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Most of the visitors stay in a hotel near Union Square so you will walk around here sooner or later. It’s the touristic center and also the epicenter of a larger shopping area with many famous upscale stores located around the square, some famous malls like Macy’s (facing the square, it’s the biggest department store on the east coast) but also some five stars hotels. We didn’t do any shopping here because we had to protect our wallets and credit cards from the outrageous prices but we enjoyed a coffee at Maiden Lane (pic 5), a small side street with some cafes, restaurants and art galleries. During the Gold Rush era it was just a home for prostitutes though! Don’t get confused because of the name. It was given to the street after the big earthquake (the former name was Morton street). The square also houses the TIX booth, the ideal place to buy half price tickets for plays and shows. As the area is full of tourists no surprise the big number of beggars around.
The history of the square goes back to 1849 when the first mayor of the city created this public square. The name came from the protests that took place around here for the Union of USA during the civil war. In the center of the square the Dewey Monument goes up to 30m (pics 1-2). It was built in 1903 to celebrate the victory of George Dewey against the Spanish navy in Manilla bay (1898)
Union Square is a focal point of downtown San Francisco. You'll find a bunch of upscale shops and hotels right around the square as well a major transportation hub for the city. In the center is a nearly 100 foot Corinthian column dedicated to Admiral Dewey (commander of US Naval during Spanish American War).
The heart of San Francisco's downtown since 1850, the 2½-acre square takes its name from the violent pro-union demonstrations staged here before the Civil War. It was named to show San Francisco's support for Lincoln's army. The square's palm trees were planted about the same time. At center stage is a 97-foot Corinthian column, the Victory Monument. This winged female victory symbol was modeled after sugar heiress Anna Spreckles and dedicated was dedicated by Theodore Roosevelt in 1903 to Admiral George Dewey's Philippine victory during the Spanish-American War. The area is also home to San Francisco's poshest hotels, its small but vibrant theater district, and some of the city's finest restaurants
After the earthquake and fire of 1906, the square was dubbed Little St. Francis because of the temporary shelter erected for residents of the St. Francis Hotel. Actor John Barrymore, the grandfather of actress Drew Barrymore and a notorious carouser, was among the guests pressed into volunteering to stack bricks in the square. His uncle, thespian John Drew, remarked, "It took an act of God to get John out of bed and the United States Army to get him to work."
In July 2002, after 18 months and $25 million a new Union Square's was unveiled. What remains of the old square are the palm trees and an underground parking structure. Almost everything else is clean and new, designed to discourage sleepers and skateboarders and encourage a bit of relaxation. Flowering trees and hedges intersperse with benches, making the entire square a pleasant, sunny place for an outdoor lunch. An open-air stage (large enough to comfortably fit an orchestra), a café, gardens, and a visitor information booth draw visitors to the square. On the eastern edge, TIX Bay Area provides half-price day-of-performance tickets to all types of performing-arts events, as well as regular full-price box-office services.
"The city that knows how." William Howard Taft
Union Square is hotbed of activity in San Francisco. Famed for it's luxurious shopping facilites, restaurants and cafés, amateur dance performances and musicians take center stage here, with throngs of revellers onlooking. Around the square, you can find big American retail names such as Macy's, Ralph Lauren, Gap and Levi's. Close by is the three level Crocker Galleria on Post Street, where more exclusive brands can be found. In both these areas, I found staff to be friendly and welcoming, my favourite store being Levi's, where the very camp staff bent over backwards to help you - and what an awesome, cheerfull bunch they were. If you're into your denim goods, I suggest you check out the downstairs customising section, if like me you are desperate for a really good, uniquely fitted pair of jeans! This area is also home to the cultural and artistic side of San Francisco - with Geary, Post and Sutter Street being the main three. Along here, you can find a variety of art galleries, accomodating for both old classic and more contemporary works. Take a look in a few as they really capture the essence of San Francisco's laid-back, artsy culture. Another recommendation for furniture or antique buyers is Gump's, a San Francisco institution selling beautiful items, in my eyes definetely worth looking around. If you're looking for more quirky goods, head to Maiden Lane, a little alley where you can find a wider variety of boutiques and bistros. Plus perhaps the best thing about Union Square...no hills!!
- Luxury Travel
Union Square is the heart of the city's shopping district. Many of San Francisco's largest department stores can be found here, names like Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Levis. On the west side lies the famous Westin St. Francis hotel. The square is named after the big pro-Union rallies that were held here during the Civil War of 1861-1865. In the center of the square there is a statue of Victory, on top of a tall column. It's called the Dewey Monument, which commemorates Admiral Dewey's victory at Manilla during the Spanish-American war of 1898. The square has been redesigned recently; now it's almost only concrete and stone, with a few green touches. There is one caffe in the square where you can buy a coffe and sip it in the sun while enjoying the display of architecture around you and the people going by. On weekends local artists display their paintings here.
Union Square-the place for shopping in SF
Here's Union Square, in the center of San Francisco. You'll find lots of places to shop there. The big store is Macy's-one of their biggest stores, in the background-but there's lots more too. It's also got a Disney Store-they were promoting a Disney TV show last time I was there. Union Square can be quite crowded-it not only has lots of stores, but several theaters are a block or two away, plus plenty of restaurants and bars.
If you're in town during the holidays, stop by to see the Christmas tree. One night right before Christmas, a teen chorus sang some Christmas carols there-it really got me in the holiday spirit.
Union Square is one of the more touristy areas of San Francisco. I found it doesn't really give that "local feel". Still, there's so much to do there that you can't avoid it.
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
Union Square is San Francisco's main shopping and cultural area. This neighborhood is named after the park called Union Square that was created in 1850. The area contains numerous theaters, art galleries, luxury hotels, and the end of the Mason and Hyde Street cable car line. I like the area's variety of restaurants and nightlife including areas such as the Little French Quarter and the numerous top-floor restaurants and lounges of the area. I was surprised to see that Union Square is the city's fourth most frequented tourist destination after Fishermans Wharf, Chinatown, and the Golden Gate Bridge.
Union Square itself is bordered by Geary, Powell, Post and Stockton Streets, and was a popular place for pro-Union rallies prior to the Civil War. The area was decimated by the 1906 earthquake then rebuilt to the general size and shape you see today. The park was again reconstructed in the 1940s when a parking garage was built under the square and the park replaced at ground level on the garage's roof. In 2000 the park was again modernized with repairs made to the garage, and the park resurfaced mostly with stone and concrete rather than grass.
San Francisco's upscale shopping mecca. Surrounding Union Square are the finest hotels, restaurants and stores. Gucci, Louis Vitton, Coach, Cartier, Disney Store, Macy's, Neiman Marcus and much more. Shop till you drop or until your wallet is empty. Artisans usually ply their ware in the square on weekends.
Ritzy And Fun
Union Square is a shopping mecca that has a little something for every price range from free outdoor movies on select summer nights, half price ticket booth, to Tiffany’s. Since free is a great price, check out free MP3 tours of Union Square (www.geogad.com) that you can download. They point out the interesting attractions and historic trivia that is all around this area. You can find some great, inexpensive restaurants and cafes. For the best views and people watching, try Emporio Rulli. It is a very European style cafe that sits on an exclusive corner of the Union Square park itself. On a beautiful sunny day, it does not get much better than this. If you want to continue the European cafe theme, try Cafe de la Press right outside the Chinatown gate on Grant and Bush. It is pricey, but it has international newspapers that can make ex-pats feel at home. Of course, when you are in Union Square, you are right next to scenic cable cars that can take you from Union Square to Fisherman’s Wharf. While in Union Square, visit the pricey hotels around the square and the surrounding blocks to see how the upper crust live, which can be mighty entertaining all by itself. Locals know that one of the best places to kick back and enjoy some peaceful surfing on the Net while downing some quality coffee is on the second floor of the Borders at 400 Post St. Google has a free WiFi hot spot that covers the Border’s upstairs cafe. Bring your laptop and flip through a stack of books and magazines.
Walk by and shop
Union Square, one of San Francisco's main retail and cultural centers, also refers to the actual park bordered by Geary, Powell, Post and Stockton streets. Set aside as a park in 1850 and named before the start of the Civil War as a tribute to the frequent demonstrations in support of the Union troop, the park got a major renovation and restoration in 2002.
You can just buy yourself a coffee and sit there for people watching or walk among the nearby streets where all major fashion shops are located.This is also San Francisco's main theater district, with some historic, beautiful buildings housing the performances. Shows range from traveling Broadway and off-Broadway shows on limited runs to smaller local productions.
Shop 'til you drop!
The Union Square area is mostly known as San Francisco's shopping district. All the big department stores can be found on the streets that border the Union Square Plaza, along with some upscale boutiques and plenty of more affordable stores. Many of the city's most popular hotels are also located around Union Square, mostly thanks to its central location and easy access to public transportation. Union Square itself, a lively plaza at the center of which stands the Victory monument, is a fun place to hang out. We once stopped for lunch at the Emporio Rulli Caffe (http://www.rulli.com/il_caffe.php), located right on the Square. We enjoyed a nice salad and a good glass of wine on their outdoor terrace and had fun watching people walk around with their arms full of shopping bags! I too did my very best to do the whole shopping thing one evening. I even found a store - Forever 21 - that I really liked, but I quickly realized that it's a bit difficult for someone of my height and size to shop in the US, nothing fits! Thank goodness there was a Ghirardelli Chocolate store and a huge Borders bookstore to save the day - in the end I came back to our hotel with plenty of chocolate squares and four new novels :o)
Union Square has just received a $25 million facelift. For a review of the history of Union Square, please visit the attached link below.
Union Square is surrounded by major shopping centers and hotels. It is a cool place to sit down for people watching after shopping or dinner in the area.
Union Square - a good place to meet or chill out!
Union Square is a very central plcae in San Francisco.
The square itself is modelled off an Italian Piazza and a good effort has been made to make this place interesting and worthy of a place to chill out in.
On one side is the St. Francis Hotel - very up market and swanky place. Don't let that stop you having a coffee inside, it's a bit pricey but very good!
Macy's is also along one side of Union Square and so I'm told is one of the best Macy's in the US. The top floor is The Cheesecake Factory :-)
The square itself has a modern feel with interesting street lighting and a monument in the middle. There are often art fairs that can help you while away some time.
Ruth Asawa Fountain at 345 Stockton Street
Just off Union Square, at 345 Stockton Street in the plaza of the Grand Hyatt Hotel is a very curious bronze fountain that exhibits a seemingly chaotic mixture of San Francisco elements. This is one of several Ruth Asawa fountains in town, actually. The molds for this bronze sculpture were created from 41 separate panels that Asawa had made from baker's clay. Inviting children and friends to help, she includes in this fountains many of the geographic and unreal elements that make up San Francisco. Asawa was a very proflic contributor of art in the Bay Area and a professor of art at UC Berkeley. The link below describes more about her life.
- Arts and Culture
- Family Travel
Since we were staying in the Union Square area, our 1st day we had a walk through the area to see the few things that our guidebook said were must sees, we weren't interested in any of the high end shopping but we did stop to see some of the architectural sights along the way. Someone likened Union Square to Chicago's Magnificent Mile (Michigan Avenue) but they didn't strike me as being similar at all, I didn't see anywhere near the volume of people in Union Square that you see on Chicago's main shopping stretch, perhaps we were a bit early for the "ladies who lunch" as we were there around 10 am.
Picture 1-140 Maiden Lane is the only Frank Lloyd Wright building in San Francisco, it now houses an art gallery, the interior curving ramp is said to be the model for the Guggenheim in NYC.
Picture 2-Lotta's Fountain, named for gold rush era performer Lotta Crabtree who was showered with gold and silver after she performed, she gave the city this fountain in 1875, at the intersection of 3rd, Market, Kearny and Geary Sts.
Picture 3-Halladie Building, named for cable car inventor William Halladie, notable for the glass curtain exterior wall, located at 130 Sutter Street between Kearny and Montgomery
Picture 4-Union Square, a nice open air spot with a cafe and on the day we were there, an art fair
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