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Union Square San Francisco - LEAD
Credit: Drew Altizer

San Francisco is no stranger to high-end shopping: iconic department stores like Wilkes Bashford and Gump’s, and jewelers like Shreve & Co., established themselves here decades ago. But in recent years the city’s Union Square area has become a destination for major international brands, too. Undergoing a massive overhaul of storefronts, Union Square has become a glittering site for tourists and locals alike, with luxury designers opening doors on every block. Fashion houses from Chanel to Maison Margiela are rapidly transforming Union Square into Northern California’s Rodeo Drive, so where should you begin? Here’s our guide to the newest, coolest, most luxe shops in the Square.

Union Square San Francisco - Marni
Credit: marni/Instagram

Start your day by enjoying a cup of cold-brewed coffee from one of these San Francisco faves, then take a stroll down posh walking street Maiden Lane and you’ll find some of the latest additions to the growing list of upscale brands, including Christian Louboutin, Maison Margiela, and Marni--all of which opened within the past two years--as well as long-time tenants like Gump’s, if you’re in need of a unique gift to dazzle friends back home.

Head to nearby Barneys New York, to snag a gift for your guy--its recent renovation includes a redesigned men’s section as well as a restaurant, so you can refuel after a long morning of shopping. From there, label lovers will enjoy hitting a swath of big brands’ flagships in the heart of Union Square, including newer additions like Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana, Saint Laurent, Brunello Cucinelli, and CH Carolina Herrera. From the chic, high-gloss interiors to the artfully displayed clothing, shoes, and accessories, these architectural shops are must-sees for fashionistas.

Union Square San Francisco - Barney's
Credit: Drew Altizer

Continue walking and you’ll pass a plethora of other bold names, from shoes to jewels: Jimmy Choo, Gucci, Alexander McQueen, Bottega Veneta. Plus, look out for dream diamond destination Harry Winston to join the crew this year.

End your afternoon with a glass of champagne at the Rotunda at Neiman Marcus for a picture perfect view of Union Square’s haute shops. It’s the best way to kick off what’s sure to be an ideal night out, wearing your new duds, of course, sipping only-in-S.F. cocktails and dining at one of the city’s top dinner destinations.