Willy Wonka would tip his hat to Domingo Ghirardelli, whose business became the West's largest chocolate factory in 1893. The square is no longer a factory, of course. Since then, it’s evolved into a handsome three-level luxury mall with spiffy boutiques, spas, and wine-tasting rooms – care for a massage and some merlot with your chocolate?
Sit in the sun and watch street performers, who regularly entertain at the West Plaza and fountain area. If your sweet tooth beckons, surrender to its desire with a "world famous" Ghirardelli hot fudge sundae at the old-fashioned soda fountain inside the mall.
Review by Dan G., USA, September 2012
Short Version: Great, informative tour guide and gets you all around San Fran.
The details: We booked this tour hoping to get acquainted with the city and then of course to see Alcatraz. We got that and more! Our tour guide (his name is eluding me right now) was incredibly knowledgable, personable, and made all kinds of great recommendations while driving us around San Francisco. We started by driving straight to the Golden Gate Bridge where we were allowed to get out and walk onto the span and take all those breathtaking pictures you see in the magazines. We then toured all through San Francisco hitting all the highlights including the Victorian Houses, Chinatown and the Wharf. The tour ends at the Wharf where you are dropped off right on the dock by Alcatraz. Alcatraz is a MUST in San Francisco, whether you take this tour or not. It is an incredible experience and is absolutely not to be missed. Not only did we love the tour but we followed two of our guide's recommendations to the best seafood my wife and I have ever had (Skoma's) and the best hot fudge sundae as well (ice cream shop in Ghirardelli Square). Totally worth it, and I recommend doing it on your first day in San Fran so that you can get oriented and then go exploring on your own after.
Ghirardelli Square makes for a perfect respite if you’re exploring nearby Aquatic Park and Fisherman’s Wharf, which are both a short walk away. Bordered by Beach, Polk, Larkin, and North Point streets, Ghirardelli Square is accessible by car and public transportation. It’s also near the Powell-Hyde Cable Car Turnaround and the scenic F-Market streetcar.