SF Bay Area

By Region

By City

My Itinerary 1367
Home »  Articles »  Union Square: Stay, Shop, Dine, Play
Union Square: Stay, Shop, Dine, Play

Union Square: Stay, Shop, Dine, Play

Union Square, a large plaza in the center of downtown San Francisco, has been the city's main public gathering place since 1860. A lively place full of people, the square is bordered by Post Street, Stockton Street, Geary Avenue, and Powell Street.


The centerpiece of Union Square is the tall Dewey Memorial statue. At one end of the plaza is Emporio Rulli, an Italian-style cafe with self-service inside and table service outside in a garden setting. Tix Bay Area, on the Powell Street side, sells theater tickets and usually has half-price and discounted tickets to many same-day shows. There are plenty of benches to take a break during your day of shopping and sightseeing. 


Free art shows and concerts are often held in Union Square, and during the winter holiday season both a huge Christmas tree and Menorah are erected, giving the square a festive feel. A popular ice-skating rink is also set up from late November to January. Most of the shops surrounding the square set up winter holiday displays, too.

Macy's department store, on Geary Avenue, is the largest department store near Union Square, although Neiman Marcus and other big brand stores line the area. Smaller, trendy boutiques are nearby. On Powell Street, across from the square, is the historic Westin St. Francis hotel, dating from the early 1900s, which features a  glass elevator running up the outside of the building.

Union Square Parking and Transportation

The Union Square parking garage is believed to be the world's first underground parking structure. Opened in 1941, it also served as an air-raid shelter during World War II. The parking garage can be entered from either Geary or Post Street. 

If you're arriving by public transportation, buses run on Stockton (bus number 30), Geary (number 38), and Post (numbers 2, 3, and 4), but the most fun way to arrive is by cable car on the Powell Street line.  

Upcoming Events