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.
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.