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


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Union Square and Chinatown 63


Chinatown 5

Union Square 58

SoMa and Civic Center 50


Civic Center 2

Hayes Valley 23

SoMa 23

Tenderloin 2

Mission District 34


Bernal Heights 1

Dogpatch 1

Potrero Hill 8

Pacific Heights and Japantown 27


Japantown 8

Pacific Heights 17

Western Addition 1

The Haight, the Castro, and Noe Valley 27


Castro 7

Haight 11

Noe Valley 9

The Marina and the Presidio 17


Cow Hollow 14

Marina 3

On the Waterfront 15


Embarcadero 7

Financial District 4

Fisherman's Wharf 4

North Beach 13

Nob Hill and Russian Hill 11


Nob Hill 2

Polk Gulch 2

Western Shoreline 5


Sunset District 4

The Richmond 1

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Antiques/ Collectibles 11

Art Galleries 24

Books/ Stationery 22

Cameras/ Electronics 2

Ceramics/ Glassware 1

Clothing 62

Convenience/ General Stores 1

Crafts 12

Department Stores 7

Flowers 1

Food/ Candy 15

Gifts/ Souvenirs 23

Household Items/ Furniture 29

Jewelry/ Accessories 14

Music Stores 6

Outdoor/ Flea/ Green Markets 2

Outlet/ Discount Stores 2

Perfume/ Cosmetics 7

Pets 1

Shoes/ Luggage/ Leather Goods 10

Shopping Centers/ Malls 1

Spa/ Beauty 9

Specialty Stores 1

Sporting Goods 5

Textiles/ Sewing 1

Toys 5

Wine/ Spirits 12

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Family 6

Green 2

San Francisco Shopping

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  • Fodor's Choice

Amoeba Music

  • Music Stores

With more than 2.5 million new and used CDs, DVDs, and records at bargain prices, this warehouselike offshoot of the Berkeley original...

Chronicle Books

  • Books/Stationery

This local beacon of publishing produces inventively designed fiction, cookbooks, art books, and other titles, as well as diaries, planners...

City Lights Bookstore

  • Books/Stationery

The city's most famous bookstore is where the Beat movement of the 1950s was born. Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac hung out in the basement,...

Cowgirl Creamery Artisan Cheese

  • Food/Candy

Fantastic organic-milk cheeses—such as the mellow, triple-cream Mt. Tam and bocconcini (small balls of fresh mozzarella)—are produced...


  • Gifts/Souvenirs

The original Diptyque boutique in Paris has attracted a long line of celebrities. You can find the full array of scented candles and...

Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market

  • Outdoor/Flea/Green Markets

The partylike Saturday edition of the city's most upscale and expensive farmers' market places baked goods, gourmet cheeses, smoked fish,...

Fraenkel Gallery

  • Art Galleries

This renowned gallery represents museum-caliber photographers or their estates, including Nicholas Nixon, Nan Goldin, Richard Misrach,...

Green Apple Books

  • Books/Stationery

This local favorite with a huge used-book department also carries new books in every field. It's known for its history room and rare-books...


  • Department Stores

It's a San Francisco institution, dating to the 19th century, and it's a strikingly luxurious one. The airy store exudes a museumlike...

Heath Ceramics

  • Household Items/Furniture

Sleek, glossy tiles for the home, newly spun dinnerware in rich earth colors, locally inspired cookbooks, and simple bamboo spoons stand...


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