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We always seem to manage to show friends Ghirardelli Square since it’s on the way from Fisherman’s Warf to the start of the Cable car. There is always something going on here, plus they always seem to be giving away chocolate samples,
This National Historic Landmark property dates from 1864, when it served as a factory making Civil War uniforms, but it's best known as the former chocolate and spice factory of Domingo Ghirardelli. The factory has since been converted into a three-level mall containing 50-plus stores and 11 dining establishments. Scheduled street performers entertain regularly in the West Plaza and fountain area.
A clock tower, an exact replica of the one at France's Château de Blois, crowns the complex. Inside the tower, on the mall's plaza level, is the fun Ghirardelli soda fountain. It still makes and sells small amounts of chocolate, but the big draw is the old-fashioned ice-cream parlor. (Got a late-night craving? The place stays open until midnight on Fri and Sat. Visitors can ask for a free walking- tour map at the information booth at the west end of Fountain Plaza, and discount visitor passes are available from the Square's Website. The tour is a self-guided trip through the Square which gives you a glimpse of history from a geographical point of view. Many national chain stores are located here. The hottest attraction, however, is restaurant Ana Mandara. Main plaza shops' and restaurants' hours vary, with extended hours during the summer.
Most of the redbrick buildings in this early-20th-century complex were part of the Ghirardelli chocolate factory. Now they house name-brand emporiums, tourist-oriented restaurants, and galleries that sell everything from crafts and knickknacks to sports memorabilia. Placards throughout the square describe the factory's history.
If you have a sweet tooth...
Located close to Fisherman's Wharf.
If you are fond of chocolates, this is one place you MUST visit. The Ghirardelli Chocolate Shop located here has numerious varieties of chocolates that melt in your mouth and keep you craving for more.. that's Ghirardelli chocolates for you. There is also an ice-cream shop alongside the chocolate shop. Come with a nice apetite to make most of the place!
Sometimes, you'd find an artist playing by the fountain in the square. Good place to rest a while, savor chocolates and relax to some good music and ambience.
- Family Travel
Just off of the wharf is another square that has a big draw. Ghirardelli is known for its chocolate. Here, you can buy those chocolate bars you will soon be accustomed to seeing. The chocolate factory has long since moved away from the waterfront, but the goods are still there. This is also a good area to enjoy some ice cream. this spot is s must see for anyone with a sweet tooth. Even if you do not eat a lot of sweets, you probably know someone who does, and they would surely like something from here.
- Family Travel
Ghirardelli Square - the chocolate factory
Many people know about Fisherman's Wharf,
but just up the hill at the west end is a place
that I like better, Ghirardelli Square. It was once
a chocolate factory & is now a beautiful area
of shops and restaurants. From McCormick
and Kuleto's Seafood Restaurant , you will
have a lovely view of the bay. For dessert, you
can go to the Ghirardelli Ice Cream Parlor and
Chocolate Store for a hot fudge sundie & a
delicious box of chocolates to take home.
and they told us to see Ghiardelli Square, so we did that too.
The day we were at the square it was Navy Week, and had a vantage point watching the aerial displays they flew straight in front of us, it was wonderful. Then we sat in the square for a cool drink we had with us, and just people watched. It was so peaceful when the planes had gone.
Ghirardelli Square was once a chocolate factory, it has three levels of shops and restaurants including, of course, the famous Ghirardelli Chocolate Store. People hang out here by the fountain after walking up and down through the shops.
At the far western end of Fisherman's Wharf, you'll find this old woollen mill that was purchased by Domenico Ghiradelli who used it as a manufacturing base for his delicious chocolate empire. Today, it's a large commercial space with lots of shops and of course, a Ghiradelli shop to buy some chocolates.
It's Very San Francisco
Ghirardelli Square is a historic San Francisco destination for shopping, Waterfront dining, art galleries, family events and of course enjoying a sweet piece of famous gourmet Ghirardelli chocolate!!! :-)
- Historical Travel
The best chocolate in the world exists in Belgium, though the best chocolate in the U.S. exists at Ghiradelli. I was glad to see another person recommend hot chocolate. I had the BEST hot chocolate ever while there. I guess that would not be so good on a hot day...
A retail complex overlooking the bay, Ghirardelli Square features shopping, galleries, and restaurants.
The most popular highlight of the square is it's namesake, the Ghirardelli Chocolate Manufactory and Soda Fountain. You can tour the manufactory or just treat yourself to a hot fudge sundae. There was a long line to get a sundae, but an employee was at the door handing out free samples of the chocolate bars :-)
- Family Travel
It used to be a chocolate factory. They still sell Ghirardelli chocolates all around. This place is near Fisherman's Wharf. There's a nice fountain and some shops. If you don't have lots of time don't bother going.
This was a great victorian style square where I went to the chocolate factory and really enjoyed the menu!! Everything is recommended especially the hot chocolate. The other shops were worth a look around too.
Forget all the other shopping or dining you can do. Head straight for the Ghirardelli shop where you can get a free sample of their yummy yummy chocolate. There's more than one shop in the square which gives out these free samples so be sure to check them all. Then go back to the square again later when hopefully the staff has changed so they won't remember that you've already been there for your free sample. You've got to be pretty strong willed to not buy some tho after you've tasted their chocolates.
Also, the Ghirardelli chocolates are cheapest at the square. Don't buy them in a tourist gift shop. If you want to try one of their sundaes, grab a city map with bunch of coupons on it from the visitor centers to get a $1 off. Be ready to wait in a line tho to get in.
Leave Room for Ice Cream at Ghiradelli Square
While at Ghiradelli Square, you must visit the sweet shop. In addition to a huge selection of Ghiradelli chocolate bars and other treats, the adjacent restaurant has many huge ice cream creations. The hardest part after choosing what to order is to actually finish eating your dessert!!
The Domingo Ghirardelli family produced chocolate here from 1893 until the early 1960s. Now Ghirardelli Square is the finest of the warehouse malls in San Francisco, with great views of the bay, landscaped gardens, and 60 shops and restaurants, including a don't-miss classic ice-cream parlor.
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