Where to Find the Best Luxury Shopping in San Francisco
Guests who visit San Francisco usually know what they prefer to do in their free time. Some are foodies and would love to partake in the city’s best restaurants, such as Michelin-starred Yank Sing for lunch, or the hidden, no-reservation Italian restaurant Tommaso’s in North Beach.
Others want to visit San Francisco’s main attractions such as Alcatraz or Pier 39 to see the famous sea lions. And depending on the amount of time you are here, you can privately visit Yosemite for one day, hike amongst the big trees in Muir Woods or even golf. And those who are ready to update their wardrobes—shop.
For an overview of San Francisco luxury shopping, below is a quick rundown of the best neighborhoods to browse.
This is the neighborhood most well-known for shopping in San Francisco, and it offers more than luxury retailers. The large department stores such as Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom are here, along with well-known high-end retailers including Cartier, Jimmy Choo, Coach, Hugo Boss, and Dolce & Gabbana. If you need hiking gear, you can head to The North Face, pick up a pair of blue jeans from the hometown hero Levi’s, or grab a high-end bottle of whiskey from William Glen & Son. This is only scratching the surface of how many shops are in Union Square. The only downside is the crowds, which can be daunting, especially in the summertime and over holidays.
To escape the crowds and do what the savvy San Franciscans do, head to the Fillmore Street shops, a less-popular retail destination for tourists. Here you’ll find over 30 boutique shops, ranging from casual chic to antique shops to high-end designers, with several upscale restaurants and cafes dotting the tree-lined street for casual and healthy fare. You can even spend the day at the spa if your feet are tired of walking the San Francisco hills. Fillmore Street is your shopping district for expertly crafted clothing, a small town neighborhood feel, and attention to detail.
The Marina (Chestnut and Union Street)
The Marina consists of two main shopping streets, Union and Chestnut. They are located a few blocks away from one another, and sunny weekdays are the best time to pleasurably browse these high-end boutiques. You can lose yourself amongst the urban chic fashion, from casual wear to formal dresses to even a denim-only store, and many of the shops support independent creative designers. Several restaurants, from sushi to steak to smoothies, are nearby as well. And as an added bonus, you are not far away from the Palace of Fine Arts, Golden Gate Bridge, and excellent views of the San Francisco Bay.
Hayes Valley is the secret in the city—your spot for hip, conscious clothing, limited edition designer shops, and foodie restaurants galore. Who knew this neighborhood was once a freeway? The shops, catering to both men and women, range from edgy to comfortable to French swimwear. And once you are done with your unique designer shopping, there are plenty of places to play here. You can grab a steiner from the Biergarten, dine at Michelin-starred (and dress-codeless) Rich Table, or soak up culture and arts from the San Francisco Ballet or Symphony. Hayes Valley is a lesser-known shopping district, further than a casual walk from downtown. We recommend you take a cab or Uber here, or choose it as an area of interest on your private San Francisco tour.
Many believe we only do Yosemite tours. And yes, for the most part, we do, especially when it comes to escaping your technology for a private hike in the backcountry. However, we enjoy San Francisco as well and want to make our guests feel comfortable here, as comfortable as we would make a family member. And we found an easy way to do that was to offer private San Francisco tours (in addition to Yosemite), and share our in-depth knowledge of the city. We are confident in our abilities as guides, in how much there is to show a friend in San Francisco, and hope these neighborhoods will give you plenty of variety for shopping between your tours.