One of my favorite things to do when I’m visiting another city is stroll down streets looking for little places that can’t be found anywhere else. I’ll share my favorite hidden gems with you in my Where to Shop guides, so you can save some time searching for them. My Where to Shop San Francisco guide features a men’s haberdashery, an eclectic vintage shop, and more.
Best Un-Touristy Souvenirs
Head to a very touristy place, Ghiradelli Square, to get some delightfully un-touristy souvenirs. First let me clarify that I actually enjoy kitschy tourist shops. I collected spoons for a good decade of my childhood, so that should tell you how comfortable I am with cliche souvenirs. However, once you’ve seen one cable car pencil sharpener and Alcatraz handcuff key chain you’ve seen them all. At Ghiradelli Square’s Jackson & Polk you’ll find a modern, design-conscious take on Golden State souvenirs made by local artists. Pick up a Golden Gate Bridge embroidery kit, a San Francisco art print, or a dainty California state pendant.
Best Vintage Shop
Open by appointment only, Torso has unique items that have been carefully curated and displayed. The prices range up to $5000, so be sure to share your budget with the staff upon arrival. Most things are on the high end of pricing, since the store specializes in well-preserved designer items. Vintage hats, purses, beaded gowns and jewelry adorn the top floor. The lower level is home to day wear and more affordable pieces. Prices are unmarked, which is a practice I disagree with. There are easier-to-shop and more affordable places in the city, but the range of merchandise here is definitely worth a look if you’re nearby.
Best Men’s Apparel
If you’re a fan of men’s fine clothing, stop in Cable Car Clothiers just to check out the way they merchandise their rainbow of silk ties, cuff links, and pocket squares. A barber shop is nestled into the front of the high end men’s clothing store. The rest of the place is practically a museum dedicated to the golden age of San Francisco men’s fashion. With the vintage decorations and attention to detail, you almost expect a 1950s businessman to walk in the front door. He’d certainly be right at home here.
Do you have a favorite shopping destination in the Bay Area? I’d love to hear from you!