San Francisco Shopping: 15 Top Places to Shop in San Francisco

Jill on a windy day at the Golden Gate Bridge

by Jill Loeffler  •

You will find several places for San Francisco shopping. They range from the high-end shops around Union Square to the inexpensive stores in Chinatown.

Here you will discover a shopping guide for the city. Below is a list of the top places to shop in SF. You will find both a brief description and some of the types of shops you will find in each area. Additional information is also available for many of the options listed.

Shops around Union Square in San Francisco

Disclaimer: I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.

1. Pier 39

The most popular place for visitors to shop is Pier 39. This restored pier on the water sits on the eastern side of Fisherman's Wharf.

On the pier, you will find a variety of places to shop including both name brand and local stores. You will find everything from jewelry to apparel to gift shops. You can also buy some sweet treats and local wines.

In addition to shopping, Pier 39 is also home to a number of family-friendly activities including the Aquarium of the Bay, the 7D Experience, and the Mirror Maze.

You will also find some great places to eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

>> Pier 39

2. Union Square

All around Union Square and the surrounding streets, you will find dozens of shops. This downtown San Francisco shopping area includes high-end brands such as Louis Vuitton, Tiffany's, Neiman Marcus, and Sak's Fifth Avenue. Right on the square, you will also find an Apple store, an 8-story Macy's, and a large Nike shop.

If you take a few steps off the square, you will find some other great retailers such as Banana Republic, Zara, and Cartier. You will also find some great luxury shops such as Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino, Dior, and Burberry.

Down Maiden Lane, you will also find additional great high-end retailers including Hermes, Saint Laurent, and Maison Margiela.

This area also features art galleries where you can check out art from both local and international artists. 

>> Union Square Shopping

3. Chinatown

If you are looking for VERY inexpensive items, then head over to Chinatown. The main shopping area is on Grant Avenue. Here you will find gifts, jewelry, luggage, and more.

If you want to see what the locals buy, then head over to Stockton Street.

While you are here, you can also sample some tasty dim sum, stop by the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory, or visit one of their colorful temples. You will also find dozens of inexpensive restaurants with a large menu of traditional Chinese dishes.

>> Tips to Shop in Chinatown

4. Ferry Building

Pier 1 along the SF waterfront is home to the Ferry Building. Here you can sample and purchase tasty treats. Many of the stores here dedicate their space to gourmet foods such as bread, chocolates, and cheeses.

You will also find a great wine shop and a couple of kitchen accessory stores.

More and more wonderful restaurants are also opening up shop in the Ferry Building. Some of my top picks include the Slanted Door, Gott's Roadside, and the Hog Island Oyster Company.

>> Ferry Building

5. Ghirardelli Square

Ghirardelli Square is on the western side of Fisherman's Wharf. This old chocolate factory was renovated and is now a mini-shopping area.

There are three Ghirardelli Chocolate Shops here as well as ElizabethW, Lola of North Beach, and a great local brewery with indoor and outdoor seating, the San Francisco Brewing Company.

You will also find some other great restaurants as well as a free walking tour of the history of this old factory.

>> Ghirardelli Square in Fisherman's Wharf

6. The Cannery

The Fisherman's Wharf neighborhood is full of places to shop. Another option in this neighborhood is The Cannery. It houses only a few stores, but they are set in a gorgeous historic building.

Here you will also find some great restaurants and a fun, outdoor courtyard where you can listen to music in the summer.

Learn More: The Cannery in Fisherman's Wharf

7. Westfield San Francisco Centre

Just a few blocks from Union Square, you will find a large, modern shopping center called Westfield San Francisco Centre. The mall has been around for a while, but it doubled in size a few years ago.

It's one of the premier places to shop with stores such as J. Crew, Bloomingdale's, Kate Spade, and Nordstrom's.

You will also find an H&M, Michael Kors, and dozens of other shops.

If you are hungry, you will also find a great food court on the bottom level of the mall.

Westfield Centre is at 865 Market Street.

8. Union & Chestnut Streets in the Marina

Another great place for San Francisco shopping is in the Marina. There are two streets, Union Street and Chestnut Street, with a number of cute shops.

You will find small, locally-owned boutiques as well as retail chains such as Sephora, Pottery Barn, and the Gap.

Both streets also offer a number of bars and restaurants.

Learn More: Marina District Activities & Attractions

9. Stonestown Galleria

Another large mall for San Francisco shopping is Stonestown Galleria. The mall is located on the western side of San Francisco. Most of the people shopping here are from the local community.

Inside, you will find H&M, Express, and Forever 21. You will also find a large Target, several places to grab a bite to eat, and so much more. In total, there are over 100 places here. 

Stonestown Galleria is at 3251 20th Avenue in the Outer Sunset neighborhood.

10. Embarcadero Center

The Embarcadero Center is a four-block long mall with several buildings and retailers. You will find the buildings in the Financial District between Clay and Sacramento Streets. They start at Battery Street and run almost all the way to Embarcadero Street.

Some of the top retailers here include Hyegraph, Sephora, and the Banana Republic. There are also several great restaurants and a few specialty shops such as San Francisco Gift Baskets.

The official address is 1 Embarcadero Center.

11. Fillmore Street in Pacific Heights

Fillmore Street in Pacific Height is another one of the popular places to go shopping in San Francisco. This cute street features local designers, small boutiques, and some great coffee shops. You will also find some great restaurants for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Shopping on this street starts on the north end at Jackson Street. You will find shops lined up along the street for about a half-mile down to around Geary Boulevard. 

On the northern end, you will find more high-end boutiques with women's clothing, shoes, and jewelry. As you near Geary, you will find some less expensive places including a great Goodwill. 

>> More about shopping along Fillmore in Pacific Heights

12. Haight Street in the Haight Ashbury

Haight Street is another fun place for San Francisco shopping. Here you will find funky shops with costumes, 60s tie-dye clothing, and inexpensive jewelry shops. One of the best music stores in San Francisco is also on Haight Street called Amoeba Music. 

In addition, this is where you will find a wide variety of second hand stores. It's a great place to find a deal. 

The shopping on Haight Street starts at Masonic (eastern side) and runs to Golden Gate Park or Staynon Street (west side). This shopping district is about a half-mile long.

>> More about visiting the Haight Ashbury District

13. Mission District

The Mission District is also full of fun shops and places to buy gifts. You will find a number of funky, eclectic stores here including unique books stores, local chocolate shops, and jewelry. 

You will also find some pawn shops, discount stores, and plenty of interesting places in between.

While you are here, make sure to also stop by to check out the colorful murals all around this district.

You will find most of the shopping along Valencia and Mission Streets between 16th and 24th Streets. You will also find some cool places along 24th Street between Mission and Harrison Streets.

>> More details about visiting the Mission District

14. Hayes Street in Hayes Valley

You will also find three blocks of shopping on Hayes Street in Hayes Valley. This small, but cute neighborhood offers most of its shopping between Laguna and Franklin. 

Most of the shops here offer high-end goods including clothing, home décor, and shoes. 

I like to stop by here for a nice lunch and then do a little shopping for an hour or two. 

>> More about visiting Hayes Valley

15. Polk Street in Nob Hill

My final recommendation is along Polk Street in Nob Hill. This is another very local district with a handful of cute boutique shops. 

Here you will find some small gift shops, clothing stores, and a nice thrift store. 

Most of the shops here are between Pacific and Bush Streets. 

>> More things to see and do in Nob Hill

Five Great Places to Buy Costumes

You will find dozens of places to buy costumes throughout San Francisco. 

To make them easier to find, I created a list of my five favorite places to buy costumes.

Their selections range from traditional Halloween costume sets to places where you can pull together your own unique look.

>> Five Best Places to Buy Costumes

Where to Shop on Black Friday

Are you visiting San Francisco over Thanksgiving Weekend? Are you interested in picking up some great deals on Black Friday?

If so, check out my list of the 8 best places to shop.

They include some of the best larger malls as well as a few local favorites.

>> Find a list of the best places to shop for Black Friday

More Shopping Recommendations

Other Popular Things to Do in SF

More Popular Pages

A Perfect Day in North Beach: If you love Italian food and other goodies, then you will love spending the day in North Beach. In addition to San Francisco shopping, this fabulous district features Coit Tower, one of the best Italian delis in the city, and a step back in time at the Beat Museum. This self-guided tour is the perfect way to see it all in just one day.

A Perfect Day in Chinatown: As I mentioned above, Chinatown is one of the best San Francisco shopping options. However, do you know about all the other great attractions in this district? Follow me as I walk you through the colorful Chinese Temples, take you to one of my favorite Dim Sum restaurants, and give you a chance to learn more about this community's history.

A Perfect Day in Fisherman's Wharf: On my perfect day in Fisherman's Wharf, I take you to some of its top attractions and shopping areas. In one day, you will visit Pier 39, check out the Aquarium of the Bay, and stop by Ghirardelli Square. You will also visit the historic Hyde Street Pier, sample the best Irish Coffee in the city, and enjoy fresh fish for lunch on Fish Alley.

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