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Union Square - San Francisco

Union Square, San Francisco, CA - Photo by Barry Ross
Union Square, San Francisco, CA

Union Square is one of the oldest big city squares on the West Coast. It dates back to the 1850s, just after the California Gold Rush. Art shows, live entertainment and special events are held at Union Square throughout the year. It’s a prime people-watching spot. We love coming here to shop, eat and browse the art galleries. Many fine local art galleries are dotted along Geary St, just off Union Square. If you like pop culture, be sure to check out the San Francisco Art Exchange. It’s the leading gallery for original rock art and photography. Nearby theaters include the Curran and ACT (American Conservatory Theater), both located on Geary Blvd. Union Square is a fun place to visit anytime of the year, and especially during the festive Holiday Season. 

Union Square, San Francisco, CA
Art Show at Union Square, San Francisco

Premier Shopping Destination

Located in the heart of San Francisco, Union Square is the Bay Area’s premier shopping destination. The area features luxury high-end fashion boutiques, major retail stores, specialty shops, fine jewelry stores, gourmet restaurants, top hotels and theaters. During weekends, enjoy strolling through the outdoor art exhibits. Take a break from shopping and relax over coffee at one of the square’s cafes. It’s a fun place to sit and watch the world go by. 

Westfield San Francisco Centre

Enjoy more shopping at Westfield San Francisco Centre. It’s the largest urban shopping mall this side of the Mississippi. The impressive multi-level atrium mall features hundreds of stores, upscale restaurants, a food emporium, a day spa, and a 9-screen Century Theaters multiplex.

Union Square Live

Union Square Live runs from Spring-Fall (April-October). It features live music, dancing, outdoor movies and fun entertainment in the heart of Union Square.

Discount Theater Tickets and Visitor Information Center

Visit the TIX Bay Area walk-up box for half-price tickets on the day of the performance and full-price tickets in advance to select events.

Explore the City

Check out San Francisco’s famous hills. Ride a Cable Car from Union Square (at Powell and Market) and explore the city. If you feel like walking, Chinatown, North Beach and South of Market are all within easy walking distance.

Holiday Season at Union Square

Union Square Holiday Ice Rink

Skate into the Holidays! Celebrate the festive Holiday Season at Union Square’s Holiday Ice Rink. The Ice Rink is open from mid-November to mid-January. The rink’s 90-minute sessions start on every half hour.

Macy’s Union Square Tree Lighting Ceremony

Get a jump-start on your Holiday Shopping. Visit Union Square for its annual “day-after Thanksgiving” Macy’s Tree Lighting Ceremony. Fun all-day festivities usually begin around noon. The Tree Lighting Ceremony is held from 6pm-6:30pm. Free admission. Arrive early because it gets VERY, VERY crowded. Every year, during the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, Union Square and the surrounding areas are filled with thousands of spectators. Best views include the Cheesecake Factory’s outdoor deck (at the top of Macy’s) and inside Macy’s.

Union Square Menorah Lighting

The Menorah Lighting is held annually in Union Square, starting on the first night of Chanukah (usually around 5pm). 

More Info on Union Square

Union Square

More Fun Things To Do in San Francisco

Book Fun San Francisco Sightseeing Tours

See the sights of San Francisco at your own pace aboard a fun Double-Decker Bus Tour. Catch the bus at Union Square and hop-on-and-off at your leisure at any of the 24 stops. The fully-narrated tour lasts around 75 minutes if you stay on the bus for the full loop. The tour covers all of central San Francisco – Fisherman’s Wharf, Ferry Building, Union Square, Chinatown, North Beach, and Lombard Street. Tour also includes a trip across the Golden Gate Bridge. Or take a fun Walking Tour of the city’s famous neighborhoods.

Big Bus San Francisco Hop-on-Hop-off Tour

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