The Intrepid Shopper

San Francisco's new heights

Long known as one of San Francisco's great, if sleepy, antiques districts, Presidio Heights has recently sprung to action. Three years ago a handful of local shop owners founded the Sacramento Street Merchants Association with the goal of turning their tranquil treelined area into the Madison Avenue of the West Coast. And what progress they've made: In the seven blocks between Spruce and Broderick, a number of chic boutiques have popped up among the veteran furniture and design stores.

One corner of this bright, sunny boutique is dedicated to Ashley Dearborn's line of fanciful shoes ($98-$700), which show off such handiwork as appliquéd rainbows, clouds, and lightning bolts. Among the other tempting goods are apatite drop earrings by local designer Arika C. ($205), pleated chiffon skirts by Robert Rodriguez ($250), and cropped, tailored jackets by up-and-coming designer Reyes ($280). At 3571 Sacramento St.; 415-440-1058.

Self-proclaimed orchid addict Isabella Vibat-Woodcox specializes in creating exotic arrangements in unusual containers like 19th-century Chinese lunch boxes ($225, plus the cost of the flowers) and ceramic Italian biscotti jars ($75). Blooms range from the relatively common jade-and-orange phalaenopsis ($65 per plant) to a rare citrus and jasmine-scented cychnoches ($165). The shop ships nationwide. At 3319 Sacramento St.; 877-267-2443 or 415-567-2443;

Entering this tiny shoe store is a bit like walking into a kaleidoscope. Bubble gum-pink walls, zebra rugs, and low Moroccan tables make a fitting, and maybe a bit head-spinning, backdrop for women's shoes in a riot of colors. Among the highlights: fuchsia stilettos by Alberta Ferretti ($540), gold Giuseppe Zanotti kitten heels adorned with rhinestones ($395), and black leather thongs with studded bronze details, by Sigerson Morrison ($295). At 344 Presidio Ave.; 415-409-1209.

We can never resist a repeat visit to this tea cozy-size shop. The selection of extraordinary European textiles is always evolving: This season, look for Belgian linen placemats ($28-$35), quirkily embroidered tip towels ($28), Italian pajamas made with 300-thread-count cotton sateen ($125), and supersoft cotton bedding in both traditional and modern designs (duvets, from $450). At 3234 Sacramento St.; 415-674-0560;

Former fashion executives Sam Hamilton and Mark Cunningham have hit on a winning combination in their airy design emporium: antique and vintage finds—for example, a pristine Louis Sognot chrome-and-leather armchair from the thirties ($5,900)—mixed with a few clean-lined reproductions and sculptural objects. You might come across chunks of gnarled, sun-bleached driftwood ($500), teak pedestals ($4,600), as well as various classic Danish pottery, such as a brown Axel Salto glazed cylindrical vase ($2,800). The smart assortment is finished off with contemporary art, mostly prints and photography. At 3075 Sacramento St.; 415-931-7433.

In the market for a kindergartner-size tuxedo with tails? Search no farther than this haberdashery, a handsome, old-fashioned clothing shop full of high-end gear for boys size 4 and up—plus "dads' pieces" to match. Mahogany cases display Hickey Freeman formalwear (a madras dinner jacket is $350), Grass Court hand-knit tennis sweaters ($260), and a golf line by Bobby Jones. Growth spurts be damned—there is also an in-store custom shirtmaker and tailor who can whip up anything to your tot's specifications. At 3490 Sacramento St.; 415-673-3110.

Interior designer Wilkinson opened this spacious shop to showcase her handpicked furniture and decorative pieces in fresh ways. A late-19th-century Louis Philippe armoire ($10,500) stands next to a pair of red lacquered chairs ($5,200 for the two); Venetian chandeliers ($4,000-$9,000) share the rafters with modern pendant lights ($950); and a stack of traditional Italian linens by Bellora (queen set, $540) tower beside vibrant Missoni Home towels ($15-$80). $ At 3419 Sacramento St.; 415-409-1966;

$ Establishment accepts no charge/credit cards or accepts cards other than the American Express Card.