Stroll down 24th street, Noe Valley’s main shopping strip, and you might forget you are in the bustling city of San Francisco and within easy reach of Silicon Valley, technology’s capital. More village than city, Noe Valley is home to boutiques that reflect the creative talents of designers who know how to blend high tech with heartfelt tradition.
Surrounded by hills, Noe Valley has sweeping city views that are breathtaking, while its flatter streets make the shopping district very walkable. Colorful Victorian-era houses, sometimes known as “painted ladies,” are part of the areas charm, and, even on foggier days, Noe Valley is known to attract the sun.
Below are our picks for the best shops to pop into during your next spree in Noe Valley.
As the saying goes, good things come in small packages, and Wink proves the point. Small in square footage only, the store features an impressive selection of home décor, kitchen and bath accessories, along with t-shirts, bags and jewelry. Designers, including many local favorites, are all displayed with care and creativity. Shoppers are invited to spend time and explore gift ideas; discover new gadgets and even unique Japanese-designed t-shirts.
4107 24th Street
San Francisco women are masters of style, moving through lives that call for casual, corporate and chic all in one day. Two Birds prides itself on capturing the essence of these very diverse and fashion savvy shoppers. Owners, Susanna Taylor and Audrey Yang, have made Two Birds an environment that welcomes customers to take their time. Fitting rooms are ensconced in a loft, a few steps above the main floor, along with a designer shoe collection and a sitting area. In addition to trying on shoes, it’s a great place to play dress up. You’ll find woolen sweaters, Vince tees and scarves by fashion-meets-art brand, We Are Owls. Premium US brand Mother Jeans is just one of many on-trend denim choices. San Francisco designers are featured throughout the store and are exclusively represented in an exciting jewelry selection.
1309 Castro Street
If you are heading into Noe Valley from The Mission District, or you are ready to take a walk along San Francisco’s infamous hills, Curator should be on your radar. The tiny store, founded by designers Stacy Rodgers and Deirdre Nagayama, carries their namesake US-made apparel brand. The duo’s highly wearable dresses and soft knits have a following amongst socially-conscious fashion lovers. Curator carries other favorites like handcrafted Etta + Billie soaps, locally designed Frida Scarves, and L’Aromatica’s Big Sur and other perfumes for men and women. Kids toys, books and baby beanies are as creative as the rest of the collection.
1767 Church Street
One of the original designer boutiques in Noe Valley, The Podolls is a family affair. Not only because The Podolls are a husband and wife team, but because their eco-conscious women’s line has given birth to Podots, playful childrenswear sewn using excess fabric from the women’s collection. There is also a small assortment of casual menswear. Inside, a fort-like structure, designed by a local architect, is the perfect kid’s hideaway, and adds a sense of play to the open, airy space. Hand-knit sweaters and fleece-lined leather jackets beg to be touched and tried on. “Slowness is beauty” is said to be the essence of the brand, a nod to The Podoll’s many locally-made, handsewn garments, and their passion for hand-painted prints inspired by global cultures. Hard-to-find accessories, like Westward Leaning Sunglasses, and innovative home goods are on display along with locally designed jewelry.
3985 24th Street
When Modern Was
Here you’ll find a one-of-a-kind store filled with one-of-a-kind items, including exciting vintage pieces and restored furniture. Clocks, jewelry, soaps, artwork and even Annie Sloan brand chalk paint are just some of the store’s main attractions. At this fun stop for gift ideas (or for an addition to your own creative collection), be prepared to stay for a while in order to take it all in. Reasonably priced prints with San Francisco and travel images, vintage game boards and coasters, and even mechanical bird centerpieces are among a treasure trove of true originals.
4037 24th Street
Part store, part gallery, Rare Device is a lean, long space. Its white walls are filled with color in the form of beautiful objects that are either handmade or well-designed or both. From stained glass trays to an herb chopping board with knife, from Cursive Design’s Color Theory necklaces to Black Pine Bonsai Kits, the store is filled with rare finds across a spectrum of price points. Shoppers may discover a designer behind the counter, as many of those working at Rare Device are artists themselves. Strong relationships with local designers and artists from around the world are part of the store’s commitment to share the stories of objects on display.
4071 24th Street
Omnivore Books on Food
Foodies know San Francisco is an epicenter of culinary creativity, so it only makes sense that the city is home to one of the only food-focused bookstores in the country, if not the world. Housed in a former butcher shop, Omnivore Books on Food features shelves upon shelves of cookbooks, memoirs and literature in which food plays a starring role. Chefs and authors like Alice Waters offer a contemporary perspective, while collectibles and classics, like the original Betty Crocker Cookbook, remind us of days gone by. Frequent author events make it easy to mingle with popular chefs and food writers. Cook-offs transform the bookstore, filling it with savory or sweet scents and samples. The perfect place to browse to your heart’s and stomach’s content.
3885 Cesar Chavez Street