Inspiring Things to Do in San Francisco's Union Square
Embrace the vibrant swirl of San Francisco in Union Square, a multi-sensory introduction to the brilliant culture and incredible life of the city. Listen to the sound of historic cable cars rolling past as you watch street musicians play. Stroll under palm trees to fine French restaurants and enjoy a Broadway show. Love to shop? Welcome to your paradise – Union Square is the largest shopping district in the entire Bay Area. Get to know our dynamic neighborhood and discover all of the amazing things to do in San Francisco's Union Square.
Union Square: A Historic Plaza in the Heart of the City
Situated in the epicenter of San Francisco, Union Square's central plaza has been a public gathering place since the mid-1800s. It covers 2.6 acres and is bordered by Powell, Geary, Post, and Stockton Streets – and it features excellent public transportation connections to the rest of the city. Union Square is a hubbub of activity in every season, with ice skating in the winter, tulips in the spring, and a huge variety of celebrations year-round. Taking its name from the Union rallies that were held here on the eve of the Civil War, Union Square is a designated California Historical Landmark. Stand in the middle by the statue of Nike (the Greek goddess of victory) and try to picture the square like it used to be: a sand dune. Union Square started life as a giant sand dune, then became a baseball game sandlot, then a Gold Rush campground, and finally – the city's most exciting and stylish neighborhood.
Union Square: A Neighborhood & Cultural Hotspot
Union Square is much more than one plaza; it's an entire neighborhood whose attractions over-spilled the edges of the central square long ago. The term "Union Square" refers to the actual city plaza of Union Square as well as the neighborhood that surrounds this plaza, stretching out for two to four blocks in every direction. It's the largest shopping district in the entire Bay Area, with department stores, designer boutiques, flagship retailers, art galleries, gift shops, and just about everything under the sun. Vibrant and cosmopolitan, Union Square is also a hotbed for theaters, bars, and restaurants – and it's one of the most popular destinations for travelers who are visiting the city.
Epic Shopping in Union Square: From Department Stores to Designer Boutiques
You could spend a lifetime shopping in Union Square. The retail offerings here never seem to end, and you can find antiques, major national brands, exclusive designers, fine jewelry, and home decor. Some of our favorite shopping destinations include:
- Macy's – Covering an entire city block, this massive department store is a destination all its own, especially during the holidays when the window displays go all out to catch shoppers' attention.
- Westfield Shopping Centre – Anchored by Bloomingdale's and Nordstrom, this nine-story mall features a beautiful domed atrium, a huge underground food court, and almost 200 different stores and restaurants.
- Saks Fifth Avenue – Shop for posh fashion finds and homewares at this upscale department store, which focuses on designer brands.
- Maiden Lane – Wander along this pedestrianized side alley to shop at designer boutiques and art galleries. See street artists and enjoy the stroll – that's what Maiden Lane is all about. Be sure to check out the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home at 140 Maiden Lane.
- Neiman Marcus – Slip inside this famous department store for a glimpse of its gorgeous rotunda and stained-glass ceiling.
- Stand-Alone Stores – You'll find plenty of these, too, including Apple, Guess, Tiffany's, H&M, Urban Outfitters, Sur La Table, and Williams-Sonoma.
Be Entertained in San Francisco's Theater District: Broadway, Concerts, Shows
Union Square is also the hub of the city's theatrical community, especially on its western side. Geary Street is home to the Curran Theatre and the American Conservatory Theatre, two huge and highly acclaimed venues that host a wide range of contemporary and classical performances. Enjoy smaller, more intimate shows at the Custom Made Theater Co, Un-Scripted Theater Company, and San Francisco Playhouse. You can buy day-of tickets (at half-price) for many shows in the area at Tix Bay Area, a ticket booth located in Union Square Plaza. You'll also find giant cinemas with stadium seating, indie film houses, and an endless array of bars and clubs for late-night fun.
Connect with Authentic San Francisco at Our Union Square Boutique Hotel
Explore all of the incredible things to do in San Francisco's Union Square with a one-of-a-kind travel experience at Hotel Nikko
. Our Asian-inspired hotel is situated at Mason Street and O'Farrell Street in the Union Square neighborhood, just one block away from Union Square Plaza. It's an easy stroll to all of the area's charms, from the shopping centers and boutiques to the theaters, restaurants, and nightlife. But our perfect location in Union Square is just the beginning. Discover a beautifully designed, recently renovated urban oasis with extras that you won't find anywhere else – like a glass-enclosed rooftop pool, a dog run, and enticing cuisine at ANZU and Kanpai Lounge. Relax in a sumptuous room or suite and feel completely taken care of by our thoughtful and attentive staff. We want to show you what San Francisco is all about, and the very best place to experience the authentic city is right here at Hotel Nikko at Union Square.