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Union Square

Union Square

Union Square, San Francisco's main square, is a large public square in the center of downtown. Since 1860 Union Square has been a central gathering place for both residents and tourists. In 2002, the square was reopened after extensive renovation and it's usually 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 square is Rulli Cafe, an Italian-style cafe with self-service inside and table service outside in a garden setting. There you can get hot and cold drinks, wine and beer, sandwiches, and a variety of pastries. Tix Bay Area, in the square on the Powell Street side, sells theater tickets and usually has half-price and discounted tickets to many same-day shows. There are lots of benches in the square also, making it a nice place to take a break during your day of shopping and sight-seeing. As in any crowded public place in a large city, it's wise to be alert for pick-pockets.

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. An ice-skating rink is also set up from late November to January. Most of the shops surrounding the square set up winter holiday winter displays, too.

Macy's Department Store, on Geary Avenue, is the largest department store near Union Square. The Burger Bar inside the store overlooks the square. Smaller shops line the streets around the square and there are usually a couple of hot dog and snack stands on Post and Geary. On Powell Street, across from the square, you'll see the historic Saint Francis Hotel, dating from the early 1900's, with a glass elevator running up the outside of the building.

Union Square Parking and Transporation

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 the war. The parking garage can be entered from either Geary or Post Street. By the Geary Street entrance there is a public toilet and restrooms can also be found in Macy's and other stores nearby.

If you're arriving by public transportation, buses run on Stockton (bus number 30), Geary (number 28) and Post (numbers 2, 3, and 4) but the most fun way to arrive is by cable car on the Powell Street line.

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