The Mission District’s Valencia Street is peppered with fantastic shopping: whimsical boutiques, bookstores, record stores,and galleries. It’s where art, culture, music, and fashion intersect, providing a shopper’s paradise.
For retail therapy, look no further than the aptly named Therapy, on Valencia between 16th and 17th. This boutique is my first and only stop shopping for cute birthday gifts and cards, and has a discerning selection of clothes, shoes, and outerwear. It’s just fun. You’ll always spot something new and clever there. Like my unique messenger-laptop bag adorned with a picture of the Brooklyn Bridge and a penguin, which receives more compliments than my $300 Marc Jacobs bag.
What’s that smell? Just down the street is the heaven-scented Currents, where aromatherapy meets retail therapy. After I’ve had a big night out, I want nothing more than to hide my puffy eyes behind a lavender eye mask and bask in a lily-scented bubble bath surrounded by jasmine and verbena candles. Currents’ delectable bath products are created on site in the back, where you can also find purses, knitwear, and jewelry. Gift sets are available or can be made up at request.
San Francisco-based line Weston Wear has been attiring the fashionable since 1980. While their designs can be found nationwide, we in the City are lucky enough to have a store right in the heart of the Mission. Prices range considerably, but I always find great bargains, especially in their sample sales. Weston Wear manages to accomplish the daunting task of creating apparel that is fashionable and flattering, which is much appreciated by this writer who is curvy on top, but small everywhere else.
If you’ve never experienced the serendipity that is Paxon Gate, you must see if for yourself. Part-garden shop, part-“ye olde curiosity shop for kids,” and fully eccentric, Paxton Gate describes its wares as “treasures and oddities inspired by the garden and the natural sciences.”
Dozens more boutiques, bookstores, art collectives, and other shopping delights exist on these 20-odd blocks of Valencia; too many to name in this article, but make a fun shopping expedition and great day, especially when paired with a visit to one of the area’s many great cafes and restaurants.
The Valencia Street Shopping Corridor is located in the Mission District of San Francisco. Parking is tight and metered; the area is easily accessed by public transit: BART (Mission and 16th) and MUNI (the 14 and 22 lines).