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San Francisco International Airport is more of a destination than a connection. Unless your flight plan includes Hawaii or Asia, you're unlikely to have a layover at good ol' SFO. Unsurprisingly, shopportunities are limited because the retail scene in the airport is geared toward travelers who will breeze through the terminals rather than wait out a connection buying trinkets. But that doesn't mean that SFO is devoid of spots where you can spend money. Though the airport's high-end options are restricted to the International Terminal, (where more of the layover travelers are milling about), there are still a few places within the domestic terminals where you can pick up a dress or a bag if you don't want to board your flight in the same outfit you wore for your frisky encounter at TSA—or if you forgot your dress for the wedding.
If you're in Terminal 1, and you need a new outfit, you're pretty much stuck with a San Francisco sweatshirt and whatever you can fashion from your findings at the numerous newsstands. Over in Terminal 3 and the fabulous, new-ish Terminal 2 (home to Virgin and the Yoga Room), there are a few more options. And then there's the International Terminal, which—as far as SFO is concerned—qualifies as pre-flight Fifth Avenue.
1. Burberry—The Burberry shops in the International Terminal near Gates A5 and G91 sell the iconic British brand's bags and accessories duty free, though you'll miss the thrill of carrying your envy-inducing haul through Union Square.
2. Mango—If you're waiting for your flight to Vegas and realize that you need new everything for your trip, head to the Spanish retailer's outposts in Terminals 2 (Boarding Area D) and 3 (at entrance to Gates 80-90) for a quick wardrobe refresh.
3. Coach—Like Burberry, Coach has two locations at SFO: By Gate A5 and Gate G93. If you're looking for duty-free leather goods and small accessories at a lower luxury price point, Coach is your store.
4. The Fickle Bag— The store's original Berkeley location may have shuttered earlier this year, but the Fickle Bag continues to sell handbags, clutches, diaper bags and accessories in SFO Terminal 3. If you're on a budget, this store is a good bet: Most bags are under $60.
5. Gucci— You can't buy a gown at either of the International Terminal Gucci stores (near Gates A1 and G92), but would you really want to buy a gown in an airport? Probably not. Instead, you'll find the standard bag/accessories combo that keep airport boutiques in business.
6. 100% Pure—Another Berkeley-turned-Terminal 3 retailer, 100% Pure sells vegan, toxin-free cosmetics and skincare products near Gate 74.
7. Kiehl's—So you had to toss your more-than-three-ounce shampoo at security in order to make your flight? Replace that dearly-departed bottle with a new one from Kiehl's in Terminal 2.
8. Sunglass Hut—Who hasn't lost a pair of sunglasses on a trip? Stock up on an extra pair of shades before your boarding call at one of Sunglass Hut's two locations in Terminal 3: near Gate 72 and near the entrance to Gates 80-90.
9. Hermes—Unlike the other luxury brands in the International Terminal, Hermes only has one location, near Gate G92, where it sells apparel, accessories, and bags.
10. The Body Shop—Air travel may dry out your skin, but you can pick up an extra (full-sized!) moisturizer for your flight in Terminal 3 near the entrance to Gates 80-90.
11. SFMOMA Museum Store—The official SFMOMA site is closed until 2016, but you can still buy trinkets from the SFMOMA Store before the TSA checkpoint in the International Terminal's Main Hall.
12. Swarovski—For some, there's no greater shame than showing up for a flight woefully under-sparkled. If you're one of those people, make a beeline for International Terminal's Swarovski boutique, located near Gate G94.
13. XpresSpa—Nails tattered from lugging that luggage? Shoulders in a knot from head-bobbing naps? Xpress Spa has four locations to the rescue: the International Terminal near gate 100, Terminal 2 post-security, Terminal 3 near gate 69, and if you're ride's running late, Terminal 3 in the Main Hall.
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