San Francisco Union Square Walking Tour

  • 01 of 12

    Union Square Entrance

    Heart Sculpture in Union Square San Francisco
    Christina Lease/Getty Images

    San Francisco's Union Square is a large shopping area that's a popular spot for tourists.

    Start this walking tour by picking up a map at the TIX booth. Stand in the middle of Union Square facing Macy's to get oriented. The Financial District and waterfront are on the left, in front of you (beyond Macy's) are SOMA (south of Market area) and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Chinatown and North Beach are behind, and the theatre/art gallery district on the right.

    Continue to 2 of 12 below.
  • 02 of 12

    Union Square North

    Union Square, San Francisco, in sunshine
    Larry Bray/Getty Images

    Above the stores on the north side of Union Square, you can see the Starlight Room, a popular local nightclub. Beyond it are Chinatown and North Beach.

    Continue to 3 of 12 below.
  • 03 of 12


    Tix, Union Square San Francisco
    Betsy Malloy Photography

    Within Union Square Plaza, you'll find TIX, half-price ticket booth. Go here if you want to see a play or show without breaking your budget. For the best selection, get in line about 30 minutes before half-price tickets go on sale.

    Continue to 4 of 12 below.
  • 04 of 12

    Union Square East

    East Side of Union Square San Francisco
    Mitchell Funk/Getty Images

    At the plaza's opposite end, you'll find Emporio Rulli, a good place for coffee and pastry or an afternoon aperitif. Sit at an outside table to enjoy people-watching.

    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12

    Union Square West - St Francis Hotel

    West Side of Union Square in San Francisco: Westin St. Francis
    Geri Lavrov/Getty Images

    Elegant St. Francis Hotel occupies the Powell Street-side of Union Square. Don't just stand outside looking at it, go in and take a look at the lobby, too.

    Continue to 6 of 12 below.
  • 06 of 12

    Union Square at Christmas

    San Francisco Union Square at Christmas
    Ei Katsumata/Getty Images

    Facing the plaza, Macy's Union Square, the biggest department store west of New York City, stretches from Powell to Stockton along Geary and spills over into several nearby buildings.

    Continue to 7 of 12 below.
  • 07 of 12

    Maiden Lane

    Lunch on Maiden Lane in San Francisco.
    Lonely Planet/Getty Images

    Maiden Lane runs into Union Square at Stockton. Despite its virginal-sounding name, in Gold Rush times, it was home to prostitutes. For foot traffic only, it's lined with art galleries and restaurants.

    Continue to 8 of 12 below.
  • 08 of 12

    Walk of Fame at Hotel Diva

    Walk of Fame at Hotel Diva, San Francisco
    Betsy Malloy Photography

    This Walk of Fame features some of the Hotel Diva's celebrity guests. Among them are Joan Rivers, Angelica Huston, and Jermaine Jackson. This little walk of fame is at 440 Geary Blvd.

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12

    Xanadu Gallery

    V. C. Morris Gift Shop, now the Xanadu Gallery
    Betsy Malloy Photography

    Xanadu Gallery at 140 Maiden Lane is San Francisco's only Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building, a precursor for the Guggenheim Museum.

    Continue to 10 of 12 below.
  • 10 of 12

    Neiman Marcus

    Ceiling of Nieman Marcus, San Francisco
    Betsy Malloy Photography

    At Stockton and Geary, Neiman Marcus preserves the old City of Paris department store's rotunda and magnificent stained-glass ceiling.

    Continue to 11 of 12 below.
  • 11 of 12

    Places of Note in the Union Square Area

    Gump's Department Store in Union Square
    Robert Holmes/Getty Images

    Some of the nicest shops are on side streets. A few highlights:

    • Geary Street: Britex Fabrics has a mind-boggling assortment of fabrics.
    • Post: San Franciscans have indulged themselves at Gump's Department Store since 1861.
    • Market Street: Near Powell Street and Market is San Francisco Shopping Center and Nordstrom's. The spiral escalators here are a destination in themselves.
    Continue to 12 of 12 below.
  • 12 of 12


    Map of Union Square San Francisco
    Adapted from Google Maps

    To print a full-sized version of this map of San Francisco Union Square, click the map and it will open a larger version. Or you can go to the interactive version.