Cable Car Ornament
It seems everyone knows someone with a passion for holiday ornaments. If you’re one of them, or have someone on your gift list who is, consider packing your bag with a cable car ornament or two ($15.99 each). Established as a local transport system in 1873, cable cars haven’t advanced much since then, thus, they’re not the most expedient mode of local transport. But they are the most charming by far, not to mention thrilling if you’re unaccustomed to driving hills. You can pick up your ornament at the Cable Car Museum, a fantastic destination in itself, or at the Cable Car Store at Pier 39 where you can also visit the famed sea lions lounging on the docks.
Boudin Sourdough Bread
For decades, visitors have regularly toted home a few memento loaves of San Francisco sourdough bread to show friends and family what truly exceptional versions of the tangy French bread tastes like. There’s no reason to break tradition now. The holey, airy, impossibly soft-middled and hard-crusted loaves continue to make mouths water, and they’re available in grocery stores everywhere from a variety of bakeries. But since you’re here, you may as well pay homage to the brand that started baking for San Franciscans in 1849 and committed to their sourdough mother recipe in 1868. Boudin has a variety of cafes around town (and even at SFO airport), but the place to go is Fisherman’s Wharf, where you can see bakers, arms deep in dough, at work in the bakery, buy a few loaves, and even pause for some clam chowder in an edible sourdough bowl ($2.79 to $6 per loaf). Keep in mind it’s best to buy bread you want to take home right before you leave, and freezing it for future enjoyment works!
Find your way to any of the above destinations and you’re sure to stumble upon more San Francisco souvenirs. And hey, if you can’t fit them in your suitcase and don’t want to ship them, that’s just another reason to return soon to the City by the Bay!