Shopping on Valencia Street provides an opportunity for a genuine cultural experience in an area where individuality thrives and chain stores are not welcome. Back in 2009 the local business community fought successfully to prevent the arrival of the national chain store American Apparel, and the proposed site is now fittingly occupied by a locally owned vintage store. A recent makeover has brought expanded sidewalks lined with freshly planted trees, vacant buildings are filling up, and the shopping area is expanding south of 24th street towards Cesar Chavez Street. In the midst of a depressed economy, Valencia Street seems to be thriving. Along with an abundance of cafes, bars, and restaurants, Valencia is teeming with vintage clothing and furniture stores, as well as specialty shops. It's ground zero for the hip, bohemian culture San Francisco is famous for.
San Franciscans looking to cultivate their unique and quirky sense of style, both in fashion and home decorating, can find no better shopping area than the eclectic stretch of stores between 14th and 24th Streets. The heart of the Valencia shopping district, this area is full of young hipsters on tight budgets who enjoy the adventure of searching for that unique, donated gem at local thrift stores such as Community Thrift. The spacious store at 623 Valencia St. has an extensive collection of clothing, books, and records. Valencia Street's vintage clothing stores, on the other hand, are staffed with fashion-savvy employees who simplify the search for hip styles by carefully selecting which clothes make it onto the rack. From modern to retro to just plain weird, Valencia Street has many vintage stores offering quality, unique fashions at a reasonable price.
Beyond clothing stores, the street offers a variety of specialty shops as wildly eclectic as the locals. In need of a new Japanese gardening tool? How about a deer head carved from wood? You'll find them both here, and the good news is that any store you happen to be in is never far from a café full of locals who wouldn't be caught dead at a Starbucks. Finding a bite to eat isn't a problem as the area is full of restaurants encompassing nearly every nationality and price range. Whether you are looking for a burrito at a taqueria or appetizers at some of the city's most expensive restaurants, Valencia Street will accommodate. After an afternoon of shopping, stick around and enjoy a drink or two in one of the city's most lively neighborhoods.
Public Transportation: 16th Street and 24th Street BART Stations