Valencia street is by far one of our favorite streets to walk down in San Francisco. It has a variety of things to see, eat, and has an awesome nightlife too. Just two blocks away from 16th street bart, this street is super accessible to anybody that doesn’t have an access to a car or want to deal with that horrible SF parking.
Here’s a list of our favorites the next time you’re planning on being in the area. We also made it vegan friendly with choosing locations offering vegan options. Enjoy!
1: Top Drawer
Also known as KOLO, this store is a digital nomad’s dream come true. They are a Japanese-American company that creates tools for the person on the go. Whether you’re working at a coffee shop or at the airport, they believe that you work best with the right tools in your hands. With carrying items like reusable bento boxes, water bottles, charging cables, etc. As well as umbrellas, backpacks, and other everyday essentials. Our favorite section was the plethora of pens and notebooks to choose from.
Baggu is a native SF bag company that creates high quality nylon reusable shopping bags. They can hold 2-3 times more weight than a regular plastic grocery bag and is way better for the environment too. What makes these bags so wonderful is how small they fold up and they even come with their own nylon carrying case. The prints and color palettes are trendy and fun! You can guarantee that anybody shopping for a Baggu bag will find something that matches their style. They also have a range of other types of bags like backpacks and purses.
This bookstore has been around since the early 90’s and has to be one of our favorite go-to bookstores. With a mix between new and used books, the store has a very comfortable atmosphere. Many people spend a long time reading inside the store. They also cary magazines, sell art, and you can sell your books back to them as well. They have a recommended books section every week and it usually features something feminist and progressive (just my kind of books). Outside of the store you can sometimes find a free pile too!
Garden Creamery is such a tasty treat in between all the walking around. The owners create small batches of ice cream with local ingredients, and you can really taste the difference! Their ice creams are always fresh and tasty. This place has AMAZING vegan ice cream options made from a coconut base and sweetened with organic agave nectar. The flavors are seasonal, so make sure you can get it while you can!
5: Boba Guys
If you didn’t get a chance to drink boba guys in SF, did you even really go to SF?? Thankfully they have more than one place to get these yummy drinks, but the Valencia spot is probably the most popular. Everybody walking around Valencia has their delicious boba featuring a cute ant eater cup. But be prepared to wait in line, because it’s always super long. Sadly they don’t have any vegan milk options just yet, but I’m hoping one day they will! Still, the tea by itself with the boba is very tasty and you can get it sweetened to your preference as well.
This mural project has been going on since the early 90s and started as a community of artists and activists to help bring art into the public. CAMP (Clarion Alley Mural Project) uses art to speak up for people of color, gender, and marginalized groups as a way to encourage them so they don’t feel alone. Sometimes you’ll be able to see the artists painting away and it’s always a cool experience to watch.
There are many delicious Mexican food spots on Valencia St. since this street is known to be ethnically diverse. After trying out almost all the Mexican food spots that offer vegan options, this one has got to be the best. The vegan options are very clearly stated on the menu which is super convenient. It was also featured on Anthony Bourdain’s (RIP) No Reservations, Man vs. Food, and Bizarre Foods Delicious Destinations! That’s a lot of famous people for one restaurant. The ingredients are fresh and is perfect after a night out of drinking. They’re also open until 2:30 am on Fridays and Saturdays. Yay munchies!!
Indochine is a food spot that carries a blend of Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and American dishes. They use no animals products and it’s a cost friendly spot too. Their soups are huge and filling, also offering a lot of vegan meat options. I love that you can order items that aren’t usually vegan at asian restaurants like pot stickers and wontons. It’s quite hard to find vegan options for that!
This is a great kids store that adults can enjoy too! What originally started as a store selling taxidermy (shown at the bottom), has opened an additional store for kid’s toys. They cary a variety of new age electronic toys and nostalgic pre-digital era games as well. Examples would be alphabet wood blocks, volcano making kits, puppets, and everything in between! They also have events so be sure to check out their site before going to see if there’s anything fun you can check out.
10: Incline Gallery
Tucked away between Paxton Gate and Betabrand, this is a great place to take a look at traveling artist’s art. They show a mixture of emerging and established artists, which is a great way to give them a platform to grow as an artist. This gallery definitely has a New York/SOHO vibe to it.
Betabrand is an SF favorite! This clothing company uses crowdsourcing to help figure out what their audience wants to buy before making the garment. They design and release their products in limited quantities, making sure there will be no extra waste. If you’re a designer or just have a really good idea and have no clue on how to make it, check out Betabrand and see if this is something you might want to do! What makes this store so fun is they have a cool photo opp with monsters of the blue lagoon and big foot on a green screen.
Balm is a SF based cruelty, talc, and paraben-free makeup company. They believe in creating a good look in a short amount of time. There’s also a brow bar and makeup classes inside the store.
13. City Art Gallery
This art gallery is another of our favorites and has been around since the late 90’s. The gallery is a group operated business that allows artists to regularly show their art by renting a wall space for a month. The artists themselves will work shifts which allows them the opportunity to talk to the customers and hopefully make a sell. I love this gallery, because the art featured usually has some more interesting themes than traditional artworks.
This store is run by the same people at Paxton Gate Curiosities. They sell a wonderful variety of natural items found from around the world. Including taxidermy, crystals, jewelry, succulents, and more. There’s also classes where you can learn to do taxidermy yourself as well, which has always been on the bucket list for me. You can check out the classes available on their website.
Interested to see our video on everything I mentioned above? Be sure to check out our video down below 🙂