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. The 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 can 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.
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.
This San Francisco landmark features some of Fisherman's Wharf's best shopping and attractions. Ride the carousel, people watch, or take in views 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 session. Pier 39 is a magnet for locals and tourists for many reasons, including their calendar of special attractions for the whole family like the Tulipmania tulip festival held in late February or the Holiday Tree Lighting in November.
Don't leave San Francisco without a stroll through this legendary square near 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.
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.
Hayes Valley is San Francisco's scene for small, trendy boutiques, cafes with endless outdoor seating and green parks. A product of the 1989 earthquake when the destruction required a portion of the freeway be demolished and rebuilt elsewhere, the Hayes Valley has blossomed with the construction of a beautiful park where the freeway once was. There are shops and restaurants selling everything from furniture to messenger bags. Try Absinthe for a bite to eat or a cocktail. This is truly an easy place to get lost on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
Books Inc. Opera Plaza is an independent book store and a haven for book lovers. In this time of cyber world, it is indeed a nice spot to get familiar with bound pages and acquire a fondness for reading. It is a few minutes away from the San Francisco City Hall and War Memorial Opera House.
Sports Basement, with five outlets all throughout the Bay Area is exceedingly popular with athletes and outdoor enthusiasts. These stores offer a plethora of sports and outdoor gear from top quality brands. Located on Bryant Street, one of Sports Basement's Mission District stores, caters to diverse outdoor activities such as skiing and snowboarding, biking and camping, to name a few, along with sports such as soccer, tennis and lots more. The prices are fair and comparable, while the staff is courteous, helpful and quite knowledgeable. Along with these amazing products on retail as well as rent, the stores also provides professional services for bikes and biking equipment, snowboard and ski gear, and lots more.
This place features the latest and greatest in European and American commercial and residential furniture design. Within a museum-like setting, the showroom is 15,000 square feet divided into individual sleek studios for each manufacturer such as Armani, Saporiti and Vladimir Kagan. The partitions have silkscreened graphics promoting each manufacturers' philosophy, history, and significant designs. The knowledgeable staff at Arkitektura In-Situcan help you pick out the perfect overstuffed chair. Many pieces look like haute Jetson, from a surprisingly comfortable cushion-free chaise to a bar stool that dares any conservative to sit in it.
San Francisco Japantown Center is a major attraction that reflects Japanese regalia and arts and crafts through a number of showrooms, galleries and bookstores. Its almost like a mini-Japan in the heart of San Francisco. Also known as Nihonmachi, the area serves as a rich treasure of Japanese culture and tradition in the form of clothes, literature and the like, perennially stacked in the several stores tucked inside the center. Japantown also has movie theaters and hotels.