Relocated vintage clothing shop Vacation now open in North Beach

Leave those ho-hum, mass-produced garments on the rack and amp up your style game with a unique gem from Vacation, North Beach’s new vintage clothing store. Well, new to North Beach, that is. Prior to opening here at the end of February, the meticulously curated shop called the Tenderloin home.

According to owner Kristin Klein, Vacation’s move to North Beach wasn’t planned. Instead, it was the result of a happy coincidence. Last year, she was wandering through the neighborhood with her parents who were visiting from out of town and stumbled upon a vacant storefront on the corner of Grant and Union.

“We were in the Tenderloin for 10 years and were really advocating for the neighborhood,” says Klein, who has a background in costume design. “But I could not turn down a primo location in North Beach for the same price as pre-pandemic Tenderloin.”


Photo by Dorothy O’Donnell / Hoodline

She chose the name Vacation for her store because it’s a word associated with pure positive vibes. That upbeat energy shines through in the shop’s colorful, playful decor. Kline and her team painted the floor with folk art-style phrases and illustrations. They include images of gay couples and iconic San Francisco landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge; a red-lipped sun flashing a flirty smile; and old school cartoon characters like Felix the Cat and Mr. Peanut, the Plantars’ mascot.

Vacation’s clothing is just as fun. The store features a large selection of well-loved jeans, retro dresses, Mexican tops, authentic kimonos, designer pieces, and collectible t-shirts. You’ll also find vintage shoes, sunglasses, and accessories like Hermes silk scarves and alligator handbags. But you won’t find anything made from polyester.

“We pay a lot of attention to detail,” Klein explains. “We don’t do costumey vintage. We do wearable clothes in natural fabrics. It’s cool to offer affordable designer clothing to people and to show them garments from the 1910s or 1920s.”

Vacation’s prices vary, but many pieces start at around $28.00. Rarer items, such as couture designs or collectible t-shirts, have heftier price tags.

“The vintage band t-shirt market is crazy right now,” says Klein. “We always tell people they can buy a reproduction for $30. But these are pieces of wearable history. A lot of people are buying back this stuff from their youth.”

If you’re a serious Dead Head, for example, you can score a coveted shirt from the band’s third San Francisco concert — if you’re willing to part with a few hundred dollars.

“Since it’s from their third show, it’s probably the first one where they had merch for sale,” Klein notes.

She purchases most of Vacation’s inventory from trusted dealers or estate sales. Klein buys from individuals, too, but requests that people check out the store’s buying guidelines on Instagram (@vacationsf) before contacting her.

She’s especially partial to clothing from the 30s that was handmade by poor and working-class folks during the Depression. She loves that you can tell these garments were sewn by an individual, worn and mended by them, then passed down to someone else. And that almost 100 years later, they’re still wearable.


Photo by Dorothy O’Donnell / Hoodline

After struggling to make a profit in the Tenderloin, Klein is thrilled with the response Vacation’s received since opening in North Beach.

“It’s been wild and really validating,” she says. “Every day, the things that I think are cool for other people are flying off the rack. So it’s kind of awesome. I feel like with vintage, we’re rescuing things from being gone forever. It’s always cool for us to see something find a new home.”

Vacation is located at 1449 Grant Avenue, and open daily from noon to 7 pm

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