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Union Square, San Francisco

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Neighborhood Shopping
Surrounded by a busy retail district, Union Square offers a park-like reprieve. Signature palm trees mark the four corner entrances. Built in 1850, this public plaza was named after pro-Union rallies held there during the Civil War. As part of a major redesign in the early 2000s, the city installed four light sculptures by R.M. Fischer. In contrast to this modern art on the south side, the Dewey Monument, named after a Spanish-American War hero, has stood in the center since a 1903 renovation. You can score half-price theater tickets at the square's ticketing pavilion or relax at its open-air cafe. "Union Square" also refers to the area around the square, which is packed with department stores, boutiques, hotels, restaurants, and theaters. Put Union Square into our San Francisco tour planner to see other points of interest to visit during your vacation in San Francisco.
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  • When I was researching neighborhoods to stay in while on vacation in San Francisco, the Union Square area kept coming up as a recommendation. I ended up booking a hotel a block from the square and I c...  more »
  • My wife and kids enjoyed shopping here. I cried the whole time. My poor credit care. Nice square with loads of shops surrounding it. Plenty of places to eat everywhere  more »
  • My teenagers enjoyed shopping here. Lots of nice stores. We had a late lunch at the Burger Bar on top of Macy's.  more »

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Where to stay in San Francisco

From inexpensive hostels in quiet residential areas to high-end hotels near the city center, San Francisco has accommodations for every budget. Key consideration is what kind of neighborhood you want to stay in. You'll find luxury hotels in Union Square, which has prime shopping, is near theaters, and is on the cable car line. Many hotels are in the northeastern portion of the city, near the tourist-driven neighborhoods of Chinatown and Fisherman's Wharf, both easily explored on foot. To get away from the tourist crowds, consider the smaller inns and family-run bed and breakfasts in some of the city's more charming neighborhoods, such as Noe Valley or Pacific Heights. There are also boutique hotels scattered around town. Avoid staying in the Tenderloin. If you plan to have a car with you, ask about parking availability and fees. Parking is often difficult and expensive.
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