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Embarcadero Center: Great Window Shopping Under the Skyscrapers
The Embarcadero Center was built in the middle of the financial district, replacing a part of Commercial Street, to provide impulsive financial workers a place to eat lunch and spend their money. The mostly corporate brand-name shops offer the type of modern tastes that a banker's wife would like. There are plenty of corporate style restaurants, such as a Chevy's, and there's also a cinema. What makes this place worth visiting for the tourist though is the wonderful views upward from the open air terrace gardens. Joggers and hikers will find the place virtually empty on the weekend, making multiple steps on the constantly moving escalators especially easy. Then, look up and view the various building in all their glory without street level obstructions. Walk over Front and Davis streets without traffic lights. Pass fountains and Statues until you reach the old Federal Reserve Building on Sansome street. Views of the Ferry Building and Bay are also possible from some vantage points. If you want to get coffee, several shops offer that, and there's even a cinema. See my
What to buy: Perfume, Wine, Flowers, Shoes, Men's & Women's business clothes, and other items of the well appointed business person. There's also a number of ethnic restaurants with a more than quiet atmosphere. Patio dining under the skyscrapers is available for some third level restaurants. There's also a cinema. The window shopping is made wonderful by the great views of the financial district. There's also several sculptures and fountains of interest here. For more great images of the Embarcadero Center, see my Things to Do Tip.
What to pay: Higher than average prices, but the service should be excellent.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Luxury Travel
- Business Travel
Shopping Centers / Malls: Westfield San Francisco Centre
More than 400 stores, 30 restaurants and a multiscreen movie complex at this San Francisco urban shopping mall. Anchored by Nordstroms and Bloomingdales.
Mall hours: Monday through Friday 9:30 am - 9:00 pm
Saturday 9:30 am - 9:00 pm
Sunday 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
Shopping Centers / Malls: Nearby Malls
If you want a less urban shopping experience, try the nearby malls.
Stonestown located on the southwest side of the City is accessible by MUNI light rail. The two largest stores there are Macy's and Nordstrom's.
Serramonte is south of the City at Colma. The main stores there are Macy's, Mervin's, and Target. If you are a Target fan, just cross under the freeway and you'll find a larger Target store in a strip mall there.
Tanforan, the former racetrack, was recently remodeled. It is a little further south than Serramonte and is in South San Francisco. (It is nearly due west of the airport.) The big three there are J. C. Penny's, Sears, and yes, Target.
What to buy: These might be good choices if you have a car, fear urban driving, and want to do some mall walking.
What to pay: Dealer's choice.
- Luxury Travel
- Business Travel
- Budget Travel
San Francisco Shopping Centre: Great Escalators
The upscale Nordstrom department store takes up four of the nine floors of the SF Shopping Centre, and smaller shops make up the balance. You can find almost anything here: clothing, books, chocolates.
Even if you don't like to shop, come to see the spiral escalators. They're beautiful and amazing to look at -- quite an engineering feat.
San Francisco Shopping Centre: Guerilla Shopping
One day, I only had an hour and a half to shop. Where did we go? To the San Francisco Shopping Mall! I dumped my husband in the food court on the ground floor and did some guerrila shopping. I meant technique, sorry to disappoint those wishing to purchase animals.
This mall is housed in a cool, spiral-shaped nine story building that transports shoppers on cool, spiral-shaped escalators. Nordstrom's is at the top; it has a spa as well.
What to buy: Tends to be a little higher-end stuff, but not as expensive as the Crocker Galleria. Overall, I would rate the shopping excellent, if you have limited shopping time, as there are a good range of stores.
Markets / Malls: San Francisco Shopping Center
San Francisco Shopping Center is located right downtown, across from the Powell Street cable car turntable. The nine-level shopping center is home to some of the world's largest American chains, including a five-story Nordstrom, a two-level Abercrombie & Fitch, plus almost every name that you can find in numerous malls across the country such as Victoria's Secret, Ann Taylor, Bebe, Nine West etc., including high-end retailers like Kenneth Cole and Club Monaco.
What to buy: A few times a year Nordstrom has big shoes sales, where you can get some good deals.
- Women's Travel
Shopping Centers / Malls: GREAT MALL
thanks Rochelle for this suggestion, what a great shopping mall. I just loved it, and ruined myself there lol with the sales!!!
You have here most of the designers, specially for Europeans, some of the brands are more than half price here. My nephews always ask for a few T-shirts when I fly to USA, this time all family got clothes hehehe
San Francisco Ferry Terminal: Shop before you cruise
The new and improved Ferry Terminal is our latest pride and joy. After years of renovation, it finally reopened last year.
The Ferry Terminal was built in 1896, and by the 1980s and 1990s it was decrepit looking and neglected. Thanks to major rebuilding by the City, the terminal is now an incredibly fun place to browse and eat.
What to buy: The San Francisco Ferry Terminal has shops that sell produce, books, cooking tools, gifts, olive oil, chocolate, meat, bread, wine, cheese, coffee, and a few delis, including the newly opened Japanese deli.
The San Francisco Ferry Terminal is used by Golden Gate Ferries. This is the place you would come to catch the ferry to Sausalito or Larkspur in Marin County.
- Historical Travel
- Wine Tasting
- Food and Dining
Even though we spent two weeks in San Francisco, I didn't get a chance to do that much shopping. I think I will have to return just to shop! However, I did make it to a few places. The Crocker Galleria is high-end shopping, but if you're strapped for time, why not shop the best?
If you're not into shopping, at least go to the rooftop garden and take in the view; the mall is covered by a glass dome, which reminded me of Eaton Centre in Toronto.
What to pay: Many of the stores carry expensive designer stuff... fun to browse too, if you're a little low in the cash department.
On Fisherman's Wharf, that was previously a fruit cannery, it has since then been converted into a mall with several fine shops and restaurants....
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