SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A year ago, San Francisco police officers were responding to multiple robberies at Union Square during this season.
Now, tourism is picking up - the Christmas tree is up, the ice rink is open and police officers can be seen all around the area.
"It's very festive. The lights make it very fun," said Bethany Matthis-Montgomery, San Francisco resident.
We met Bethany and her sister Moriah as they were walking out of Macy's. They say they could start a family holiday tradition.
"To take Santa Clause photos at Macy's on the sixth floor," said Moriah Matthis-Montgomery, San Francisco resident.
Black Friday 2022: Bay Area shoppers line up early to score deals
From a perfect holiday photo to a perfect Christmas village. San Francisco now has a Winter Wanderland at Hallidie Plaza. Friday is the kick-off and business owners were eager to be a part of a the pilot program that turned this space across from the BART station into a quaint Christmas square
"It's so nice to see all the people coming back to the city," said Trayan Piroev, manager at One65.
Big crowds are also a sign that tourism is back. Peter Hart, hotel manager for the Hilton, is noticing the uptick.
"It is very exciting," said Hart and added, "After a couple years of sluggishness, it's nice to see Union Square back to where it is."
Roger Sernaque's dad traveled from Peru to San Francisco. They were on a shopping mission at Union Square.
"We are looking for the good deals, said Sernaque and added, "We were expecting to buy more things."
For some, Black Friday deals were hard to find, but what wasn't hard to notice was the police presence all around the area.
A year ago, multiple stores in Union Square were robbed during this time. Earlier in the week SFPD Chief Bill Scott promised an increased police presence this holiday.
"This is like the crown of the city. We want to treat it as such. People love coming here from all over the world and we want to make sure they have a good experience. So our job is to keep people safe," said Chief Scott.
Now, locals are noticing a difference.
"So, far it's been safe," said Maira Andrade, Concord resident.
If you're on the ABC7 News app, click here to watch live