Visit Union Square, San Francisco’s #1 shopping destination!

The Square is home to hundreds of retail stores, restaurants, hotels, theatres, boutiques, and more! Palm trees, manicured hedges, and spacious seating options create an open space in the midst of bustling activity. Visit for a day of shopping, to attend a free event, or to take in the sights.

San Francisco's Union Square - Left my Heart in San Francisco sculpture
San Francisco's Union Square - Left my Heart in San Francisco sculpture
San Francisco's Union Square - Left my Heart in San Francisco sculpture Photo: Pierre André Leclercq [CC BY-SA 4.0]

History

Union Square gained its name from the pro-Union rallies held there in the years before the Civil War. The nickname stuck, enduring through the area’s transformation from a residential neighborhood and plaza to a premier shopping district after the earthquake of 1906.

One notable feature of Union Square is the 95-foot granite column, topped by Lady Victory triumphantly brandishing a trident in one hand and a wreath in the other. The monument was built in 1903 to honor Admiral Dewey’s 1898 victory against the Spanish Navy.

The Heart Sculpture in Union Square is one of several in the city and the first of numerous Hearts throughout the Bay Area. Signed and transformed by local artists, the hearts are installed in cities that are known for their acceptance and tolerance. The “Hearts in San Francisco” project benefits the San Francisco General Hospital.

Union Square in San Francisco
Union Square in San Francisco

Today

Today, Union Square is an open and welcoming plaza lined with palm trees, sculpted bushes, terraces, and a café. Union Square is most famous for its shopping. With over five hundred retail stores, high-end jewelers, electronics stores, trendy boutiques, and restaurants, Union Square draws tourists from all over the world. Stop by Gucci, Burberry, or Chanel for a taste of name-brand luxury. Enjoy the view of Union Square from the top floor of Macy’s at the Cheesecake Factory, or try Boudin’s Sourdough Café for an authentic San Francisco restaurant.

In addition to visiting Union Square to shop, locals and tourists come to relax, people-watch, and to enjoy the numerous free events held in Union Square. The Union Square Summer Salsa Concert Series is a free annual music concert that occurs every June. Other free or low-cost series include free Tango and Swing lessons, in addition to free rock and blues concerts. Be sure to check at unionsquarelive.org for event updates.

Highlights

Ice Skating: Skate beneath beautiful holiday lights at Union Square from November to mid-January of every year! The atmosphere is light, happy, and full of holiday excitement. Skating sessions last for 90 minutes. Rent skates or bring your own. Order tickets online to bypass the long line, or buy at the ticket booth when you arrive.

Nearby Points of Interest

Cable Cars: Enjoy soaring hilltop views of San Francisco from the seat of a classic cable car! In operation for more than 150 years, these iconic gold and red cable cars are a must-see for every visitor. Catch the cable car at Powell and Market to Fisherman’s Wharf!

Alamo Square/Painted Ladies: Pose for pictures against the backdrop of the San Francisco skyline and the Painted Ladies! Featured in the opening credits of the TV series Full House, the Painted Ladies consist of five beautiful Victorian homes facing Alamo Square. The square offers .5 square miles of open space for a picnic, a nap, or a variety of other activities.

Chinatown: Located three blocks away from Union Square, Chinatown is one of San Francisco’s most popular attractions! Drawing more visitors yearly than the Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown offers fascinating novelty items, cheap and delicious Chinese food, and a variety of cultural attractions that illustrate the uniqueness of San Francisco’s Chinese community.

Union Square is featured on:

  • Public Tour
    Lucky Tuk Tuk at Night - San Francisco Lights Tour

    Available Nightly

    7:30 pm

    How long?
    Approx. 2 hours
    When?
    Nightly
    Do we fit?
    Seats 6 (Ages 5+)
    How much?
    From $75.00 $65.00
    On Sale

    Explore San Francisco at night in a cozy, electric Tuk Tuk! Get up close to the glittering lights and go where buses don’t dare in this modern-day rickshaw. Live commentary included!

  • Public Tour
    Alcatraz Combo - Ultimate SF City Tour and Alcatraz Ferry

    Available Limited Tickets

    9AM or 2PM Alcatraz AM or PM

    How long?
    Approx. 3 hours
    When?
    Limited Tickets
    Do we fit?
    Seats 6 (Ages 5+)
    How much?
    From $145.00

    With a Lucky Tuk Tuk Ultimate City Tour + Alcatraz Combination Package you get a full day of fun! Explore the City in a cozy Tuk Tuk then learn the history of Alcatraz as you visit "the rock".

  • Private Charter
    Private Charter San Francisco Tuk Tuk Tour

    Available Daily

    9AM, 11:30AM, 2PM, 4:30PM or 7:30PM

    How long?
    Approx. 2 hours
    When?
    Daily
    Do we fit?
    Seats 6 (Child ages 3+)
    How much?
    From $300.00 $275.00
    ON SALE!

    Explore beautiful San Francisco in your own private, electric Tuk Tuk! Perfect for families and groups. A personal guide for your party commandeers this modern-day rickshaw at a pace that’s right for you!

  • Public Tour
    Ultimate San Francisco City Tour

    Available Daily

    9:30AM, 12 Noon or 2PM

    How long?
    Approx. 2.5 hours
    When?
    Daily
    Do we fit?
    Seats 6 (Ages 5+)
    How much?
    From $85.00 $75.00
    ON SALE!

    Zip around beautiful San Francisco in cozy, electric Tuk Tuk! Explore more than 15 neighborhoods in this modern-day rickshaw with a fully narrated, guided tour.