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Shopping San Fran

San Francisco

definitely has more of a culinary than a couture focus. That said, the city boasts a slew of interesting shopping neighborhoods with independent boutiques including everything from vintage troves to haute labels. Here are two of the best areas to explore for unique finds.

The Mission—young, groovy, hip

Named after San Francisco’s oldest building, the Mission district is one of the city’s most colorful. Get off the BART on 16th Street and find yourself surrounded by taquerias, Salvadoran bakeries, beauty salons, auto-repair shops ad crumbling pastel-colored buildings. Parts of the neighborhood have been heavily gentrified but there remains a groovy vibe, and the people-watching is great. The best stretch for shopping is a few blocks over on Valencia Street. Start at 16th and Valencia and work your way towards 22nd Street. The area is chock-a-block with vintage furniture and thrift shops as well as some great girlie boutiques, like Weston Wear (569 Valencia Street), a frilly skirt and dress haven that will delight teens and their moms.

Another must-stop, according to Indagare’s favorite touring company is Needles & Pens (1173 Valencia Street).

Take a break at Tartine on parallel Guerrero Street or get some ice cream at La Copa Loca Gelato (3150 22nd Street) or Humphry Slocombe at 2790 Harrison Street. Nearby restaurants include: Flour + Water, Farina and Tartine.

Pacific & Presidio Heights—upscale, refined, home

The two adjacent neighborhoods are shopping heaven for upscale home decor, fashion and accessories. Three streets not to miss are Union, Fillmore and Sacramento. All showcase small independent boutiques. On Union Street, focus on the stretch between Steiner and Octavia streets; on Fillmore, the best stores are concentrated between Bush and Jackson streets; don’t miss Nest (2300 Fillmore St.), a beautiful, well-edited store that carries everything from pretty French porcelain to children’s toys, Gimme Shoes and Cielo. Fans of French designer Isabel Marant should make a point to stop at Elizabeth Charles (2056 Fillmore St.), a haute fashion boutique that carries her inspired collection. On Sacramento, you’ll find such high-end troves as Susan, elu and The Grocery Store. Start at Divisadero and walk west to hit all the goodies. Beware: this area is hilly, so wear your walking shoes. Nearby restaurants include: Tataki Sushi, Out the Door (2232 Bush St.), SPQR, and Delfina Pizzeria. (For detailed information about this area, visit www.fillmoreshop.com.

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