San Francisco's Union Square is very much an urban success story. This square is now a renowned shopping destination, but fell to the wayside between the 1970s and 1990s, as it became little more than a hangout for the homeless. For some time, Union Square was also the scene for the city's New Year's Eve parties, which usually led to some sort of civil disruption. Renovations to the plaza began in 1998, and by 2002, it reopened to a ceremony that was headed by the mayor. The mayor's declaration to the city regarding the plaza was, "Use it; it is your square." San Franciscans embraced this declaration, and today, Union Square is a thriving commercial hub. Many locals consider it the true heart of the city, and it is often the site of public concerts, art shows, and other fun events.
Union Square enjoys a fine location in downtown San Francisco. It is central to a number of great attractions and destinations, which makes it a good place to start tours from. Before venturing out to other points in the city, Union Square visitors will want to see what the more immediate area has to offer. Union Square San Francisco shopping is ideal for anyone who needs to rid themselves of the shopping bug. The upscale boutiques provide hours on end of shopping opportunities, and touring the art galleries is a joy. A collection of department stores can be found in and around Union Square, which adds to the shopping options, and when it comes to break for something to eat, the square is also home to some quality restaurants.
Union Square San Francisco shopping can involve shopping for high-end clothes, picking up some antiques, trying on some sparkling jewelry, and just about anything else that you can think of. The shops in and around the square feature a wide array of products, and it can be easy to accumulate a healthy collection of shopping bags in no time. As for the Union Square dining scene, it is just as varied. Visitors looking to break for a meal in the Union Square area can enjoy anything from Indian cuisine to chocolate-filled crepes.
Union Square is a term that has come to describe not just the eponymous plaza, but the general area as well. This area anchors the city's theater district, as well as an array of shops and restaurants. After visiting the flagship Macy's Department Store, those who are enjoying some Union Square San Francisco shopping are encouraged to see what the surrounding blocks have to offer. It is worth mentioning that during the Christmas season, shopping in Union Square can be especially appealing, thanks to the festive decorations. The square hosts the annual Christmas tree and Menorah lighting, which figures among the seasonal highlights.
While shopping and dining figure among the top things to do in Union Square, there are plenty of other things to get into when branching further out. One of the top things to do near Union Square is visit the Yerba Buena Gardens, which is a complete entertainment complex that is popular with tourists and locals alike. Also within easy reach of Union Square is the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which boasts an excellent collection of works that any and all art enthusiasts will appreciate. Other options for things to do near Union Square include exploring the exciting SoMa neighborhood, which is known for its shopping and nightlife, taking in a performance at the nearby Orpheum Theatre, and venturing into Chinatown, which is a relatively short trip away.
A number of hotels can be found in and around Union Square, and they come in range of shapes and sizes. Since there are so many attractive things to do near Union Square, area hotels like the Hotel Monaco can make for ideal bases for tourists. One of the other things that helps to make the Union Square area hotels worth considering is the fact that area is a public transportation hub.