The Hidden History of Union Square
When your local guide takes you into the opulent lobby of the Palace Hotel, you will never guess that it was gutted by fire in 1906. The famous earthquake/fire transformed the entire area around Union Square, but if you know where to look, you can still find the foundations of 19th-century San Francisco. From the hotel, you'll be guided around the neighborhood, showing you the vestiges of what once was, like the brothels of Maiden Lane, as well as the hallmarks of the modern city, like the lobby of the Westin St. Francis Hotel and a boutique designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. You’ll also stop off at iconic monuments, like Lotta’s Fountain, where survivors of the 1906 quake gathered to search for their loved ones, the Powell Cable Car Line and the Hearts of Union Square Sculptures. Along the way, you’ll learn neighborhood history and lore while seeing spots of enduring cultural importance, like the Magneta Grandfather Clock and Ruth Asawa’s fountain. Aside from being a history enthusiast, your friendly local guide can also tell you where to eat and what else to do in the neighborhood, making this tour a great way to introduce you to one of San Francisco’s most popular destinations.