Friday, November 02, 2007

Embarcadero Center

Embarcadero Center in San Francisco, for some, isn't considered a mall since it lacks a traditional layout and department stores. However, its three levels of mid-to-upscale shops and scores of eateries situated at the bases of four skyscrapers certainly qualifies Embarcadero Center as a shopping destination.

With a location in downtown San Francisco, closest to the waterfront, the crowds frequent Embarcadero Center during the weekdays. After hours and during weekends, you can find yourself almost alone, which allows you take pictures, enjoy the scenery, or notice the architectural details.

An art lovers dream, you'll find a number of interesting artwork, including John C. Portman Jr's "Orchid" (visible in the first and fourth pictures). Mr. Portman Jr. is also the very talented architect of the Embarcadero Center. There is a self-guided tour of the public art collection and it is worth a look.

For stores, Embarcadero Center is like many other malls. Although, you'll find a number of restaurants found nowhere else (please, expand your horizons outside of Chevy's!).


See the current aerial.

Visit my review of Embarcadero Center.


Didi said...

This is a really beautiful place especially in the first photo. I really enjoy this blog, btw. Keep up the good work.

dean said...

When Embarcadero Center was built, many people made the obvious comparison to Peachtree Center in Atlanta which looks very similar, (but has a much different configuration). I'd have to say that San Francisco got a much superior development. A wonderful linear layout frames a view of the Ferry Building clock tower, and the office buildings are taller and much better proportioned.

Yea, the place is almost a ghost town on the weekends, and those out of the way upper lease areas see a lot of turnover, but it's still a beautifully designed urban center. Visit this place on the weekdays, especially during the lunch hour, and the place is jumping.

I miss some of the quirky 1970's John Portman touches that have been remodeled out of existence, but for the most part the updates have been fairly respectful to the original design. Some modifications have even improved the place by opening up blank walls with windows and replacing heavy concrete canopies with glass.

Anna said...

Hello! You have really created a wonderful site here. I couldn't figure out a way to contact you directly(?) but I've been trying to find out the name of a mall that my parents used to take me to as a young child. This would have been in the 1980s. The mall may still be functioning, or it may have closed down by now. I believe it was located somewhere around Sunnyvale or Mountain View, perhaps even as far south as San Jose.

What I most remember about this mall is that it that it had a windmill as its centerpiece, and there was definitely a movie theater which I believe was near the windmill. I think the mall was only one level, and there seemed to be a lot of water everywhere. Perhaps there was some sort of small creek running through it? My memories are vague at this point, but the name was Mill....something. Oak Mill? Mill Valley?

If you have any idea what I'm talking about, it would be greatly appreciated!

BIGMallrat said...

You are so close, it's the Old Mill in Mountain View. Take a look at and

Anna said...

Thank you, Scott! That's been driving me crazy for a while now. I'm glad to have it solved. The Old Mill Shopping Center was a great place. My parents used to take us to the movies there every once in a while. I don't actually remember any of the stores or restaurants, but I sure do remember that windmill and creek. Thanks for the links, too. It's neat to see those old pictures!

dre said...

I would take the MUNI Metro to the then end-of-line Embarcadero Station from the Balboa Park area just to wander around the Center, most especially between Christmas and New Years to take in the urban holiday aesthetic. I remember B.Dalton's, Jeffery's Toys, Just Desserts... the smoke shop where I learned about UK magazines (what was the English Pound pricing on the mags? and why was I paying double the printed UK price?) Oh, those late 80s, early 90s...