Union Square, one of the most exciting areas of San Francisco, attracts many visitors, both from the United States and from abroad. To be precise, Union Square is the name of the actual square, but it is also used to indicate the surrounding blocks with their hotels, theaters and shopping streets. The name of the square is derived from the patriotic meetings and functions held here in support of the Union Army during the American Civil War. Today there is a wide range of up-market retailers, department stores, art galleries, souvenir shops and luxury salons in this quarter. This much-praised shopping destination also features charming, intimate theaters that offer wonderful entertainment for the visitor.
Two of the highlights of the theater districts are the Curran and Geary theaters that border on the Tenderloin district. Another important feature on Union Square is the TIX Bay Area, a ticket seller that offers tickets to many of the San Francisco performing arts; tickets can be obtained at a discount on the day of the performance.
A few blocks to the south on Market Street, visitors can see the cable cars changing direction and sample the offerings of a number of boutiques in this fast-developing area. To the northwest of Union Square lies Nob Hill, with its apartment buildings and imposing mansions. To the northeast is the famous Chinatown, with its iconic dragon gate.
Also in the immediate vicinity is the famous French Quarter, which has a range of cafés and restaurants with a French theme, many of which are open-air attractions. This area is the location for the enthusiastic Bastille Day celebrations, which are considered the largest such festival in the United States.
Union Square is perhaps best known for its shopping opportunities, with a large number of world-famous designer boutiques in the area, such as Giorgio Armani, Prada, Burberry, Gucci, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and many others. In addition, there are six prominent department stores – Bloomingdale's, Macy's, Nordstrom, Barneys New York, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue.
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