If you are visiting San Francisco it is practically impossible not to come across the gigantic Ghirardelli sign that makes a fine show of itself on the bay promenade, especially at night when it lights up thanks to its hundreds of lights.
Known for being the site of San Francisco's most important chocolate factory, today it is also home to a large number of restaurants and special attractions.
- Where is it and how to get there
- The famous Ghirardelli chocolate shop
- The other restaurants in Ghirardelli Square
- The other shops
- The events of the square
- Where to sleep in the area
Where is it and how to get there
Ghirardelli Square is located within San Francisco's popular Fisherman's Wharf, one of the most touristic and busy areas in the city. The square itself is very small by the standards we are used to in the US, and is bordered by Beach, Larkin, North Point and Polk streets.
The most picturesque way to get here is to use the historic Cable Cars, since the line Powell-hyde has its terminus (Hyde St & Beach St) less than 5 minutes walk from the square. Still on the subject of historical means of transport, also the Jones stop St & Beach St of the tram lines E e F it is less than a 10-minute walk away. As for the regular buses, the most important ones that stop in the area are the number 30-Stockton, 47-Van Ness and 19-Polk.
If, for some particular reason, you need to use the car (although in our article how to get around San Francisco we explained why it is preferable to opt for alternative means), there are various paid parking lots in the area. The closest is the official one of the square, the Ghirardelli Square Parking, which has the entrance on Larkin Street, with prices that are not exactly popular, since it starts at $ 6 for the first hour and $ 8 for the following hours.
However, if you want other useful tips on how to manage the parking of your car in the city, I refer you to our in-depth study dedicated to where to park in San Francisco.
The famous Ghirardelli chocolate shop
The reason why the square has its name is because of this historic chocolate factory which dates back to 1893. Ghirardelli Chocolate Company it is definitely a sweet tooth's paradise and its store, the Ghirardelli Chocolate Outlet, is the perfect place to buy the best products (at lower prices than other retailers around the city) and maybe give some gifts to some of your friends who have stayed at home (especially if San Francisco is the last destination of your on the road).
Unfortunately, there are no guided tours inside the chocolate factory, but this is still worth a visit historical place of San Francisco, regardless of whether you want to buy something or not.
The other restaurants in Ghirardelli Square
If you are looking for a place to eat in San Francisco, surely you will find a considerable choice here. here are the main restaurants which are located in Ghirardelli Square:
- Wattle Winery: ideal place for tasting wines produced in the Sonoma and Napa area.
- On tap: in addition to wines, it also allows you to taste various types of olive oil and local gourmet foods
- McCormick & Kuletos: Dishes of land and sea await you in this restaurant which also offers beautiful views of the San Francisco bay.
- The Cheese School: everything in this restaurant is all about cheese and its derivatives. If you like it, drop by.
- Palette Tea House: if you are a lover of Japanese dim sum cuisine this is the place for you. If you want some other advice on where to eat dim sum in the city, I refer you to this section of our article dedicated to San Francisco's Chinatown.
- The Pub BBQ: a place that specializes in barbecue cuisine made and served in the typical style of the Southern United States.
- Pico Latin Street Food: this is a restaurant specializing in Latin American street food.
- San Francisco Brewing Company: here you can choose from an excellent selection of beers, including local ones, tasting them in a pleasant open space, perhaps accompanied by a good hamburger.
The other shops
Ghirardelli Square is not just food but there are also other shops and activities that you can consider if you want to learn more about the area. Here are some of the best known and most popular:
- Minigolf SubPar: if you are traveling with children this may be a stage to consider. It is a completely San Francisco-themed mini-golf course in which its most famous and important attractions are reconstructed.
- Lola: a somewhat particular clothing, accessories and gift shop. Recommended if you are looking for a souvenir of the city that is a little more original and refined than the classic ones that can be found in other tourist areas of the city.
- Gigi & Rose e Mashka: If you are in the mood for shopping (and your finances allow it) you can visit these two popular shops that offer a selection of fashionable clothes and handmade jewelry.
The events of the square
There are numerous events that are held every year in this square. These are certainly the two main ones:
- Ghirardelli Christmas Tree Lighting: every year during the days of Christmas a huge decorated tree is placed in the square whose lighting is sanctioned by a festive ceremony. Usually this event is held during the last days of November.
- Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival: a real paradise for gourmands who will have more than dozens of food stands at their disposal to choose from delicacies whose main ingredient is chocolate. All topped off with a selection of wines, rums, beers and live music.
Where to sleep in the area
Perhaps the most famous hotel a stone's throw from the square is the Fairmont Heritage Place, a well-known ultra-luxury hotel. If you can afford it (or just out of curiosity), you can take a look at the availability of rooms by clicking on the button below.
Close a camera to the Fairmont Hotel
If, on the other hand, you are looking for a cheaper alternative in the area, you can take a look at the structures indicated in the Fisherman's Wharf district in our in-depth study dedicated to staying overnight in the city (button below).
Our tips for sleeping in San Francisco