For an eclectic start to the day, make your way to the Haight-Ashbury neighbourhood. Kick things off with a coffee at Repose or a freshly flipped crêpe at 1428 Haight Café and Crêpery, then spend some time browsing the independent stores and boutiques of this former hippy epicentre. Rifle through a huge catalogue of new release vinyl, second hand gems and rarities at Amoeba Music; hunt for a classic fedora or premium straw hat at Goorin Bros millinery store, or explore Loved to Death’s mesmerising displays of Victorian-themed taxidermy, antique jewellery, lucite-encased beasties and strange medical oddities – an old set of dentures made into a mug, anyone?
Just to the east is the leafy, upmarket Hayes Valley neighbourhood. Its retail delights – centred along Hayes Street – have a focus on art, homewares, furniture, antiques and designer clothing, with a few fun venues like travel goods emporium Flight 001 thrown in for good measure. Try Maker & Moss for gorgeous decorative objects, lighting and intricate wood-cut maps; Reliquary for folk art, leather goods and divine home fragrances; Nancy Boy for natural, essential-oil based beauty products, and deliciously aromatic Birch; a dark and moody flower store which also stocks a range of books, magazines and pottery.
If you’re tiring, you may prefer to continue your shopping under one roof, in which case head to Westfield San Francisco Centre on Market Street which is home to a Bloomingdale’s and a Nordstrom, as well as popular US brands like Kate Spade New York, Tiffany & Co. and Victoria’s Secret. Across the road is Union Square – mother of all mainstream San Francisco shopping destinations – where you’ll find another cluster of department stores, including Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Macy’s, the latter being home to Chef Hubert Keller’s 6th-floor gourmet Burger Bar, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the square.