Downtown

Downtown


Union Square is in the center of San Francisco’s downtown. This is the 2 ½ acre beating heart of the city, where cable cars, shopping, hotels, restaurants, and throngs gather in the center of San Francisco. It’s vibrant, noisy, crowded, restless, and very much alive. The square itself is bounded by imposing stores and the entire west side is taken up by the 2nd oldest hotel in San Francisco, the Westin St. Francis. The area underwent a $25 million renovation in 2002 which gave the city center granite pedestals, gardens and sculptures. Big, upscale department stores like Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, and Tiffany border Union Square. The Westin St. Francis takes up the entire west side. Union Square hotels play host to the most visitors in the city. Great restaurants abound here along with art galleries and theaters.

Downtown San Francisco also includes the Civic Center government and arts buildings, the Financial District and the Waterfront. Most San Francisco maps also include Alamo Square, the Western Addition, Chinatown, Nob Hill and parts of SoMa. The famous San Francisco streets of Powell, Stockton, and of course, Market Street, the city’s main thoroughfare, are contained within the downtown area. The tallest buildings belong to the Financial District, actually a compact area stretching from the Transamerica Pyramid on the north to Kearny on the west, Market to the south and Justin Herman Plaza on the east. It’s size belies its importance as the “Wall Street of the West.” The Financial District stretches to the Waterfront which includes the Embarcadero’s Ferry Building, once San Francisco’s transportation center with daily bustling ferry traffic.

The Civic Center, north of Fell and Market, is a collection of stunning and immense buildings, designed in the early 20th century beaux-arts style. The complex includes the domed City Hall, the Civic Center Auditorium, the San Francisco Opera House, Davies Symphony Hall, and the Asian Art Museum. The City Library is also located here.





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