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"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.