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Union Square in Bloom Enlivens Downtown San Francisco
This Spring & Summer Beginning with March 9 “Tulip Day” Kickoff
Area Hotels, Restaurants, Bars, and Merchants Burst With Floral Decor in 3rd Annual Activation Celebrating District’s Floral History
with Wide Range of Events, Passport, and the Bloom Gown
21 February 2024 San Francisco, CA: Like fresh spring bulbs bursting forth following a long, damp winter, Union Square in Bloom returns for its third year with oversized floral displays cascading from area hotels, restaurants, bars, and stores. In addition, retail establishments, a wide range of events celebrating arts, culture and nightlife, and cocktail offerings all combine to highlight Union Square’s rich floral history with a modern twist. Residents, workers, and visitors are invited to explore and enjoy the vibrant floral activations by participating in a passport program.
“Union Square in Bloom, our spring and summer initiative, is once again bringing bright color, beauty and positive energy back to San Francisco’s iconic center,” said Marisa Rodriguez, CEO of the Union Square Alliance. “Dozens of vibrant floral displays and interactive programming will create a cohesive and enticing theme throughout the district for guests to explore. Don’t miss out on the main 5 events in the Square: American Tulip Day, Spring Fling, Mother’s Day, Blooms & Bubbles Bar Crawl, and the Bloomies Awards where we announce the best blooms in 10 categories.”
This year’s Union Square in Bloom campaign will feature a wide range of events and activities that will keep visitors and locals entertained throughout the Bloom season. Updates and further information will be available online at www.visitunionsquaresf.com. Below are some of this year’s signature events and activations:
- Saturday, March 9, 12pm – 4pm: Tulip Day:
- Saturday, March 23, 3p-6pm: Spring Fling- Vinyl DJ, Flower Giveaway, Bloom Passport debut.
- Saturday May 12, 3pm -6pm: Mothers Day event- Fashion Show and Salsa Dancing.
- Saturday, July 6, 6pm-10pm: Blooms & Bubbles Bar Crawl
- Saturday, August 17, 3p-6pm: Closing Event & Bloomies Awards
As Union Square in Bloom blossoms each year, the celebration goes beyond embracing the season of flowers. It also serves as an invitation for the community to commemorate our Union Square legacy, interwoven with the timeless allure of flowers. For decades, flowers, particularly daffodils, were handed out to visitors walking through Maiden Lane. Macy’s used to host their annual flower show established here in San Francisco in 1964, and several flower stands brightened up the district.
Adding a refreshing touch to this floral legacy is the revived tradition of Tulip Day scheduled to return on Saturday, March 9 (1pm – 4pm) “… presented in collaboration with Royal Anthos, Consulate General of the Netherlands, the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development, Office of Mayor London N. Breed, and the Union Square Foundation.” In honor of International Women’s Day, a day celebrated globally on March 8, the tradition of American Tulip Day continues, recognizing and appreciating the contributions of women in our community. Since last year’s event attracted an impressive 35,000 attendees and went “viral” on social media, this year, attendees will be limited to 5 minutes in the Tulip Field and crowd management tools will be employed to reduce overcrowding and keep the line moving forward. Volunteers in orange jackets will be on hand to guide people. Anticipating an even larger turnout this year, visitors are encouraged to opt for public transportation and make a day of it in the Square: check out Miller & Lux Provisions in the Park, or make dinner reservations at John’s Grill, Chotto Matte, or Corzetti.
“Union Square continues to bloom with more businesses opening and people shopping and visiting one of the City’s most beloved areas,” said Mayor London Breed. “I am pleased to support this year’s Tulip Day and Union Square in Bloom festivities that will bring more people into our Downtown and boost foot traffic for our local businesses. Events like this build on the excitement and momentum we are seeing as a result of the important work the City and our partners have done to strengthen public safety and make sure businesses, workers, and visitors feel safe and welcome in San Francisco.”
Union Square in Bloom will feature a partnership with a local designer for a bespoke bloom gown to add a fashionable flair. The Bloom Gown, sponsored by Britex Fabrics, is set to bear the exquisite touch of the renowned San Francisco-born Chinese American couturière, Colleen Quen. Colleen’s trajectory has been marked by a decade-long design career for prominent brands like Wilkes Sport, Eileen West, Gap, and more. Her couture designs are inspired by nature’s motifs, portraying the delicate blossoming of flowers and the quiet beauty of butterflies.
“In the heart of San Francisco, my cherished city, I’ve encapsulated its nostalgic charm and cultural richness in a couture creation for the Union Square in Bloom initiative.” said Quen. “The Dahlia flower, symbolizing elegance and beauty, graces our Bloom 2024 Couture Gown, an ode to 28 years of honoring nature through my couture artistry.”
Local florists from the flower mart will also lend their artistic touch to craft floral installations.
“Bloom offers local florists the opportunity to collaborate with our Union Square businesses to beautify the district and foster a celebration of art, creativity, and exploration, said Peter Bonavita, Zaddy Blooms. “Transforming the urban landscape by adorning it with flowers is the highlight of my year. With each passing year, the Bloom project grows bigger and brighter.”
One of Bonavita’s projects is in Union Square’s historic theater corridor.
“American Conservatory Theater is excited to continue our participation with In Bloom,” said Adam Thurman, Director of Marketing at A.C.T. “This year the program will help us spotlight ‘A Strange Loop’ and ‘The Lehman Trilogy’, two of the biggest theatrical events in the Bay Area.”
“I am thrilled to celebrate another Union Square in Bloom and show off the floral stylings of the talented SF Flower Mart floral artists,” said Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin. “It’s one of our most popular attractions every year, starting with free wall-to-wall tulips for International Women’s Day and blooming throughout the spring on top of bus shelters, across hotel canopies and hanging from historic lamp posts. Whether you’re staging a photoshoot, taking in a show on the Square or planning a day of shopping, Union Square in Bloom is a fantastic welcome of spring for all ages!”
Last year, the iconic Westin St. Francis Hotel transformed its historic lobby and external facade with Flowers by Edgar. This resulted in over 105 million media impressions and was an incredible opportunity for foot traffic to the district.
“We’re delighted by the extraordinary success in commemorating Bloom last year, thanks in large part to our partnership with the Union Square Alliance,” says Clif Clark, General Manager of The Westin St. Francis and Area General Manager of Marriott Hotels of San Francisco. “We’re excited to participate once again this year, adorning the Tower Lobby in full bloom with Flowers by Edgar. Additionally, we’ll be offering the ‘Room in Bloom’ package, Sips N Sweets, a special Mother’s Day Tea, and much more.”
The full list of businesses installing floral décor at their entrances, interiors, or in public spaces include:
291 Geary Street, Axiom Hotel, American Conservatory Theater,Beacon Grand, Chotto Matte, CK Contemporary, Donatello, Harlan Records, Hilton San Francisco Union Square, Hotel Adagio, Hotel Nikko, Iron Horse Cocktails, John Fluevog Shoes, John’s Grill, King George Hotel, Marriott Union Square, Moscone Center,The Parc 55,Samuel Scheuer Fine Linens,Taj Campton Place, The Barnes, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, The Chancellor Hotel, The Clift Royal Sonesta, The Flood Building, The Grand Hyatt,The Handlery Hotel, The Inn at Union Square, The Marker SF, Ula Mediterranean Restaurant, and the Westin St. Francis Hotel.
The Union Square Foundation will be supporting a few surprising bursts of flowers in Union Square’s public space. Other sites include:
Maiden Lane gates, SFMTA Bus Stops, Union Square Garage sign, and the Union Square Plaza stage and the “blooming” of a Cable Car courtesy of San Francisco Travel.
“San Francisco Travel is so excited to partner with Union Square Alliance on the annual Union Square in Bloom celebration. We are even more excited to be sponsoring the ‘blooming’ cable car and its display of flower power. Cable cars and flowers, what a perfect way to showcase this incredible city,” said Scott Beck, San Francisco Travel Association’s President and CEO.
Moreover, Bloom’s floral cocktail program not only promises delightful libations but also serves as a dynamic way to promote our district’s active nightlife.
“Hilton Union Square and Parc 55 are thrilled to be part of Bloom once again. We love to see Union Square, and our hotels, bursting with color, creativity, and smiling faces,” said Nick Graham-Wells, Complex Director of Marketing. “It is such a great way to celebrate the arrival of Springtime, and to welcome visitors to San Francisco. In addition to our floral displays, we’ll also be serving several new Bloom-inspired cocktails at our hotels. At Parc 55 guests can look forward to the return of ‘Smoke on the Water’, which won ‘Best Bloom Cocktail’ of 2023.”
Businesses offering floral-inspired cocktails include:
E&O Kitchen and Bar, Harlan Records, Hotel Nikko, John’s Grill, King George Hotel, Marriott Union Square’s bin480, Parc 55’s Cable 55,The Barnes Tapestry Collection by Hilton, The Clift Royal Sonesta’s Redwood Room, The Marker SF, and Ula Mediterranean Restaurant.
Guests can discover all of the Bloom programming through thePassport which will be available to download from the Union Square Alliance website by March 23, 2024. Visitors can vote for their favorite blooms on www.visitunionsquaresf.com between March 23 and August 2. Winning Union Square businesses will be highlighted at the finale event during the Bloomies award show.
The presenting sponsor for the 3rd Annual Union Square in Bloom is Amazon.
“Union Square is an iconic part of San Francisco,” said Sally Kay, Public Policy and External Affairs at Amazon. “Amazon is grateful for the work of Union Square Alliance and Union Square Foundation in creating beautiful and immersive experiences in our city that invite residents and visitors alike to enjoy and support our downtown businesses.”
Union Square in Bloom is a vibrant local activation that uniquely merges the artistic expressions of local florists, theater, fashion, and nightlife, creating a dynamic celebration of culture and creativity. The event is one of many programs put on by the Union Square Foundation, Union Square Alliance, and partners to support the vibrancy of Union Square and the greater downtown area. Bolstered by recent investments in public safety and visitor-centered ambassador programs, events like Bloom, Winter Walk, and last summer’s concert series, continue to invite locals and visitors alike to visit Union Square and patronize downtown businesses.
About the Union Square Alliance:
The Union Square Alliance serves members and creates a high-quality visitor experience by managing and activating public spaces, attracting new investment, and advocating for the District’s future success. Union Square is the vibrant heart of San Francisco and an international destination where visitors come to enjoy exceptional retail experiences, luxury hotels, world-class cultural institutions, and great public spaces found only in the City by the Bay. A lively 27-block community surrounding Union Square Park in the heart of San Francisco makes up the Union Square Alliance. It is generally bordered on the north by Bush Street, on the east by Kearny Street, on the south by Market Street and on the west by Taylor Street. For more information on the Alliance, go to www.visitunionsquaresf.com.
About the Union Square Foundation:
The Union Square Foundation is a 501c3 charitable organization existing to establish a renewed ‘sense of place’ for the Union Square Area by supporting diverse artistic, cultural, and culinary programs and projects – and by cultivating a welcoming caring community for all humankind. We provide critical support to both create and maintain a clean, safe, and beautiful environment that serves to enrich its public spaces for the enjoyment of San Francisco’s residents and visitors. For more information on the Foundation, go to https://www.unionsquarefoundation.org/.
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