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.
The Ferry Building Marketplace is a must-see for San Francisco visitors. This multi-million dollar development has an abundance of activities for the entire family. This marvelous building was designed by renowned architect Arthur Page Brown in Beaux Arts Style. Similar to that of the iconic Giralda Bell Tower in Seville, the clock tower of this building is a popular landmark and call be seen from afar. Take a tour of the historic Ferry Building, browse through antique shops, enjoy a view by the bay and a bowl of chowder at Ferry Plaza Seafood or buy organic produce at the Farmer's Market. Enjoy the sights and sounds of what makes the Ferry Building one of the Bay's most popular destinations for entertainment, food, and fun.
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.
This San Francisco landmark features some of Fisherman's Wharf's best shopping and attractions. Ride the carousel, people-watch, or take in the view of the bay. There are more than 25 one-of-a-kind gift stores that carry automobile, Hollywood, and rock 'n' roll memorabilia, as well as flags of the world, Russian dolls, collectible knives, hammocks, kites, and more. But that's not all. You will find over 30 more stores, including the famous Na Hoku to shop for clothing, jewelry and toys. It is a great place to pick up high-end San Francisco souvenirs. When you're done shopping and eating to your heart's content, visit the famous resident sea lions for a prime photo op session. Pier 39 is a magnet for locals and tourists for many reasons, including their nearly year-round calendar of special attractions for the whole family like the Tulipmania tulip festival held in late February on both levels of Pier 39 or the Holiday Tree Lighting in November.
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.
Gaslight & Shadows is a different sort of antique shop that sells small collectibles in the city's Richmond District. This quaint shop specializes in Limoges porcelain boxes, of which it carries an extensive collection in both traditional and novelty styles. It may have the largest volume of the dainty boxes on hand in the world. It also carries vintage and antique watches, fine and costume jewelry, games and pop culture memorabilia. There is so much to look at, do not forget to check out its collections of pottery, silver, lamps, clocks and art. You really never know what you might find.
The brainchild of Andrew and Jennifer Hall, The Beer Hall is a beer lover's haven. From the customized beer bottle capped back wall, a sleek bar with countless beer behind it, and beer racks, it would be tough not to like this tiny yet inviting beer shrine. With more than 242 beers, you will surely find a favorite. Specializing in handcrafted beer, there is a small but fine selection of wine as well. Enjoy the drinks in the tasting room or pick some up for your beer party at home. Don't miss this place if beer is on your mind and in your heart.
With a number of accolades under its belt, Ernest Alexander makes its way to Hayes Valley. The store features a varied collection of menswear, neckties and accessories, travel bags and leather goods. The designer, Ernest Alexander Sabine, attributes his idea for the brand to his Latvian seamstress grandmother, from whom he was first inspired to design bags.
Garrett Leight California Optical is the place to head to, in order to add style to your look. The store offers a range of trendy eye-wear that is suitable for all occasions. The designs are modern and elegant and flatter your face. Apart from sunglasses and optical glasses, the store also provides custom-made frames for your needs.
The Scandinavians have always been known for their clean cut and functional designs. The owner of this store, Kristina Runske is no exception, being a Swede herself. She has designed this furniture store using white (no surprise!) and remnants of what seem to be her childhood baby cloths and toys! Minimal, (formerly known as Scandinavian Details) stocks handmade crystal by Orrefors and household accessories by Offect. There are reproductions of Asplund, David Design and Arne Jacobsen as well.
Whether you are a comic book collector, or a casual comic book reader, you will find a visit to Isotope worth your while. Anyone living in Hayes Valley who likes comics and graphic fiction, knows this place, and that is not just for its impressive collection of books, though it is very commendable. This lounge-cum-comic-book-store brings the best of both together to create a unique gallery-cum-reading-room kind of place, where customers can lounge around on the leather sofas while reading a book or two, or attend a live event featuring known names in the comic books business. What's more, you can tag along your furry four-legged friend to partake in this experience, since Isotope welcomes dogs.