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Thursday, December 4, 2008

Installment 1 - A Day In San Francisco

Ever since I first visited San Francisco in 2002, I became enthralled with the city's Victorian architecture, enticing water views, and non-conformist attitudes. Each trip that I make back to the city reveals new and engaging activities and undiscovered treasures. During my latest trip last month, I devoted some time browsing various thrift and vintage shops along Polk Street. So without further ado, here is Installment 1 of "A Day In San Francisco."

3:00 pm - Arrive in the city, check into your hotel at Fisherman's Wharf, and note how warm and sunny it is, especially for November. Simultaneously curse and thank the Santa Ana winds for this dry, clear weather. Walk along the water towards Ghiradelli Square and enjoy the breathtaking views of California's most famous bridge, the Golden Gate.

Golden Gate Bridge

4:15 pm - Stop at Kara's Cupcakes for a sweet late afternoon snack. Choose between sumptuous flavors such as pumpkin, coconut, passion fruit, and sweet vanilla. With a sudden surge of energy, begin walking to the Polk Street corridor for some thrifting.

Kara's Cupcakes

4:30 pm - Browse various shops along Polk Street, including Molte Cose (at 2044 Polk St.) and adjoining Belle Cose, where you'll find vintage YSL pumps, Armani gowns, lacy lingerie, sequin sweaters, and brocade dresses by BB Dakota.

Belle Cose

4:40 pm - Peek into Fashion Exchange (located at 1446 Polk St.) and stroke vintage fur jackets priced at about $60. Note an abundance of sequins, costumes, and footwear. Then move on to scour the racks of designer pieces at the upscale Town School Clothes Closet, located at 1850 Polk St. (pictured below).


5:15 pm - Visit Mascara Vintage (at 1747 Polk St.), which has a small but well-edited selection of fur-trimmed coats, 1970s dresses, and vintage high-waisted jeans that your mom may have worn.

Mascara Vintage

5:45 pm - Wind down your Polk St. shopping adventure with a look into Out of the Closet (1498 Polk St.), which claims to be "the world's most fabulous thrift store" according to its signage. Browse more vintage coats, pumps, and accessories.

Out of the Closet San Francisco

6:00 pm - Stop for a slice of pizza at Victor's Pizzeria at 1411 Polk St. and then head down Bush St. towards Union Square for some chain store shopping.

6:30 pm - Arrive at the H&M located at 150 Powell St. to find that the Comme des Garçons collection sold out in minutes that morning (Nov. 13). Wander over to the men's department and buy a bow tie for yourself. Resolve to work it into your holiday wardrobe with a cropped tuxedo blazer.

7:30 pm - Head over to Market St. for the 3-story Forever 21, which now carries the Twelve by Twelve line. On your way out, note the absence of tourists at the cable car turnaround and relish in the quiet night and the unusually relaxing city atmosphere.

8:00 pm - Spend some time wandering around Westfield San Francisco Centre and visit the new Aritzia store. Try on some to-die-for Gucci-esque studded boots at Zara and then buy European fashion magazines at Borders.

9:00 pm - Begrudgingly part with $5 to catch the cable car up Powell St. and back to Fisherman's Wharf. To counteract the cool fall night, walk to the Buena Vista Cafe for their warm Irish coffee and bread pudding.

Buena Vista San Francisco

Coming soon...Installment 2 of "A Day In San Francisco."