3010 20th St., Mission
Located in the Mission, Trick Dog is sort of a classic hipster spot for craft cocktails—you can be almost certain that your bartender is going to be sporting a well-groomed beard and a handmade apron. But with that creativity and attention to detail comes a James Beard Award-nominated cocktail program that incorporates out-of-the-box ingredients into a seasonally changing cocktail list. Visitors also love their menus, which change every month and have been imaginatively shaped into a Pantone color wheel, a zodiac guide, and a map of San Francisco. Just don't try to steal one (trust us, they're on to you).
3321 16th St., Mission
Cultural history of San Francisco often focuses on the '60s, but Mission Dolores, the city's oldest standing building, is a gentle but firm reminder of San Francisco's long and fascinating history. Built in 1776, the mission has a simple exterior but a more opulent space for quiet prayer inside; a visit will feel like stepping into tiny old European churches, but with a distinctly California sensibility. While this is definitely a tourist destination, it's interesting to note that Mission Dolores is still an active parish of the Catholic church, with an elementary school and plenty of opportunities for worship if you're so inclined.
956 Valencia St., Mission
Corina Nurimba and Catherine Chow, the two Cornell grads behind Azalea, are big believers that shopping should be an experience, and a pleasant one at that. This means that customer service is priority number one at both the original Hayes Valley outpost and the newer one in the Mission. The stores are split into men's and women's sections and do a really great job of staying current and affordable with the brand offering but not super trend-driven in the assortment (Topman and Nudie jeans for guys; OAK, T by Alexander Wang, and the house line for gals).
19 Wentworth Pl, Jackson Square
The website doesn't really do Basil Racuk's artisan accessories justice, so it's a good thing he opened a brick and mortar boutique. Bags, pouches, clutches, and the like are all handmade on-site using natural hides and can be customized as little or as much as you like. We're particularly fond of the totes, which are longer in silhouette and come in metallics as well as neutrals. For guys, there are excellent luggage pieces.
Gravel & Gold
3266 21st St., Mission
Dainty hand-beaded accessories by Salihah Moore, pottery by Patricia Yenawine, and Gravel & Gold's house line of print-centric separates make it kind of difficult to stick this eclectic little shop in any one category. Then there's the vintage décor and teeny indie apothecary section which also play to the greater theme: Everything is made by women, for women, right here in California.
493 Sanchez St., Mission
This incredibly well-stocked shop has all the makings of the perfect wardrobe for sartorially-conscious guys. The buy here is focused on craftsmanship and longevity, not trends, which translates to tidy stacks of Alex Mill shirting, Gant Rugger knits, Mackintosh raincoats, and shelves lined with heritage Wolverine work boots.
Bell Jar (Closed)
3187 16th St., Mission
This Mission-based shop's tagline—"Gorgeous Little Things"—couldn't be more accurate. They do offer a few racks-worth of pleasantly affordable clothing, but we prefer to come here for the giftables and home décor, which runs the gamut from a menagerie of tiny ceramic animals, to artisanal candles by Mary Meyers, to hand-sculpted evil eye spoons we never knew we wanted.
301 Valencia St., Mission
This welcome new addition to the San Francisco shopping landscape is the passion project of stylist Pauline Montupet. It's a truly unique concept int he area: The minimal, airy concept space is set up like an obsessively curated Pinterest board with whitewashed walls (and a stark floor to match), plywood fixtures, and pops of color courtesy of the merchandise, which ranges from Whyte to Tibi to Acrimony.
826 Valencia St., Mission
The powerful brainchild of Dave Eggers, 826 Valencia is the flagship for his childhood literacy project—and also home to the pirate store. Here, you'll find after-school writing programs for under-resourced kids, along with all the gear you need for any Peter Pan/Captain Hook fantasies. There are similar concepts—all wonderful, all life-changing—all over the country.
Paxton Gate’s Curiosities for Kids
766 Valencia St., Mission
Its parent store, Paxton Gate, is devoted to natural oddities and artifacts, whether it's taxidermied animals or other-worldly looking air plants. At the little kid's store, you'll find old-fashioned toys for screen-free tactile play, along with plenty of science-minded finds, including edible chemistry sets, rainbow makers, Korg synth kits, and build-your-own volcano sets.