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Tattoo Ι © Michael Conrad/Flickr
Tattoo Ι © Michael Conrad/Flickr

The Best Tattoo Shops in San Francisco

Picture of Deanna Morgado
Updated: 27 November 2017

Once the marks of the social outcasts, tattoos are now fitting into culture mainstream and acceptance. As a result, tattoo shops have been coming out of the woodwork all over the world in the last handful of decades. San Francisco, home to many self-proclaimed social outcasts, has naturally become a mecca of talented tattoo artists and shops. Here are some of the best tattoo shops in the city.

Black & Blue Tattoo

This tattoo shop is one of the most highly regarded places to get a tattoo in San Francisco. Black & Blue Tattoo opened back in 1995 and is still running strong just outside the Mission District. Woman-owned, gender inclusive, and diverse, Black and Blue is as San Franciscan as it gets. The talented and reputable artists bring in clients not just all over the country, but the world.

Black & Blue Tattoo, 381 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 626 0770

Mission Ink Tattoo & Piercing

A classic insider tip to gauging how great a tattoo shop is is how the tattoo artists treat clients getting their first ever tattoo. In that aspect, Mission Ink Tattoo & Piercing gets the ultimate gold star. The artists that work at Mission Ink are respectful, mindful of what a client wants, and obviously immensely talented. There are professional and skilled piercers at the shop as well, ready give you beautiful body piercings and jewelry.

Mission Ink Tattoo & Piercing, 2440 Mission St, San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 400 5785

Black Heart Tattoo

The highly skilled artists at Black Heart Tattoo are incomparable. And with a combined 60 years of tattooing experience between the six artists in the shop, it’s easy to imagine why. Black Heart Tattoo has been able to be one of San Francisco’s top tattoo shops because of its constantly-evolving creative energy and careful handling of the tattoo experience. The shop has created quite a following since opening in 2004, with countless clients and repeat clients swearing by their experience at Black Heart.

Black Heart Tattoo, 177 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 431 2100

Black Serum Tattoo

The crème de la crème of tattooing experiences can be found at Black Serum Tattoo. Tattoo first timers as well as tattoo veterans have virtually nothing but good graces and praise to give Black Serum. The tattoo artists here take careful consideration to the tattoo process from beginning to end. Black Serum Tattoo was once called Brucius Tattoo, before recently undergoing a total revamp and relocation. Black Serum Tattoo keeps up with its Brucius mission of doing the best tattoo work possible and is now located in the heart of the Mission District.

Black Serum Tattoo, 310 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 705 9574

Castro Tattoo

Check out the tattoo art that’s coming out of Castro Tattoo and you’ll understand why it has won so many awards in the tattoo industry. These awards include first place at highly regarded events like the Body Art Expo, Hell City Tattoo Festival, and That Damn Tattoo Contest. Located in the Castro, this shop is naturally one of the most culturally conscious and client accommodating body art parlor in the city. The tattooists provide a huge variety of styles like realism, traditional, tribal, and more.

Castro Tattoo, 3991 17th St, San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 701 1970

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Courtesy of Castro Tattoo

Seventh Son Tattoo

Getting inked at Seventh Son Tattoo is essentially a guarantee of some amazing custom tattoo work. The tattooists working there take the time to curate the perfect ink work for their clients. The artists are true to their craft and pour bucket-loads of knowledge into each piece. Not only does Seventh Son offer some world-class tattoo work, they also offer professional and safe tattoo laser removal at the same location.

Seventh Son Tattoo, 765 Clementina Street, San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 551 7766

Moth and Dagger Tattoo

This Downtown shop is home to skilled and patient artists. Whether it’s your very first tattoo or your twentieth, Moth and Dagger Tattoo will take care of your tattoo journey. Locals and tourists flock here for some of the best body art San Francisco has to offer. This small shop is operated by just three artists but those three are creating some of the most amazing tattoo work in the city.

Moth and Dagger Tattoo, 610 Bush Street, San Francisco, CA, USA +1 415 834 5127