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- where is Union Square in San Francisco
- things to do in and around Union Square
- Hotels in Union Square and a special segment on Airbnb options
- places to eat in Union Square for breakfast
- how to get to Union Square from San Franciso Airport
Where is Union Square in San Francisco
Things to do in Union Square San Francisco
Do you want to know what to do in Union Square? Bring your purse and plenty of money because Union Square is known for its shopping.
The shopping opportunities in Union Square are fascinatingly divine. You’re going to love Union Square if you’re a diehard shopping machine. Several retailers have flagship stores in Union Square, such as Gap, Nike, Apple Store, Williams-Sonoma, and Victoria’s Secret. You can also check out Louis Vitton, Tiffany and Gucci stores; with Chanel, Prada, Burberry and more boutique stores in the surrounding area of Union Square.
And if you’ve not gotten your fill of shopping in Union Square, you can walk 6 minutes to the Westfield Shopping Mall.
And if you are into people watching (present company included), you will not be disappointed. You will encounter every walk of life in this neighborhood. Find you a seat on one of the steps of Union Square’s public plaza (bordered by Geary, Stockton, Powell and Post Street) and watch the world go by.
How to get in and around Union Square
Walking is the best way to get to know the Union Square area. However, while I was in San Francisco, I used Uber (unbelievably dirt-cheap) when my thighs could take no more incline. Another great way (however, confusing) to get around is public transportation.
Warning: San Francisco is serviced by 3 or 4 different municipal transit companies which is why I think confusing is a good word to describe the public transportation options.
You can transfer between some of the regional transportation companies without paying additional fares but others you can’t. Do your research before utilizing public transportation in San Francisco. You can start your research here.
Where to stay in Union Square
There are plenty of hotels in the Union Square neighborhood in San Francisco. Rates for a nice hotel in this neighborhood is expensive due to its downtown location, proximity to shopping, and many attractions. Some notable ones are:
- Westin St Francis San Francisco (335 Powell Street) – located on Union Square
- Kimpton St Francis Hotel (450 Powell Street)
- Grand Hyatt San Francisco (345 Stockton Street)
- again, less expensive than a hotel stay
- great opportunity to get to the know the community of Union Square more intimately
- a great way to show love by supporting the local economy
Click here to research Airbnb’s in the Union Square area
Where I stayed in Union Square San Francisco
During my visit to San Francisco, I stayed at the Marker Hotel. What I loved about staying at The Marker Hotel is the French-style architecture and mod-influenced hotel room dressed in stripes. I also loved the fact that it was a short walk from Union Square. Click here for the best price. Oh, and it’s right down the street from a Starbucks.
You might be asking yourself, “why I didn’t stay at an Airbnb this time”? My time in San Franciso was early in my blogging/travel journey. As I’m traveling, I’m discovering how important it is to me to have a positive impact on the people I meet and the places I visit.
So now when I stay overnight or more extended in a destination, I try to find accommodations either at an Airbnb or an Inn (regular Bed and Breakfast) – where I’m supporting an individual’s financial bottom line. To me, this type of support helps the community as a whole and keeps the money flowing locally.
Places to eat breakfast
You don’t have to eat at a chain restaurant for breakfast and coffee in Union Square. There are a number of great places to eat breakfast.
- Taylor Street Coffee Shop (375 Taylor Street) – Be ready for a long wait to eat in this cute tiny little coffee shop. I do not exaggerate when I tell you that it probably seats about 20 people and is about the width of 2 arm spans. I waited a full hour for a seat here but it was well worth it. Be sure to try the Million Dollar Bacon if you’re into bacon.
- Honey Honey Cafe and Creperie (599 Post Street) – Any breakfast spot that has the word “creperie” in its title is going have my taste buds salivating in anticipation. And their Strawberry Nutella Crepe did not disappoint me. They also serve savory crepes as well.
Things to near Union Square
Frank Lloyd Wright in San Francisco
If you’re obsessed with Frank Lloyd Wright (as I am) stop by 140 Maiden Lane which is a men’s clothing shop called Isaia. The building is Frank Lloyd Wright’s prototype of New York City’s Guggenheim Museum.
Read about my discovery of Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired homes in Jacksonville by clicking here
Explore the city with the Go Card
Purchase a Go San Francisco Card. See up to 5 San Francisco attractions via the Explorer Pass. Click here for the best price. A number of the attractions mentioned in this post can be seen with the purchase of the Pass. The Go San Francisco card makes sense when you are trying to be cheap, but you don’t want to miss out on anything. Be sure to download the app onto your smartphone for easy access to your Go Card.
Watch the turning of the cable car at Powell and Market Street (a short from Union Square) and watch the turning of the cable car. Cable cars can’t go in reverse and must be turned manually by the cable-car operator.
I recommend the stop at Powell and Market for viewing purposes only. I recommend not catching the cable car at this spot unless you don’t mind standing in a long-ass line with other tourists. Instead, grab it right at Union Square public plaza, on Powell and Post or at any brown and white cable car signpost along Powell Street.
Spend the day exploring the city on top of a Double Decker
Things to do near Union Square that I loved
The Ferry Building Marketplace (located on the Embarcadero and Market Street). Stop here to eat, shop, browse, and catch the ferry to the other side of the bay. No joke; I spent hours here taking in the magnificent views of Oakland Bay Bridge. Feast on everything from chocolate, cheese, wine, check out a tea shop, buy a side of beef or live lobster….the list goes on.
Check out the Painted Ladies of Alamo Square
Victorian-style houses are everywhere in San Francisco, but these particular houses are famous from the TV show “Full House.” Their location near the top of Steiner Street and Hayes makes this a great place to hang out for a few and take in the view of San Francisco.
Use your Muni Day Pass and take the number 21 bus up Hayes Street or see it as part of a tour. I recommend the Painted Ladies San Francisco City Tour. Click here for the price of the trip and more information.
Shop for souvenirs, eat some fantastic Asian fare. Crowded as hell so if you’re claustrophobic look at the Gate from the corner of Grant and Bush Street.
Union Square and San Francisco as a whole is chock-full of and brimming with plenty of things to see and do. Be prepared to have your mind, body, and soul blown away by the experience. Allow yourself to roam free and enjoy.
This was the first city I’ve ever been to that I didn’t know whether to love it or hate it.