If you’re familiar with San Francisco, you’ve probably dined and shopped at Ghirardelli Square. After all, it’s been a bustling hub for commerce and community since the mid-1960s. But whether you’re visiting for the first time or the fiftieth, you’re in for a fresh treat—and not just of the confectionary variety. A year-round lineup of free, community-centric programming means there’s always something new to experience at the property.
Among the don’t-miss events at the square are its activity-packed seasonal celebrations, which draw families from near and far. Hot new dim sum destination Palette Tea House hosted a recent Chinese New Year celebration complete with lion dancers, for example, and a Valentine’s date night featured a rom-com screening paired with complimentary offerings from Palette, The Cheese School and Ghirardelli Chocolate.
Spring ushers in more family-friendly events, including Earth Day activities and an Easter Jubilee complete with an Easter Bunny visit and an Easter Egg roll. Then, in June, the annual Festival in the Square greets the arrival of summer with crafts and face painting for the kids and live music, food and drink for the grownups.
When we say Halloween at the square offers fun for the whole family, we really mean it—even the family dog gets in on the action. YAP, which offers the finest fashions for Fido, recently sponsored a dog costume contest for Halloween that was a big hit with dog owners and lovers in the surrounding community. Kids, meanwhile, can enjoy free crafts, trick-or-treating at participating vendors and much more.
Another highlight of the holiday programming is the square’s signature tree lighting, which rings in the Christmas season. A San Francisco tradition for more than 55 years, the lighting draws thousands of people who enjoy live music, crafts and appearances by Santa. In the true holiday spirit, Ghirardelli Square gives back to the community by partnering with local charities (previous partners include the Boys & Girls Club of San Francisco and Friends of Larkin Street) for this event as well as others throughout the year.
But wait—there’s more! Interspersed with all of these annual fetes are additional events and opportunities for hands-on learning with tenants, such as monthly planting.
Classes at Succulence and cheese-platter making classes at The Cheese School. Movie nights and SF Beer Week happenings at the 12,000-square-foot San Francisco Brewing Co. have also been popular, as has a local Makers Market, where rotating Bay Area vendors showcase their hand-crafted apparel, jewelry, artisanal foods, leather goods and more.
Is your curiosity piqued? Check out www.ghirardellisq.com/events to find upcoming outings, classes and celebrations. Of course, you don’t need an excuse to check out Ghirardelli Square and its many eateries and shops, but fabulous year-round programming and focus on community provide plenty of reasons to discover—or rediscover—this San Francisco icon.