San Francisco's siren call for shopping is a "can't miss" experience. Overflowing with sublime department stores, designer boutiques, specialty stores and homewares, there will be no time to shop for trinkets.Too tempting? Let's see how you fare.
The holy grail for fashionistas commences at Union Square. Home to the upscale retail chain stores; Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York and Macy's, the designer trail continues on to Bloomingdale's and Nordstrom, which anchors the top floors of Westfields San Francisco on Market Street. Also clustered around the colossal stores are a heady selection of designer stores including Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton and Valentino, which just opened its salon doors in 2014.
Moving away from the heavy hitters of fashion is Fillmore Street in Pacific Heights. Here the blocks are lined with more cutting-edge designers such as Marc Jacobs, Joie, Alice & Olivia and Jigsaw London while a more off-the-beaten path into North Beach will lead you straight to San Francisco's more funkier fashion. On Valencia in the Mission District, the fashion-finds quickly shifts gears with bedroom choices; superb cotton sheets, blankets and other desirable accessories at several homeware stores.
For the literary-minded
The city is a serious literary haunt. Start with the legendary City Lights; a Beat Generation landmark in North Beach. Shop around for coffee table books at William Stout and The Booksmith in Haight-Ashbury.
San Francisco is a collector's nirvana for vintage clothing and curios. Hippy chic can be found at Held Over in Haight Ashbury while Mystery Mister in the Mission District evokes Mad Men glamour. And for American kitsch? Search every nook and cranny at Mixed Nuts. In fact, the entire inventory begs to be purchased.
San Francisco Premium Outlets
The San Francisco Premium Outlet mall is the place to buy incredible designer bargains; Prada, Gucci, Versace, DSQUARED2, Nike, Barneys New York and Emporio Armani. Take the BART from Downtown to the Pleasanton/Dublin station and board the RAPID bus to the Outlets on weekdays. On the weekends take the Route 12 bus.
San Francisco Bay Area not only offers picture-perfect views, but also first-rate flea markets. The best treasure-troves are found at Treasure Island and Alameda Point Antiques Fair at East Bay.
The city's IT craze has raised the shopping stakes. Apple now has three locations with a new flagship store at Union Square. Just six blocks away is the TechShop, an innovative workshop for IT buffs; with over 1580 square metres of floor space packed with computers and cutting-edge design software. Sign up for a class while you're visiting.