Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf area is definitely filled with touristy souvenir shops. There is no shortage of tshirts, sea themed gifts etc.
I did find a couple of shops I particularly liked.
Seasons on Pier 39
This is a Christmas themed store which I probably wouldn’t have gone into except that I had researched before I travelled and found that this store stocks The San Francisco Music Box Company’s music boxes. They have beautiful jewellery music boxes in lovely timber with different pictures on the top. Many play “I left my heart in San Francisco” but I went for a non-touristy one for a gift for someone special.
For anyone who loves their Christmas decorations this place has something for everyone. There are some really unusual ones.
Boudin’s bakery is famous for it’s sourdough bread but it also has a shop within the bakery with all kinds of kitchen ware and some good gifts for children including a range of picture books on San Francisco.
Not only can you buy your sourdough goods here but a present for someone back home.
Ghirardelli Square is the original site of the chocolate making factory. Now there are shops, cafes and the Ghirardelli chocolate shop. You will usually see the queue before you see the Ghirardelli store. The Ghirardelli store has the biggest range of the Ghirardelli chocolates but was really crowded to get through with a wheelchair. My hint is to go to the local Walgreens, Ralphs or CVS Pharmacy and you will find a smaller range of the Ghirardelli chocolates but sometimes they are even cheaper. I did like some of the shops at Ghirardelli Square and it is a place people visit when they go to San Francisco.
We didn’t spend much time in this area just because it seemed to be a lot of the chain stores that we would be able to visit later in our trip. If this is your only stop you might like to take advantage of the shopping in this area. The shops we went to all were very accessible.
I love feeling like a local and going to the grocery store. I know that I am strange and many people probably can’t wait to go on holiday and get away from the mundane grocery shop. The thing is when you are in a different country it is a great place to see all the brands we hear on US shows and there are so many choices! We obviously have more of the brands here in Australia now but I still love seeing all the choices. It’s hard to get me out of the lolly aisle (talk about a kid in a candy store). We were in San Francisco at Easter and it was really interesting to see the difference in the Easter chocolate. You’d imagine chocolate is chocolate but they don’t have the huge packaged chocolates like we have in Australia (you know the big Cadbury eggs, Snickers Eggs etc). They have more candy and chocolate for egg hunts.
Trader Joes and Walgreens are all a few blocks up from Pier 39. I love Trader Joes. The staff are so helpful and they have great greeting cards. Once again, I am strange I know but I love a nice greeting card. Trader Joes also has premade wraps and salads which are good for a picnic or a cheap meal on the go. They also had a good range of local wines at good prices. The staff are happy to offer up suggestions for a good local wine. Trader Joes also had fruit pre cut and packaged and we found this a great way to get some pineapple and watermelon for our days out. There is ramped entry into Trader Joes and parking out the back with level access. Walgreens is also totally accessible.