With over 160 years' history as the ceremonial heart of San Francisco, today's Union Square has served as one of the main retail and cultural centers in the city.
In 1850, San Francisco's first American mayor John Geray, dedicated the square and named it after the pro-Union ralleis in Civil War. A 97 ft (30 m) tall monument to Admiral George Dewey for his victory during the Spanish American War stands in the center of the plaza.
The square has been used for many public concerts & events, art shows, parties and protests etc. From some of the second and third floor galleries and shops, as well as the Sir Francis Drake Hotel nearby, you can get the best views of the square.
Other than the plaza itself, Union Square has become most popular sight in San Francisco for the general shopping, dining, and theater districts within its surrounding blocks.
It has been well-known as the Mecca of San Francisco's shopping district. Almost every major retail brands including Macy's, Neiman Marcus, Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch, Saks Fifth Avenue, etc are located at Union Sauare. Union Square truly gives you the experience of the world's premier shopping districts.
Take a ride of Cable Car at the intersection of Powell and Market streets. Here the drivers of the cable car get out and turn the nearly 8-ton, 18-foot-long relics around so they're pointing in the direction they came from. Also take a round of many prestigious galleries and theaters surrounding this area.
Located right in the middle of downtown San Francisco, walking to Union Square to go shopping or meeting up with friends is more advisable for the area is the most dense urban city. If you enjoy battling with thousands of people, just pick a Saturday afternoon. Otherwise, go on weekday mornings when most of the people in SF are working away in their cubicles.