No one visits the city and demands a stop at Union Square. It's not often the source of nostalgia for the kind of New Yorker prone to waxing about their old haunts. Parts of it have basically always resembled a giant outdoor mall; others are mainly a venue for aggressive squirrels and subpar street performers.
And yet, it is secretly a pretty great place to eat and hang out — perhaps because of its convenient location, and perhaps because it was so underrated for so long that rents allowed new restaurants to grow and flourish there. Those who are lucky enough to work or attend school nearby will talk your ear off about the beloved the international street food-inspired chain that claims their weekly lunch money. The rest of us know we can hop on a subway and be transported to the perfect tapas restaurant for an after-work meetup, or the kind of date-night indulgence we'll remember forever.