The best bargains nearby are in Chinatown (Grant Avenue between Pine and Broadway) with literally hundreds of shops. If you go a block left or right of Grant, you might find even lower prices. Wok Shop (718 Grant 415-989-3797), A thousand tools for the serious cook. TenRen Tea Company (949 Grant, 415-362-0656), just ask for a smell of their $110/lb jasmine tea and you’ll be hooked. Or if you want to make a real impression on your wife (hint, hint, gentlemen) stop by any of Debra’s favorite linen stores in Chinatown. The best is at the corner of Grant and California Streets, but there are many others along Grant Avenue. Five blocks after the Chinese Gate that starts Chinatown, turn left on Sacramento.
Cost Plus (2252 Taylor 415-928-6200) Only a short walk from Pier 39 or Fisherman’s Wharf, this place used to be a real bargain hunter’s paradise. Those days are gone, but you can still find the unusual and exotic at “reasonable” prices. Want jewelry made in India or China? Wicker or teak furniture from the Philippines? Glassware from Bulgaria? Or what about some fine imported chocolates? This is the second best place in town to buy wine. Steve still thinks the Wine Club (below) is better.
Gumps: (135 Post St. at Stockton 415-984-9436). Around since the 1860’s, this legendary store has been called “ The Metropolitan Museum with a cash register”. It’s a must see, even if you don’t buy. And not everything is stratospherically priced.
Macy’s (Stockton at O’Farrell 415-397-3333). Our upscale department store. Not as pricey as Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s or Gump’s (above and below). They have a great culinary department in “Macy’s Cellar” with a good deli to grab a bite.
Levi Strauss: (Corner of Post and Stockton St.) Where jeans were invented for the miners during the Gold Rush. A bit more trendy these days.
Nordstrom (865 Market Street 415-243-8500). Not cheap, but their shoe sales are legendary. Equally amazing is the Whitfield Mall right down the street (Market St. between 4th and 5th Streets). If Bagley Mishka, Juicy, or Jimmy Chew mean anything to you, check out Bloomingdale’s in the Whitfield Mall.
See’s Candy: (415-391-1622) Located around the City. Call for the one nearest you. Taste absolutely the best in milk or dark chocolate, nuts and chews, or soft centers. Gets our vote for the best candy anywhere!
Shreve’s (Post & Grant 415-421-2600). Here since the Gold rush, this is the place for fine silver, crystal or jewelry. Not for budget shoppers. Amazing to see what they sell. Moving to a new location so call first.
Tiffany (350 Post, 415-781-7000 ). Debra goes in just to smell the diamonds. If you want to check out a diamond beyond $500,000 you go upstairs with an armed guard to try it on your finger.
Union Square: Not a shop but a park (the streets around it are Stockton, Powell, Post and Geary) surrounded by many great names, Gucci, Hermes, Wedgwood, Tiffany, Macy’s, Saks, Nieman’s. Park in the garage underneath and head for Gump’s (above) a block away. Check out John’s Grill or the Rotunda in the restaurant list. Check in to the Westin St. Francis, our finest hotel, if you can afford it.
The Wine Club: (953 Harrison 415-415-512-9086). If you went to Napa, buy that wine you tasted here. Their prices are cheaper than wineries. The next best prices are at Cost Plus (above).
One of my co-workers comes to town to buy LP’s (remember them), CD’s or DVD’s. We have lots of stores selling used ones including Amoeba Records (1855 Haight St, 415-831-1200) and Rasputin Music at 1672 Haight St (415) 863-2448. Rasputin is two blocks from Amoeba and also has a store at 69 Powell St (right next to the cable car turn-around) (415) 834-0267.