Stretching from Market to Cesar Chavez streets, the Mission District’s Valencia Street commercial corridor has something for everyone this holiday season, from San Francisco pride-wear to encased animal skeletons. Even if you took a whole day to stroll these two miles, you probably wouldn’t have time to pop into every shop.
Luckily, we’ve simplified your shopping journey by steering you through the highlights of this Mission staple.
Rossi Mission SF
📍 791 Valencia St.
For that special someone who likes to wear their San Francisco pride on their sleeve, Rossi Mission SF almost certainly has just the right T-shirt or hoodie. The hybrid street art gallery/apparel shop sells limited-edition screen-printed, hand-painted and embroidered tees and sweaters made by local artists. You may find a sweatshirt emblazoned with the Muni logo contorted into a Mesoamerican-style graphic or a graffiti-style “I Love SF” on a rust-hued tie-dye T-shirt. The designs change according to the artists’ whims, but right now the shirts are going for $20 or two for $30, sweaters for $30 or two for $50. A canvas tote bag tagged with a prideful phrase like “Bay Area Giants” comes free with every purchase.
State of Flux
📍 1176 Valencia St.
You can find more only-in-SF gifts for your Bay Area boo at State of Flux, a community-focused Black and Brown-owned men’s clothing boutique selling an array of sporty yet stylish streetwear—from T-shirts emblazoned with the brand’s prowling tiger logo to a bright red San Francisco Giants baseball cap. Every design, usually screen-printed or embroidered in State of Flux’s workshop in the back of the shop, is dropped in limited-edition quantities and, aside from the brand’s online store, only available for pickup at the Valencia brick-and-mortar.
“We’re definitely an SF brand,” said production manager John Manning. There are plenty of items for the resident sports nut in your circle, including Oakland A’s and San Jose Sharks hats, basketball jersey-shaped pins with the numbers of famed Golden State Warriors players, and a luxurious San Francisco 49ers varsity jacket.
Dog Eared Books
📍 900 Valencia St.
Bookmark this local literary landmark for the bookworm in your life. Since 1992, the neighborhood bookstore has supplied titles from a range of genres, from poetry to trans lit. Page through the latest bestsellers or cookbooks inspired by the Bay Area’s rich culinary scene to find just the right read for your friend or lover. If you’re lucky, you may run into Dog Eared’s resident hound, Tess—an 8-year-old border collie and German shepherd rescue—or another neighborhood pup who’s popped into the shop with their human companion.
📍 824 Valencia St.
Head to Paxton Gate for something special for the natural history nerd in your social circle or a wacky white elephant gift. The San Francisco Legacy Business feels like a Dickensian curiosities shop with a punk rock edge and specializes in ethically sourced oddities from the natural world, such as a bat skeleton encased in acrylic, ancient fossilized creatures from the deep, toothy animal skulls and stuffed birds of paradise.
Wow your friends with a chunk of tooth from the extinct Megalodon mega-shark species, or wig out your office mate with a glow-in-the-dark paperweight with a preserved snake curled up inside. Whatever you choose, you’ll find a jaw-dropper of a gift.
826 Valencia Pirate Supply Store
📍 826 Valencia St.
Find more wild and whimsical gifts next door at 826 Valencia’s Pirate Supply Store, the nautically themed storefront for the nonprofit youth writing and tutoring center co-founded by Bay Area author Dave Eggers. Sales from the shop, which looks like it’s been decorated by renegade sailors, support 826’s free youth writing programs, which are held in the back of the store after school.
If you’re looking for a gag gift, you can go home with a bottle of “Scurvy Begone” candy or “rough-hewn” sea pepper seasoning. If you’re seeking something more sincere, pick up the latest copy of the 826 Quarterly, penned by students in the nonprofit’s writing workshops.
McSweeney’s Pop-Up Shop
📍 849 Valencia St.
🗓️ Through Dec. 25 | Fridays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Find more bookish buys at McSweeney’s holiday pop-up shop. Through Dec. 25, the San Francisco nonprofit, also founded by Eggers, brings the pages of its literary magazine and publishing house to life with an IRL bookshop. Find all manner of McSweeney’s titles from its 25-year history—from the Audio Issue of the beloved magazine to a deluxe oversized edition of Eggers’ latest bestseller, The Eyes and the Impossible. A particularly apropos gift for the holidays is a much-anticipated reprint of Lemony Snicket’s hilarious Christmas-Hanukkah tale, The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming. The pop-up is also hosting literary events, such as book signings, throughout the holiday season, so you may be able to get your gift autographed if you show up at the right moment.
📍 1017 Valencia St.
Proprietor Andrea Paz Vargas carries on four generations of tradition at her artisan shop and gallery, sourcing hand-forged, upcycled copper pieces from her family’s workshop in Michoacán, Mexico.
The beautifully designed pieces—ranging from dimpled pitchers to hand-painted cups, plates and bowls—often feature intricate flower, bird and butterfly decorations. Impress your fashionista friend with a set of hand-hammered hoop earrings accented with 14-karat gold leaf ($25 to $65). Or if your perpetual plus-one is into mixing drinks, go big with a full mixology set, including a cocktail shaker, stirrer, beaker, pestle and shot glasses for around $235. For the holidays, the shop is also selling boxed sets of copper napkin rings, shot glasses, nativity sets and angel ornaments.
📍 717 Valencia St.
Cookware store Proclamation Goods has been reborn as Landline Home just in time for the holidays. This time around, owner Tony Leo is focusing not just on cookware but also on vintage home goods. Inside the homey shop, you’ll find quirky culinary items like a mid-century turtle toothpick holder designed to present cubes of cheese and a shark-shaped bottle opener from the 1940s. The store also sells ceramics made by local artisans and colorful glass straws from Ocean Beach Glass. Such one-of-a-kind local items can make for a fun Dirty Santa gift, a playful stocking stuffer or a memorable thank you to a holiday host or hostess.
📍 593 Valencia St.
If your love language is fragrance, head to Often Wander to find the perfect-smelling gift. The dreamy boutique, which sells its own house-made line of soy candles, body sprays, incense and diffusers, tends to be filled with the scents of its products. Aromas range from musky and spicy to sweet and floral. If you’re seeking to spoil your friend or indulge in self-gifting, opt for a gift box set, including two candles, body spray, a diffuser and incense for $120 or a “self-care” aromatherapy gift box with bath crystals, a candle and an essential oil for $102. The splurge will keep on giving throughout the year, as the shop offers half-priced refills on its products.
Needles & Pens
📍1173 Valencia St.
Still need to check gifts off your list? Needles & Pens offers an array of widely priced goodies, from teenage girl-friendly hair clips to artisanal chocolates, art books and bath soaps.
Suppose you’re looking specifically for San Francisco-made or themed items. In that case, we recommend picking up a one-size-fits-all pair of Barbary Coast Collective socks sporting Muni buses or Doggie Diner heads or a hand-pressed, pastel-hued notebook made by Vienna-based the City Works with San Francisco’s skyline on the cover. Your San Francisco history nut uncle may enjoy photographer Elaine Mayes’ Haight Ashbury Portraits, and your artsy aunt with a social justice bent may enjoy a zine made by a local artist or poet or a coffee table copy of Strikethrough: Typographic Messages of Protest, which was brought to life at Dogpatch’s Letterform Archive last year.
If you’re sending gifts afar, bid hello from the West Coast with a compact can of poppy seeds, a cutesy grizzly bear pin or a California-themed season’s greetings card made on recycled paper by a small independent press.