College Avenue stretches from deep within Berkeley to Oakland, and along this bustling boulevard numerous restaurants, boutiques, cafes, and much more are waiting for your enjoyment. Near the Rockridge end of the street you will find many eclectic restaurants serving an enormous variety of cuisines, as well as other small boutique shops selling anything from yoga mats to antique brass bedposts. Near the University, College Avenue takes on a funkier spirit, and incense shops allure you with their intriguing scents. Shopping is a major attraction of this East Bay hot spot, yet there are not many chain stores. Rather, locals prefer to support local businesses instead of national chains. However certain stores, such as Urban Outfitters, American Apparel, and Hot Topic, can still be found conveniently nearby. Great for a Sunday walk where you can leisurely stroll down this beautiful avenue - stop and have a coffee at one of many cafes, or buy a unique present for a special someone!
This independent North Beach icon, founded by Beat writer-mentor Lawrence Ferlinghetti, goes beyond your average bookstore by shelving beat literature, anthologies, and fiction from Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and much more. Experience San Francisco through the words written by some of the area's most famous, and sometimes hard-to-find, writers. The store has its own publishing house, City Lights, which has enriched the San Francisco community since 1953 by promoting emerging writers with an edge.
Here book-lovers will find the romantic notion of shelves stacked up to the ceiling with books, so heavy they threaten to give way. The fading smell of bookbinding glue conjures images of ancient libraries. You could spend hours wandering the aisles like that kid in The Neverending Story. If you do not find what you are looking for, which is nearly impossible since Moe's has just about everything ever printed, you are sure to find something to appease you. For those looking for antique or rare books, check out the huge collection on the fourth floor.
No music lover's trip to San Francisco would be complete without a visit to this warehouse-sized music store. The Upper Haight store bustles with hundreds of shoppers flipping through vast selections of CDs, records, tapes, videos and posters. The deals on used and yellow tag (cosmetically damaged, functionally guaranteed) items are the best in the city, as is the selection of obscure and independent-label titles.
Located in a vintage Beaux Arts building dating from just after the 1906 earthquake and fire, Neiman Marcus is one of the city's most upscale department stores. You'll find all the big names in fashion: Chanel, Jil Sander, Calvin Klein, Salvatore Ferragano, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Giorgio Armani, TSE, Fendi, Gucci, Versace, Christian Dior, Donna Karen, and Yves Saint Laurent. It also features two eating establishments: The Rotunda and the Fresh Market Café.
Don't leave San Francisco without a stroll through this legendary square nearby Fisherman's Wharf, which is named after San Francisco's original chocolate-maker. There is a bakery and several restaurants and, of course, there's the Ghirardelli Ice Cream Shop where you can savor the deliciousness of the old-fashioned Ghirardelli sundae or buy some sweet goodies to bring back. Take some time and visit the art galleries, gift and specialty stores, and shoe and clothing shops. Some practical services are available, including a dressmaker and tailor, film developing, an ATM and a Federal Express drop-off box.