Last Updated on January 8, 2021 by Paroma
If you are traveling to San Francisco, chances are you will be getting some travel gifts or San Francisco souvenirs for friends and family. If your trip is around the holiday season such as when visiting San Francisco for Christmas, then you definitely want to pick some exclusive holiday themed San Francisco gifts from the city, ranging from chocolates to apparel to even pet products. So what better than reading this insider’s guide to finding the best travel souvenirs and holiday (thanksgiving/Christmas) goodies in San Francisco?
One of the many reasons I love San Francisco because of its strong tradition of loving local-be it locavore food practices in restaurants (farm to fork) or the propensity to make a range of goods and selling them in stores under the label of SFMade (a coalition of SF based small businesses who make their products in the city) with great pride, be it apparel or made in USA backpacks.
These small business stores and cute boutiques San Francisco are a great place to get locally made holiday gifts for your loved ones back home. These Bay Area/SF souvenirs in San Francisco help to support local artists and businesses and are way more personalized and unique compared to those mass produced and found in tacky tourist souvenir shops lining Fisherman’s Wharf or Union Square. Here is a complete list of all SFMade manufacturers and where to find them to help in your holiday gift guide quest!
San Francisco Souvenirs: Confectionery and everything sugary & nice
We have no dearth of local chocolatiers, whose products can readily be found in different neighborhoods of San Francisco. These sweet treats can double up as holiday gifts or tasty San Francisco souvenirs. So please look beyond those Ghirardelli and get going with melt in your mouth creations (with different exotic fillings) by checking out these artisan favorites: Dandelion Chocolates, Socola Chocolates, Recchiuti Confections, Jade Chocolates, Poco Dolce (their store is in the DogPatch neighborhood/eastern waterfront) and Charles Chocolates.
You can also cross the bridge and get your fill of delicious vegan chocolate bars at The Xocolate Bar. Kika’s Treats makes excellent Brazilian honey cakes and chocolate covered shortbread cookies which also make great San Francisco gifts. These chocolates are all locally made,ethically sourced and have very unique flavors ranging from Asian fillings at Jade to potent combo of sea salt over dark chocolate squares at Poco Dolce.
I personally love the latter’s ginger squares but also heart the almond coconut crunch. Their founder, Kathy Wiley, has had the distinction of being named one of America’s top ten chocolatiers by Dessert magazine! If you are in San Francisco, you must stop by one of these chocolate stores /local groceries selling them/ SF Ferry Building to pick up a box of delectable treats (they have boxes of twos or eights packed beautifully) for your dear ones as these are are way better than the Ghirardelli squares sold at every corner!
San Francisco Gifts: SFMade for Pets
Get your pooch or kitty in the festive mood by lovely bow ties from SF’s very own Usagi Team. Or, better still, pick these San Francisco souvenirs as holiday gifts for a pet lover. Barkbox seems like a good idea for a goodie hamper for your fur kid, although I have not tried them on my own because Babu is too picky about his food.
Check out Pawtrero (San Francisco) for awesome doggie treats, Paco collars (Berkeley) for collars that are woof and meow approved, Petplay (San Francisco) for plush, comfy dog beds and Wildebeest (San Francisco) for all kinds of pet products. These SFMade pet products are bound to be a hit with your pet lover friend or family member and make for great San Francisco gifts. You can check this fantastic post on gifts for dog moms as well.
San Francisco Gift Guide: Stationary and Prints
For all your prints, cards, calendars, journals, fridge magnets and what nots, visit these rad SFMade print/stationary sites (they have online stores and they ship in USA): Yellow Owl Workshop (has online shopping), 3 Fish Studios (has online shopping), Union Street Papery and Hello! Lucky (has stores all over USA). Zig Zag city guides makes adorable paper guides for that tourist friend of yours visiting your city (Paris/Rome/San Francisco/NYC) and is worth checking out. You definitely need these San Francisco souvenirs for that artsy friend, to provide that personalized touch to your gift wrapping or gift a travel journal to that globetrotter buddy of yours.
San Francisco bag manufacturers: Made in USA backpacks and other accessories for travelers
You cannot leave San Francisco, the ultimate tech city without some tech savvy San Francisco souvenirs and gifts as well as bags and backpacks made right here in the city! Look no further beyond Dodocase (online shopping available), AcmeMade, Spicer, Rickshaw Bagworks , Timbuk2 , Lady Alamo , Joshu + Vela and Alphonso for all your tablet/phone/laptop sleeve/case needs plus all kinds of bags since these bag manufacturers provide so many options!
All these San Francisco gifts are SFMade and make accessories from eco-friendly materials sourced in the US and follow sustainable practices. Langly.co is another great place to get camera bags for your precious equipment. I have visited Spicer on 3rd, a delightful store in the eastern waterfront neighborhood of Dogpatch, which has an amazing collecting of things, gifts, art, food products and jewelry (basically all kinds of lovely stuff) that are mostly American Made (three cheers!)
The store’s decor is very chic and beautiful and there were so many cute, beautiful and gorgeous things all around that it was very easy to click photos but super difficult to tear your eyes away from your surroundings. A labor of love by mother and daughter Bonnie Gemmell and Sarah Gemmell, the store started as byproduct of their hugely successful business Spicer Bags, which are made right here in San Francisco (actually on the second floor of the store itself) with most parts sourced from all over USA and the cork (thank goodness for sustainability) from Europe. Many of these items in the store are completely manufactured in San Francisco/bay area/California under the SFMade initiative and would make excellent San Francisco gifts and souvenirs for visitors to take home.
San Francisco gifts for skincare: Cruelty free SFMade products
Be it a lip balm for a stocking stuffer or more serious skincare products that are vegan and cruelty free, Earth Body (link to their Ayurvedic skin care collection here), Juice Beauty and Nancy Boy are the Bay Area brands to look out for. All of these brands declare themselves as free of chemicals and cruelty free and I encourage you to throw away those horrible L’Oréal products (L’Oréal still tests on animals to sell in China) and try these.
Here is another useful list of all natural, cruelty free skin care brands from the Bay Area. You can also shop for tons of cruelty free products (that are not SFMade) at our wonderful workers owned cooperative Rainbow Groceries in the Mission neighborhood where all the beauty and personal care products are cruelty free.
Made in San Francisco Clothing Guide: SFMade apparel
This is kind of tricky owing to personal preferences, but if you are looking for either simple neutrals or very San Francisco-ish super soft Tees or a quirky printed blouse to gift, then Everlane, San FranPsycho and Nooworks are the sites to go. Everlane is a San Francisco based company selling apparel for both men and women, but at greatly affordable prices since they cut out the middleman from the production chain. San FranPsycho makes awesome SF logo-ed tees while Nooworks is an SF based boutique with its factory in Oakland and makes quirky, out of the box printed apparel for women and infants (sizes run small so please check the size chart).
Other SF based merchants, operating under the SFMade collection with online shopping options are Frolick, Marine Layer, Be Good Clothing (selling eco-friendly apparel, jewelry and vegan leather bags from Matt & Nat and Angela & Roi), Taylor Stitch, Gravel & Gold, Weston Wear (to add a touch of sparkle to your wardrobe) and finally Field Day (based out of Oakland). When you shop from these local garment businesses, you get out-of-the box, one of a kind clothing not available in giant retails to be the runaway hit of the party! Another great idea for San Francisco gifts!
San Francisco Souvenirs and Holiday Gift Guide: SFMade for Jewelry and Other Accessories
San Francisco and the Bay Area have a lot of local jewelry makers, creating delicates, layering and statement pieces in necklaces, dainty to bold earrings, brooches and bracelets. These make great gifts or delicate San Francisco souvenirs. Some of my recommendations are: Ofina Jewelry, Made by Maru, Blume, Corey Egan and Matters of Delight.
Cute San Francisco stores and boutiques to shop at
Ending this post with some of my favorite local boutiques and one a kind shops to meet your need for San Francisco gifts. I have either visited or made a purchase from them and can vouch for their awesomeness. These are Nest (home decor), Aldea (home decor), Mira Mira (apparel), Therapy (anything you can think of), Marmalade, Be Good (apparel and accessories)and Mason Jar (apparel and accessories), Perch (cute gift shop) and my favorite all things made in SF store Local Take (Castro).
I hope you enjoyed reading this post for some off-kilter holiday shopping ideas to support all SFMade products and small businesses that make San Francisco so beautiful. Read my two other posts on ideas for budget travel in San Francisco and the ultimate San Francisco sightseeing guide. These San Francisco souvenir and Holiday gift ideas are sure to bring a smile to your family and loved ones.
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