As creative and original as the Bay Area, these local places will have you coming back for more. Across the Bay Area are some of the most impressive stores ranging in all areas from hand-crafted tea to trendy movie theaters, quaint magazine stores, ice cream soda shops and more. These local shops create a one-of-a-kind atmosphere and allow you to feel empowered by supporting local businesses.
Did you know – Culture Trip now does bookable, small-group trips? Pick from authentic, immersive Epic Trips, compact and action-packed Mini Trips and sparkling, expansive Sailing Trips.
A compact place easily overlooked in the middle of the Russian Hill neighborhood in San Francisco, Smoke Signals is filled with some of the biggest collections of local, national and international magazines and newspapers from around the world. If you are a magazine aficionado, then Smoke Signals will have you scouring through some of the most coveted magazines in fashion, art, design, home décor, travel, crafts, cars and more. Find magazines you have never heard of and rediscover some of your favorites in this glorious magazine world.
Smoke Signals, 2223 Polk St, San Francisco, CA, USA 415-292-6025
The Ice Cream Bar
The name The Ice Cream Bar, says it all. Take a step back into the 1930s with this old-fashioned ice cream and soda shop smack in the middle of San Francisco. The shop sells flavors that you will be over the moon for, with soda flavors like Dream of Tarts, Touch of Grey, The Passion Project and more. Indulge in floats, malts, milkshakes and a variety of alcoholic milkshakes in the most utterly satisfying way. What better way to spend an afternoon than to be sipping on a milkshake and transported back to the 1930s with art deco décor?
Let the cinnabun addiction begin! Step inside this gourmet cinnabun shop where you can mix and match as many flavor combinations as you want! You’ve never tasted old-fashioned mouthwatering cinnabuns like these ones, and the perfect amount of sweetness mixed with fresh ingredients make this 100% vegan treat a delight. Right near UC Berkeley’s campus, Cinnaholic will leave your taste buds craving for these ooey gooey treats with endless toppings and frosting flavors making it hard to resist.
Oaklandish is best described as an off the beat, local go-to clothing store for all things Oakland in apparel. Screen-printing is the cornerstone of Oaklandish, with different sayings, such as BART maps, tree icons, Golden State Warriors, Oakland A’s and more on a variety of apparel. It’s one of the most popular stores in downtown Oakland for locals to get their quick fix of originality, personality and also a place to feel most like you.
Oaklandish, 1444 Broadway, Oakland, CA, USA 510 251-9500
Games of Berkeley
There’s nothing like a huge selection of games to make you reminisce about your childhood. Walking into Games of Berkeley right in the middle of downtown Berkeley, you will find a wide variety of board games, card games, puzzles, trinkets and small toys suited for children and adults alike. This store stocks the most popular games, like Cards Against Humanity, Munchkin and Things, classics like Taboo, Monopoly and Uno, and local games like Oar Else. You can definitely get lost in a sea of games here.
The New Parkway Theater
Who doesn’t like an enjoyable movie theater experience? While you are at The New Parkway Theater you will be able to indulge in their fantastic food, dynamic ambiance and most importantly, a ton of great movies ranging from independent to blockbusters, or even bringing some nostalgic films. The theater has non-traditional seating utilizing loveseats, couches, rocking chairs, beanbags and more making for a comfortable and unique movie theater experience. This will rival any other movie theater you’ve been to with events like Open Mic Night, Trivia night and Drink and Draw nights.
City Lights Bookstore
A historic bookstore spanning three floors of books you can lost in, you can daydream your way through one of the biggest independent bookstores and publishers in San Francisco. There is nothing like sifting through the pages of a new book that took you months to find. Any hard-to-find, or banned book will probably be found at City Lights Bookstore, which has tons of sections to browse through like poetry, fiction, non-fiction, science-fiction, social, relationship, history, religion, women’s studies and more. Let the words fall off the pages and take you to another place at City Lights Bookstore.
Grand Lake Theater
Grand Lake Theater, a historic neighborhood theater originally opening in the 1920s shows new releases and some of the greatest hits. Experience 3D movies in a new way with each auditorium as grandiose as the next, decorated in specific opulent styles like Egyptian, Moorish palace, and the 1920s. What is not to love about low price movie tickets of the latest movies? Come and see what this movie theater has offer; great people, movies, ambiance and food.
Storenvy Pop-Up Shop
An ever changing store each month bringing new merchants from the online storenvy.com. This is a dynamic revolution where small businesses can have their items in a brick and mortar location. It makes for a great shopping experience located in the Crocker Galleria in the Financial District of San Francisco. Storenvy offers a variety of trendy apparel, accessories, shoes, jewelry and more. What other store do you know changes completely every month? So you if want some local trendy items and a one-of-a-kind shopping experience stop at the Storenvy Pop-up Shop.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.