bird. In no time at all, other pigeons arrived, probably thinking "Ah-ha, maybe we'll get a hand-out, too!". With each small token tossed to the ground, more and more pigeons arrived. See our grandson, the 'bird whisperer' of Pennsylvania...hee,hee!(picture 3)
Ghirardelli Square is the home of Domenico "Domingo" Ghirardelli's chocolate factory which began in San Francisco around 1849. The Ghirardellis purchased the area now known as Ghirardelli Square in 1893, and the buildings at the site were constructed between 1899 and 1915. When Ghirardelli Chocolates was bought out and moved to San Leandro, local businessmen bought the square and converted it to retail shops and restaurants in 1964. This is widely considered the first adaptive reuse project in the US.
OK, Ghirardelli Square is a very popular tourist spot in San Francisco so I think you might already have heard of it if you are planning a trip to the city.
In short, it used to be a chocolate factory and the complex now houses a bunch of shops, restaurants, cafes and the chocolate shop of the Ghirardelli company.
There are two things that I like to do at the square:
1. Sit on a bench as the sun go down and listen to the saxophone player at the square; and
2. Eat ice cream sundaes with my friends :)
Do eat the ice cream sundae ... my mom sells ice cream for a living so let's just say I know ice cream :)
Ghirardelli Square is a one square block complex of shops and restaurants at the north end of Fisherman’s Wharf. The square was once the headquarters for the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company. Now it houses a set of boutique shops and restaurants including a retail store that sells the Ghirardelli chocolate brand. It now has National Historic Landmark status.
Here are you can view the making of dark brown chocolate of Ghirardelli fame while eating some. There are many great shops and galleries and restaurants waiting to be discovered inside the Square and building.
Here is the story behind this chocolate factory from the official webiste:
"Domingo Ghirardelli - Born in Rapallo, Italy in 1817, Domenico "Domingo" Ghirardelli learned about the confectionery and chocolate trade by the time he was 20. Uruguay and Peru were the first places he set up shop -- but tales of the Gold Rush were irresistible. In 1848, Domingo's neighbor, James Lick, packed up $25,000, 600 pounds of Ghirardelli chocolate and sailed for the San Francisco Bay. A year later, Domingo followed him through the Golden Gate. "
Located not far from Fisherman's Wharf is Ghirardelli Square. It is home to some of the finest views, galleries, boutiques, restaurants and special events that San Francisco has to offer. The most famous brand of American chocolate, Ghirardelli Chocolate, has its main branch at this location.
OK, maybe this isn't necessarily a "must see" for everyone visiting San Francisco - but it is a "must see" for CHOCOLATE LOVERS visiting San Francisco!
Ghirardelli Square may impart a bit of that touristy feel (same one you get when you're at Fisherman's Wharf) but you can console yourself by knowing that you are standing in front of a series of preserved and restored buildings that are on the National Historic Register.
That, plus the great views you have of the City and the Bay - are only topped off by a trip into the chocolate factory itself where you can see the chocolate being made (by the way, Domenico Ghirardelli patented something known as the "Broma Process" - a process to make dry, powdered chocolate - the first of its kind in the confectionary industry).
If you have a moment, drop by the official website to learn more about the man who started the Ghirardelli empire and how it has evolved from the Gold Rush Days.
World famous chocolates and boutique shopping. We came for the chocolate and to sit by the water fountains. Tons of tourists and something we did to mark off our list of things to do. We walked from Fisherman's Wharf and enjoyed walking up the steep hill to Ghiradelli's Square
Though currently no more than a series of cute shops in a great location, Ghirardelli Square was ahead of its time when in 1964, the former site of Italian immigrant Domingo Ghirardelli’s success story chocolate factory, was recycled into a shopping mall. The atmospheric brick building at least looks like a structure that would be in the Wharf area around the turn of the century and besides who can resist tasting the city’s great chocolate in such a setting.
This is an excellent place to take a break while touring Fisherman's Wharf, Hyde Pier, the Maritime Museum, or any of the other museums in this part of the city. Here, one can shop, eat, or just watch the crowds.
We just stopped here to take some pictures and take a quik tour while we were on our way to the wharf. We bought some chocolate and immediately ate it. I believe that Ghirardelli is a place were you must go, however, don't spend a lot of time there.
Behind Aquatic park is where you'll find Ghirardelli Sq, a nice romantic area to walk about to go shopping for souvenoirs, have a nice dinner with the view of the San Francisco Bay, and to go for a pleasant walk along the shores.
Pictured here is the view of the Square from the shores. The windows with the nice view is McCormick and Culettos, a nice touristy restaurant where you can eat Cioppino (a San Franciscan Italian Dish) with Sourdough bread and enjoy an amazing view of the Bay.
During May, you'll see many young teenagers dressed up as this is the time of the Senior and Junior Proms, high school traditions where kids dress up and go out dancing.
Around Xmas time, it is beautifully lit up with colored lights and decorations. The peaceful brick walkways are wonderfully designed and if you have a sweet tooth can get in the long lines with tourists to purchase one of the various chocolate ice cream dishes they serve there.
On Sunday afternoons and late mornings, you may come across a group of Caribbean Looking fellows spontaneously meeting to provide some nice bongo latin percussion.
And after dinner, you can go to the Buena Vista bar, incidently two movies were filmed in that bar, "When A Man Loves a Woman" where Meg Ryan's character meets Andy Garcia, and "Your, Mine, and Ours" where the widowerer man play by Henry Fonda with 8 children goes on a date with the widowed woman he met on Alameda Base (Lucille Ball) for a drink.