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July 2, 2015

Union Square SF's Top 10 Tips for Tourists

Union Square is SF’s most popular destination, so we know a thing or two about what tourists want! We want you to get the most out of your trip, so here are a few insider tips from our team.

1. Bring All-Weather Gear – It’s the golden rule of San Francisco – wear layers. Karl the Fog will get you! We’ve seen 20 degree temperature changes within minutes! Sweaters, jackets, tights and leggings are all great to include in your bag.

2. Save some Moola – While we love a good shopping spree, you can enjoy Union Square on a budget, too. Consider sitting out on the park steps, exploring on foot (as we are a very walkable city) and trying out some more casual cafés while you’re here – you’ll find lots of tasty, less fancy, options here.

3. Cocktail Culture – SF is the epicenter of cocktail culture in the U.S., only possibly rivaled by New York. If you drink, we recommend trying out one of our renowned watering holes.

4. Safety First – This is the big city after all! Keep your belongings securely on your person, and don’t leave them out (say in a car) while you’re out and about. Instead, ask the concierge at your hotel to hold onto them.

5. Grab a Map – Most hotels, the Visitor Information Center in Hallidie Plaza, the Westfield Concierge and our friendly Hospitality Ambassadors carry our Map & Guide to Union Square. It lists all of our businesses and has a map of the area for your convenience.

6. The Cable Car Secret – We’re breaking the local’s pact to let you know that you can indeed grab the cable car up the street a few blocks from the Cable Car turnaround at Powell and Market St. You’ll miss out on watching the SFMTA’s workers actually hand turn the car around, but you’ll skip most of the line. The drawback is sometimes cars are full by the time you get there. If you want a primo seat, wait in line.

7. Discount Show Tickets – Tix Bay Area has a conveniently located booth right on Union Square Park (on the Powell St. side on the back of Bancarella). You can grab discounted tickets to many major shows in SF there. There are also free concerts in Union Square on Wednesdays and Sundays all throughout the summer, provided by Union Square Live. Check out their schedule here.

8. Explore a little – There’s a lot more to Union Square than the beautiful urban park at the center of it all. Art galleries, boutiques, cafes and more can be discovered if you walk around the area and enjoy colorful streets like Grant Ave., Sutter St. and Maiden Ln.

9. Take a Tour – Many tour companies offer tours of SF, but there are a couple of unique tours like the Barbary Coast tour, cocktail tours by Avital Tours and more! Check out tour groups here

10. Fitness First – If you don’t want to neglect your workout routine while you’re on vacation, you’re in luck. We boast several fabulous gyms and fitness studios all within walking distance of hotels. Check them all out here.