Finally, there are even circumstances in which you can repay part of the trip with smart purchases that allow you to save a lot of money compared to the cost of the same product near the house. And if you’re about to leave for this US destination remember that Mark Twain used to say “the coldest winter you remember was a summer in San Francisco” and so bring something a little heavier or else the first thing you’ll have to buy in San Francisco will be something to cover for you!
San Francisco: what to buy that you can only find here
Travellers know that in addition to the beautiful views, sounds and flavours there is something else that stimulates the memories of a place visited: the smells! Someone has decided to collect these essences in oil that captures the unique fragrances of the various districts of San Francisco and make the candles. You can find them in the many shops of “Scent of San Francisco” and they can be a way to “light up” your memories in every sense or make a truly original gift.
If you go crazy for special and curious objects, sometimes a bit macabre, although still natural, you must make a jump from “Paxon Gate”, at ‘824 Valencia Street (Mission District). You will surely find something that will strike you: from tangerine quartz (from 75 cents) to rhyolite burnt stones from the rainforest (5 dollars), through modern taxidermy (stuffed animals) and skeletons (for a few more dollars) up to the articulated bust of a man or the fossil foot of a cave bear (for about 1000 dollars).
If you’re travelling with children (or if you still have an active one inside you) and you’re afraid of traumatizing them (even if all in all it’s about nature and therefore culture…) you can instead stop just a few doors before, at 766 Valencia Street (Mission District) at “Paxton Gate’s Curiosities for kids” (curiosity for children of Paxton Gate) that sells curious and interesting items for all budgets: toys that stimulate learning such as the gyroscope, the geo-puzzles and the 3D microscope (an exceptional box that thanks to two parabolic mirrors creates the illusion of the existence of an object absolutely real but actually reflected).
At 728 Divisadero St, you will find “The Perish Trust”, a very special shop for gifts and souvenirs that sells mainly locally made items such as body and bathroom products of Soapmaker Alana Rivera, with their original fragrances and components mostly at km 0.
San Francisco: what to buy like a local product
Normally you do not associate the United States with genuine products is homemade. But that’s not the case. “Maison de Monaco, for example, creates delicious handmade preserves that are sold throughout the city. The French-born family that created this small business uses traditional recipes and 70% less sugar than industrial jams.
You may believe it, but also from an oenological point of view San Francisco, and California in general, have a good reputation in the United States. And surely many of your friends will prefer to receive a bottle of wine rather than a glass ball with snow “made in China” and the Golden Gate Bridge inside. But remember to pay the utmost attention to packaging for air transport, because buying them at the airport is certainly not a choice that will save you money.
San Francisco: what to buy as a souvenir or souvenir
There is an area in the Justin Hermann Plaza area, near the Embarcadero Center, where local artists place stalls to sell jewellery and other works, especially on Saturdays. The bijoux is not only a popular souvenir but also a great way to remember the trip.
In shops such as Borders near Powell Street and other bookstores, you will find picture books, the so-called “coffee table books”, excellent to remember the places visited or to show them to loved ones. Very nice are those with photos taken from above or in which you compare the historical and modern San Francisco.
For classic souvenirs – or if you’ve underestimated the weather and you’re a bit too lightly dressed – you’ll find great sweatshirts with the San Francisco inscription and similar items (and rather original magnets) at the souvenir shops at Fisherman’s Wharf and, of course, in Chinatown.
San Francisco What to buy to do smart shopping… until you pay for part of your trip
In North America, some brands are very affordable. Surely in San Francisco, you will find for example much lower prices on jeans, especially the Levi’s. Sometimes even some technological products. A drone, for example, in the famous chain “Walmart” may be on offer at just over half the price it has in Italy. Multivitamins and supplements also generally have low prices in San Francisco and the United States.
The same applies to mouthwashes, makeup, beauty masks and cosmetics, for example. The chain “Ulta Beauty” has very affordable prices, for example.
I, therefore, advise you to go to a supermarket like “Walgreens” and evaluate which of the products you use daily cost much less than in Italy.
There are even so-called “shopping trips” organized to be repaid by the savings obtained from purchases, obviously making the right choices (for example, Norwegian offers direct flights to San Francisco – new route – from € 189).
In a “shopping trip” you will, however, need a lot of space and the suitcase will be semi-empty at departure. If you fly, it’s not good. During the transfer, it will be subjected to blows and loads that you can’t imagine. The result is that all your stuff will walk around in your luggage and suffer several shocks. Moreover, if the external forces are not counterbalanced by a minimum internal reaction, the suitcase will have to withstand you alone and therefore will deform or damage more easily.
You can fill the space with cardboard or containers (however disposable) to be used, if necessary, to store the items purchased. The ideal would be a plural bag or the “inflated” one that contains some types of toner.