By Joe Kukura
Northern California’s famed San Mateo County/Silicon Valley region is known for its tech companies and startups, but the region is also a great place to start up a shopping spree. San Mateo County/Silicon Valley offers a rare combination of technical innovation and classical natural beauty, and the area’s zeal for the finer things comes across in its array of artisan, specialty shops and stores.
Let’s take a look at a few of these standout boutiques, shops and art stores that you just can’t miss when shopping in San Mateo County/Silicon Valley.
A garlic artichoke lover’s paradise, Arcangeli Grocery in Pescadero specializes in artisan garlic and artichoke spreads, salsas, marinades and appetizers. All of the food is sourced locally, so you can be sure you’re buying world-famous Northern California gourmet goods.
The gourmet goat milk craze goes beyond goat milk at the adorable goat dairy Harley Farms. Harley Farms’ gourmet gift shop has more than just its award-winning goat cheese, with other goat milk products like soaps, massage oils, and balms.
Burlingame’s Del’Oliva is known for its specialty olive oils that bring the real taste of Tuscany to California. But we’d be remiss to not mention Del’Oliva’s stellar selections of balsamic vinegars, artisan pastas and gourmet sauces and marinades.
A California candy institution since 1921, a box of See’s Candies has elicited smiles for nearly a century. The See’s Candies headquarters is a must-visit in South San Francisco, with other See’s chocolate shops located in Palo Alto, Redwood City, Burlingame and San Mateo.
Wineries of Half Moon Bay
Half Moon Bay is an up-and-coming alternative to wine country thanks to its outstanding vintages and convenient location. Several of Half Moon Bay’s wineries also offer specialty shops with epicurean delights. La Nebbia is a beautiful winery offering a “You bring it, we fill it!” bottle policy plus cooking marinades, olive oils and gourmet gifts in its shop. Also in Half Moon Bay, Barterra is an award-winning winery whose shop features a dizzying array of olive oils and distinctive artisan chocolates.
Wineries Across Silicon Valley
Urban wineries fill Silicon Valley with wine tasting options close to public transportation and near bustling downtowns. Located in San Carlos and each within walking distance of each other Cuvée Wine Cellars, Domenico Winery and Russian Ridge Winery allow you to get into the swig of things.
Restaurants and Pubs of Half Moon Bay
Two of Half Moon Bay’s most renowned seafood eateries let you take their taste to go with gourmet snacks and branded gear and gifts. The Sam’s Chowder House gift shop offers towels, apparel and hats with the widely beloved Sam’s logo, plus cookbooks and gourmet gifts. Half Moon Bay Brewing Co. also offers a gift shop and is located right among a number of quaint stores.
Gifts and Keepsakes
Half Moon Bay Art Glass
The “hot shop” at Half Moon Bay Art Glass offers a litany of exquisite and gorgeous hand-blown glass ornaments, drinking glasses and gifts, but the shop also offers classes and events that provide the once-in-a-lifetime experience of blowing your own handcrafted glass ornaments.
Hiller Aviation Museum
The Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos is a hidden gem of a vintage aircraft museum, and its gift shop flies higher than most museum stores. With an emphasis on the science and history of flight, the Hiller gift shop has an array of aircraft toys, books and absolutely anything for the model airplane enthusiast.
San Mateo County History Museum
The iconic San Mateo County History Museum building is a gorgeous structure that will take your breath away, and the museum’s gift shop is also quite unforgettable. The toys, books and gifts available reflect the museum’s fascinating historical collections, with the proceeds from all purchases going to the San Mateo County Historical Association.
Art Galleries and Museums
Burlingame’s Peninsula Museum of Art is indeed an art museum, but the Peninsula Museum of Art store offers plenty of fine art to pack and take home. Oil paintings, ceramics, mosaics, jewelry and cards are also available in this incomparable museum that’s free to the public.
Aquarium of the Bay
A trip to San Francisco’s Pier 39 is always a maritime treat, and the Aquarium of the Bay is a quintessential point of interest. The aquarium’s renowned gift shop offers fun items for any nautical enthusiast, plus everything else on your checklist of San Francisco gifts.
Stanford University Bookstore
One of the most prestigious universities in America also offers one of the country’s most prestigious—and one of the largest—student bookstores. The lush wonderland of Stanford University’s bookstore is unlike any other college bookstore, a beautiful facility that’s more like a library with seating and study nooks, books of all topics beyond just textbooks and even a technology center with gadgets and electronics. Insider tip: If you shop for your clothing and souvenirs at the Stanford STUDENT store, a non-profit organization run by students, all proceeds go back to student groups.
San Francisco Giants Dugout, AT&T Park
Even when it’s not baseball season, the Giants Dugout store at the San Francisco Giants’ AT&T Park is still open every day with the definitive line of San Francisco Giants hats, apparel and fan gear. As a bonus, AT&T Park is located just one block from the Caltrain line that covers the whole peninsula of San Mateo County/Silicon Valley. (If it’s easier, you may find Dugout Stores at Hillsdale, Serramonte or Stanford Shopping Centers.)
Health and Beauty
Pescadero’s Costanoa Lodge is an eco-adventure resort perfect for unplugging in California nature, and its gift shop lets you take a California home with you by providing essential oils, aromatherapy and other healing, relaxing gift items.
There’s no stopping the shopping in San Mateo County/Silicon Valley, with a wealth of signature California boutiques, bazaars and stores. Schedule some time to shop when visiting San Mateo County/Silicon Valley, because the food and finds from the region always travel well.
See all that San Mateo County/Silicon Valley has to offer and plan your trip now.