Visit Union Square, San Francisco’s #1 shopping destination! The Square is home to hundreds of retail stores, restaurants, hotels, theatres, boutiques, and more! Palm trees, manicured hedges, and spacious seating options create an open space in the midst of bustling activity. Visit for a day of shopping, to attend a free event, or to take in the sights.
Public Transit: multiple Muni lines run by Union Square. Visit 511.org to plan your trip.
Union Square Parking Garage: bears the distinction of being the first underground parking garage in the world. Rates are reasonably priced, allowing you the freedom of leaving when you please. Alternately, find metered parking on most of the side streets around Union Square.
Hot Deals on Dining, Shopping, and Entertainment
- Sit down for a casual MEAL at Lori’s Diner on Sutter St.
- SHOP til you drop at Macy’s and other fine establishments
- Get tickets to a CONCERT OR PERFORMANCE
Union Square gained its name from the pro-Union rallies held there in the years before the Civil War. The nickname stuck, enduring through the area’s transformation from a residential neighborhood and plaza to a premier shopping district after the earthquake of 1906.
One notable feature of Union Square is the 95-foot granite column, topped by Lady Victory triumphantly brandishing a trident in one hand and a wreath in the other. The monument was built in 1903 to honor Admiral Dewey’s 1898 victory against the Spanish Navy.
The Heart Sculpture in Union Square is one of several in the city and the first of numerous Hearts throughout the Bay Area. Signed and transformed by local artists, the hearts are installed in cities that are known for their acceptance and tolerance. The “Hearts in San Francisco” project benefits the San Francisco General Hospital.
Today, Union Square is an open and welcoming plaza lined with palm trees, sculpted bushes, terraces, and a café. Union Square is most famous for its shopping. With over five hundred retail stores, high-end jewelers, electronics stores, trendy boutiques, and restaurants, Union Square draws tourists from all over the world. Stop by Gucci, Burberry, or Chanel for a taste of name-brand luxury. Enjoy the view of Union Square from the top floor of Macy’s at the Cheesecake Factory, or try Boudin’s Sourdough Café for an authentic San Francisco restaurant.
In addition to visiting Union Square to shop, locals and tourists come to relax, people-watch, and to enjoy the numerous free events held in Union Square. The Union Square Summer Salsa Concert Series is a free annual music concert that occurs every June. Other free or low-cost series include free Tango and Swing lessons, in addition to free rock and blues concerts. Be sure to check at unionsquarelive.org for event updates.
Ice Skating: Skate beneath beautiful holiday lights at Union Square from November to mid-January of every year! The atmosphere is light, happy, and full of holiday excitement. Skating sessions last for 90 minutes. Rent skates or bring your own. Order tickets online to bypass the long line, or buy at the ticket booth when you arrive.
Nearby Points of Interest
Cable Cars: Enjoy soaring hilltop views of San Francisco from the seat of a classic cable car! In operation for more than 150 years, these iconic gold and red cable cars are a must-see for every visitor. Catch the cable car at Powell and Market to Fisherman’s Wharf!
Alamo Square/Painted Ladies: Pose for pictures against the backdrop of the San Francisco skyline and the Painted Ladies! Featured in the opening credits of the TV series Full House, the Painted Ladies consist of five beautiful Victorian homes facing Alamo Square. The square offers .5 square miles of open space for a picnic, a nap, or a variety of other activities.
Chinatown: Located three blocks away from Union Square, Chinatown is one of San Francisco’s most popular attractions! Drawing more visitors yearly than the Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown offers fascinating novelty items, cheap and delicious Chinese food, and a variety of cultural attractions that illustrate the uniqueness of San Francisco’s Chinese community.
Westfield Shopping Centre: If you did not satiate your shopping appetite at Union Square, try the Westfield Shopping Centre, located at 865 Market Street. This multi-level complex offers shopping, dining, and more in its 500,000 square foot center.