Ghirardelli Square San Francisco

Ghirardelli Square: The Chocolate Temple of San Francisco

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If you’re visiting San Francisco, it’s almost impossible not to come across the gigantic Ghirardelli sign that is visible on the bay, especially at night when it lights up.

Known for being the site of San Francisco‘s most important chocolate factory, today it also hosts a large number of restaurants and special attractions.

Location and Directions

Ghirardelli Square is located inside Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, one of the most touristy and popular areas of the city. The square itself is very small compared to other squares in the United States and is bordered by Beach St, Larkin St, North Point St, and Polk St.

The most scenic way to get here is to use the historic cable car, since the Powell-Hyde line has a stop (Hyde St & Beach St) that is only a short walk from the square. As an alternative, the Jones St & Beach St stop of the E and F lines is also less than 10 minutes away walking. The most important bus stops in the area are 30-Stockton, 47-Van Ness, and 19-Polk.

If, for some particular reason, you need to use the car (even though in our article about getting around in San Francisco we explained why it is preferable to opt for alternative means of transportation), there are several paid parking lots in the area. The closest one is the official one in the square, the Ghirardelli Square Parking, which can be accessed from Larkin Street, but it can be a bit expensive. In fact, it starts from $6 for the first hour and then it goes up to $8 per hour.

If you want to know more useful tips on how to find parking in the city, I recommend you read our in-depth article about where to park in San Francisco.

The Famous Ghirardelli Chocolate Shop

The reason why the square has its name is precisely because of this historic chocolate factory that dates back to 1893. The Ghirardelli Chocolate Company is definitely a gourmet chocolate paradise and its store, the Ghirardelli Chocolate Outlet, is the perfect place to buy the best products (at lower prices than the other retailers scattered around the city) and maybe some gifts for your friends who stayed at home (especially if San Francisco is the last destination of your road trip).

Unfortunately, you can’t take a guided tour of the chocolate factory, but this historic place in San Francisco is certainly worth visiting, regardless of whether you want to buy something or not.

Restaurants in Ghirardelli Square

Ghirardelli Square restaurantsIf you are looking for some places to eat in San Francisco, you will surely find a great choice here. Here are the main restaurants located in Ghirardelli Square:

  • Wattle Winery: The ideal place for wine tasting in the Sonoma and Napa area.
  • Vom Fass: In addition to wines, you can also taste various types of olive oil and local gourmet foods.
  • McCormick & Kuletos: Meat and seafood dishes await you in this restaurant that also offers beautiful views of San Francisco Bay.
  • The Cheese School: Everything in this restaurant focuses on cheese and its derivatives. If you are interested, stop by.
  • Tea House Palette: If you love Chinese dim sum, this is the place for you. If you want to know about more places where you can eat dim sum in the city, read our article about Chinatown of San Francisco.
  • The Pub BBQ: A restaurant specializing in Southern barbecue cuisine.
  • Pico Latin Street Food: This is a restaurant specializing in Latin American street food.
  • San Francisco Brewing Company: Here you can choose from a great selection of beers, including local beers. You can enjoy a beer in the pleasant outdoor area of the restaurant and perhaps decide to order a good hamburger.

Stores in Ghirardelli Square

Ghirardelli Square StoresIn Ghirardelli Square, there are not only restaurants but there are also other shops and activities to consider if you want to learn more about the area. Here are some of the most popular and popular:

  • Minigolf SubPar: If you are traveling with children, this may be a stop to consider. This is a minigolf course with a San Francisco theme in which its most famous and important attractions are reconstructed.
  • Lola: A shop of unique clothes, accessories, and gift items. I recommend it if you are looking for a souvenir of the city that is a bit more original and of higher quality than the classic ones you can find in other tourist areas of the city.
  • Gigi & Rose and Mashka: If you’re 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.

Events in Ghirardelli Square

Many events are held every year in this square. These are certainly the two main ones:

  • Ghirardelli Christmas Tree Lighting: Every year at Christmas, a huge decorated tree is placed in the square. The tree lighting is accompanied by a festive ceremony. This event is usually held during the last days of November.
  • Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival: This is a real paradise for gourmet chocolate lovers who will have at their disposal more than dozens of food stands where they  can taste delicacies that have chocolate as their main ingredient. A selection of wines, rum and beer are also served and there is live music.

Where to Stay in the Area

Perhaps the most famous hotel nearby, located just a stone’s throw from the square, is the Fairmont Heritage Place, a distinguished luxury hotel. If you can afford it (or if you are simply curious to see it), you can have a look at the availability of rooms by clicking on the button below.

Search for a room at the Fairmont Heritage Place

If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative in the area, you can check out the hotels listed in Fisherman’s Wharf in our in-depth guide on overnight accommodations in the city (button below).

Our tips for finding accommodations in San Francisco

Our Tip:
Looking for accommodations for your trip from California to other parts of the Southwest? Read our guide that contains reviews of hotels and strategic tips for finding accommodations near major attractions: Where to Stay: Our Tips for the SouthWest Area

Warning: Operating hours can change and closures for extraordinary events can occur, so we strongly suggest to check the venues official websites.

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Filippo Nardelli

I have a degree in History of North America and have always been fascinated by the United States.

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