Explore San Francisco

Find Your California Cool at These 5 San Francisco Shops

Get your locally flavored retail fix.

Take home a piece of the City by the Bay by hitting up these five stores with a distinctively San Francisco vibe.

1. The Messenger Bag That Started It All


Inside the factory. (©Timbuk2)

Timbuk2 has sewn made-to-order bags for 25 years in San Francisco. Bike messenger Rob Honeycutt founded the company in a garage in the Mission District in 1989. Today, the factory still produces customizable messengers, totes, backpacks and sleeves in the same neighborhood. Less than 2 miles from the factory is the flagship Hayes Valley boutique, carrying everything from laptop bags to luggage, totes and related accessories. In addition to the signature three-panel messengers and limited-edition designs, the store offers an interactive customization service that allows customers to choose their own color combination and play with a variety of specialty fabrics. Whatever design you choose, it’s guaranteed to last a lifetime. The company also just launched a new Life Cycle program that aims to repair rather than replace any damaged bags. Factory tours offered the first Tuesday of the month. Zachary Clark Factory, 583 Shotwell St., San Francisco, 415.252.4300; Store, 506 Hayes St., San Francisco, 415.252.9860

2. Coastal Chic Eyewear

Oliver Peoples
The Northern California coast inspired the interior of the Oliver Peoples boutique on Maiden Lane. (©Drew Altizer)

The coveted LA-based brand Oliver Peoples has opened its eighth U.S. flagship on the corner of Maiden Lane and Grant Avenue (a luxury-shopping junction also home to Hermes, Valentino and Mulberry). The new boutique stocking both sunglasses and prescription eyewear has adopted a chic marine theme for its Bay Area location, designed by Californian architect Leo Marmol. A table of reclaimed wood is reminiscent of driftwood, and a wall of woven wood adds another organic layer, making for a rugged setting for the impeccably crafted eyewear to shine. The boutique was the first to debut the coastal-inspired West Line, designed for active pursuits, as well as a made-to-order program that allows for color customization. 140 Grant Ave., San Francisco, 415.362.3222

3. Legendary Corridor, Artsy Fashion

La Boutique
(©La Boutique)

Located on a leafy street in historic Jackson Square (of Barbary Coast legend), La Boutique has garnered a loyal, fashion-loving clientele with its impeccable mix of pieces from European lines (many U.S. exclusives) and San Francisco designers paired with personalized styling. A departure from the fast fashion and global luxury brands in Union Square, this lofty, elegant shop carries streamlined, delicate pieces by LA jewelry designer Kristen Elspeth, buttery, rustic leather bags from Seattle’s Ampersand as Apostrophe (with functional features like reversibility and detachable clutches), silky tuxedo jackets by Firma Berlin and floaty, feminine dresses from Switzerland’s Collection 66. Local finds include eco-styles from Amour Vert and edgy booties and sandals from Freda Salvador. (Guys: Check out the new menswear selection in the mezzanine.) Swiss-born owner Carole Harari capitalizes on her gallery-like space, regularly hosting events ranging from designer meet-and-greets to artist receptions for the rotating exhibits showcased on the store’s enormous exposed brick walls. 414 Jackson St., San Francisco, 415.693.9950

4. Off the Beaten Path

Legion (©Ashley Batz)

Whether you’re looking for a gift or a special addition to your wardrobe, a stop at Legion, a small women’s boutique tucked on the edge of Chinatown and the Financial District, is a good place to start. The walls are a sunny yellow, a succulent installation hangs in the center and the shelves are lined with San Francisco-made treasures like jewelry by Kate Ellen Metals and Little Owl Workshop, Scents of San Francisco candles, handmade ceramics and Etta + Billie soaps. An Academy of Art fashion grad with years of retail experience at boutiques around the city, owner Sydney Pfaff worked in the corporate offices of Sephora and Piperlime before fulfilling her dream of opening her own store. She handpicks styles with clean silhouettes and interesting details each season from her eclectic stable of brands and works with many of them to create exclusive pieces. “Everything is easy to wear and made for city living,” she says. “I like comfortable clothes.” Shoppers might find luxe sweaters by local knitwear line Micaela Greg, breezy linen tops by California-based Almond and printed pants from Oakland/NYC brand Feral Childe. 679 Clay St., San Francisco, 415.733.7900 

5. For the Food-Obsessed Bookworm

Omnivore Books
(©Omnivore Books)

Crammed with new, antiquarian and collectible books by and for culinary gurus, Omnivore Books is a treasure trove for readers interested in food and drink. Owned by rare book expert Celia Sack and located in a former butcher shop in village-like Noe Valley, the cozy, internationally renowned store carries books on the traditions of colonial India, the kitchens of 1950s America, urban apartment gardens and 1800s-era farming as well as indie food magazines and hot new cookbooks. The staff is reliably welcoming and knowledgeable, and frequent talks, signings and tastings with high-profile authors and chefs consistently draw crowds. 3885 Cesar Chavez St., San Francisco 415.282.4712