ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How Best to Enjoy San Francisco’s Ghirardelli Chocolate Square

Updated on April 20, 2013
Click thumbnail to view full-size

Ghirardelli Square is a San Francisco tourist attraction that you shouldn’t miss out on if you’re in the area. It’s a place where you will find great chocolates, a set of unique little shops to browse through and a little bit of history. It also places you close to a lot of other San Francisco tourist attractions so it fits nicely into a day of seeing the sights in this city. But what’s the best way to make sure that you get the most out of your visit to this former chocolate factory? Follow these steps:

Know what you’re going to see

Many people mistakenly believe that this attraction is still a big working chocolate factory. They expect to be able to take a tour of the grounds and to see chocolate being made by the ton. That’s not what you’ll find here so don’t expect that or you’re going to end up being disappointed. What you’ll find is a few chocolate shops that sell the wonderful Ghirardelli chocolate and a bunch of other shops that sell a variety of niche items. This is an actual square with lots of shopping and a central outdoor seating area where there are frequently concerts and other live performances.

Check out the chocolate-making display

Although this isn’t a factory tour, there is a small corner of one of the Ghirardelli cafes where you can still see chocolate being made. It’s in the main café on the bottom floor at the back of the room from where you order your ice cream or hot chocolate. You can’t miss this place because it’s the one with the big line out front! Interestingly enough, though, there usually isn’t a huge line or crowd around the chocolate-making demo area so you can easily get a good look at some rich chocolate. It’s not a real educational tour but you can snap some cool pictures while you’re there.

Get a sundae … but skip the lines

You can get a variety of different chocolate items at Ghirardelli Square but it’s worth it to splurge and get one of their big sundaes. The chocolate that they use on these is out of this world. Of course, the weather in San Francisco is often too chilly for ice cream so if you can’t stomach the thought of putting something that cold into your body then go ahead and get the hot chocolate which is also world class.

That main room where the chocolate demo is at is where most people get their ice cream. That means there’s always a line here. If you don’t want to wait in line then you should go to one of the other cafes instead. In fact, there’s one upstairs in this same area that is usually a lot less crowded. Of course, sometimes this tourist attraction just gets packed with people but you’ll have a shorter line at cafes other than the main one on most days.

Get your free piece of Ghirardelli chocolate

Any of the cafes and shops that sell the boxes of Ghirardelli chocolate will give you a free sample when you walk in the door. You often get to taste the latest seasonal flavors although sometimes they just have the normal (but wonderful) chocolate squares instead. Enjoy!

Skip buying the chocolate gifts

It’s tempting to spend your money on the many wonderful boxes of chocolate that are on display in the stores at Ghirardelli Square. There are some really great packages that look like they’d make gifts. Most people discover that it’s not worth it to get these though. You don’t really want to have to carry chocolate around with you the rest of the day (trying not to eat it) and the truth is that you can get this chocolate almost anywhere now so it’s not all that special. Get a more unique San Francisco gift for people in your life instead.

Stop into some of the shops

It’s worth it to browse through some of the shops here when you’re done eating your ice cream. There’s a store that sells handcrafted wooden items (including really cool writing journals), a store for people who love pet accessories and a great place to taste and buy wine. Do some browsing. You don’t even have to buy but it gives you something to do while you finish your ice cream.

Look around the grounds

There isn’t a lot of historical information here but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot of history. This is an old brick building that’s interesting to explore. Take the time to look around, take some pictures and check out the few sculptures and other items on display here.

Head down to Aquatic Park to take a picture of the Ghirardelli sign

The famous Ghirardelli sign that sits on top of the attraction is huge. That means it’s really hard to get a good picture of it from close-up (although you can usually get part of it fairly well from the square). If you want a better shot, head in the direction of the water. There’s a beach area here called Aquatic Park where you can take some great scenic shots with that sign behind you. You can also enjoy being by the water.

Check out the street performers and artists

There’s one street in between Ghirardelli Square and the water. What you’ll find is a lot of creative folks there. Street performers, caricature artists and people selling items like handmade jewelry are plentiful here. Take the time to check them out. In fact, you can head east from here to see many other local sights (Fisherman’s Wharf, Pier 39, the cable car turnaround) seeing those creative people along the way.

Comments

Submit a Comment

  • Sandyspider profile image

    Sandy Mertens 

    8 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

    I;m drooling. This chocoholic would love to visit.

  • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

    DeBorrah K Ogans 

    8 years ago

    Kathryn, Nice informative hub! Ghirardelli Square is a nice quaint little spot to visit in the midst of Fisherman's Wharf. Hmmm must try a cable car ride again! There is no place like San Francisco... Thank you for reminding me! Blessings!

  • Ann Nonymous profile image

    Ann Nonymous 

    8 years ago from Virginia

    San Fran here I come! I know where Hershey's chocolate comes from, but this chocolate is one of my favorites, so I definitely have to plan a trip here! This is a really interesting hub, Kathryn!

  • kowality profile image

    kowality 

    8 years ago from Everywhere

    Mmmmmm ... Ghirardelli chocolate.. Love San Fran! Great article Kathryn.

  • myawn profile image

    myawn 

    8 years ago from Florida

    Great hub about the chocolate Ghirardelli in San Francisco. I would like to ride on a street car there.

  • profile image

    Nan 

    8 years ago

    I don't have to go to San Francisco to buy Ghirardelli, to purchase the delicious chocolate! I can buy the candy right here in the Mid-West! Excellent article.

working

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

Show Details
Necessary
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Features
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Marketing
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Statistics
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)