To put it politely, San Francisco isn’t the cheapest city in the world to live. It sits at the tip of a hilly peninsula, after all, and between the costs of shipping everything in and the high demand for homes and apartments, prices are much higher in SF than they are just 100 miles away in Sacramento.
Still, the high prices attract high-class residents, and high-class residents attract high-end shops. That makes San Francisco one of the best cities in America for shopping. If you’re planning to spend your time hunting for rare and interesting clothing, books, or other items, you should prepare for your trip.
Look for Both New and Used Items
Buying new outfits and accessories is fun and takes you to the best places in town, but it’s also expensive. If you’re not the sort of person who worries about what’s in this year and you’re fine with buying secondhand items, then you should look for trendy consignment shops and other places that sell gently used goods. You could also find a buried treasure or two by checking used book stores and Goodwill locations.
Know the Districts
Image via Flickr by Anthony G. Reyes
Different parts of San Francisco have different shops and focus on different items. Ghirardelli Square is on the north side of town and offers a few small shops. If you’re looking for high-quality chocolate, make sure to check out the Ghirardelli Chocolate Marketplace. Chinatown’s market is a short distance south and has several unusual, low-cost items for sale. Westfield is a nine-story mall near Union Square where you can find all the major brand names.
Spend Your Travel Time Wisely
Image via Flickr by Prayitno / Thank you for (12 millions +) view
Every day lasts for only so many hours, and you won’t get back the time you spend traveling from one shop or mall to the next. If one shop catches your interest, you should see if anything else in the area looks like it’s worth checking out. You should also consider choosing a hotel in San Francisco with IHG, since the the extra cost of an in-town hotel can be worth the travel time it saves you.
Let Yourself Get Sidetracked
If you’re on a shopping trip in San Francisco, you likely aren’t looking for one thing in particular. If you were, then you probably could have bought it online without the hassle of booking a flight, getting a room, and exploring the city. You’re here for the San Francisco experience, so if something catches your attention, there’s nothing wrong with that. The one thing you should worry about, if you’re with a group, is sticking together and making sure everyone’s willing to do the same thing.
San Francisco offers some of the best shopping experiences on the West Coast. You’d have to go all the way to Los Angeles or Seattle to find something similar. Remember to explore the area, and make sure you see all the different kinds of things you can buy while you’re in The Golden City.