Combined Suggestions, San Francisco
This fairly new addition to the San Francisco scene is amazing. We went here for the first time las May while we on a day trip to the area for my birthday. We spent time strolling through the cool shops and food stores. It runs along the Embarcadero and from the back of the buildings you have gorgeous views of the bay.
Fresh, local produce can be purchased here along with flowers. There are several great places to eat, but we had a reservation at the Terrace at the Ritz Carlton and did not sample anything this time. I highly suggest a visit to this fine San Francisco attraction.
What to buy: Food, culinary arts books, flowers, local produce, seafood.
What to pay: Prices vary.
Fisherman's Wharf is the paradise spot if you’re looking for cheap souvenirs to bring back to your beloved ones. I wouldn’t buy anything here for decoration in my house. There are countless stores, all of them selling the same things, the usual things, cups, tshirts and baseball caps (I love SF), magnets etc etc The prices are the same in all of them so don’t loose all your day there just to save a dollar.
In Chinatown you will can buy some more souvenirs, at least here you’ll know they are local products, I mean from China :) The prices are very low in some of the stores, dozens of cheap magents and kitch small useless things, baby’s napkin and other things for less than $2.
There several stores to buy clothes in SF, we noticed many famous brand names around Union square but also some good offers in stores near by. The prices were ok in general and probably lower than in Europe. Don’t forget though that there is a 8,5% tax for every item so don’t judge of the label’s price. Hopefully for us euro was stronger than dollar during our visit and probably will be for a long time. We didn’t spend much time in the top class stores, I get bored very quick anyway, the only interesting thing was that some of the stores have djs ! (pic 1)
Amoeba Records (1855 Haight St) will please the music lovers but I managed to get away without buying anything! At the same area you will find a lot of those gypsy like psychedelic clothes. You will find a lot of Tattoo/Piercing stores here (pic 2)
But you are on holidays, on a bright sunny day don’t get stucked in the big stores, walk along Market street (its name fits here, isn’t it?) and watch the locals playing chess (pic 3) or watch the beautiful clocks (pic 4), time doesn’t matter anyway…
Union Square is well-known for its up-scale shopping, its theater, and its art galleries, plus it's the place where "the ladies who lunch" do lunch.
For a different type of shopping (trendy boutiques & such), Union Street is the place to go - actually the whole Cow Hollow and Marina districts (next door neighbors & Union Street is in the Cow Hollow neighborhood) are chock full of historic and trendy shops, restaurants, etc.
My favorite place to shop in San Francisco is Grant Avenue, the main drag in Chinatown. You can find a wide variety of merchandise here, everything from plum candy to pearls. Some of the things I have bought in Grant Avenue shops include Chinese clothing and purses in silk and brocade, inexpensive ceramic plates and bowls, freshwater pearls, lipstick cases, and a travel mah jongg set. See also my Chinatown tip.
wow! what a delight for the senses! visually stunning because of the colors in the international, handcrafted items. nice browsing w/world music playing in the background. and it feels great to be spending money on items that are supporting fair trade and recycled materials. prices are fair, especially when you realize the stuff wasnt mass produced and sent over in a walmart container.
Your fair trade and green shop in the heart of San Francisco.
One block from 16th Street BART station.
What to buy: There’s an exciting new addition to the colorful culture of San Francisco’s Mission District: Autumn Express. The perfect Mission Street mementos come from Autumn Express, where shoppers choose from an exquisite selection of Día de los Muertos note cards, wedding invitations, fair trade items, home decor, pop-up cards, papel picado, gifts, journals, and more.
Visit, browse a while, then be sure to immerse yourself in the rich cultural traditions of Mexico and Latin America on Mission Street.
What to pay: fair price
Depending on what you're looking for I suggest you check out the following:
1) the area around Union Square for some serious shopping (well known stores)
2) chinatown and/or fisherman's wharf for the supertouristy stuff (they'll sell anything as long as it has SAN FRANCISCO written all over it, t shirts, caps, jackets, ... you know what I mean)
3) Ghirardelli if you love chocolate. Coming from Belgium (best chocolate in the world) why would I want to buy chocolate in SF? :-)
San Francisco has plenty to offer to the shopping enthusiast. You will find shops, malls, boutiques, retail outlets, high end and low end shopping while you are here. Whether you prefer designer emporiums, eclectic neighborhoods specialty shops or discount outlets, San Francisco will challenge even the most experienced shopper.
Along Hayes Street and around, from Franklin to Laguna Sts, you'll find a very eclectic collection of hip stores, mostly in the high-price bracket. It's a lot of fun to browse, but our wallets would have taken a real bruising if we had dared to take them out anywhere.
Still, we enjoyed looking at places like Champ de Mars, with all things French and antique, like a swanky flea market, or Dark Garden (on Linden St), with its custom corsets. In between nearly every store merited a look - though we were a bit overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things crammed into the African Outlet on Octavia St. We could barely get in the door!
It was nice, at the end of it all, to relax at frjtz
Downtown has all the shopping you will ever need. Chinatown has some unique items if you can get past the tourist stuff. Get off of Grant Avenue and to one block up to Stockton Street. There is a shopping area out on Geary that is more Japanese (has some good restaurants also). Fillmore Street has used clothing stores.