Convenience and Selection: Best San Francisco Malls and Shopping Centers

"Shopping mall" and "San Francisco" don't exactly go hand in hand - even if one hand is trying to offer a huge wad of cash to the other. The simple fact is that in a town of forty-nine square miles, there's just not a lot of space for sprawling malls that also need even more sprawling parking lots. (If you want to get a local talking for hours on your trip, just ask them their opinion on San Francisco traffic. That's a topic everyone has an opinion on.)

But the demands for convenient shopping have only increased over the years, so large shopping areas like Metreon and City Target have squeezed their way in between skyscrapers and stubborn green spaces. And, since tourism is San Francisco's #1 industry, developing more shopping areas became a necessary and practical goal.

Go for convenience, accessibility, and selection. Those are the perks of San Francisco's best malls and shopping centers. You can get in and out quickly and see a ton of things. Loads of local shopping options include high-brow and low-brow stores, along with food offerings should you need a drink or a bite along the way. Check out the wide variety at places like Landmark Embarcadero Center or the Ferry Building. Indoors or outdoors, there's a bounty to be had.

If you're looking for art galleries in San Francisco, California that feature work by locals, check out City Art Gallery. Nearly 200 local artists are members of this cooperative gallery, and their works cover a wide range of mediums, including...  Read More

When in San Francisco, do as the San Franciscans do. Expand your ice of mall from an air-conditioned box to a the exotic mix and match shopping that only Chinatown bazaar can offer. And the bazaar with the most extensive selection is definitely...  Read More

Stonestown is the quintessential American mall. Straight down nineteenth avenue, Stonestown has all your shopping needs, from the big box stores like Macy's and Nordstrom to the smaller specialty stores like The Body Shop, Brookstone, H&M, and...  Read More

North Point Shopping Center
Photo courtesy of yelp

If San Francisco is challenged to find the space for large malls, the North Beach/Fisherman's Wharf area is only doubly so. There's plenty of tourist shopping available around North Beach and Fisherman's Wharf, but North Point Shopping Center is...  Read More


Opened in 1999 by Sony as a massive place for movies, games, shopping and all forms of entertainment, the 350,000-square-foot Metreon Center on the corner of 4th and Mission eventually collapsed under the weight of its own grand vision. But this...  Read More

Union Square
Photo courtesy of Tom Molanphy

The Union Square neighborhood centers around Union Square, a great little urban park, which is itself surrounded by a host of upscale shopping venues. In fact, the district is generally acknowledged as the city's main shopping haven. In the...  Read More

The Landmark Embarcadero Center is an underutilized downtown shopping area, often overshadowed by The Westfield Mall and Union Square. But if you're on Embarcadero and want a smaller, more intimate shopping experience, stroll through the...  Read More

A favorite among discerning San Francisco shoppers, this mall's selection includes 40 high-end stores showcasing classic designer creations. Located about three blocks east of Union Square, the glass-domed, three-level pavilion houses everything...  Read More

Most malls are usually enclosed, maybe for protection against summer's heat and winter's cold. Although a lot of the Ferry Builiding's artisanal shops are inside, many booths also spring up outside on the weekends to take advantage of the the...  Read More

Westfield San Francisco Centre

One of the best shopping malls in San Francisco, Westfield Centre is ideally located just two blocks from Union Square and features more than 170 alluring boutiques. Inside, you'll find Bloomingdale's and the second-largest Nordstrom in the...  Read More


Meet Tom Molanphy

The only thing that Tom Molanphy loves more than the food, art, music, and culture of San Francisco is sharing it with others. San Francisco never gets old for Tom.

Tom has lived in the San...  More About Tom

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