Whether it’s happy hour at McCormick and Kuleto’s, late night dining at The Pub or a savory treat at Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop, no visit to San Francisco is complete without a trip to Ghirardelli Square.
Located on North Point Street at the corner of Beach and Larkin Streets, Ghirardelli Square is on the west side of Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s easily in walking distance just two blocks east of Van Ness Avenue and one block west of the Cable Car turnaround at Beach and Hyde Streets.
Caption: Considered the first successful adaptive reuse project in the country, this specialty retail and dining complex, housing many shops and restaurants, was previously a chocolate factory established by Domenico “Domingo” Ghirardelli.
Born in 1817 in Rapallo, Italy, Ghirardelli served as a Genoa confectioner’s apprentice and at a young age developed a strong interest in the business. He left for Uruguay when he was 20 years old, then sailed around Cape Horn to Peru where he became a coffee and chocolate merchant. Ghirardelli left for San Francisco in 1849 and opened a general store supplying mustard, coffee, spices and, of course, chocolate, eventually establishing his own chocolate factory in 1852.
In 1893, Ghirardelli took over the entire city block of the former Pioneer Woolen Mills on North Point Street, the current site of the Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop and Ghirardelli Square. In the early 1960s, the company was bought by the Golden Grain Macaroni Company, which moved the Ghirardelli headquarters off-site and put the square up for sale.
To prevent the square from being replaced by apartments, prominent San Franciscans William Matson Roth and his mother bought the property in 1962. As dedicated preservationists, they converted the historic brick structures into an integrated yet picturesque restaurant and retail complex, which eventually became a popular tourist destination. Twenty years later, the complex was granted National Historic Registry status proudly ensuring the preservation of Ghirardelli Square for future generations.
Today, Ghirardelli Square delights visitors with its lively retail mix. Stop by to grab a bite, shop for gifts or at least sample the tasty confections that made the Ghirardelli name famous.
900 North Point Street, Suite E100
San Francisco, CA 94109