San Francisco Shopping: Finds from High-End to Vintage

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San Francisco Shopping: Finds from High-End to Vintage
Headed to the Bay Area anytime soon? San Francisco has a fantastic shopping scene. Whether you're looking for unique boutique stores or a traditional shopping mall, SF has it all!

San Francisco is known for its delicious chowder and numerous tech companies. But did you know that it's also home to world-class shopping? There are so many different and unique shopping experiences to try that you may want to set aside a few days to discover them all on your next trip. 

With so many options, it's essential to have a game plan. Choose the shops that interest you the most, and schedule your travel accordingly. SF is famous for its traffic jams and crowded streets, so planning ahead is important. 

While you're in planning mode, you may want to consider carving out some time to venture outside the city and see the Bay's natural beauty. Check out San Francisco hikes for some of the top picks of all the hiking options in and around this historic city. 

Shopping in Downtown San Francisco

Join in on the excitement of the hustle and bustle of downtown as you make your way through the maze of stores and boutiques. 

The best way to travel downtown is by train. Locals frequently use the Bay Area Rapid Transit System (BART) for easy transportation within the city and surrounding neighborhoods. 

The train will come in handy for you if you want to hit all the best downtown shopping in one day! If you're unfamiliar with San Fran, remember to keep your phone charged so you can use Google Maps to help you get around!

A BART train approaching Walnut Creek
Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Shops at Union Square

The central shopping district in downtown SF is Union Square Plaza. It's often seen as the best shopping place in downtown San Francisco. This plaza has a long list of well-known specialty shops and department stores. 

Union Square is picturesque, with flower-lined sidewalks, trees, and outdoor cafe tables. Definitely somewhere worth stopping by!

You can find Union Square between Geary and Post Streets, and Powell and Stockton Streets. Plus, there is a direct train from the San Francisco International Airport to the plaza.

Popular stores in the plaza include Anthropologie, Lush, and Uniqlo. Still, there's also a selection of luxury stores, including Louis Vuitton and Hermes. If you're looking for a more boutique-style experience, there are several well-known stores near the plaza that you can check out. 

Before making a trip here, it's wise to check out info about Union Square's shops and parking. Consider also gathering information about nearby restaurants for a well-deserved shopping break. 

Souvenir Shopping

Looking to bring back souvenirs for friends and family back home? San Francisco has a handful of tourist shopping venues that sell all types of souvenirs. Read up on the best souvenirs to get according to your traveling type to find the perfect gifts.

Located at the famous Fisherman's Wharf is Pier 39. Swing by the shops at this pier for classic souvenir offerings. Here you can find t-shirts, key chains, magnets, and more. Also, remember to stop by and greet the sea lions while you're there. 

You'll also be able to find a lot of tourist-style shops in the area by walking along the harbor. The Ghirardelli Chocolate Shop is just around the corner, so be sure to get a bag of goodies for the trip home!

‍San Francisco Carousel at Pier 39
Image Courtesy of Time Out

Thrift Shopping

San Francisco is known for its alternative culture. Take a peek into the city's historical past by hitting some of its classic thrift stores!

In the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of the city, there is a row of thrift stores where you could easily spend hours looking for treasures. Pick up some cool vintage tees or a pair of historic jeans for a one-of-a-kind souvenir. 

San Francisco Premium Outlets

If you're looking to shop for premium brands on a budget, stop by the San Francisco Premium Outlets in Livermore. It's a bit of a drive from the city, but the deals are worth the trip!

As these are northern California's most extensive collection of luxury stores, you're sure to find exactly what you're looking for. 

Boasting over 180 iconic brands, the outlets are a great one-stop shopping experience. Numerous restaurants and food trucks are nearby for a quick pick-me-up while shopping. 

Chinatown Shops

If you are looking for unique and exotic treasures, the shops in Chinatown are a great place to look. Chinatown in San Francisco is the oldest in the country and covers 24 blocks. You'll find authentic food and fun gift shops along its streets.

You can also find great deals on luggage sets, shoes, and clothing, but make sure that you look at a few stores before purchasing, just in case you find a cheaper option around the corner. 

I highly recommend stopping by Golden Gate Fortune Cookies, where you can watch as they carefully make each of their fortune cookies by hand. Make sure you stock up on these delicious treats! You can even ask them to put a custom fortune in your cookie.

Looking for a way to explore the food and shops in Chinatown with an expert? In this case, there are lots of culinary walking tours that you can join in on!

‍Red Lanterns Dangling on a Street of San Francisco's ChinaTown
Image Courtesy of SF Travel

Nearby Malls

If you need to make a few last-minute purchases, there are many malls around or in downtown San Francisco to browse. 

For example, Westfield San Francisco Center is downtown, close to Union Square. It's an upscale shopping experience with both department stores and chain stores.

Stonestown Galleria is a shopping mall located near San Francisco State University. It offers a variety of on-trend stores, like Windsor and Cotton On.

Another option is the Serramonte Mall in Daly City, which is a little out of the way but a great option with a massive selection of stores. It has a classic mall feel, with a food court, budget-friendly stores, and large discount stores. 

There is also a Japanese dollar store, Daiso, a perfect go-to for little trinkets and fun household items with a Japanese twist. 

‍An Exterior View of the Stonestown Galleria Mall
Image Courtesy of Stonestown Galleria

Shop Till Ya Drop in San Francisco

Planning a full day's worth of shopping can be a hassle. Save time and energy by using Pilot!

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