San Francisco offers some of the most diverse shopping in the United States. You can shop at Market Street with numerous high-end designers and big-chain retail stores or get lost in a maze of local artisan boutiques or endless racks of vintage items. Whatever type of shopping you like, you will find yourself at home with San Francisco shopping!
Best San Francisco Shopping Districts
San Francisco shopping scene is a mix of fashionista shopping around Union Square and the unique boutiques in Noe Valley.
Union Street is often confused by visitors with Union Square but it is very different. The highlight of Union Street is the beautiful Victorian architecture of the shops. Union Street glitters with small boutiques, such as Ambiance. It offers great selection and affordable prices which make it hard to leave this store without trying something on.
You will find a lot of interesting small shops, including Jewelry stores and goldsmiths, like Street Goldsmith. There are more jewelry stores per district on Union Street than any other street in the city. This is the street to go shopping for that perfect engagement ring or just a new bracelet.
Union Square Shopping
When I think of shopping in San Francisco, usually Union Square is the first thing that comes to mind. This iconic plaza is filled with crowds of shoppers trying to get the best sales in the city. The plaza itself is a major tourist destination and dates back to the planning of the city in the mid-1800s, when it was the site of Civil War-era rallies for the Union.
Today Union Square is the city’s largest shopping district, with theaters, art galleries and restaurants. Right on the square you will find Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Tiffany & Co., but if you keep going you’ll find local hidden gems.
Post Street has more upscale shops like Gump’s – a local legendary department store that’s been there for more than 150 years and features an impressive collection of eclectic fine jewelry, accessories and houseware.
Marina District Shopping
My next favorite San Francisco shopping district is Marina. On the northern edge of San Francisco, the Marina District attracts a young crowd with its affordable and stylish shops. In the Marina district you will also find one of the Smitten Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream spots and a lot of other local San Francisco shopping and lots of restaurant options. This area is known for its world-class shopping, it’s a great place to buy “going out” clothes and fun basics. Many of the stores specialize in weekend and recreational attire, going along with the laid-back vibe of the Marina neighborhood. Here you will find a lot more locals shopping for their everyday styles and not as many tourists. A couple of my favorite stores in Marina District:
I really like Marine Layer. It is known for its super-soft T-shirts made from recycled beechwood, but it also has plenty of other beachwear styles, like swimsuits, shorts and dresses, for all, men, women and kids.
Shopping at Two Skirts in Marina District is a great way to support a San Francisco local store. There, you’ll find everything from a pair of jeans to a classy cocktail dress. It also carries both, small independent designers and your high end favorites. So if you are in to shop with the locals, come to Marina District and explore one of its shopping streets!
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Although Fisherman’s Wharf is known as a tourist district, it offers a few great shopping options. Pier 39 has many touristy shops, like the Alcatraz Gift Shop, the Aquarium of the Bay Gift Shop, the Hard Rock Cafe Gift Shop, the Cable Car Store and Only in San Francisco. Some of the less touristy options at Pier 39 include Stone Flower, Alpaca Fashion, Cariloha, and Sunglass Hut. Nearby, Anchorage Square is home to DP Boutique, California City Wear, Feet First, and LIDS. Overall, Fisherman’s Wharf is a great district to spend an afternoon if you don’t mind the crowds! I recommend having a drink at one of the cafes during their happy hours and trying a clam chowder!
The Mission District Shopping
The Mission is great for more trendy stuff and local shops. Valencia Street is a filled with trendy urban shops featuring products made by local artisans and artists, fused with many cute vintage stores. Little Paper Planes is a shop founded by a group of art school grads who wanted to sell their products. Now, it’s a favorite gift shop that even offers a special residency program for artists and designers.
Down the street, Aggregate Supply is a popular men’s and women’s shop that features urban clothes, backpacks and unique home decor. Another must-visit spot is Paxton Gate, it sells vintage stuffed and mounted animals, bones, shells and house plants. Some other great stops for vintage clothes are Mission Thrift, Community Thrift.
Hayes Valley Shopping
Fashionistas could be lost for hours inside the many trendy boutiques in Hayes Valley. Hayes Valley features more high-end options, with shops boasting modern looks from new, independent designers. Check out Azalea for some classic designs, jewelry and handbags, or Cary Lane for designer apparel up to 80% off the regular retail price for men and women. A couple of other favorite stores in the Hayes Valley: Gather and Rand&Statler.
August 31, 2018
Wish I had read your post before I visited San Francisco. A really good summary of where to go.
August 31, 2018
I grew up not too far from San Fran and I miss going to Pier 39 for some clam chowder! This made me miss home!