Union Square is a bustling public plaza in the Californian city of San Francisco. The neighbourhood is one of the world’s premier shopping districts and is home to some of the best theatres and dining experiences in the city. It’s central location, pavement side cafes, exclusive retailers and towering monuments attract visitors from all over the world every day.
Many visitors arrive in Union Square as they follow the Barbary Coast Trail. The trail is a walking tour of 20 historic sites in San Francisco marked by 180 bronze medallions embedded in the pavement. Those arriving in the square independently can take their time to discover sculptures and statues located in the centre and surrounding areas. Macy’s famous flagship store sits pride of place with enigmatic window displays tempting shoppers to discover their delights laid out over several floors. The 11 storey Tiffany Building is home to the renowned jewellers of the same name and is the regional headquarters of the Cathay Pacific airline. Fashionistas seeking iconic new season releases will be in their element as several designer boutiques and luxury retailers are nearby. Those who enjoy theatre performances can purchase show tickets in Union Square. Discounted rates are available for performances held on the same day. Walk north-east of the square and discover eclectic Chinatown with its famous Dragon Gate and some of the best Chinese food this side of Asia.
Reaching Union Square from other areas of San Francisco is easy. There are two cable car lines which stop on nearby Powell Street. There are a significant number of bus lines and trolley buses, and the F Market heritage streetcar drops visitors close to the plaza. In addition, MUNI metro and BART subway serves Union Square via Powell Street Station. Walking from Union Square to Pier 39, Embarcadero and the marina takes around half an hour. San Francisco’s lively Chinatown district is a mere 10 minutes’ walk.
Originally an area filled with sand dunes, Union Square was designated as local parkland in 1850. Built by John Geary, the city mayor of that time, the name Union Square comes from the pro-Union rallies which took place in the plaza on the evening before the Civil War. The attractive layout, multiple luxury shopping facilities, abundance of theatres and fine dining establishments ensures the square is a favourite on any visitor’s itinerary.