Stroll down 24th Street, Noe Valley’s main shopping street, and you might forget you’re in bustling San Francisco and close to the tech capital of Silicon Valley. More like a village than a city, Noe Valley’s boutiques reflect the creative talents of designers who know how to blend high-tech with their inner traditions.
Surrounded by mountains, Noe Valley offers breathtaking views of the city, while its flatter streets make the shopping area very walkable. The colourful Victorian houses, sometimes referred to as ‘painted ladies’, are part of the area’s charm and, even on foggy days, Noe Valley attracts sunshine.
Here are our picks for the best shops in Noe Valley.
As they say, good things come in small packages, and Wink proves it. The store is small, but features an impressive selection of home decor, kitchen and bathroom accessories, as well as t-shirts, bags and jewelry. Designers, including many local favorites, carefully display their designs and creativity. Customers are invited to take the time to explore gift ideas, discover new gadgets, and even unique Japanese designed t-shirts.
4107 24th Street.
The women of San Francisco are fashion gurus, moving through their day with casual, business and fashion, and Two Birds is proud to capture the essence of these diverse fashion shoppers. Owners Susanna Taylor and Audrey Yang have made Two Birds an environment that welcomes customers to take their time. The fitting rooms are located in a loft a few steps above the main building, along with designer shoe collections and lounge areas. In addition to trying on shoes, it’s also a great place to play dress-up. You’ll find fleece sweaters, Vince T-shirts and scarves from fashion meets art label We Are Owls. American luxury brand Mother Jeans is just one of many trendy denim options. San Francisco designers are featured in all parts of the store and dominate the exciting jewelry selection.
1309 Castro Street.
If you’re heading into the Noe Valley from the Mission District, or you’re about to take a walk along San Francisco’s infamous hills, Curator should be on your radar. The small shop, founded by designers Stacy Rodgers and Deirdre Nagayama, carries their American-inspired clothing line. The duo’s highly wearable dresses and soft knits are popular among socially conscious fashion lovers, and Curator also carries handmade Etta + Billie soaps, locally designed Frida scarves, L’Aromatica’s Big Sur, and other fragrances for men and women. Children’s toys, books and baby hats are just as creative as the rest of the collection.
1767 Church Street.
One of Noe Valley’s original designer boutiques, The Podolls is a family affair. Not only because The Podolls were a husband and wife team, but also because their environmental consciousness led to the creation of Podots, playful children’s clothing sewn using excess fabric from the women’s line. There is also a small selection of casual menswear categories. Inside the store, a fortress-like structure designed by a local architect is the perfect hideaway for kids, adding a sense of play to the open, airy space. Hand-knitted sweaters and fleece-lined leather jackets beg to be touched and tried on.” ‘Slow is beautiful’ is said to be the essence of the brand, a nod to The Podoll’s many locally made, hand-stitched garments and their passion for hand-painted prints inspired by global cultures. Hard-to-find accessories, such as Westward Leaning Sunglasses, are on display, as well as innovative home goods and locally designed jewelry.
3985 24th Street.
When modern times are
Here, you’ll find a shop full of one-of-a-kind items, including exciting vintage pieces and restored furniture. Watches, jewelry, soaps, artwork, and even Annie Sloan brand chalk drawings are just some of the main highlights of the shop. For gift ideas (or to add to your own creative collection) in this fun place, be prepared to stay for a while so you can bag it all. Affordable San Francisco and tourist photo prints, vintage game boards and coasters, and even mechanical bird centerpieces are all a treasure trove of truly original pieces.
4037 24th St.
Part shop, part gallery, Rare Device is a long, skinny space. Its white walls are filled with color, and these beautiful items are either handmade or carefully designed, or both. From stained glass trays to herb cutting boards with knives, Color Theory necklaces by Cursive Design to Black Pine Bonsai Kits, the store is filled with rare items at all price points. Shoppers may find the designers behind the counter, as many of the people who work at Rare Device are artists themselves. Building strong relationships with local designers and artists from around the world is part of the store’s commitment to sharing the stories of the items on display.
4071 24th Street.
Food Books for Omnivores
Foodies know San Francisco as a hub of culinary creativity, so it makes sense that the city is home to the only food-focused bookstore in the country and the world.Omnivore Books on Food is housed in a former butcher shop with shelves lined with cookbooks, memoirs, and literature, and food plays an important role. Chefs and authors like Alice Waters offer a modern 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 give the bookstore a fresh new look, filled with delicious or sweet smells and samples. It’s the perfect place to browse to your heart’s content.
3885 Cesar Chavez Street.