Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I have left San Francisco..... but this beautiful city has not left me!!

When you are in San Francisco you can't miss out 
on the Union Square.

Union Square in SF is famous for its many upscale and speciality stores and shops. Many of SF's best hotels and restaurants are also found within a few blocks of Union Square.
Union Square is sometimes attributed only with shopping and crowds, but there is more there than what, most people are lead to think, and of course, for anyone visiting San Francisco, you shouldn’t miss it. However, aside from shopping visitors can walk the streets and enjoy fine art galleries, sit in the plaza and enjoy the sun, go see a show at one of the many theatres or dine at some of the best restaurants in the city.

It would be good to know some thing about its history, for many times we visit places and don't bother to even find out how it came to existence, so here it is:

Built in 1847, Jasper O’Farrell, a civil engineer responsible for much of the design of San Francisco’s city plan, set aside the area of Union Square to be used as a public plaza. Just before the Civil War, the park was used as a location for frequent demonstrations which supported the Union troop, giving it its name Union Square. Prior to the great earthquake of 1906, the area was mostly considered a residential neighborhood, but was rebuilt in the aftermath of the quake to become the cultural and shopping mecca it is today. In 2002, thanks to a $25 million renovation, Union Square was transformed into a beautiful piazza with the monument with the goddess Victory, that was built in 1903, still towering over it. So you can see it has a very interesting history.
Sometimes demonstrations are even still held here reminiscent of the ones the square itself is named for. On the plaza there are many places to sit and people watch or just enjoy your surroundings, including a little café where you can get pastries and coffee or even a glass of wine.  Don't forget  the TIX booth that is a must stop for tourists and locals. Aside from theatre tickets the TIX booth acts as an information booth providing information and passes for many of San Francisco’s major attractions.
This landmark hotel is one of San Francisco's grand dames, operating continuously since 1928 in the heart of Union Square.

If your looking for jewelry, there is a Tiffany & Co. located directly in Union Square which should keep you busy for a while, otherwise there are many more to choose from including, Bulgari, Cartier, Swatch and Simayof.

Now off to China Town: San Francisco's Chinatown is not only the oldest but also the most famous and largest Chinatown in the US. Thanks to the many ornamented houses, shops and eateries the area is one of the city's most popular tourist attraction.

San Francisco's Chinatown was first established in the mid 19th century, attracting immigrants mostly from China's Guangdong Province. Most of these individuals had jobs 
with the Central Pacific Railroad. They soon established their own town within the city
Most of the shops are located around Grant Street, the central axis of Chinatown's tourist area. Here all lampposts are ornamented with colorful Chinese motives and the many tourists jostle for space on the narrow sidewalks along the many souvenir shops, eateries and herbal shops. 

The Transamerica Pyramid: Transamerica Pyramid is the most remarkable building in SF's skyline. It is the tallest building in the city measuring 853 ft from the street level. Transamerica Pyramid is the most remarkable building in SF's skyline. 

The Transamerica Pyramid is the tallest and most recognizable skyscraper in the San Francisco skyline. The building has 48 floors of retail and office space.

 An architectural masterpiece:
The Transamerica Pyramid is without a doubt most known for its unusual shape. The architect William Pereira claimed to have created the ideal shape for skyscrapers, as it came with the advantage of letting more air and light into the surrounding streets.

This, together with the earthquake safe design, also allowed the building to get around strict building laws which enabled it be much taller than if it had a more normal design.

Some interesting facts about this building:

The top of the building is covered in aluminum panels which can be illuminated from within during night. The rest of the Transamerica Pyramid is covered in layers of crushed quartz which gives it its beautiful pure white color. 

The pyramid has a total of 3678 windows which together takes more than one month to clean. The building houses 18 elevators, but in order to conserve space, only two of these lead all the way up to the top.

The building of today houses several high profile firms and provides office for around 1500 people. Even though the building it is not exclusively used by the Transamerica Corporation, it is still strongly associated with the company. They even incorporated the pyramid into their logo and the company slogan.

The Transamerica Pyramid dominates the San Francisco skyline, while at the same time achieving its objective by bringing life to the streets below. It is truly one of its kind and a great piece of architecture.

I write all these details so that a person making a trip to San Francisco, knows at least something before they arrive there.
A blogger friend of mine had commented, that, it looked like San Francisco was still lingering in my mind, because I keep writing about it. Yes it is still lingering in my mind, and until I document everything I have seen and enjoyed, I will not feel I have done full justice to it.

And since I blog mainly for myself, I write about things that fascinates me.

Next I would be writing about scenic Monterey and so many other places visited by us during our trip to the US in 2010.

So see you all next in Monterey!


  1. It is so good to revisit my favorite city through your photos and words Rama. I have great memories of shopping at Union Square during Christmas; I used to work at the Transamerica Pyramid and remember taking my Mom shopping in Chinatown:):)

  2. SF is very nice. Great picture. You did have a wonderful time.

  3. Hi Rama, seems you had a great time in San Francisco. Great pictures and wealth of information for newbies visiting SF:)

  4. Nice post again from you.I have heard my daughter talking about Lombard street otherwise known as crooked street.

  5. Wonderful .I loved Transamerica Pyramid .I have never been to San Fransisco ,so thanks for this trip.Looking forward for more :):)
    Have a nice day .

  6. Wow.... Soo much information... Nice shots... So... china town s there everywhere ....!! I have been to china town in Japan and in Singapore... A vibrant and colorful place where we can get collectibles.. and some really good stuff ...!!

    Thanks a lot for dropping by Liven Things Up... and for your cool cool comments ;-) ;-) ...!!

  7. It is so much fun to read about the spots after visiting them.. so much to introspect and go back in memories! Thanks for this post are making me nostalgic:-)

  8. Designer labels are so easy to find there in US, But i look for some good bargains.

  9. wow, thanks to you for taking us an a free arm chair SF tour. lovely photos.

  10. hmmmmmmm california here i come :)

    thanks for all the info..

    beautiful pics want to go NOW


  11. Wow I like the way you described the scene... the shopping plazas... the cafes... the hotel is beautiful! I never knew why the union square got its name... now I do... you even taught me about the china town.... I can't wait for the next post!

  12. I love SF, it's been so long since I've been there. You'll love Monterey. The aquarium was great haven't been in at least 20 years. Have a wonderful time! Wish I was on vacation!

  13. I admire your photos.
    Have a nice day