Union Square, San Francisco is a 27-block district that is known for being one of the world's premier shopping destinations. However, Union Square is also full of rich history and home to some of the City’s oldest buildings and historical landmarks. So, come visit us here in The Square to see these 10 must-see historical landmarks & buildings!
1. Union Square Park – Union Square Park was deeded to the City of San Francisco in 1850 by John Geary and it soon become the gathering site for pro-Union demonstrations prior to the Civil War. Today it’s the location for many notable city events including Film Night in the Park, the Holiday Ice Rink, Macy’s Great Tree Lighting Ceremony and much more!
2. The Dewey Monument - The monument was erected in 1901 to honor Admiral George Dewey, a hero of the Spanish–American War, for his victory in the Battle of Manila Bay. The figure at the top of the monument was modeled after local celeb Alma de Bretteville Spreckels to stand as the goddess of victory.
3. The Flood Building – This beautiful 12-story building is a rare survivor of the 1906 earthquake and fire that happened here in San Francisco. It was home to the Baldwin Hotel and Theater, it served as the headquarters of the Southern Pacific Railroad, it was home to Woolworth’s Department Store, and is now the flagship location for Gap, Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie.
4. The Westin St. Francis Hotel – One of San Francisco’s most historic buildings, the Westin St. Francis Hotel has been in Union Square since before the 1906 earthquake. It was the fashionable place for celebrities, film actors and presidents to stay, the scene of Hollywood’s first great scandals and it still operates the world’s only silver coin cleaning operation that started in order to keep their guests’ white gloves clean in the 1930’s.
5. Ruth Asawa's San Francisco Fountain – This artistic bronze sculpture and fountain was created by Ruth Asawa in 1970 and is located in between the Grand Hyatt San Francisco Hotel and the Apple Flagship store here in Union Square. The entire circular exterior of the basin features 41 individual bronzed plaques that depict iconic landmarks in San Francisco.
6. The Cable Car Turnaround - San Francisco is home to the world’s last manually operated cable car system, out of the 23 lines that were established between 1873 and 1890, only 3 remain today. The Cable Car Turnaround located on Powell St. and Market St. is where you can watch Muni operators hand turn each and every cable car.
7. Maiden Lane - Prior to the 1906 earthquake, Maiden Lane was the center of San Francisco’s red-light district and was given the name “Morton Street”. After the devastating earthquake and fire turned the entire two block brothel alley into rubble, the street was rebuilt and became home to many luxury retail stores including Maison Margiela, Tory Burch, Chanel, and more.
8. The Frank Lloyd Wright Building – This stunning landmark located at 140 Maiden Lane is the only Frank Lloyd Wright building in San Francisco. From its intricate exterior brick archway, its spiral ramp to its black walnut furnishings and hanging baskets, this is one building that’s worth seeing!
9. The Curran Theater – The Curran Theater opened in 1922 and has held 8,000 performance since that time. After going through a two year renovation, the theater has been completely restored well beyond its former glory.
10. China Town Gates – This historical archway is the gateway into America’s oldest Chinatown and was built in 1970. It stands at Grant Ave. and Bush St. and features sculptures of fish, dragons and two lions, which are meant to ward off evil-sprits.