Embarcadero Plaza, previously known as Justin Herman Plaza, is a pulsating, vibrant public space located at the heart of San Francisco, California. Initially named after M. Justin Herman, an influential city planner who extensively shaped the cityscape, the plaza beautifully combines urban aesthetics with a unique community spirit.
This bustling urban space is situated at the junction of Market Street and the Embarcadero, an intersection of economic, cultural, and social dynamism. It provides a magnificent view of the Ferry Building, one of San Francisco's most iconic landmarks, and the Bay. The plaza is dominated by the abstract Vaillancourt Fountain, standing at a height of 40 feet. This unconventional piece of modern art was designed by the renowned Québécois artist Armand Vaillancourt in 1971, and since its inception, it has been a center of dialogue, debate, and discussion around public art and its purpose.
During any given day, the plaza brims with a blend of locals and tourists engaged in a variety of activities. Lunchtime sees a confluence of nearby office workers seeking a moment of respite, while evenings are usually reserved for gatherings, protests, rallies, and sometimes even impromptu performances. The plaza also serves as a stage for outdoor concerts and seasonal events like the holiday ice-skating rink, which transforms the plaza into a winter wonderland.
Embarcadero Plaza isn't just a stand-alone attraction but also serves as an entry point to other notable landmarks, including the historic Ferry Building Marketplace and the scenic Embarcadero Promenade. The plaza's location is as central as it can get.