**Guest Post By Jake Hoffmann, The Culture Trip
Union Square is San Francisco’s main retail and cultural center and is known as ‘San Francisco’s crown jewel of shopping districts.’ It is named after the pro-union rallies that were held there before the Civil War and is a 2.6-acre public plaza in the heart of downtown San Francisco. The square was built in 1850 and named by San Francisco’s first mayor, John Geary. Today the square tops the list for the largest collection of stores, boutiques, tourist shops, galleries, and restaurants in the world. The area is also known for all types of event gatherings all throughout the year.
Shopping around Union Square is very traditional. The stores range from Macy’s to Barneys and Saks Fifth Avenue to Nordstrom. The square is surrounded by a wide range of stores and allows individuals to shop in their desired price range and style. Shopping at the square also allows individuals to take in San Francisco and is a great first activity to get acquainted with the city and start familiarizing oneself with the locals. Feel free to explore and try to shop your way over to Chinatown, which borders Union Square.
The restaurants around Union Square are extremely diverse, depending on what area you have explored and where you decide to catch a bite to eat. Options range from Italian to Southern American and French. Some of the most recommended restaurants include Hakkasan, Hops & Hominy, The Rotunda, and Bouche. The area is also well-known for the wide range of saloons and bars. Some notable ones include Benjamin Cooper, Hawthorn, Burritt Room + Tavern, Cantina, and Bar 587.
Throughout the year, multiple events are held in Union Square for people to enjoy. These events include musical performances, dance, theater, art exhibitions, and lectures. Some of the major events that take place include the Macy’s great tree lighting and the Safeway Holiday Ice Rink. These events are usually paired with a musical performance or another activity to keep bystanders entertained. Individuals can find out more about events occurring in Union Square here.
Sights of the square are breathtaking when viewed from the right spot. Harry Denton’s Starlight Room, located in the Sir Francis Drake Hotel is a great place to get a bird’s eye view of the square. Individuals may also visit any of the top floor galleries or restaurants like the Cheesecake Factory and Burger Bar in Macy’s for an amazing view, too!
By Jake Hoffmann, The Culture Trip
Born in Columbus, Ohio, Jake is currently a 3rd year student at Miami (OH) University. He is working towards a double major in Supply Chain and Management Operations and Interactive Media Studies. When not exploring the city, Jake can be found working out or working towards his next business idea.