Where would a trip to San Francisco be without a little retail therapy. Good for the soul, good for the wallet and good for the local economy, what’s not to love?

If you’re visiting our fair city, you’re going to want to know the best places to spend your time browsing the stores. Time really is money when it comes to shopping so you need to be prepared. Here is a brief overview of the major shopping areas of San Francisco.


The Westfield Shopping Centre is one of the best shopping destinations in the city. It includes a large mall with most of the familiar names including Nordstrom’s and Abercrombie and Fitch as well as many others. There are also hundreds of smaller stores surrounding the center in the Downtown area.

Union Square  

A short walk from Westfield is Union Square. It is here that you will find the biggest names in retail and also hundreds of boutique and individual retailers. There are also street vendors, entertainers, designer labels and cheaper stores. There really is something here for every taste and budget.

Chestnut Street

Chestnut Street shows a more sophisticated side of San Francisco. The tree lined street has a range of boutiques, bars, restaurants and other venues. It’s more offbeat than Westfield or Union Square and ideal for anyone looking for something specific or something a little different. It’s a firm favorite with locals too.


Chinatown is busy, noisy, bright and in your face, but you’ll love it. It’s full of food vendors, stores, cultural venues and local and Asian products. Go through the Dragon Gates, grab something to eat and spend a day or two just wandering and taking it all in. You’ll need a drink afterwards, but it’s an amazing place to spend some money!


Embarcadero is full of chain stores but is very convenient if you’re working in the city. Being both indoors and out, it’s a more relaxed shopping experience that will expose you to most of the major chain stores as well as a few more individual outlets. With plenty of food and coffee available, Embarcadero is a good place to walk and shop.

Fillmore Street

If you like to look and feel good, Fillmore Street is the place for you. With a range of beauty stores, designer boutiques and fashion outlets, this Victorian-esque street is perfect for the well-heeled shopper.

Upper Haight

Upper Haight is Haight Street to visitors and is where the hippy era of San Francisco lived and breathed. While modernized, the area still holds to those counter-culture values and is a great way of experiencing another side of the city. If you like alternative clothing, vintage or just being different, this is the place for you.

There are plenty of other shopping opportunities in San Francisco, but these for us, are the highlights. Each offers a wide range of stores, as well as eating and drinking and is a good way of seeing what San Francisco is all about.

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