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Shopping in Union Square

The tall elegance of the high-rises here radiates a style and grace that vibrates through the busy streets. This is a place for strolling and noticing the intricate details of doorways, quaint cobbled lanes, and unusual sidewalk stalls.

Perennially popular, this neighborhood becomes a holiday hub during the wintertime. There's a giant Christmas tree and outdoor ice rink that draws in excited families and love-struck couples. As for stores, anything and everything you would hope to find is here, and then some. From Prada to Banana Republic to Cartier and Macy's, all the big and little shops call this area home. There are dozens of art galleries, indulgent eateries, linen and kitchen stores, as well as hundreds of one-of-a-kind boutiques. The most popular stretch is the physical square that reaches around Stockton, Geary, Powell and Post streets, but don't limit yourself to this small area; there is so much to shop for north, south, east, and west of its limits. Grant Street, in particular, has dozens of charming shops to get lost in. The views from The Cheesecake Factory on Macy's eight-floor balcony are breathtaking. Order an enormous slice and enjoy the rush.

Best Time to Go

Aim for Tuesday through Friday afternoons—all the stores and galleries are open, the fog has lifted, and the streets aren't too crowded.

Department Stores, SF Style

Gump's: Elegant and refined, this San Francisco institution sells carefully selected housewares, fine antiques, and jewelry.

Nordstrom: From contemporary to classic to teen fashion, there truly is something here for everyone.

Neiman Marcus: Stunning architecture surrounds this haven of designer clothing, to-die-for shoes, and "it" handbags.

Beautiful Boutiques

Diptyque: With gorgeous candles and teas in indulgent French country scents, this is a fashion editor's go-to gift shop.

Metier: An eclectic array of clothing and jewelry by well-known and soon-to-be-discovered designers.

Tory Burch: For adorable ballet flats and elegant cut classics, just right for any time in fashion.

Gallery Gazing

Hackett-Mill Gallery: Modern, abstract, figurative art with historical undertones.

Hespe Gallery: A good place to find representational art from local artists.

Meyerovich Gallery: Impressive sculptures, paintings, and installations.

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