The stately brick buildings in San Francisco’s impressive 1895 Ghirardelli Square, the original site of the Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory (previously a woolen mill), are now the home of a stylish collection of shops and restaurants, plus the luxe Fairmont Heritage Place hotel. One of the most pleasant places to stroll and shop in the city, it also has the distinction of being the first successful adaptive reuse project of its kind in the country.
Wind through passageways and across plazas to visit an assortment of boutiques and gift shops, or relax with bay views from a selection of restaurants such as the Cheese School of San Francisco, a café, cheese shop, and cheese school; The Pub BBQ, McCormick & Kuleto’s Seafood & Steaks, and Pico Latin Street Food. Before you go, check out the square’s calendar of upcoming events.
If you have kids with you, you probably have one destination in mind more than any other: the original Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop. The line can be out the door but don’t worry—it moves fast. Soon you’ll be facing the staggering menu of sundae choices: Will it be the family-size “Earthquake”? (Eight scoops, eight toppings, bananas, whipped cream, almonds, chocolate chips, and cherries.) Or maybe have a “Gold Rush” (vanilla ice cream with hot fudge and peanut butter throughout). Afterward, get in a round of mini golf at Subpar Miniature Golf, where the holes all feature miniature San Francisco landmarks.