Between Battery, Clay, Drumm, and Sacramento streets • San Francisco, CA 94111
Score (7.5 out of 10)
Embarcadero Center is an urban mall that spans the bases of four towering skyscrapers. Offering over 100 stores and outstanding architectural features, you’ll find a little something for everyone.
Taking advantage of the mild climate of the waterfront, this open-air mall is a refreshing respite for the 14,000 office workers sealed in the high-rises above.
With shops covering the street level and two levels above, each building offers its own personality through art and retail offerings. For first-time visitors, try the overhead walkways shared by both the Promenade (third) and Lobby (Second) levels to take in the views. Be sure to pause at some of the corners of the magnificent buildings and look straight up forty-five stories of offices (buildings 1 and 4).
Out of town visitors be warned, the weather here is generally on the cool side most of the year, especially summer. It calls for a jacket most of the year.
An ocean of concrete gives it a cold, modern appearance; yet it’s appropriate for a large city.
Although the giant columns supporting the high-rises above sometimes act as barriers, you can stroll the Lobby (second) and Promenade (third) levels with ease. If you walk the Street (first) Level, use the marked crosswalks to safely move between towers.
Embarcadero Center has no anchor stores, but plenty of mid and high-end national retailers. Plus, many restaurants that cater to the daytime working population with happy hours and casual dining. One important draw is the Embarcadero Center Cinema, which is a premier art house in the region, running foreign and independent films.
Some restaurants are attractive to visitors who prefer recognizable casual-dining restaurants, such as Chevy’s Fresh Mex, Fuzio Universal Pasta, and Tony Roma’s. Yet others will enjoy the distinctively unique offerings, such as Gaylord India Restaurant, Buckhorn Grill, Monte Cristo Cafe, and Osha Thai Restaurant.
A unique collection of art was created by developer David Rockefeller. Every building showcases different sculptures, murals, tapestries, and more. All from many talented artists, including Olga de Amaral, Stephen DeStaebler, Jules Guerin, Fritz Koenig, among others.
In the Hyatt Regency Hotel, you’ll find “Eclipse,” the enormous aluminum sculpture (35′ in diameter) by Charles O. Perry.
Embarcadero Center features plenty of parking, but for a fee.
Parking with validation
Weekdays (10 AM – 5 PM): Reduced rate up to 3 hours with validation only at select restaurants and EC Cinema ($5 minimum purchase).
1st hour = Free
2nd hour = $4.00
3rd hour = $4.00
Weeknights (5 PM – 12 AM): 4 hours FREE parking with validation from select restaurants, Cinema, and dental offices ($5.00 min. purchase).
Weekends (10 AM – 12 AM): 4 hours FREE parking with validation from retail stores, restaurants, Cinema, and dental offices ($5.00 min. purchase).
Parking without validation
Weekdays (5 AM – 5 PM): $2.50 each 15 minutes
Weeknights (5 PM – 12 AM): $3.00/hour
Weekends (10 AM – 12 AM): $3.00/hour
Daily Maximum (24 hours): $27.50
Additional areas of interest
Justin Herman Plaza, along the waterfront, features the unique and controversial Villancourt Fountain. Another must-see is the inside of the Hyatt Regency in Embarcadero Five. It features San Francisco’s only revolving restaurant, Equinox. The hotel also offers some nice shops for tourists.
Mondays – Fridays
10 AM – 7 PM
10 AM – 6 PM
12 PM – 5 PM
Restaurant hours vary
- Landmark Cinema
- Banana Republic
- Chevy’s Fresh Mex
- Gaylord India Restaurant
- The Gap
Official Site: Embarcadero Center
Type: Fashion/Specialty center
Enclosed: No (Open Air)
Architect: John C. Portman, Jr.
Owner: Boston Properties, Inc.
Management Company: Boston Properties, Inc.
Year First Opened: 1971, 1974, 1977, 1982
Year Renovated: n/a
Size: Small (-1)
Architectural Appearance: Chic
Cleanliness: Hospital clean!
Occupancy: Bursting at the seams!
Stores: Mainstream (-0.5)
Store Quality: Average (-0.5)
Location: Very convenient downtown location. Near BART and MUNI (Embarcadero Station)
Parking: Average (-0.5)
Services: Website, unique public art, mail service
Uniqueness: One-of-a-kind gem