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My Favorite Places to Shop in San Francisco

Summer is nearly here, and some of us may have more free time on our hands to spend outdoors. Perhaps some of that time will be in your favorite store, searching for an item that would supposedly make your life a little happier. I have been a shopping freak ever since my dad took me to my first "toy show" which is essentially a humongous indoor building with stands selling plushies, figurines, collectibles, etc. The shopping gene is most likely one that I will be passing down, and although that makes me terrible when it comes to saving, I have grown fond of small businesses that hold the items that make me smile.

5. Maido-Japantown. There will always be a special place in my heart for stationary and cute Japanese merchandise that gets me giddy with excitement. Maido is what anyone would imagine a store in Japan would look like, but with higher prices. Buying a notebook or a cute stuffed animal from this store is a treat that I wouldn't spoil by going every week—but that doesn't mean I would pass up on walking into this lovely, homey room of aesthetic items.

4. Green Apple Books. Who doesn't like an indie book store? From elementary school, this is the place where I would pick up used chapter books after saving up my allowance. I would never be able to afford full-priced hardcovers at retail stores, so this small business was just right for little me. I still feel the nostalgia of climbing up old wooden stairs and stepping across creaky wood to this day when I'm in the mood for picking up a book to read and keep forever. Green Apple Books has two locations in San Francisco: one is at the heart of Clement street, and the other on 9th Avenue near Golden Gate Park.

3. Therapy Stores. I first found out about this shop in Burlingame with my half-sister, and I remember my eyes widening at the high prices, but wanting to buy something so bad. The store's aura was calming—which is a given since it is indeed a "therapy" store. From tote bags to sunglasses to vintage clothing to water bottles. This still, quiet store is the definition of an environment that makes each carefully crafted and chosen items shine in their own way. It's a great choice if you’re looking for a thoughtful gift for someone you love.

2. Lolli and Pops. Not necessarily a small business, Lolli and Pops is a rather popular choice for candy shopping any time of the year. A favorite of mine since the "kid in the candy store" period that most of my friends went through, this shop is bright with rainbow assortments of all different flavors and varieties of candy. Grabbing a jar and filling it with sugary sweets is always a great way to bring home a treat after a day shopping at Stonestown.

1 Kinokuniya. Yet another Japanese store located in San Francisco's Japantown. Kinokuniya is the first store I think of when I feel like spending my savings on my love for anime and manga, or buying a wellness book that I never see appear anywhere else. For me, it's mostly running downstairs to the bustling manga floor with almost every single series you can think of. Not an anime fan? This store still supplies the cutest novels on the upper floor, from chapter books to magazines.

That wraps up my picks for my favorite places to shop in San Francisco. Trust me when I say that there are plenty of other stores just as appealing as these, but all of the shops listed hold a dear memory to me. That's the beauty of shopping—minus the fact that sometimes, you regret what you buy. That's life.

- Chloe


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