We got pretty lucky with the area of SF we stayed in: it was near lots of lovely streets full of shops and restaurants, as well as being adjacent to Japantown and not too far from both the coast and downtown. A little map I drew above, and here are snaps of some of the shops in the area.
Fillmore Street is lined with pretty boutiques, with homewares, paper goods and ladies’ clothing featuring heavily (and many, many pet boutiques: this city loves its doggies). I spent far too long in Jonathan Adler, Paper Source and Nest sighing over things that wouldn’t fit in my case back home.
Right at the top of Fillmore is Williams-Sonoma, a foody heaven with jars of readymade pie fillings, cake decorations and bakeware. From there, turn onto Chestnut Street for some bigger stores like American Apparel, and wander back down Polk for more cute boutiques.
Japantown, off Sutter Street, has a large Daiso (Japanese pound shop) and a smallish mall with a great English bookstore: heavy on design goodies and comedy pet books. Excellent.
Alemany flea market
And a few more favourite shopping spots in other parts of town. On the first Sunday we caught the bus down to the Alemany flea market. It’s a decent size with a fair bit of nice vintage Americana amongst the usual tat. Afterwards we walked across 24th Street and the charming Noe Valley area, then turned onto Valencia Street to take us through the Mission district.
Valencia has a host of cool shops, including vintage, bookstores and little boutiques like the gorgeous Bell Jar. I loved San Fran’s bookstores too, which are usually cosily lit and a little ramshackle, with wooden shelves piled high and plenty of places to sit and browse.
Anthropologie, Market Street
If you follow Valencia right the way up, you’ll reach the main shopping drag, Market Street. I wasn’t all that impressed with the range of shops, but it did have Anthopologie and Urban Outfitters, and a slightly bizarre hybrid Westfield-Macys-Nordstrom megamall which had a cute Japanese stationery store as well as cool US brand Madewell.
Over to the east, the farmers’ market in the Ferry Building is a foody treat.