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There are many places to buy souvenirs in Chinatown, ranging from anything small to the museum-quality antiques. For those interested in something in between, there's Canton Bazaar. Its two floors in the heart of Chinatown are virtually a one-stop shopping experience for souvenirs and art. You can get a pair of chopsticks or a seven-foot gilt-wood Buddha with mirror inlay. There is also a nice selection of kimonos, ceramics (including antique porcelain), furniture and jewelry, the most intriguing piece of which may be an antique fingernail guard reborn as a brooch. The staff is very helpful and always there when you need them, too.
Chinatown, one of the busiest areas in the city, is a hodgepodge of shops, restaurants and businesses of every kind. The vibrant and close-knit community that lives within this neighborhood has also made it one of San Francisco's top tourist destinations. Thankfully, there are many side streets, quiet shops and traditional restaurants that provide some relief from the bustle outside. Try your luck at one of the hundreds of dining options in the area, especially those serving Dim Sum, as they can be some of the best in the city. Also make sure to stop in some of the small herbal shops for some unusual trinkets and art.
Haight-Ashbury is a district in San Francisco named after the intersections of Haight and Ashbury Streets, known to many as The Haight. It encompasses the area from Golden Gate Park and Oak Street to Baker Street and the Buena Vista Park. This district is famous for its role in the 1960s hippie movement, and remains a popular tourist attraction for its bohemian vibe. Many restored Victorian houses can still be found gracing the streets in the neighborhood.
A fixture of the Northwest's secondhand clothing circuit for over 20 years, Buffalo Exchange opened its San Francisco location more than five years ago. The Upper Haight store gives second lives to the boxes, backpacks and garbage bags of clothes, retro and not, brought in by customers daily. This is just as good a place to shop for a pair of khakis as for bell-bottom jeans, and the prices are close to unbeatable. The hip and friendly staff can help you find just the right look for you.
Based in a vintage warehouse, Wasteland is an iconic secondhand clothing store in San Francisco. The staff here always know what the store needs, so do not expect them to do handsprings over just any pair of Brady Bunch bell bottoms when you're selling clothes; because they are so selective, they scrutinize each and every piece of clothing to see that it fits perfectly based on their requirements. Wasteland is also a great place to pick up new-to-you cool retro styled clothing, and chic modern clothing. Also available here are designer labels like Givenchy, Chanel and Marc Jacobs.
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.
New and used books at low prices are the specialty of this popular Richmond District bookstore. Two dusty floors and an annex two doors down hold hundreds of rare and out-of-print titles, bargain bins, CDs, DVDs, employee reviews and a relaxed atmosphere. You can also trade in your old books for store credit, one more way this store saves you money. The staff here is known throughout the Bay Area for being well-versed in all things books.
The Treasure Island Flea Market is a haven for bargain hunters and shoppers looking for vintage pieces, antiques and unique works. This monthly market brings together one of California's largest collections of artists, vendors, designers and food trucks. The flea market provides local artists and small entrepreneurs an opportunity to sell their wares, and shoppers an opportunity to purchase these varied treasures for a reasonable rate. Apart from antiques and vintage pieces, the market also boasts a variety of vendors offering unique works of art, clothing, furniture, decorative items, accessories and other random knick knacks produced by local artists. While the food trucks provide you much needed nourishment as you scour through the many treasures that are waiting to be discovered here, the live performances add an air of celebration to the market. Be sure to stop by the bar for a taste of locally sourced beer and wine before you head home. The flea market is held on the last full weekend of every month. An entrance fee applies per person. Children below the age of 12 years are allowed to enter for free.