From that 1940s little black dress to the most fabulous cat-eye sunglasses, San Francisco is a treasure trove for vintage lovers. You'll see the city while shopping the best vintage shops, as they're sprinkled around the city in Pacific Heights, Haight Ashbury, the Castro, the Mission District, Polk Street, and in downtown Union Square.
La Rosa Vintage in The HaightThe vintage queen Dita von Teese says her "prized possession" is a signature Christian Dior 1954 haute couture suit from La Rosa Vintage in Haight Ashbury. While you won't uncover any $20 steals here, you can appreciate the impeccable, superbly curated collection for both men and women. Quaintly enough, La Rosa Vintage has no website. Wander up and down Haight Street to check out their sister shop, Relic, and even more vintage stores: Static, Buffalo Exchange, Retro Fit Republic, Held Over, and Wasteland. Haight Ashbury's own retro reputation makes it the perfect destination for vintage shoppers. Address: 1171 Haight St., San Francisco. Telephone: 415-668-3744.
Sui Generis in The Castro
The New York Times calls Sui Generis "a consignment store run as if by museum curators." Two locations on Market Street cater to men and women, where Miguel and Gabriel have cast an expert eye over selective pieces from Chanel, Alexander McQueen, Prada, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Yves Saint Laurent, and more quality brands. They've picked up a bundle of awards along the way for their one-of-a-kind approach. While you're in the neighborhood, catch a movie at San Francisco's own 1922 vintage showplace, The Castro Theatre, where the Wurlitzer organ is played live. The Castro comes alive at night, with patrons spilling out onto the sidewalk from various bars and restaurants. Address: 2231 and 2265 Market St., San Francisco. Telephone: 415-437-2265.
Torso Vintages Near Union Square
Most San Francisco visitors end up at Union Square at some point during their stay. On the shopping front, Union Square is mainly known for department stores and speciality retailers, so Torso Vintages is a world apart. Vintage aficionados will want to reserve plenty of time for a good trawl through the decades among the top-to-toe treasures for men and women. While in the 'hood, tick off items from your San Francisco to-do list: catch a cable car, explore Chinatown, order a martini at a rooftop cocktail lounge with a view, enjoy the heart of downtown at Union Square. Address: 290 Sutter St., San Francisco. Telephone: 415-391-3166.
Vintage a la Mode in Pacific Heights
To look like a proper lady from head to toe, pretty, tree-lined Sacramento Street in Pacific Heights is the place to go. Enter the world of Vintage a la Mode, where Glenn Miller's 1940 hit "In the Mood" plays softly, transporting visitors to a far more gracious time. Shop owner Springer has stylish hats from occasions gone by, gowns that launched brides, timeless little black dresses, and the organza party dresses of prom queens and sweet 16 debutantes. Stroll by irresistible vitrines displaying twinkling rows of rhinestones to the spacious dressing room beside a private garden. Address: 3234 Sacramento St., San Francisco. Telephone: 415-440-1554.
The Ribbonerie in Pacific Heights
Also in Pac Heights, The Ribbonerie is a specialist haberdashery. Here's one of America's most extensive collections of vintage and new ribbons and trimmings, faux flowers, and bridal bits and pieces. Grosgrain, satin, velvet, French wired, lace, and taffeta resemble penny candy lined up on the antique display shelves and are utterly addictive, even if you can't sew. Address: 3695 Sacramento St., San Francisco. Telephone: 415-626-6184.
- Haight Ashbury
- San Francisco
- Pacific Heights