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.
In an area known for wineries and wine bars, Solano Cellars is a mecca for Bay Area oenophiles who sit at the imposing wood bar and sample a dazzling array of wines from around the world. A staff of refreshingly unpretentious wine experts can guide you through the selection and help you find just the vintage you were looking for. The shop attached is tiny, but what they do not have on display can be fetched from the seemingly bottomless wine cellar. To enhance the wine, an ever-changing appetizer and dessert menu, designed with wine in mind, is offered. There is a strict prohibition on cell phones.
Mars is repeatedly voted the best vintage clothing store in the East Bay by local newspapers and it is one of the best sources for fun and unusual retro garb. It has two stories filled with hip basics, shoes, glamorous accessories and clothing from a variety of time periods ranging from the Renaissance to the awesome 80s. Stock up on zoot suits, bell-bottoms, worn Levi's, leather coats and poodle skirts. It also specializes in a lot of theme attire for the seasons. Find costumes around Halloween, luau-worthy Hawaiian shirts for summer and fabulous faux and vintage fur coats for winter.
Bi-Rite Market, located in the Mission District, is a gourmet lover's paradise. The market features a wealth of organic and locally-produced cheeses, baked goods, meat, poultry, fish and produce. They also have an outstanding counter of prepared foods which change daily - the pork belly spaghetti and short ribs & polenta are recommended. If you're in the area, be sure to stop by nearby Bi-Rite Creamery for a tasty ice cream treat (you can find pints of their famous ice cream in the market freezer section too).
This Timbuk2 store located in the heart of Hayes Valley which is one of the most distinctive shopping areas of the city. Timbuk2 is known for their rough and tough messenger bags. The Timbuk2 store their classic messenger bags in a wide variety of fabrics and special designs by guest designers. If you don't like the colors you see, you can always order a custom-made bag that ticks all your boxes. You can also pick up accessories for your bag, like cell phone holders, reflective tabs and wallets.
Located in North Berkeley's Gourmet Ghetto, Masse's has provided Berkeley residents and visitors with the most tasty and beautiful tartes, cakes, macarons, and more. Their delicate morsels are crafted lovingly and stylishly, and often look far too pretty to eat. Luckily, their traditional and seasonal offerings taste just as good as they look. Pair your dessert with a fresh cup of coffee, and take a seat inside the tiny bakery, or at one of the sidewalk tables.
This sprawling vintage gallery has several stories of clothing, furniture, and other surprises for shoppers looking for all things retro. Hunt for mid-century modern and Danish furniture, great antiques, paintings and sculptures, and collectables. More than sixty dealers are represented on 17,000 square feet of floor room space. The shopping collective welcomes shoppers with free parking, music, a friendly staff, and is generally cleaner and cooler than your usual antique store. “Stuff” is great place to find both vintage and modern furniture that stands out.
The Perish Trust bills itself as a modern day general store, and is full of unique curios, home goods, handicrafts, and “original heirlooms.” It’s an impressive storehouse of Americana, or, repurposed Americana. Founded by a team of photographers and designers, the store is guided by a mission of collecting well-worn home goods and unique handmade items. Some items are new, while some are old. However, each is tinged with nostalgia for an “authentic California heritage,” and the store exudes the same effect.
Often known as the "first neighborhood" of San Francisco, the Mission District is one of the favorite places of the people of the city. The district has its own share of fun places, restaurants, theaters and bookstores and is a hugely popular destination for avid foodies. Spend a day at Dolores Park or admire the colorful murals on the buildings throughout the district.
Though many Mission District residents count Paxton Gate among their favorite storefronts, they always have a hard time describing the place to the uninitiated. The store describes its inventory thus: "treasures and oddities inspired by the garden and the natural sciences." In layman terms, this translates to unique gardening supplies, exotic plants (some of which are carnivorous), collectible insects, taxidermy (including lions, giraffes and punk-rock mice), specialty teas and tea accessories, hand-made jewelry, antique toys, quirky books and some very unusual home furnishings. See the website for online shopping, event calendar, taxidermy class schedule and details on Paxton Gate's landscaping service.