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The Best Tattoo Shops in San Francisco

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Tattoos top the hierarchy of important beauty decisions, so we take our map of the best tattoo shops in San Francisco pretty seriously. We've been chasing down folks with impressive ink to ask for their artists' info, and the results are mapped below, (roughly north to south). But don't think that you can just stroll into one of these spots and walk out with a Mom heart the same day; it might be weeks or months before you get an appointment. (The wait is almost more painful than the tattoo itself, right?)

Have a favorite to add to the list? Let us know in the comments below.

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1. Ed Hardys Tattoo City

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700 Lombard Street
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 345-9437
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Before that awful Christian Audigier fashion line, Ed Hardy was best known as a tattoo artist. Though he's retired now, his son Doug has carried on the family tradition at the landmark shop. (And Ed still drops by regularly.)

2. Moth and Dagger Tattoo Studio

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610 Bush St
San Francisco, CA 94108
(415) 834-5127
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Mario Delgado, Justin Davis and Joe Kelly run this downtown studio, where they've built a reputation as easy-going artists who do killer shading and detail work. Check out their website for example of their latest designs.

3. Let It Bleed Tattoo

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1124 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 932-6215
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Though this is a small, custom-based shop, they do accept walk-ins if an artist is available. All the artists get rave reviews, but clients are especially enamored with Taler Nicols.

4. Idle Hand Tattoo

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575 Haight St
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 552-4353
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BellJar owner Sasha Darling raves that Idle Hand owner Holly Ellis is "the raddest, bad-ass lady I know." (High praise, indeed!) Walk-ins are accepted at this Haight Street shop, but appointments are preferred. Before you show up, hit the ATM; it's cash only.

5. Rose Gold's

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1157 Masonic Ave
San Francisco, CA 94117
Fiat Lux owner Marie McCarthy also owns this pretty Haight-Ashbury tattoo parlor, where artists like Adam Sky and Ben Matthews work some serious magic. The shop also has lots of jewelry options if you're interested in piercing.

6. BlackHeart Tattoo

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177 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94102
(415) 431-2100
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This Mission shop promises (and delivers) "bad-ass tattooery." Founded in 2004, the six artists at this shop have over 60 years of combined tattoo experience. Whoa.

7. Black and Blue Tattoo

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381 Guerrero St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 626-0770
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This female-owned, gender-inclusive tattoo studio has been around for almost 20 years. While the shop will take walk-ins, it's preferable to select an artist from the website and contact your artist directly to schedule an appointment.

8. Skull & Sword

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3415 Cesar Chavez
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 552-4297
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Both Grime and Henry Lewis come highly recommended. (Complex named Grime one of its tattoo artists you need to know and a tipster tells us Henry is "aces".) But all of the artists at this Bernal Heights studio do rad work; good luck deciding who to see. It may take a while to get an appointment, but it will be worth the wait.

9. Seventh Son Tattoo

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65 Langton St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 551-7766
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When we initially ran this map, commenters piped up with their love for Seventh Son, and we totally see why. When you're ready to commit to a sleeve or a full-body design, this team is the best.

10. 2Spirit Tattoo

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11 Pearl St
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 701-8288
Visit Website
Roxx, the founder and owner of 2Spirit, has an international following for her blackwork. With a career that spans three decades and six countries, she's one of the best in the biz for graphic or tribal designs. But you don't have to take our word for it. GQ just described her as "the woman at the forefront of the ink world’s coolest artistic movement".

11. Tuesday Tattoo

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4025 Judah St
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 242-6028
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When it's time to branch out beyond SoMa and the Mission, visit Tuesday Tattoo. Tattoo artist Jesse Tuesday —along with partners in crime Hannah Wednesday and Candi Kinyōbi (that translates to "Friday")— have been happily inking locals at this Outer Sunset studio for years. This shop earns kudos for both the laid-back vibe and the incredibly detailed work.

12. Shannon Archuleta Tattoo

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3150 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 336-9406
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We literally stopped a woman at a fashion show to find out where she got the gorgeous flowers covering her back, and she gladly shared her secret: Shannon Archuleta. If you're looking for stunning florals or intricate patterns, make an appointment to get on her schedule.

13. Mermaids Tattoo Studio

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3032 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 550-1400
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Though he splits his time between San Francisco and Portland, we've received multiple tips that Sam McWilliams is one of the best for nature-inspired work. Catch him while he's in town at Mermaids in the Mission.

1. Ed Hardys Tattoo City

700 Lombard Street, San Francisco, CA 94133
Before that awful Christian Audigier fashion line, Ed Hardy was best known as a tattoo artist. Though he's retired now, his son Doug has carried on the family tradition at the landmark shop. (And Ed still drops by regularly.)
700 Lombard Street
San Francisco, CA 94133

2. Moth and Dagger Tattoo Studio

610 Bush St, San Francisco, CA 94108
Mario Delgado, Justin Davis and Joe Kelly run this downtown studio, where they've built a reputation as easy-going artists who do killer shading and detail work. Check out their website for example of their latest designs.
610 Bush St
San Francisco, CA 94108

3. Let It Bleed Tattoo

1124 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109
Though this is a small, custom-based shop, they do accept walk-ins if an artist is available. All the artists get rave reviews, but clients are especially enamored with Taler Nicols.
1124 Polk St
San Francisco, CA 94109

4. Idle Hand Tattoo

575 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117
BellJar owner Sasha Darling raves that Idle Hand owner Holly Ellis is "the raddest, bad-ass lady I know." (High praise, indeed!) Walk-ins are accepted at this Haight Street shop, but appointments are preferred. Before you show up, hit the ATM; it's cash only.
575 Haight St
San Francisco, CA 94117

5. Rose Gold's

1157 Masonic Ave, San Francisco, CA 94117
Fiat Lux owner Marie McCarthy also owns this pretty Haight-Ashbury tattoo parlor, where artists like Adam Sky and Ben Matthews work some serious magic. The shop also has lots of jewelry options if you're interested in piercing.
1157 Masonic Ave
San Francisco, CA 94117

6. BlackHeart Tattoo

177 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94102
This Mission shop promises (and delivers) "bad-ass tattooery." Founded in 2004, the six artists at this shop have over 60 years of combined tattoo experience. Whoa.
177 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94102

7. Black and Blue Tattoo

381 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94103
This female-owned, gender-inclusive tattoo studio has been around for almost 20 years. While the shop will take walk-ins, it's preferable to select an artist from the website and contact your artist directly to schedule an appointment.
381 Guerrero St
San Francisco, CA 94103

8. Skull & Sword

3415 Cesar Chavez, San Francisco, CA 94110
Both Grime and Henry Lewis come highly recommended. (Complex named Grime one of its tattoo artists you need to know and a tipster tells us Henry is "aces".) But all of the artists at this Bernal Heights studio do rad work; good luck deciding who to see. It may take a while to get an appointment, but it will be worth the wait.
3415 Cesar Chavez
San Francisco, CA 94110

9. Seventh Son Tattoo

65 Langton St, San Francisco, CA 94103
When we initially ran this map, commenters piped up with their love for Seventh Son, and we totally see why. When you're ready to commit to a sleeve or a full-body design, this team is the best.
65 Langton St
San Francisco, CA 94103

10. 2Spirit Tattoo

11 Pearl St, San Francisco, CA 94103
Roxx, the founder and owner of 2Spirit, has an international following for her blackwork. With a career that spans three decades and six countries, she's one of the best in the biz for graphic or tribal designs. But you don't have to take our word for it. GQ just described her as "the woman at the forefront of the ink world’s coolest artistic movement".
11 Pearl St
San Francisco, CA 94103

11. Tuesday Tattoo

4025 Judah St, San Francisco, CA 94122
When it's time to branch out beyond SoMa and the Mission, visit Tuesday Tattoo. Tattoo artist Jesse Tuesday —along with partners in crime Hannah Wednesday and Candi Kinyōbi (that translates to "Friday")— have been happily inking locals at this Outer Sunset studio for years. This shop earns kudos for both the laid-back vibe and the incredibly detailed work.
4025 Judah St
San Francisco, CA 94122

12. Shannon Archuleta Tattoo

3150 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110
We literally stopped a woman at a fashion show to find out where she got the gorgeous flowers covering her back, and she gladly shared her secret: Shannon Archuleta. If you're looking for stunning florals or intricate patterns, make an appointment to get on her schedule.
3150 18th St
San Francisco, CA 94110

13. Mermaids Tattoo Studio

3032 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110
Though he splits his time between San Francisco and Portland, we've received multiple tips that Sam McWilliams is one of the best for nature-inspired work. Catch him while he's in town at Mermaids in the Mission.
3032 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110