Tuesday, July 5, 2011

US Summer 2011: Enjoying Union Square and Downtown San Francisco!

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

Date: June 30, 2011
Location: Downtown, San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California has so many attractions it will make your head spin! Luckily, with my sixth visit to this vibrant tourist destination, I have the chance to check at least once or twice some "must-see/must-do" places and can skip them on this visit. But there is one thing I can't seem to miss - go Downtown San Francisco since there is always something new each time I visit and curious what could that be!

Downtown San Francisco has endless places if you just want to snap digital pictures like me( since my last summer visit in San Francisco was 9 years ago when digital cameras have not made way to my must-have gadgets). The best way to start the digital clicks is to hop on one or all the three cable car routes that take(s) you to see Fisherman's Wharf, Ghirardelli Square,Lombard Street, Museum of Modern Art,and Painted Ladies (Victorian Houses) among others.

The cable car's three routes gave me the bearings for what Downtown San Francisco has to offer. This experience and some info on schedules and fares I shared in my post Enjoying San Francisco's World Famous Cable Cars.

For some serious exploration (spelled as "walking" or "shopping" depending on whether you are just browsing, shopping or taking pictures), a good place to start is the world's premier shopping districts called the ceremonial "heart" of San Francisco - the Union Square.

Union Square is a 24-hour plaza and nearby area lined by one of the largest collections of department stores like Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Barneys New York, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Neiman Marcus making it the third largest shopping district of San Francisco.

The square also serves as the site of many public concerts & events, art shows, private parties and impromptu protests living up to its historical name being a staging area for pro-Union rallies during the United States Civil War.

If eating is the thing for you, Union Square's tree and flower-lined environment is a place to enjoy that drinks or an elegant meal while enjoying unique outdoor pursuits of chatting and people watching.

But if you think it is the shopping and dining that makes Union Square the "heart" of San Francisco, not quite. It is so called the "heart" simply because of the several painted heart sculptures installed in each of the four corners of the square. Each year, new sculptures are painted by various artists to replace the ones that are auctioned off to benefit the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation.

So, whatever others say, "I really heart you" Union Square!

(This is part of the 5-week US Summer Vacation series, which took place from June 30, 2011 to August 3,2011 in California, Colorado, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pemnsylvania, and Indiana)

1.Four Countries In One Day

2. Enjoying Cable Cars in San Francisco

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