Ghirardelli Square is a San Francisco landmark, and while it has undergone numerous changes over time, it still manages to maintain its charm. In 1893, Domingo Ghirardelli purchased the city block that would become a famous San Francisco chocolate factory. Domingo, who hailed from Italy, began making chocolate at one of the buildings on the square in 1852, and in 1865, one of the workers at his original factory discovered a process for making ground chocolate. This process, which is known as the Broma process, is the world's most commonly used method for making chocolate, and it is largely responsible for putting this historic San Francisco chocolate factory on the map.
Ghirardelli Square San Francisco
One year after Domingo Ghirardelli purchased the city block for his chocolate-making operation, he passed away. While the company remained in the family for decades, it was eventually sold to the Golden Grain Macaroni Company in the 1960s. It didn't take long for this company to put the square up for sale, and in 1962, it was purchased by a native San Franciscan. The square and its attractive brick buildings were converted into a dining and retail complex, and the result was the country's first major re-use project. Thankfully, the Ghirardelli Company managed to hold onto its original San Francisco chocolate factory, and visitors can still drop by for a look and a taste.
When it comes to getting some good chocolate in San Francisco, all you need to do is make a break for the big Ghirardelli sign. This large sign over Ghirardelli Square helps to distinguish the complex, which was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. Ghirardelli Square tours are available for anyone who wants to learn more about the history of the square while in town, though guides aren't necessary if you simply want to do some shopping and grab some sweets. Understandably so, the highlight of any tour at Ghirardelli Square is a visit to the Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop. This is the original family factory, and according to most, there isn't a better place to get some chocolate in San Francisco. Hot Fudge sundaes and a variety of tempting chocolate squares are just some of the delights that can be savored at the Ghirardelli Shop.
Ghirardelli Square recently underwent extensive renovations, and while some of the original shops and restaurants are gone, others have remained. Part of the renovations were tied to the Fairmont at Heritage Place, which is an exciting, upscale housing project that has fast become one of the most attractive places places to live in the city. The luxury homes at the Fairmont at Heritage are comfortable and chic havens that have anywhere from one to three bedrooms. In addition to offering luxurious amenities, these homes also have an ideal location.
Ghirardelli Square can be found within steps of the Fisherman's Wharf area, which is situated on the northern side of the city. The waters of the San Francisco Bay are but a stone's throw away, which adds to the overall attractiveness of this mixed-used retreat. Some of the shops at Fisherman's Wharf are also good places to grab some chocolate in San Francisco, not to mention some other tasty treats.