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San Francisco Shopping Guide - where and what to shop and buy

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Whatever your shopping desires, San Francisco has it covered. With its range of vast, glitzy malls - containing some of the flashiest designer names - there’s enough to keep even the most persistent shopper satisfied. But San Francisco’s retail scene really comes alive in its sprawling streets. Pop-up vintage clothing boutiques, old school record stores, and warehouse-sized bookshops are speckled throughout the city, providing abundant opportunities to splurge.
The Haight

 

 

The Haight’s hippy heritage as a center for cool counterculture and its recent revival as an ultra-hip neighborhood has resulted in a diverse mix of stores. And that means a thrilling shopping experience. Visit relics of a bygone era in the handful of flower-power stores that sell anarchist books, aromatic incense, and tie-dye t-shirts. Trendy travelers should head to the huge record stores and mix of thrifty and upscale vintage clothing shops along Haight Street. Your friends back at home will be green-eyed with envy at the wares you'll discover.

 

City Centre

 

 

Amble a few blocks south of the dazzling Union Square and discover one of the city’s top malls, Westfield San Francisco Center. This upscale, marble-clad marvel offers a sumptuous retail experience. The wide white and gold halls capped with Romanesque colonnades create an unexpectedly refined atmosphere to browse around in. You can expect to find top American and European brands, from high street biggies to exclusive designers. It’s not all about shopping in Westfield, as the mall boasts French-themed bistros and sizzling noodle bars for delectable dining.

 

North Beach

 

 

North Beach, known as Little Italy, is where you’ll find San Francisco’s best authentic Italian cooking, but it’s also a lesser-known hotspot for clothes shoppers seeking European-designed bargains. With the shimmering waters of San Francisco Bay as an idyllic backdrop, you can strut through a stretch of Grant Avenue, hunting for that perfect cocktail dress or trim, Riviera-chic suit. There’s a couple of cool music stores here too, that offer a wider variety of tunes than the stubbornly cutting-edge record stores in the Haight.

 

The Mission

 

 

The Mission’s shopping scene answers the ultra-edgy vibe of the Haight. With a funky, eclectic, and uninhibited atmosphere, the Mission is an explosion of wild and wacky boutiques, selling anything from crocodile skin purses and taxidermy to deerstalker hats and independent art. The stores are set in bright pastel-painted buildings, the giant murals adding to the vibrant energy. Smell the flowers at the tropical-themed florists, check out the ornate furniture in the antique stores, and stop for a mouthwatering burrito at a food truck.