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August 22, 2014

Local Perspective: Why I Grew Up Loving Union Square

***Guest post written by Summer Marketing Intern Rosetta Dowling

It’s no secret Union Square is the destination for visitors from all over the world, being the shopping capital and fine dining hub of San Francisco. Yet, as someone who was born and raised here, I didn’t always know what the appeal was. As a young girl I couldn’t see myself enjoying the luxury shops and French bistros of Union Square, until my family and friends showed me all the wonderful discoveries here.

What first made this place memorable was coming here with my grandfather, parking at Sutter-Stockton Garage and eating breakfast at his favorite spot, Sears Fine Food, where he always ordered the strawberry waffles paired with a hot chocolate. Afterwards it was tradition to walk up to the old Disney Store location on Post St., where I was allowed to buy one coveted present of my choice. Thanks to him, whenever I walk past these places I’ll always remember him and Union Square as a place he and I loved together.

My grandfather may have initiated my love for Union Square, but the love continued to grow as I got older. Trips downtown became more frequent, as I was accompanied by friends and exploring my ever-growing freedom. The best time to visit, we figured out, was during the holidays because there was nothing like seeing the monumental Macy’s Christmas tree and people enjoying themselves ice skating and drinking hot cocoa. The day after Thanksgiving, my mom and I would come to watch the tree lighting and enjoy a mother-daughter night out which included a little shopping and a nice meal off the Square. We also loved walking by Macy’s on the Stockton side to see the adorable kittens and puppies in the window display (and shriek out at their pure cuteness)! Since the holidays are all about spending quality time with family and friends, Union Square became a meaningful place where I knew I could bring my loved ones to have fun and enjoy our special time together.

Whether I’m down here for the holidays, a shopping spree or just to catch up with friends, it’s always energizing to soak up the busy downtown life. Now, being given the chance to work here, I’ve discovered even more of what Union Square has to offer. The amount of food choices alone makes it a perfect place for any meal of the day, and the abundance of art galleries in this neighborhood amazes me, with multiple floors at 49 Geary and 251 Post, such as The McLoughlin Gallery, Modernbook, Sandra Lee and Accession Gallery. I found out entertainment can be found not only at the Curran or A.C.T, but also at smaller theaters like the New Musical Theater and SF Playhouse.

In addition to the big impressive department stores of Union Square, I’ve become aware of quaint little shops like Alessi, Favor and Brit+Co.’s Makeshop which I would have never noticed had it not been for roaming around the area on assignments and lunch breaks. There is so much to discover not just as a tourist, but as a local, and even if shopping is not your thing, there are unforgettable moments to be had here, whether it’s a meal with a grandparent or special times spent with family. Union Square is an enchanting place that defines an essential part of San Francisco, so, locals, give the Square a chance. I promise you won’t regret it!