Download GPX file for this article
37.788864-122.402018Map mag.png

Union Square & Financial District

From Wikivoyage
North America > United States of America > California > Bay Area > San Francisco > San Francisco/Union Square-Financial District
Jump to: navigation, search


Union Square-Financial District is an area of Downtown San Francisco, made up of two neighborhoods: the bustling shopping and theater district surrounding Union Square, and the central business district where Market Street meets the bay. This is where you will find many of the city's office buildings, luxury hotels, and department stores, where tourists riding in on cable cars and streetcars cross paths with the weekday commuters who come in through the Market Street Subway. The area is bounded roughly by Market Street to the south, the San Francisco Bay to the east, Chinatown and Taylor Street to the west, and Bush Street (between Taylor and Kearny) and Washington Street (between Kearny and the bay) to the north.

Understand[edit]

Map of San Francisco/Union Square-Financial District

Printable Maps

Map of Union Square-Financial District

Union Square[edit]

Surrounded by upscale hotels, Union Square is one of the largest shopping areas in the U.S. and is home to some of the nation's finest department stores, malls and specialty stores. As if that wasn't enough, it also boasts many fine art galleries, some of the best restaurants in the city, and it also serves as San Francisco's main theater district, featuring many Broadway and off-Broadway shows. The city earmarked the area as a park in 1850, and its name was derived from the many lively, pro-Union Civil War demonstrations that were held there. The square itself, a public plaza, which is bordered by Post, Stockton, Geary, and Powell streets, got a major refurbishment in 2002 when most of its grass was paved over with granite stone. Built in 1903, the monument dedicated to the Goddess Victory still remains at the heart of the square. Today, people use the square mostly as a space to relax and soak up a bit of sun, and to wallow in the atmosphere created by the surrounding cable cars, hotels and shoppers.

Financial District[edit]

The Financial District is among the top financial centers in the United States and its many skyscrapers add a very impressive skyline to the city. It is home to the headquarters of the 12th District of the United States Federal Reserve, as well as the iconic Transamerica Pyramid building. It also houses the corporate headquarters of many financial giants such as Visa, Wells Fargo Bank, Mckeeson Corporation and Charles Schwab Corporation. Despite the fact that the area was almost completely destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and fire, many of its original skyscrapers have survived. Today the architecture reflects a mix of both contemporary as well as more historic buildings such as the Merchant and Exchange building, the Bank of America building and the Russ building. There are also plenty of shopping opportunities in the area with centers such as the Embarcadero Center and the Ferry Building. It begins at Montgomery, which was once known as the "Wall Street of the West," and ends at the Embarcadero.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

On-street parking is all but non-existent. Parking garages, while plentiful, can be expensive. Major parking garages for the Union Square area can be found at the NE corner of Sutter and Stockton, between Ellis and O'Farrell between Stockton and Powell, on Sutter between Kearny and Grant, and under Union Square.

By ferry[edit]

Several ferry companies operate service from around the bay to the Ferry Building on the waterfront.

  • Golden Gate Ferry, 511 (inside the Bay Area), +1-415-455-2000. Service to and from Larkspur and Sausalito. $10-10.75 one-way adults, $5-5.25 one-way seniors/youth; discount to adults using Clipper Card.
  • Blue & Gold Fleet, +1-415-705-5555. Offering services between the Ferry Building and Oakland/Alameda and Tiburon. One-way fares range from $11.50 adults, $6.75 seniors/youth to $6.25 adults, $3.10 seniors/youth, depending on destination.
  • San Francisco Bay Ferry, +1-415-705-8291. Service to and from Alameda, Oakland, and Vallejo. One-way fares range from $13 adults, $6.50 seniors/youth to $6.25 adults, $3.10 seniors/youth, depending on destination; discount to adults using Clipper Card.

By public transit[edit]

Cable car passing Union Square

Extensive public transit is offered through the neighborhood, provided either by the regional BART system or the city-wide MUNI system, which encompasses the MUNI Metro, buses, cable cars, and the F-Line streetcar.

BART and all of the MUNI Metro lines (J, K, L, M, N and T) run under Market Street with three stations serving this part of downtown: the Embarcadero, Montgomery Street and Powell Street. The Powell Street stop is just a few blocks down Powell from Union Square. The Powell-Hyde and Powell-Mason cable car lines run from Powell and Market past Union Square to Fisherman's Wharf. From the Embarcadero station you can catch the California cable car line.

The F Streetcar Line runs along Market Street and up the Embarcadero to Fisherman's Wharf. There are several streetcar stops along Market Street. Numerous MUNI bus lines run through the area as well, such as the 38-Geary (which runs past Union Square) and the 1-California (which runs through the Financial District past the Embarcadero Center). The 10-Townsend, 30-Stockton and 45-Union/Stockton lines run north-south through the district, connecting to Chinatown, North Beach, and Fisherman's Wharf to the north.

On foot[edit]

From Fisherman's Wharf, take a 25-minute walk down the Emabarcadero, which will take you all the way down to the Ferry Building, at the edge of the Financial District.

From west of the area, it is also easily accessible by getting first to Market Street and then walking eastbound.

To help you navigate around there is a 1 Visitor Information Center run by the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau, located at 900 Market St on the lower level of Hallidie Plaza, next door to the cable car turntable at Powell and Market streets. The V.I.C. is open M-F 9AM-5PM; Sa, Su, and holidays 9AM-3PM, PST. Telephone inquiries may be made M-F from 8:30AM to 5PM PST, by calling +1-415-391-2000 or +1-415-392-0328.

See[edit]

Ferry Building
Transamerica Pyramid
  • 1 Embarcadero Center. Consists of many buildings between Sacramento and Clay Streets running from the Embarcadero to Battery Street housing a shopping center, offices, and the Hyatt Regency hotel, which has a wonderful 17 story atrium used in the film Towering Inferno. Embarcadero Center on Wikipedia Embarcadero Center (Q3493067) on Wikidata
  • 2 Ferry Building, One Ferry Building (at the end of Market Street on the bay), +1-415-983-8000. A historic ferry terminal which survived the 1906 earthquake and fire and had 100,000 people pass through it every day before the bridges were built. It was renovated several years ago and now it's a great example of Bay Area "foodie" culture. Inside you'll find little shops selling artisanal bread (Acme), cheese (Cowgirl), chocolate (e.g., Tcho, Recchiuti, Ghiradelli, Scharffen Berger, etc.), slow-drip coffee (Blue Bottle), and so on. There's even a stand selling vegan donuts! There are also a few excellent little restaurants and specialty markets as well as a large farmers market out front (Tuesdays and Saturdays year-round and on Thursday evenings in the summer). Together with its surroundings, the Ferry Building is beautiful to see, especially at night (although the shops will be closed at night). It's a popular place to visit for downtown office workers and tourists alike. San Francisco Ferry Building on Wikipedia San Francisco Ferry Building (Q1408117) on Wikidata
  • 3 Fraenkel Gallery, 49 Geary St, +1-415-981-2661. Tu-F 10:30AM-5:30PM, Sa 11AM-5PM. A long-standing photography gallery with changing museum-quality exhibits featuring the work of many of the medium's masters.
  • 4 Pacific Heritage Museum, 608 Commercial St (at Montgomery), +1-415-399-1124. Tu-Sa 10AM-4PM. Exhibits on the art and culture of the peoples of the Pacific Rim. Free.
  • 5 San Francisco Railway Museum, 77 Steuart St (at Steuart and Don Chee Way, near the foot of Market), +1-415-974-1948. Tu-Su 10AM-6PM. A small but charming museum with exhibits on the history of rail transportation in San Francisco, with a particular emphasis on the streetcar systems. It's a good companion piece to a streetcar ride, with a stop on the F-line just outside the front door. Free. San Francisco Railway Museum on Wikipedia San Francisco Railway Museum (Q7414098) on Wikidata
  • 6 Transamerica Pyramid, Montgomery and Washington. San Francisco's tallest and most famous skyscraper, controversial when it opened, but now accepted. There used to be an unusual observation deck on the ground floor with 4 big TV monitors, showing live views of the city transmitted from cameras at the top of the building. They now have a happy worker at the bottom that tells you anything and everything you want to know about San Francisco and has some great stories. Then he tells you that they no longer have the 4 big TVs and are building a restaurant where you can view the city from inside. Transamerica Pyramid on Wikipedia Transamerica Pyramid (Q216865) on Wikidata
  • 7 Union Square (between Geary, Post, Stockton, and Powell Sts). The most important site is the square itself, which was revamped in 2002 to provide more space for outdoor events and less space for napping homeless people (an earlier version of the square appeared in the film The Conversation). The square now includes a theater ticket outlet, gift shop, and Emporio Rulli Cafe, along with an underground parking garage. For blogging people-watchers, there is free wi-fi provided by the city. Look under the leaves of the greenery in the planters, and you'll find a few power outlets for your laptop. Union Square, San Francisco on Wikipedia Union Square (Q527972) on Wikidata
  • Architecture. Union Square is the bustling name-brand shopping area for the city, where high-end chains put their West Coast flagship stores, or at least a major retail outlet. The neighborhood's visual extravaganzas tend to be stores, including the beautifully restored glass dome and rotunda salvaged from the former City of Paris department store (at the Neiman Marcus store that replaced it 1981, at Geary and Stockton), the interior lavishness of the flagship Williams Sonoma, and Niketown on Post. This area of downtown is also a hotbed of Art Deco and Beaux Arts architecture. For a splendid view of all this architecture, take a ride up the exterior glass elevators of the Westin St. Francis Hotel, on the west side of Union Square.
  • Water fountains. A quick overview of San Francisco geography is provided by the 8 San Francisco Fountain on the steps of the Grand Hyatt on Stockton just north of Post. This massive wall of sculpture was created by Ruth Asawa, using schoolchildren's bread dough models as a basis for the casting. Another famous water feature is 9 Lotta's Fountain, at the intersection of Geary, Kearney, and Market. Donated by singer Lotta Crabtree in 1875, it is the city's oldest piece of public art. You can also see the controversial 10 Vaillancourt Fountain at Justin Herman Plaza at the foot of Market Street, believed by many to be a parody of the former (and much loathed) Embarcadero Freeway.
  • 11 Wells Fargo History Museum, 420 Montgomery St, +1-415-396-2619. M-F 9AM-5PM. This interesting museum has many artifacts associated with the bank company, such as old stagecoaches. Free.
  • Privately-owned public spaces, various locations downtown. Local building codes have, for many years, required developers to include public spaces in their buildings. Some of them offer great views of downtown, such as the terrace on the 15th floor of 12 343 Sansome St. Others are just a nice place to take a break and sit, like the Redwood Forest at the bottom of the Transamerica Pyramid. A complete guide, entitled "Secrets of San Francisco", has detailed descriptions on each one.

Do[edit]

  • Gourmet Walks (Tours meet at the plaza at the foot of Market Street, next to The Embarcadero), +1-415-312-1119. Offering two gourmet tours of the neighborhood - the Gourmet Chocolate Tour and the Gourmet Chocolate and Wine Tour. Both tours will take you to some of the local businesses where you can sample their delicious fare. $48 for the Gourmet Chocolate Tour and $72 for the Gourmet Chocolate and Wine Tour.
  • Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, outside the Ferry Building, +1-415-291-3276. Tu 10AM-2PM, Sa 8AM-2PM. A large, very popular year-round organic farmers market.

Performing arts[edit]

Most of the theaters and performance spaces are located just to the west in the Civic Center-Tenderloin area, but there's still a few theaters surrounding Union Square:

  • 1 TIX Bay Area (on the corner of Union Square at Powell & Geary). Tu-Th 11AM-6PM, F-Sa 11AM-7PM, Su 11AM-3PM. A ticket booth run by Theater Bay Area, this booth offers many half-price tickets for local performances if you purchase on the day of the show, and you can sometimes buy full-price tickets in advance here as well.
  • 2 Curran Theater, 445 Geary St (between Taylor St and Mason St). Built in 1922, this theater was designed by architect Alfred Henry Jacobs. It has a very ornate and well-maintained interior featuring chandeliers and an intricately hand-painted ceilings. It is run by SHN, which focuses on the usual Broadway classics. Curran Theatre on Wikipedia Curran Theatre (Q5194956) on Wikidata
  • 3 Geary Theater, 405 Geary St, +1-415-749-2228. Home to the American Conservatory Theater, a Tony Award–winning institution and the largest theater company in the city, who put on many Broadway shows and original performances at this historic theater. American Conservatory Theater on Wikipedia American Conservatory Theater (Q463781) on Wikidata
  • 4 Phoenix Theater, 414 Mason St, Suite 601 (at Geary St), +1-415-861-8972, fax: +1-415-664-5001, e-mail: . See website for performance dates/times. The Phoenix is a small theater that showcases the work of local and international playwrights. About $25.
  • 5 Shelton Theater, 533 Sutter St. Home to Shelton Studios, SF Playhouse, and Stage Werx.
  • 6 Marines Memorial Theater, 609 Sutter St, +1-415-771-6900. Plays host to local, regional, and nationally renowned shows.

Buy[edit]

Union Square is surrounded by department stores

The purpose of Union Square is shopping. Most upscale national chains can be found in the neighborhood, including 1 Macy's western flagship store on the south side of the square, 2 Neiman Marcus on the southeast corner, 3 Saks on the north side, and 4 Nordstrom two blocks south, on Market opposite the cable car turnaround. Other chains include Victoria's Secret, Borders, Harry & David, Sur La Table, a four-level Ross, a four-level Loehmann's, one of the rare H&M stores in the U.S., Forever 21 in a restored bank, Armani, Crate and Barrel, and numerous upscale stores at San Francisco Shopping Center. More interesting are the stores that can't be found in every suburban mall. There are numerous art galleries and a fascinating selection of local or unusual businesses. The Financial District also has some decent shopping centers to choose from.

  • 5 Gump's, 135 Post St (between Kearny and Grant), +1-415-766-7628. M-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su noon-5PM. San Francisco's source of luxury housewares, from couches to crystal. Though famous names like Waterford appear on the shelves, the selection emphasizes home furnishings as art, often with an elegant Asian feel. The dominant style is not quite modernist but hardly middle-American traditional. It's difficult to do justice to a native's feelings toward Gump's without sounding like a bad marketing piece. This is the "look" that says one's parents and grandparents went to the right private schools. If your home looks like Gump's, you've not only "arrived"—you've been here longer than just about anyone else. As well as housewares, Gump's sells jewelry, holiday decor, and the odd bit of upscale soap.
  • 6 Britex, 146 Geary St (between Grant and Stockton), +1-415-392-2910. M-Sa 10AM-6PM. Arguably the largest fabric store on the west coast, filling four floors of a narrow building. Don't look for calicos for your quilting project: this is the land of luxury fabrics for faking couture at home. If you've ever wanted to make a cheap sweater look expensive by adding deluxe buttons, head straight for the third floor, where 30,000 styles await your approval (don't even think of touching a button - the clerks do that). Britex is also notable for selling remnants that are big enough for a real project.
  • 7 Williams Sonoma, 340 Post St (between Stockton and Powell), +1-415-362-9450. While it is technically a national chain, the Union Square store is the flagship store, and it's a cathedral to the gracious kitchen. Acres of housewares gleam beneath twin spiral stairs that lead to the land of crystal and tablecloths. This isn't your mother's mall-store Williams Sonoma. There are usually pretty good free samples being passed out, too.
  • 8 Thomas Pink, 255 Post St (between Grant and Stockton), +1-415-421-2022. M-F 10AM-7PM, Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 11AM-6PM. This place might seem obsessed with its eponymous color, if you judge by the store displays, but the upscale clothier also knows about white, beige, blue, and yellow.
  • 9 Wilkes Bashford, 375 Sutter St (between Grant and Stockton), +1-415-986-4380. M-W and F-Sa 10AM-6PM, Th 10AM-8PM. This is just the place to pop in for a $1,000 jacket, a $500 cashmere sweater, or those delicious Jimmy Choo shoes. Every now and again, there is a major sale on the top floor. You don't need to watch for the sales banners -- just notice when the crowds mobbing into the store look suspiciously like the same people who bussed your table the night before.
  • 10 San Francisco Art Exchange, 458 Geary St (between Taylor and Mason St), +1-415-441-8840, fax: +1-415-673-3697, e-mail: . Su-W 10AM-6PM, Th-Sa 10AM-8PM. This is a gallery for those interested in rock paintings and photographs, and they also sport a large Beatles collection and paintings by Ronnie Wood and Alberto Vargas. A must for music enthusiasts, if you have the budget. Prices are high, with most pieces over $1,000 dollars.
  • Embarcadero Center (between Sacramento and Clay Streets running from the Embarcadero to Battery St), +1-415-772-0700. 10AM-5PM daily. Spanning five city blocks, this center is one of the largest mixed-use centers in the Western United States. It has over 100 stores and a 5-screen movie complex.

Eat[edit]

Looking down California Street

Though Union Square appears to be awash in cafes, it's one of the more difficult neighborhoods for good eating. Dining selections are crowded and geared toward the tourist market, though there are a few iconic restaurants that have must-see status just from their fame and age. It's also a center of high-end hotel dining. However, a short side trip west on O'Farrell or Geary to the Tenderloin for bargain Indian or Vietnamese food, a quick walk up Grant to Chinatown or (further) to North Beach may be worthwhile alternatives to fast food, long waits, or $200 a plate meals. In the Financial District there are various restaurants catering to those who work in the surrounding buildings although many close at the end of the business day and offer few dinner choices.

  • 1 Bangkok Noodles, 110 Powell St (near Ellis), +1-415-397-2199. 11AM-1AM daily. Cash only "hole in the wall" restaurant serving delicious and nicely presented Thai dishes ranging from noodles, stir fried, to BBQ. Attracts a large local following from young Asian Americans. Lunch hour gets crowded in this small popular eatery; alternative is to take out and eat in Union Square. It's great for a good and cheap early or late-night dinner. Most dishes under $10.
  • 2 Boxed Foods Co, 245 Kearny St (between Hardie Pl & Sutter St), +1-415-981-9376. M-F 8AM-3PM. Healthy and delicious option for the working crowd. The line goes out the door around lunchtime so phone in or order early in order to beat the lunch time rush. The ingredients are fresh and wholesome. The Boxed Chicken Salad comes highly recommended.
  • 3 Daily Grill, 347 Geary Street (Between Mason and Powell Streets; there's an outdoor entrance and it is the hotel restaurant for the Handlery Hotel), +1 415 616-5002, fax: +1 415 616-5005. Su-Th 7AM-10PM, Fr-Sa 7AM-11PM. Upscale American pub food restaurant chain with well-stocked bar and American diner breakfast selections.
  • 4 Daffodil Restaurant, 665 Bush St (in the Orchard Hotel (see below) between Stockton and Powell), +1-415-343-0130. Serving seasonal, organic cuisine with wines from around the world.
  • 5 First Crush, 101 Cyril Magnin St (at Ellis St), +1-415-982-7874, fax: +1-415-982-7800, e-mail: . Su-W 5PM-10:45PM, Th-Sa 5PM-11:30PM. If you like romantic restaurants and have also fallen in love with California, this is the place for you. Popular with couples, this restaurant serves up modern Californian and American cuisine and they've got a HUGE selection of Cal wines to wash it down with. $20-30.
  • 6 John's Grill, 63 Ellis St (between Powell and Stockton), +1-415-986-3274. M-Sa 11AM-10PM, Su noon-10PM. Seafood and steak joint.
  • 7 Little Delhi, 83 Eddy St (at Mason), +1-415-398-3173. 11AM-11PM daily. This is a very good Indian restaurant at very reasonable prices. Decor and ambiance is average, but high on taste and cleanliness.
  • 8 Macy's Cellar Food Court, 170 O'Farrell St (between Stockton and Powell, across the street from Union Square), +1-415-397-3333. Around the corner from the swanky appliances on Macy's basement level is basically a food court, but better than the usual with Wolfgang Puck, Boudin, a sushi bar, Ben & Jerry's, Tom's Cookies and more. Beware though, it's usually a madhouse.
  • 9 One Market Restaurant, 1 Market St (between Steuart and Spear, near the Embarcadero), +1-415-777-5577. Lunch: M-F 11:30AM-2PM; Dinner: M-Sa 5:30PM-9PM. Organic food dishes.
  • 10 Pinecrest Diner, 401 Geary Street (Between Taylor and Mason), +1 415 885-6407, fax: +1 415 775-7879. Open 24 Hours. Traditional diner fare in a traditional diner setting. If you're looking for a good diner breakfast in the Union Square area, this is the place.
  • 11 Puccini & Pinetti, 129 Ellis St (between Powell and Cyril Magnin), +1-415-392-5500. M-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-11PM, Su 11:30AM-10PM. Popular Italian restaurant.
  • 12 Schroeder's, 240 Front St, +1-415-421-4778. A traditional German beer hall with schnitzel, sausages and other delights (and, of course, a good selection of German beers).
  • 13 Tadich Grill, 240 California St (between Battery and Front Streets), +1-415-391-1849. M-F 11AM-9:30PM, Sa 11:30AM-9:30PM. The longest operating restaurant in California, dating back to the Gold Rush. You'll find delicious seafood and a classic atmosphere where groups can sit in their own wood-paneled quarters. Price range is high with most entrees over $20. $20-30..
  • 14 Wexler's, 568 Sacramento St, +1-415-983-0102. Gourmet BBQ: try the New Orleans-style Flounder Po' Boy, BBQ Brisket Banh Mi, and the Bowl O' Red beanless chili made from smoked short ribs, shallots, and creme fraiche.

Drink[edit]

  • 1 Benjamin Cooper, 398 Geary Street (Between Taylor and Mason Streets, Inside the Hotel G), +1 415 654-5061. Mo-Fr 5PM-2AM, Sa 6PM-2PM. Small, nondescript bar inside the Hotel G. Walk past the check-in desk, go up the flight of stairs and make a left. Open the door straight in front of you and you're there. Cozy atmosphere, good selection of drinks, and a good deal on raw oysters, which is the only food they have available.
  • 2 Cantina, 580 Sutter St (between Mason St & Powell St), +1-415-398-0195. M-Sa 5PM-2AM. Part of the new wave of "mixologists" that have been sweeping over San Francisco. Classic cocktails are well-made, although more exotic choices can leave something to be desired, and it doesn't present the most affordable of options. Unfortunately, most of the bartenders think far too highly of themselves and expect tips accordingly. Weekend nights are quite busy as well as the after work crowd on weekdays.
  • 3 E&O Trading Company, 314 Sutter St (at Grant), +1-415-693-0303. M-Th 11:30AM-10PM, F-Sa 11:30AM-11PM, Su 5PM-9:30PM. Decked out in an upscale but not trying decor, EO Trading has the kind of cocktail list that impresses but doesn't overwhelm. The menu of small plates and appetizers of Asian fusion cuisine, satay platters and a selection of naan bread is the perfect partner for their lychee martinis and Anchor Steam beers. Happy hour is from 3 to 6PM.
  • 4 Harrington's Bar & Grill, 245 Front St (at Sacramento St), +1-415-392-7595. An Irish pub open since 1935.
  • 5 Irish Bank, 10 Mark Ln (alley off Bush St or Grant Ave), +1-415-788-7152. An old style Irish pub, walls adorned with antiques, with a great selection of whiskey, imports, and microbrewed beer, and good pub food. The Bank has plenty of outdoor sitting, ideal for a warm day.
  • 6 Lefty O'Doul's, 333 Geary St, +1-415-982-8900. Less than a block from Union Square, just up Geary, this is considered to be a "dive bar" in the area, although for true dives, one needs to continue further up Geary and in to the Tenderloin. Well known for their Bloody Mary and history, it's a decent place to stop in for a drink, although the crowd will most definitely not be locals.
  • 7 Royal Exchange, 301 Sacramento St (at Front St), +1-415-956-1710. A good selection of microbrews and imports on tap in a typical sports bar.
  • 8 Ruby Skye, 420 Mason St (between Geary St and Post St), +1-415-693-0777, fax: +1-415-693-0373. Th-Sa 7PM-4AM. Ruby Skye is one of the premiere clubs in the area and has become a "place to be seen." Some of the top DJs in the world have played here including Paul van Dyke, Pete Tong, and Sasha. It's 15,000 square feet of Hip-Hop, House, and Techno over multiple floors; one of the floors at the top has a private smoking lounge and cigar bar. Cover charge $0-25.
  • 9 Starlight Room, 450 Powell St (in the Sir Francis Drake Hotel), +1-415-395-8595. Tu-Sa 6PM-2AM, Su 11AM-3:30PM. Not for a visitor that's light in the wallet, but the view and setting from this lounge are undeniably hard to beat. Opulent is probably the best description. Dress well if going as the crowd that attends is there to be seen.
  • 10 Tunnel Top, 601 Bush St (between Burritt St & Stockton St), +1-415-722-6620. This two-floor, cash-only bar is a neighborhood staple, where you'll find an eclectic mix of locals downing the very excellent mojitos, shots of Fernet-Branca (the unofficial drink of San Francisco), or egging on the bartenders to make up a new drink.

Sleep[edit]

This guide uses the following price ranges for a standard double room:
Budget under $100
Mid-range $100 - 175
Splurge $176 and over

Without a doubt, this is the primary hotel district for San Francisco. While some of the main hotels are technically in the neighboring Tenderloin district (although they'll vehemently deny it) their proximity to Union Square and public transportation is hard to beat. The range varies greatly from large, international chains to smaller boutiques. With any of these hotels, you are always advised to book far in advance for better prices and selection due to their overall desirability for anyone visiting the city.

Budget[edit]

Mid-range[edit]

  • 4 The Donatello, 501 Post St (at Mason), +1-415-441-7100. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. 94 deluxe rooms, the most spacious accommodations in San Francisco. Elegantly decorated with original Italian art, Travertine marble, Venetian glass and European antiques.
  • 5 Handlery Union Square Hotel, 351 Geary St (between Powell and Mason), +1-415-781-7800, fax: +1-415-781-0269. A family hotel with a European flair, and the feel of upscale boutique accommodations providing warm, personal attention. The cable car is located at the corner and attractions are within walking distance.
  • 6 Hotel Abri, 127 Ellis St, +1-415-392-8800, fax: +1-415-398-2650. Recently renovated hotel that lacks a pool or free breakfast. Rooms are small but has everything you need for a reasonable price. The cable car, MUNI and BART stations are within walking distance.
  • 7 Hotel des Arts, 447 Bush St (between Grant Ave and Kearny St), +1-415-956-4322, fax: +1-415-956-0399, e-mail: . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. The hotel displays the work of contemporary local artists. $69-149.

Splurge[edit]

The Westin St. Francis Hotel
  • 8 Chancellor Hotel, 433 Powell St (between Sutter and Post just north of Union Square), +1-415-362-2004, toll-free: +1-800-428-4748, fax: +1-415-362-1403, e-mail: . A classic hotel overlooking Powell Street. Offers a menu of pillow options for your sleeping comfort. $90–200.
  • 9 The Clift Hotel, 495 Geary St (at Taylor St), +1-415-775-4700, fax: +1-415-441-4621, e-mail: . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Hotel features Jeffrey Chodorow's Asia de Cuba restaurant, the Redwood Room, the Living Room, private apartments, penthouse suites and meeting facilities. $275-325.
  • 10 Galleria Park Hotel, 191 Sutter St (at Kearny), +1-415-781-3060, fax: +1-415-433-4409, e-mail: . A boutique hotel with a half-acre private urban park. Good linens, flat-screen TVs and complimentary wine hour.
  • 11 [dead link]Hilton San Francisco Financial District, 750 Kearny St (between Washington St and Clay St), +1-415-483-1498, fax: +1-415-765-7891. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Situated at the nexus of Chinatown, North Beach and the Financial District, this 27 story hotel has some stunning views over the city and of San Francisco Bay. $209-409.
  • 12 Hilton San Francisco Union Square, 333 O'Farrell St (between Taylor St and Mason St), +1-415-771-1400, fax: +1-415-771-6807, e-mail: . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. At 46 stories tall, this hotel is the tallest hotel in the downtown area and has excellent views over the city. It also has a heated outdoor swimming pool and jacuzzi, as well as high-speed internet in all rooms. $149-369.
  • 13 Hotel Diva, 440 Geary St (between Taylor St and Mason St), +1-415-885-0200, e-mail: . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Sleek, modern boutique hotel just off Union Square. This place is pretty hip! It's also a non-smoking hotel. $149-226.
  • 14 Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason St (between O'Farrell and Ellis), +1-415-394-1111, fax: +1-415-394-1106, e-mail: . Swanky large hotel with a boutique feel and very large bathrooms. Rooms are equipped with high-speed Internet, stereos and large flat panel televisions, and you can ask for the few rooms with Japanese style amenities. There is also an indoor fifteen-meter heated pool, whirlpool and a 24h gym. Hotel dining includes restaurant ANZU, which serves fresh sushi and excellent steaks. Also located inside the hotel's lobby is the Rrazz Room Theater, with nightly cabaret and R&B and the Imperial Club rooms on the top floors provide some great views of the city. $101–200/night.
  • 15 Hotel Rex, 562 Sutter St (between Powell and Mason), +1-415-433-4434, fax: +1-415-433-3695. The Hotel Rex was inspired by the San Francisco art and literary salons of the 1920s and 30s. The clubby lobby surrounds guests with distinctive period furnishings, walls of antiquarian books, and a collection of exotic objects, original portraits and murals.
  • 16 Hotel Vitale, 8 Mission St (at the Embarcadero), +1-415-278-3700, fax: +1-415-278-3750, e-mail: . Great boutique hotel, right on the waterfront, across from the historic Ferry Building. Rooms with city or bay views, rooftop day-spa, and a restaurant and bar with outside terrace seating. $250–500.
  • 17 Hyatt Regency San Francisco, 5 Embarcadero Center (at the Embarcadero Center, next to the California and Market cable car turnaround), +1-415-788-1234, fax: +1-415-398-2567. A very prominent hotel near the waterfront, with many rooms having lovely views of the Bay. Typically of Hyatts, there are plenty of amenities and very nice rooms.
  • 18 JW Marriott (former Pan Pacific), 500 Post St (at Mason, one block west of Union Square), +1-415-771-8600, fax: +1-415-398-0267. A AAA four diamond hotel with lots of amenities and nice rooms.
  • 19 Le Méridien (formerly the Park Hyatt), 333 Battery St (between Commercial and Clay, next to the Embarcadero Center), +1-415-296-2900, fax: +1-415-296-2901, e-mail: . A luxury hotel that mostly caters to business travelers. Large rooms and very nice furnishings and art work. If you stay at this hotel, make a point not to eat breakfast here, as it is expensive and there are other good options nearby.
  • 20 Mandarin Oriental, 222 Sansome St (at Pine), +1-415-276-9600, fax: +1-415-433-0289, e-mail: . A 150 room hotel located on the top eleven floors of the First Interstate Center, the third tallest building in the city of San Francisco. The view from the rooms are exceptional, with floor to ceiling windows and great views.
  • 21 Marines' Memorial Club & Hotel, 609 Sutter St, +1-415-673-6672, fax: +1-415-441-3649. A historic hotel with some elegantly appointed rooms and suites. Fine dining at the Leatherneck Steakhouse & Lounge and performances at the historical Marines' Memorial Theatre on the premises.
  • 22 Marriott Union Square, 480 Sutter St (at Powell), +1-415-398-8900, fax: +1-415-989-8823. A trendy San Francisco boutique hotel. Formerly the Hotel 480, this hotel has been completely renovated to become a Marriott.
  • 23 Omni San Francisco Hotel, 500 California St (at Montgomery), +1-415-677-9494, fax: +1-415-273-3038. A luxury hotel with marble floors and wood paneling in the lobby and very nice rooms.
  • 24 The Orchard Hotel, 665 Bush St (at Powell Street), +1-415-362-8878, fax: +1-415-362-8088. A stylish 'green' boutique hotel with beautiful rooms and suites, as well as meeting space, a fitness center, and on-site dining - Daffodil Restaurant.
  • 25 Parc 55 San Francisco, 55 Cyril Magnin St (between Ellis and Eddy), toll-free: +1-800-595-0507. A highrise hotel with large rooms, lots of amenities, and great views of Downtown.
  • 26 Sir Francis Drake Hotel, 450 Powell St, +1-415-392-7755, fax: +1-415-391-8719. A historic (built in 1928) and rather lavish hotel a block up the street from Union Square.
  • 27 Hotel Triton, 342 Grant Ave (at Bush St), +1-415-394-0500, fax: +1-415-394-0555. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: noon. Located just outside Chinatown, directly across from the south gate. Trendy, modern, and a little pricey. But the rooms are nicely appointed, and they offer a free tasting of local wines every afternoon. $229-300.
  • 28 Villa Florence, 225 Powell St, +1-415-397-7700. Has the feel of an Italian-inspired hotel. Amenities include an onsite bar, Kuleto's Italian Restaurant, a fitness center and a sundry area.
  • 29 Westin-St Francis Hotel, 335 Powell St (west side of Union Square, between Post and Geary), +1-415-397-7000. Now a member of the Westin chain, this is an iconic San Francisco hotel. The lavish lobby and cafe area are used as a meeting place by quite a lot of people who aren't guests there, despite the pricey lattes and ritzy atmosphere. In a peculiar bit of design, the lobby has a side entrance to the Harry & David store, should you need to pop over for a few chocolate-covered cranberries. A ride on the exterior glass elevators offers a splendid view of the skyline, and can be done even if you're not staying. Although the St. Francis has a reputation for being pricy, it runs off-season specials.

Connect[edit]

Go next[edit]

Routes through Union Square-Financial District
Balboa ParkCivic Center  SW J Church logo.svg NE  END
West PortalCivic Center  SW K Ingleside logo.svgT Third Street logo.svg S     SoMaVisitacion Valley
West PortalCivic Center  SW L Taraval logo.svgM Ocean View logo.svg NE  END
SunsetCivic Center  SW N Judah logo.svg S     SoMa


This district travel guide to Union Square-Financial District has guide status. It has a variety of good, quality information including hotels, restaurants, attractions and arrival info. Please contribute and help us make it a star!