Tuesday 2 July 2024

Vintage San Francisco: Retro Shops and Experiences in the City

This is a collaborative post

As the saying goes, ‘Old is gold.’ If you are the type of person who loves vintage items, this collated list of retro shops and vintage experiences in San Francisco is a treat for you. This is one remarkable way of uncovering the city’s culture and hidden gems. If you are coming from San Francisco airport, take your rental car from SFO to some of these vintage spots and travel back in time. You can choose to visit some antique shops, vintage diners, historic theatres, or flea markets selling some of the most unique and classic items you’ll ever find on your trip. 

Decades of Fashion

This shop is located at 1653 Haight Street. The place is about 13-15 miles from San Francisco airport and it will take you at least 20-30 minutes to reach this vintage spot. From the name of the store itself, you would already have an idea that it is a vintage clothing store. Do you wish to experience some dress dating back to the Victorian era? If so, this is the right place to go. In addition, you can also find accessories to go along with the dress. Vintage aficionados would visit this shop to look for rare collectible items from the 1920s up to the 1980s. Stepping into this store is like travelling back in time.

Haight - Ashbury  

If you went to the Decades of Fashion store, you might as well take time to discover the Haight-Ashbury neighbourhood. This is where you can find some historic lovers roaming around the area. There are plenty of bookstores, clothing and tattoo shops, eclectic bars, and restaurants around Upper Haight Street. There are also Victorian homes that were preserved over time around the neighbourhood bordering Golden Gate Park. History shows that this area is famous for revolutionary movements, especially during the 1960s. Haight-Ashbury made its name as the centre of the hippies movement back in the day. It’s a place of diverse culture, flamboyant vibe, and modern classics. 

The Alemany Flea Market

Take your Avis Car Rental and head to the Alemany Flea Market. This spot is a short drive from the airport. In less than 15 minutes, you’ll reach this place. If you are looking for some one-of-a-kind items to add to your home decorations, then this market should be on your checklist. This place is located around the Bernal Heights neighbourhood. There are plenty of items you can choose from such as vintage jewellery, home décor, or even furniture. There is a certain upbeat vibe in the place and it's great to spend a few hours visiting in between shops. 


This is another store you can check out for retro furniture, clothes, artwork, and home décor. It’s located at 1545 Pacific Avenue and about a 30 minute drive from the airport. Are you collecting vinyl records? Check out the collection of records they have at this shop. It supports 60+ shops so there’s always something to offer for everyone looking for unique things.

There are several other antique shops you can visit such as S16 Home and the Gaslight and Shadows Antique which is located at 2335 Clement Street, Past Perfect located at 6101Geary Boulevard. The Antique and Art Exchange is also a must-visit. It is located at 151 Vermont Street Suite 4. Some other shops are Golden Age Vintage, De Angelis, Grand Central Station Antiques, Brand X Antiques, Reperch, and No Shop. 

Vintage vinyl for sale
Photo credit Oleg Ivanov via Unsplash

Lori’s Diner  

Visiting these shops could be trying, and if you are looking for a restaurant with a quintessential vibe, make your way to Lori’s Diner. It will take you back to the 1950s and you can order their famous burgers and milkshakes. Enjoy the vintage vibe while you immerse yourself in unique memorabilia decorated around the diner. Lori’s Diner is just 20 minutes drive away from the airport. 

Red Java House 

This is another spot with a vintage vibe where you can eat. This place is located at Pier 30. It will take you about 10-15 minutes from San Francisco airport to get to this place. This is where you can also enjoy delicious burgers, hotdogs, and fries while looking at the view of the Bay Bridge. They have been serving their customers since the 1950s. 

Castro Theater

If you wish to visit historic theatres, the Castro Theater is a must. This place has been well-preserved since its creation in 1922. It has been the venue for many different events over time. Various film festivals and film screenings were held at this place. It’s 14 miles from the airport and would take you at least 20 minutes to reach the theatre. 

These are just a few of the places you can visit for a vintage experience in San Francisco city. It’s a truly unique trip worth sharing with your friends once you’re back home. This is your chance to travel back in time. 

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