When it comes to shopping, San Francisco differs - and a
lot - from other US tourist destinations like New York,
Miami and Orlando. The city does not live in a climate
of consumerism. Large malls, mega stores and
outlets are not on the list of strengths in the
region. In fact, it is even difficult to find a place
that concentrates many shopping options.
But we are
talking about the USA! And there, what seems little,
compared to other large American cities, is a lot,
compared to Brazil. Although there is not such a
generous supply of stores, the variety is good and the
favorite brands of Brazilians will certainly be found
there. Maybe not in the same place, but just a little
patience is enough to find the product you are looking
for. If you are interested in retro style items, just visit
InternetAges where you can find vintage picture frames.
Forget the big malls. In San Francisco, shopping is
mostly done in street stores. The rule holds true even
for top brands like Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton. It
is kicking the pavement that you will fill the bags. And
if you want to save shoe soles, run to Union Square -
the area around the square has so many stores that it
equates to a big mall. It's really hard to find what
street you're looking for.
Union Square's shopping district extends to Market
Street. The wide avenue is home to many stores and one
of the few malls in the city, Westfield. There are
dozens of brands in the large shopping center, which
also has good options for snack bars and restaurants.
Among the streets that make up San Francisco's main
shopping area you will find brands such as:
Bloomingdales, Nordstrom's, Apple Store, Macy's, Nike,
Saks Fifth Avenue, Giorgio Armani, Burberry, GAP,
Abercrombie, Uniqlo and H&M. If you need to go to a
specific store, the ideal is to check the address first
so as not to be running without direction.
Some neighborhoods also offer excellent shopping
opportunities, in smaller, more local stores. In
Chinatown you will find an unimaginable variety of
souvenirs, decorative objects and all kinds of trinkets.
Castro is the right place for those looking for cooler
shopping and more modern clothes. On Mission Street the
focus is on thrift stores, which sell incredible and
unique clothes and accessories. We cannot forget that
the USA is a paradise for electronics shopping. Stores
like Apple, Best Buy, Walmart and Target are scattered
throughout the neighborhoods.
If nothing in the city pleases you, or you find the
prices a little steep (taxes are 8.75% of the total
purchase price), hurry to one of the outlets
around San Francisco. The largest are Gilroy (145
stores), Vacaville (120 stores) and Livermore (130
stores), all from the Premium Outlets chain - the
closest is 65 km from the center. You can be a little
lazy and shopping will take a whole day. However,
permanent promotions and low prices are exciting to even
the most stingy! Be careful not to lose control and buy
much more than would fit in the suitcase (who knows if a
good option would be to buy a suitcase over there?). See
more details about the outlets here.
Those who do not give up taking a souvenir of the
city they are visiting will leave San Francisco with a
full suitcase. The souvenirs are beautiful and highly
decorative. The best places to shop are the shops along
the famous sidewalks such as: Museums, Alcatraz Island,
Presidio Park (with everything about the Golden Gate)
and Pier 39. All have points of sale with objects and
souvenirs that will help to kill you from San Francisco
when you return to Brazil.
Premium Outlets - Gilroy, Vacaville and
Get ready for a real shopping spree. You will need
willingness and a lot of physical preparation to face
the outlets. San Francisco offers three
options: Vacaville, Livermore and Gilroy (the most
sought after among them). All are part of the Premium
network, well known among Brazilians.
To make your shopping day more comfortable, our tip
is to take a suitcase or buy one over there. So you can
carry as many bags as you want without making a lot of
effort, concentrating all your energies just on
Discounts vary from 25% to 65%, and they can increase
a lot with the use of coupons that offer even more
advantages. The outlet itself provides a book
that can be downloaded from the website or purchased at
the visitor center, with various discount coupons.
To have free access to the extra benefits, just
register on the website and become a member of the VIP
Shopper Club. If you are not a member, you will have to
pay USD 5 for the booklet. You can also find other types
of coupons on specialized websites; just do a search for
“discount coupons” and the brand you are looking for.
Attention, all coupons must be printed to be valid.
Gilroy Premium Outlets
This is one of the largest outlets in
California and follows the pattern of other complexes of
the Premium network. Gilroy works in a wide space, with
open-air corridors. The environment is extremely
pleasant and you will have no trouble buying. The space
offers more than 145 brands, such as: Fifth Avenue Off
5th, Tommy Hilfiger, Saks, Nike, Polo Ralph Lauren,
Banana Republic, Gap, Ann Taylor, Michael Kors and many
others, all with incredible discounts.
See the full list of Gilroy stores here.
The outlet is 1h20min from San Francisco and
the best way to get there is by car. Those who prefer to
go by bus can opt for a Greyhound Bus Lines transport or
an Outlet Hop chartered bus.
Address: 681 Leavesley Road, Gilroy, CA 95020.
Telephone: (408) 842-3729.
Gilroy Premium Outlets official website
Vacaville Premium Outlets
Vacaville is located 90km from downtown San
Francisco, on the way to Sacramento. The space offers
120 stores in open-air corridors. Some of the main
brands: Adidas, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Calvin
Klein, Coach, DKNY, Gap Outlet, Gucci, Guess, J. Crew,
Lacoste, Le Creuset, Levis, Michael Kors, Nike, Puma,
Polo Ralph Lauren, True Religion and Tommy Hilfiger. The
Gilroy Outlets discount coupons rule also applies to all
complexes in the Premium network.
See the complete list of Vacaville stores
To get to the outlet you will need to go by
car or take a chartered bus, such as the Outlet Hop.
There is no public transport there.
Address: 321 Nut Tree Road, Suite 2, Vacaville, CA
Telephone: (707) 447-5755.
Vacaville Premium Outlets official website
Livermore Premium Outlets
Livermore is located 60km from the city of San
Francisco and is the closest option to the city. The
complex follows the standard of the Premium network and
has 130 brands arranged in open-air corridors. Some of
the stores found there are: Abercrombie & Fitch /
Hollister, Armani, Barneys New York, Bloomingdale's,
Burberry, Calvin Klein, Carter's, Cole Haan, Diesel,
DKNY, Elie Tahari, GAP, Kate Spade New York, Last Call
by Neiman Marcus, Michael Kors, Polo Ralph Lauren, Prada
and Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th.
See the full list of Livermore Premium
Outlets stores here.
One of the great advantages of this outlet
is being able to arrive using public transport. Just
take the BART to Pleasanton / Dublin Station, get off at
the last station and take bus 12 to the outlet.
Address: 2774 Livermore Outlets Drive, Livermore, CA
Phone: (925) 292-2868.
If there is a place visited by all tourists who
arrive in the city for the first time, it is Pier 39.
The very high rate of visitors has reason to be. On the
edge of the San Francisco Bay, this leisure area brings
together good restaurants, great shopping opportunities,
an amazing aquarium, boat trips, outdoor shows and a
beautiful view of the bay.
Any time of day is great to stop by. And the
attractions are aimed at all ages. At the Aquarium of
the Bay you can stroll through a tunnel with sharks,
rays, colorful jellyfish and hundreds of other
inhabitants of the seabed. Another tour that makes us
feel part of an adventure is the 7D Experience, a mix of
cinema, theater and amusement park. Outdoors, other
activities attract the eyes of tourists. Alongside the
merry-go-round, throughout the day, performances by
circus artists and musical shows fill the makeshift
arena on the edge of the bay.
For lunchtime, nothing like one of the pier
restaurants. The specialties are many, from French
crepes to king crabs. Don't miss the opportunity to
taste fresh seafood. You will be able to sit with a view
of the sea lions, who give a show of sympathy next to
In addition to the good restaurants, another feature
of the place are the incredible special souvenir shops.
The themes are varied, but always linked to the city.
You will find there a store with only products inspired
by cable cars, on Alcatraz Island, on the
Golden Gate bridge and on several other local symbols.
Enjoy the pleasant weather to relax by the pier. If
the day is foggy, you will see the Golden Gate,
Alcatraz Island and dozens of boats sailing across the
Those looking for Apple products, or can't resist a
walk in the store to see the latest releases, will find
three options around the city: the first, on Stockton
St., is well located in the city's main shopping area,
midway between Union Square and Market Street; the
second, on Chestnut St., is close to Lombard Street,
between Fort Manson and Presidio Park; and the third is
further from the center, at Stonestown Galleria, 30
minutes from Union Square.
1 Stockton St
San Francisco, CA, United States
Phone: (415) 392-0202
2125 Chestnut St
San Francisco, CA, United States
Phone: (415) 848-4445
3251 20th Ave - Stonestown Galleria
San Francisco, CA, United States
Phone: (415) 571-2780
The store is already famous among Brazilians, both
for the variety of products and for the ease of
shopping. The space functions as a supermarket for
electronics and equipment for the home and sells vacuum
cleaners to powerful computers. Anyone looking for
products like cameras, notebooks, stereos and all kinds
of peripherals will surely find it there.
The tip is to search the store website beforehand if
the product is available in stock. If not, you can make
the purchase online and ask for the product to be
removed from the store. It's practical, fast and a great
way to resist temptations from the live shelves.
Best Buy can be found at two more central addresses:
1717 Harrison St
San Francisco, CA, United States
Phone: (415) 626-9682
2675 Geary Blvd
San Francisco, CA, United States
Phone: (415) 409-4960
Chinatown exists everywhere. The eastern community of
San Francisco, however, is not only the oldest in the
United States - it exists from 1848 - but it is also the
largest in the world outside Asia. The presence of
Chinese immigrants is so strong in the city that
nameplates, signs, menus, information pamphlets and
others are all in three languages: English, Spanish and
The neighborhood, unlike what happens in many other
countries, is fully integrated into the city. After the
great earthquake that hit San Francisco in 1906,
Chinatown was completely rebuilt with Chinese
characteristics and became one of the main tourist
districts in the region.
Located between North Beach and Telegraph Hill, the
area is the gateway to the Dragon Gate. The traditional
Chinese portal, at the intersection of Bush st and Grant
Ave, is the starting point for visitors. Altogether,
there are twenty-four blocks full of shops, restaurants
and typically oriental shops, such as herbal medicine
stores, tea houses, massages and others.
Those who like to shop can not stop walking the
streets of the neighborhood. The shops sell typical
products and inexpensive souvenirs, but not just
souvenirs live the trade. The place offers good options
of typical objects, tapestries, furniture, clothes and
utensils for home and decoration.
Gastronomy is also among Chinatown's strengths.
Anyone willing to tackle incomprehensible menus can
venture out into one of the 150 local restaurants. The
flavors are a trip through Asia, where you can try
dishes from countries like Thailand, Singapore, Japan
and Vietnam. At the end, be sure to stop by the
Golden Gate Fortune Cook Factory. The factory
produces more than 20,000 fortune cookies a day. Who
knows there is your destiny...
At the meeting between Market Street and Embarcadero,
on the edge of the bay, is one of the favorite places
for San Francisco residents. With an imposing clock
tower, the Ferry Building marks the time of travelers
who arrive or depart from their trip. The historic
building dates back to 1898 and, until the 1930s, with
the construction of the Golden Gate and Bay Bridge, the
site was the main gateway for anyone arriving in the
Despite the drop in movement, the Ferry Building was
never deactivated. After a major revitalization - which
ended in 2003 -, the space also started to serve as a
great gourmet market for local producers. There you will
find fresh goods from all over California. The traders
are small and the products are almost always handmade.
Cheeses, wines, oils, breads, meats, vegetables and
specialty coffees seem to come straight from the farm.
It's great for those who can't resist some special
In addition to the shops, those who want to enjoy the
climate of the San Francisco Bay - without the confusion
of Pier 39 - can enjoy one of the restaurants in the
area. The specialties vary between Japanese, Argentine,
Californian and other cuisines, all washed down with
fresh seafood. See the official website for the full
list of restaurants.
Those who walk around Fisherman's Warf today do not
imagine that in the middle of the 19th century the place
was a fishing port - mostly Italians - and the main fish
market in the city. Refurbished in the 70s, the place
has become one of the most visited tourist spots in San
Francisco. At the beginning of the day, many boats still
dock there, bringing fresh fish that will be served in
the wonderful restaurants in the area. Everything fresh!
Fisherman's Warf comprises the area that goes from
Pier 39 to Ghirardelli Square, but the section most
recognized by its name is in the region of Pier 43, near
Taylor St. There you will find the delicious stalls that
sell dishes prepared with freshly caught products. Among
the specialties, be sure to try Dungeness Crab, a giant
crab typical of this Pacific region.
EAT CRAB! The giant sign in one of the buildings on
the street invites visitors to eat crabs. In addition to
the simplest kiosks, large and refined restaurants have
menus specializing in seafood. Certainly one of them
will please you. There are many options, all close to
each other, just walk down the street and choose the
menu that suits you best.
In addition to the good restaurants, Fisherman's Warf
concentrates other attractions. The main ones are: Pier
39, Aquarium of The Bay, USS Pampanito (World War II
submarine turned museum), Cannery (small mall with
stores and restaurants, which operates in a historic
building from 1909) and San Francisco Maritime National
One of the must-see tours for those who are there is
the historic cable car. The vehicles leave the
region to the center of San Francisco and are very
disputed. The muni F line, the old street car,
also deserves a ride. The vehicle maintains its retro
look and is an attraction among tourists. See more
information in the post about transport.
The rainbow-colored flag announces arrival in Castro
(officially Eureka Valley), the most gay friendly
neighborhood in the city. Although the whole of San
Francisco is considered extremely tolerant, modern and
not prejudiced, it is in Castro that the gay community
really feels at home. Houses, restaurants and shops
proudly display diverse symbols of gay culture. In
unusual ways, residents play with the Castro's
characteristic and transform the region into one of the
most fun in San Francisco.
The neighborhood gained fame in the 1970s for
fighting prejudice, especially for Harvey Milk, a
politician and activist murdered in defending the gay
cause. The struggle guaranteed San Francisco an
important place in the fight for the rights of
homosexuals. Castro has become one of the largest gay
communities in the world.
Those who stroll through the region will come across
many restaurants, bars and shops, almost all of which
are influenced by the gay movement. Castro has excellent
dining options, especially healthy and organic. The
nightlife is also fun; be sure to stop by the
Twin Peaks Tavern, the city's first gay bar.
Other attractions in the area are the Castro Theater -
the last remaining independent cinema in the city - and
the GLBT History Museum, a fundamental visit to
understand the struggle of the neighborhood.
The Mission District
One of the hippest neighborhoods in the city, the
Mission District has a modern vintage look. Like those
super trendy pieces that we found inside our
grandmothers' closet, or vintage cars, that have never
been so contemporary. Walking through the streets of the
Mission is to be sure that roots are made to be
remembered and cultivated.
The mix of Latin communities with the new
hipsters occupies the streets between cafes,
bookstores, charming bookstores, design stores and - of
course, lots of thrift stores! If you are the type who
likes to mine an exclusive piece or a unique decoration
object, you will certainly be very happy there.
The neighborhood, despite having an excellent trade,
became famous even for the graffiti, which take over the
streets. At every alley, street and building, a new
subject is addressed. From criticism to comedy, color
takes over the entire region. If you want to make a sure
bet, to keep from going, go to Clarion Alley or meet the
24st with South Van Ness, two of the most beautiful
streets to photograph. There are more than 200 murals
that illustrate the walls of schools, houses and
buildings in the region (some have been there since the
The Mission night is one of the best in the city.
Start with the 16st meeting with Valencia and move from
bar to bar, sampling local beers. The public is relaxed
and the atmosphere is the best.
Union Square and Market Street
Unlike other American cities, shopping in San
Francisco is almost always done on the street and the
main meeting of major brands is in the Union Square
region. The square is the bustling center for tourists
and residents looking to fill bags. Get ready to kick a
lot of legs. From street to street you will discover the
charms of the region.
The selection of brands that take care of the area is
the best and it accumulates luxury names. It's like a
big open-air mall. If you don't want to spend a lot of
time trying to find the location of your favorite store,
leave the hotel with a map in your hand and the exact
address of your goal.
From the center of the square you will see the multi
brands Macys and Sak's. They are the starting point for
the shopping tour. The shops span several
streets, especially on the way to Market Street, where
there are also the grand Bloomingdales and Nordstorm.
Behind the facades of Market Street buildings is one
of the few closed shopping centers in the city,
Westfield. There you will find the missing brands to
complete your purchases.
In addition to many shops, Union Square is known for
its large concentration of restaurants and cafes. On hot
days, residents flock to the sidewalks, always busy, to
taste some local delicacies. It is one of the best spots
in San Francisco to try a Californian wine and choose
from specialties from different countries.
See the list of stores in the region below and visit
the official Market Street website to
see the addresses of each store.
Beauty and health
Bath & Body Works;
Elizabeth Arden Red Door;
Bibbo at Union Square;
Di Pietro Todd;
Original Perfume Discount;
Rite Aid Pharmacy;
The Body Shop;
Walgreen's Drug Store - Sutter / Powell.
Borders Books & Music;
Wolfgang Puck Express at Macy's.
Pea in the Pod;
The Children's Place;
Paul Frank Store.
Clothing and accessories
7 for All Mankind.
Abrcrombie & Fitch;
AG Adriano Goldschmied;
Anne Taylor Loft;
Aricie Lingerie de Marque;
Barcelino - Men;
Barcelino Per Donna;
Betsey Johnson Clothing;
David Stephen Menswear;
Ferrari Shop, The;
Hats on Post;
Japanese Weekend Maternity;
Jos. A. Bank;
Levis Flagship Store;
Lily Sami Collection;
Mulholland Luxury Leather Goods.
NE Q & J Boutique;
North Face, The.
Pea in the Pod;
Peter Panos Fine Tailoring;
Polo Store - Ralph Lauren;
Saks Fifth Avenue;
Saks, The Men's Store;
Scotch & Soda;
Seymour Custom Tailoring;
St. John Boutique.
Three Bags Full;
Uomo European Menswear;
Yves Saint Laurent.