Inspiring Things to Do in San Francisco's Union SquareEmbrace 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 CitySituated 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 HotspotUnion 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 BoutiquesYou 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.