It’s a Place for the Whole Family to Enjoy!
Ghirardelli Chocolate and San Francisco go hand in hand. The famous (and delicious) chocolate made its original mark on the world in 1848 amidst the gold rush that populated the city of San Francisco. One of the original sites for the chocolate factory, Ghirardelli Square, is now a thriving outdoor shopping, dining, and meeting area for locals and tourists alike. Although the factory is now-located off site, Ghirardelli Square is still a fun place to spend an afternoon while visiting the City by the Bay.
Original Architecture & Tours
Many of the original buildings once used for the factory are still standing and are visible externally from a visit to the Square. If you are interested in the history of chocolatiering, be sure to check out the free guided walking tour of the property that is held every Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday morning at 9:30 a.m. starting at the concierge/information booth in the center of the Square. The tour is pretty brief, which is good for very small children who will not be held captivated by the history of the factory. I found the information very interesting and informative, and would recommend the tour to any curious families.
Shopping & Restaurants
Today the square is full of a unique blend of shopping and dining opportunities. 10 specialty stores, all local and unique to the San Francisco area call the Square home. If your kids are up to it, take them to enjoy the fine Vietnamese dining at Ana Mandara, or enjoy a delicious prime steak at McCormick and Kuleto’s. A pub and winery are on site if you can snag a sitter! For very family-friendly dining, head to Lori’s Diner, chock full of 1950’s style Americana and old-fashioned fun.
The flagship store of the Square is undoubtedly the Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop. In warm months, the line for these rich and tasty treats can be well into the Square. Rest assured, the line moves quickly and is well worth the wait for one of the most amazing sundae concoctions you’ll ever try. If you can’t wait very long, try the to-go only shop upstairs, the line is typically much shorter than the dine-in option. All of your favorite chocolates are also available for purchase in the store.
The Square boasts numerous live musicians, festivals and events year-round. The outdoor patio seating area adjacent to the beautiful mermaid fountain sculpture offers a great place to sit and enjoy a relaxing afternoon in the City.
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photo: Katie Bodell