Union Square: A San Francisco Shopping District
Union Square is bounded by Stockton, Geary, Powell, and Post Streets. The Union Square district stretches beyond the actual Square on these and adjacent streets. Early planning of the city highlighted Union Square as a planned, public, open space.
Union Square was dedicated in the era of the Civil War and the name “Union Square” responded to the space as a rallying point for supporters of the Union cause. In 1941 the first underground parking garage was opened underneath, turning the plaza into the “roof” of the garage. Renovated in the early 2000’s, this is the location of the City’s annual Christmas Tree and Menorah lighting and hosts one of the City’s holiday ice skating rinks.
Prominent at the center of the Square is a statue honoring Admiral George Dewey, sculpted by Robert Aitken. The statue is topped with an image of the Roman goddess Victory. Then Commodore Dewey led a naval assault on the Spanish fleet in Manila Bay in the Philippines just four days after the US had declared war on Spain launching the Spanish/American War of 1898. Shortly thereafter he was advanced to Rear Admiral and later as the first Admiral of the Navy.
Today Union Square features pleasant seating, space for outdoor gatherings, public art, shopping, galleries, hotels, spas, restaurants and cafes. This is the location of the Tix Booth offering full and discounted priced tickets for most art, theatre and cultural events in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area. The Tix Booth is open 7 days a week from 10AM to 6PM.
The Powell Street Cable Car turnaround is at the corner of Powell and Market Streets, featuring the more extensive and exciting Cable Car route – over Powell Street to Fisherman’s Wharf.
Nearby hotels include the Westin St.Francis, (most likely the only hotel on earth that has a coin washing service!); the Sir Francis Drake with the Harry Denton’s Startlight Room Cocktail Lounge offering views of San Francisco from its 21st story location. The Taj Campton Place, the Hyatt Regency Union Square, Marriott Hotels – one on Post Street and the other on 4th Street at Moscone Center, the Parc 55, the Clift, Hilton Hotel, Hotel Nikko, and several Kimpton Hotel properties all afford visitors to San Francisco a variety of lodging options.
Union Square offers shoppers every opportunity to explore and purchase fine clothing, household items, jewelry and more. Visit Gump’s San Francisco for an elegant shopping experience. Founded by two brothers in 1861, expanding in response to the Gold Rush millionaires and later rebuilt after the 1906 earthquake, Gump’s San Francisco is unparalleled in offering fine and exotic treasures to grace your lifestyle. Tiffany & Co. graces Union Square with its two locations in the neighborhood; one on Post Street and one at the Westfield San Francisco Centre on Market Street.
Traditional department store shopping is abundant with Macy’s Union Square, Barneys New York, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, and Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue. Bountiful boutiques offer specialized and intimate shopping for clothing, shoes, jewelry, another specialty items.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner or just a stop for coffee in Union Square offers many opportunities. Here you will find everything from coffee shops to fine dining. Visit Sears Fine Food Restaurant founded in 1938 for a true San Francisco casual dining experience, particularly special for breakfast. Rest for awhile from your shopping excursion at Emporio Rulli Cafe right on the Square with outside seating available. Many lounges and fine dining restaurants offer varying styles from the English or Irish Pub to fine Italian, Asian, or steakhouse fare.
Union Square is served by the MUNI Metro and BART – both with stops on Market Street at Powell; and MUNI buses transit most adjacent streets. Parking is available at the Union Square garage and the 5th and Mission Garage.