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Factory outlets and neighborhood eateries ... San Francisco's South Park.

Factory outlets and neighborhood eateries . . . San Francisco's South Park It's an urban oasis among rows of former shipping warehouses and boxy store-fronts. San Francisco's South Park, with its capsule-shaped patch of grass and trees and its neighborhood eateries, makes a civilized base station from which to hunt the plentiful bargains in the surrounding area. Visit now for Christmas gifts at slightly to considerably less than full retail price.

Built in 1856, the small park was to be the centerpiece of San Francisco's first upper-class residential development. But nearby areas began declining in the 1870s, and only a few of the London-style townhouses planned to ring the park were ever put up. (Even those are gone now; they were destroyed in the fire that followed the 1906 earthquake.)

Today, the park serves as the front garden for smallish office, studio, and apartment buildings; it's an unpretentious gathering spot for people living, working, or shopping in the area. Swings, a whirligig, and climbing sculptures give shopping-crazed youngsters a chance to recuperate.

Food and fashion: eat to fuel your feet

Euro-chic South Park Cafe opens early and serves simple French cuisine all day. (While facing the cafe, glance up and to the right at the trompe-l'oeil mural on the Gran Oriente Filipino building.)

For lunch or dinner, Cityblock offers boldly arranged compositions of colorful, ultra-fresh foods. (Surprisingly, the seasoning isn't as daring.) On weekdays, the restaurant also makes box lunches for park picnics.

Also nearby are Gordy's, whose varied lunch foods include burritos, and Brannan St. Cafe, with salad bar and hot soups.

Here we list five outlets selling the best-bargain merchandise within the nine blocks immediately surrounding the park. For a map of the numerous outlets in the area, buy a South of Market Today guide ($3), sold at many area businesses.

As with any outlet shopping, defects are often part of the bargain, so be sure to check the severity of any flaws.

ACA Joe, 148 Townsend Street; open 10 to 5 Mondays through Saturdays. Wide selection--all ACA Joe clothing (mostly men's)--from previous seasons at discounts of 10 to 70 percent.

Gunne Sax, 35 Stanford Alley; 10 to 5 weekdays, 9 to 5 weekends. Large selection of Jessica McClintock's award-winning designs year-round. Special-occasion dresses from previous seasons, including bridal gowns and prom and cocktail dresses. Prices are 50 to 70 percent below retail.

New York Cosmetics and Fragrance, 318 Brannan Street; 10 to 5 Mondays through Saturdays, some Sundays. Selected products by Elizabeth Arden, Guerlain, Lancome, and others, and stylist-quality hair supplies. Discount is 10 to 70 percent.

Simonetta, 324 Ritch Street; 11 to 6 Mondays through Saturdays. Junk jewelry handmade on the premises. Pins and big, outrageously colorful earrings at dime-store prices.

Simply Cotton, 610 Third Street; 10 to 5 Mondays through Saturdays. Mostly 100-percent-cotton jersey shirts, leggings, skirts, vests, and jackets in seasonal colors; $10 to $22 each. Prices on previous season's goods are around $8, but clearance merchandise can be rife with flaws.

How to get there: by car, Muni, BART

If you drive, from I-80 northbound take the Fourth Street exit; go straight on Bryant, right on Second, and right onto South Park. From the Bay Bridge, take the Fifth Street exit, go left on Fifth, left on Bryant, right on Second, and right onto South Park. Parking is in very short supply; best bets are lots on Brannan Street between First and Second.

If you're coming from the East Bay, the Montgomery Street BART stop is about five blocks from South Park. CalTrain is a convenient way for Peninsula residents to come; the station, at Fourth and Townsend streets, is just 2-1/2 blocks away. Muni's 15 Third, 30 Stockton, 42 Downtown Loop, and 45 Union buses stop here every few minutes; call (415) 673-6864.

What's to come

This area is in the news right now as voters consider whether or not to approve a new ballpark nearby for Giants baseball. The proposed site is bounded by Second and Third streets and the bay. Although public transportation into the area is good, stadium opponents fear increased traffic and parking demand.

While new development might slant more toward game-goers than couture-browsers, the stadium could spark new businesses and help keep existing ones alive.
COPYRIGHT 1989 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Article Type:Directory
Date:Nov 1, 1989
Words:707
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