San Francisco Shopping

With its grand department stores and funky secondhand boutiques, San Francisco summons a full range of shopping experiences. From the anarchist bookstore to the mouthwatering specialty-food purveyors at the gleaming Ferry Building, the local shopping opportunities reflect the city's various personalities. Visitors with limited time often focus their energies on the high-density Union Square

area, where several major department stores tower over big-name boutiques. But if you're keen to find unique local shops, consider moving beyond the square's radius.

Each neighborhood has its own distinctive finds, whether it's 1960s housewares, cheeky stationery, or vintage Levi's. If shopping in San Francisco has a downside, it's that real bargains can be few and far between. Sure, neighborhoods such as the Lower Haight and the Mission have thrift shops and other inexpensive stores, but you won't find many discount outlets in the city, where rents are sky-high and space is at a premium.

Seasonal sales, usually in late January and late July or August, are good opportunities for finding deep discounts on clothing. The San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner advertise sales. For smaller shops, check the free SF Weekly, which can be found on street corners every Wednesday. Sample sales are usually held by individual manufacturers, so check your favorite company's website before visiting.

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Fodor's Choice

Area

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Union Square and Chinatown 55

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Chinatown 5

Union Square 50

SoMa and Civic Center 43

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Civic Center 2

Hayes Valley 18

SoMa 21

Tenderloin 2

Mission District 30

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Bernal Heights 1

Dogpatch 1

Potrero Hill 7

Pacific Heights and Japantown 23

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Japantown 5

Pacific Heights 14

Western Addition 1

The Haight, the Castro, and Noe Valley 18

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Castro 3

Haight 7

Noe Valley 8

The Marina and the Presidio 14

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Cow Hollow 11

Marina 3

North Beach 12

On the Waterfront 11

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Embarcadero 7

Financial District 2

Fisherman's Wharf 2

Nob Hill and Russian Hill 4

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Nob Hill 1

Western Shoreline 4

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Sunset District 4

Richmond 1

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Category

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Antiques/ Collectibles 7

Art Galleries 23

Books/ Stationery 17

Cameras/ Electronics 2

Ceramics/ Glassware 1

Clothing 44

Convenience/ General Stores 1

Crafts 11

Department Stores 7

Flowers 1

Food/ Candy 14

Gifts/ Souvenirs 17

Household Items/ Furniture 20

Jewelry/ Accessories 11

Music Stores 6

Outdoor/ Flea/ Green Markets 2

Outlet/ Discount Stores 2

Perfume/ Cosmetics 7

Pets 1

Shoes/ Luggage/ Leather Goods 9

Shopping Centers/ Malls 1

Spa/ Beauty 8

Specialty Stores 1

Sporting Goods 5

Textiles/ Sewing 1

Toys 4

Wine/ Spirits 11

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Best For

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Family 5

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San Francisco Shopping

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Acrimony

  • Clothing

A handblown-glass chandelier winks at you through the store's front window, while DJs do their thing in the back. Sandwiched in between...

Another Time

  • Antiques/Collectibles

Specializing in beautifully restored furniture from the 1930s through the 1960s, this store sells Heywood Wakefield tambour buffets,...

Arlequin Wine Merchant

  • Wine/Spirits

If you like the wine list at Absinthe Brasserie, you can walk next door and pick up a few bottles from its highly regarded sister establishment...

Azalea Boutique

  • Clothing

With a dose of global flair, this boutique blends art, fun, and fashion. The deep-red walls provide a flattering backdrop both for patrons...

Dish

  • Clothing

Many of the women's clothes displayed within this spare space are romantic, minus the frills. Look for the chic dresses of local designer...

Earthbody

  • Spa/Beauty

A destination for organic products, cleansing, and relaxation—not to mention massage treatments to melt for—this eco spa offers transformative...

F. Dorian

  • Crafts

In addition to cards, jewelry, and other crafts from Central and South America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East—a carved wooden candleholder...

Flight 001

  • Gifts/Souvenirs

Ultra-stylish travel accessories—retro-looking flight bags, supersoft leather passport wallets, and tiny Swiss travel alarm clocks—line...

Gimme Shoes

  • Shoes/Luggage/Leather Goods

From the chunky to the sleek, the shoes carried here—including those by Chie Mihara, Dries Van Noten, Loeffler Randall, and Sydney...

Miette Confiserie

  • Food/Candy

There is truly nothing sweeter than a cellophane bag tied with blue-and-white twine and filled with malt balls or chocolate sardines...

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