Queer Folx Guide to Shopping in San Francisco

Along the tree-lined streets of San Francisco, peppered into rows of colorful Victorian houses, you’ll discover many locally-owned and operated shops worthy of your support.

GayCities rounded up a few favorites that stand out–not only for their goods and services, but for the experience they provide– not to mention nearby world-class bars, cafes, restaurants, and only-in-San Francisco sights.

This holiday season, skip soulless online buying and experience local color at these 10 fabulous LGBTQ-friendly stores across San Francisco.

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The Castro’s Rainbow Crosswalks

Sui Generis in the Castro

Source: IG @suigeneris.sf

This impeccably curated, designer consignment store on Market Street has something for every occasion. Sui Generis, Latin for one of a kind, lives up to its name with a wide selection of gay-fave high-end threads, from Gucci to Rick Owens, making the outfits of your dreams come true at affordable prices.

After your visit, show off your flashy finds just up the street at popular sports bar Hi Tops, where the big screens play the local teams while the bartenders strut their stuff. The custom cocktail menu pays homage to local legends such as Giants first baseman Will Clark with “Will The Thrill,” a yummy concoction of Bulliet, jalapeno, simple syrup, lemon, and barrel-aged bitters. If sports are not your thing, order a local IPA draft and sit in their outdoor parklet, which has become a permanent and welcome part of the neighborhood streetscape.

The next day, make a brunch rezzie at Starbelly, located around the corner on 16th Street. The cozy backyard patio (and a pitcher of bloody marys) creates a perfect mood for an impromptu insta-photo shoot.

Castro Tattoo

Source: IG @castrotattoosf

Take a permanent piece of San Francisco home with some fresh ink. This visibly queer, tourist-friendly tattoo parlor, located in the heart of the Castro on 17th Street, will take excellent care of you. Though the name has changed, this shop remains one of the city’s oldest, gayest tattoo parlors.

After your session, dull your nerves and excite your mind with a stiff drink at nearby Lookout. Perched right above the main drag at Market and Noe streets, the outdoor balcony is a fabulous place for sipping cocktails and people-watching at one of the gayest intersections on earth below.

Local Take in the Castro

Source: IG @localtake

Need some tchotchkes for folx back home? Don’t settle for last-minute airport kitsch, hit up Local Take on 17th Street. This queer-owned outpost showcases more than 130 Bay Area artists and designers. Help a small business give back to San Francisco’s vibrant local art community.

After picking up a few stocking stuffers, visit the guys at Hot Cookie for something sweet in your mouth. The tiny storefront displays a wall of photos of local hotties decked out in their Hot Cookie undies, which are available for sale, the perfect gift for Mr. Right or at least Mr. Right Now.

If you’re looking for even more holiday cheer, climb aboard a vintage streetcar on Market Street and take a scenic ride to Union Square. During the holidays, this famous shopping district transforms into a winter wonderland, with window displays, decorations, and an ice-skating rink.

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