Top 10 Local Shops In The Bay Area Worth A Second Look

Photo of Melissa M Davis
9 February 2017

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.

Magazines galore | © Keith Breitbach

Smoke Signals

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 Chronicle
The Ice Cream Bar | © The Chronicle

The Ice Cream Bar

Cinnaholic worthy cinnabuns
Cinnaholic worthy cinnabuns | © Cinnaholic
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?


Bakery, Vegan, American, $$$
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.


A rich and distinctive tea drinking experience, T-We is located in the heart of the Financial District in Crocker Galleria. Locally mixed, the store sells hand-crafted teas with a variety of flavors and witty names like: Madame Morocco, Grumpy Dinosaur, Sexpot, Flaming Prince Charming and more. The tea lover in you will thank you, once you step into this charming shop that’s stocked with herbal, black, oolong and fruit flavored teas with a unique mix that will send you into sensory overload. Head over and take a sit and sip some tea or two during T-We’s tea cocktail events.

T-We, 50 Post Street, Level 1, San Francisco, CA, USA 415 500-2097

Welcome to Oaklandish | © Oaklandish
Welcome to Oaklandish | © Oaklandish


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

A variety of games | © Games of Berkeley
A variety of games | © Games of Berkeley

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.

Games of Berkeley, 2151 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA, USA 510 540-7822

Eclectic Theater | © Karen Hester
Eclectic Theater | © Karen Hester

The New Parkway Theater

Cinema, Theater, Building, Movie Theater
BW Chicago
BW Chicago | © Flickr
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

Bookstore, Store
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

Cinema, Theater, Movie 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 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.

Storeenvy Pop-Up Shop, 50 Post Street, San Francisco, CA, USA

Cookies Policy

We and our partners use cookies to better understand your needs, improve performance and provide you with personalised content and advertisements. To allow us to provide a better and more tailored experience please click "OK"