Answers from Our Experts (4)
Although tchotchkes, magnets, sweatshirts, and mugs can be found at any of San Francisco's most trafficked tourist areas like Fisherman's Wharf or Pier 39, with a little digging, one can easily walk away with a more memorable souvenir of the city by the bay.
If you're in the mood for something edible, you can't go wrong with San Francsico's signature bread, sourdough. The bread was first created by the Boudin family in 1849 when wild yeasts native to the area gave a significant flavor to their homemade French bread. Boudin still makes its famous loaves today, so grab a couple of baguettes before you head to the airport. Tartine, in the Mission District, is another bakery that's renowned for its amazing sourdough.
Sports fans should head to the Giants' Dugout where they can score plenty of orange and black gear from the 2012 World Series Baseball champions. From zip-up jackets to socks, there's something for everyone at the store which is located at AT&T park.
Want to remember your stay with a piece of art? Local artist Michael Schwab has created a variety of prints that feature the city's most loved landmarks, from Alcatraz to Crissy Field.
Coffee mugs, snow globes, a deck of playing cards---we’ve got ‘em and you'll find them everywhere. And while those things might be fun “thinking of you” gifts for your cat sitter at home, give the ones you love a real San Francisco memento.
Standing between the Bay and the Pacific Ocean, the Golden Gate Bridge is the most iconic of all symbols of the city and just celebrated (2012) its 75th anniversary. The beautiful coffee table book,The Golden Gate, features stunning images of the bridge from acclaimed photographer and native San Franciscan Morton Beebe.
Baseball fans, you know the answer---who are the 2012 World Series Champs? You guessed it, the San Francisco Giants. Bring home a cap, a jersey, or any number of other must-haves for your favorite baseball fan.
Every city has its taste and San Francisco’s is sourdough bread, created by a long fermentation of the dough. Pick some up at Boudin Bakery. Hollow out a round and use it as a soup bowl, slice it for sandwiches or toast it and spread it with butter with your morning coffee (my favorite). Whatever your choice, it’s a real San Francisco treat.
Beer lover in the family? Since you can bring home the suds (TSA rule # 879, insert sarcasm) bring home the apparel of San Francisco’s beer Anchor Steam, often referred to as the "Godfather" of craft brewing with a history in San Francisco dating to the Gold Rush.
Of course a visit to San Francisco is not complete unless you've stopped at the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, painted a distincitive "international orange," a lucious color between terracotta and lipstick red. Last year the Golden Gate Bridge celebrated its 75th Anniversary and opened a brand-new Visitor's Pavillion. In the Round House, one can take a photo with the Golden Gate Bridge superimposed as a backdrop. There are several backdrop options but my favorite places you climbing on the cables atop one of the towers. The Vistor's Center offers tasteful, well-thought-out gifts, many using recycled materials and designed by local artists. I sent one of the great cross-body bags to my cousin in New Jersey for Christmas and her teens fought for it. At only $10, it's a winner and easy to pack.
There are lots of possible souvenirs to bring home from trip to San Francisco. But to me, the best ones are those that allow you to take home a little part of what you experienced here.
If you came here for a gourmet getaway, then I suggest you take home some regional artisanal foods. That might mean locally made chocolate by Michael Recchiuti, TCHO, or Dandelion; olive oil from McEvoy Ranch, Cimarossa or Olive Queen; and a special salami or cured ham by 4505 Meats or Boccalone. When it comes to toting wine home, sticking to bottlings that are only available at the winery seems to make the inconvenience worthwhile.
For younger children, a souvenir that captures an iconic San Francisco would be most evocative. Perhaps it’s a sweatshirt to remind them of walking along Fisherman’s Wharf, a keychain with a metal cable car on it or a little print or screensaver of the Golden Gate Bridge.
But the best — and the most priceless — souvenirs are the pictures you take in scenic places around the San Francisco Bay Area.