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.
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.
A grand expansion at one of North America's largest shopping centers brings it more levels of premium designer boutiques, chain retailers and two major department stores: Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's. The center offers a vast area of upscale dining, entertainment and office space. Its breathtaking architecture dates back to 1896 and with modern additions there is no shortage of natural sunlight to guide you on your way. Let the circular brass escalators wind and unwind you past more than 150 shops and stores. The center is equipped with an information desk and ATMs.
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.
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.
Located across from Union Square with its own fabulous view, this legendary store features some of the finest jewelry in the world. Here you will find two floors of breathtaking crystal, flatware, china, silver, and fine diamond, gold, platinum, and gemstone jewelry. Shop for engagement rings, anniversary presents or something special for a newborn baby. You will see why it is that anything you give wrapped in a robin's egg blue Tiffany's box is sure to be considered an heirloom that will be treasured for generations.