Cute, bustling Clement Street is already known
as a destination avenue for affordable international eats and it’s family-friendly atmosphere. Those in the know have already eaten pizza with the tots at Giorgio’s, perused music and kid lit at Green Apple Books, and devoured an ice cream sundae while junior rode the mechanical pony at Toy Boat Dessert Cafe. What now? Here’s a list of surprisingly kid-friendly hidden gems on Clement Street between Arguello Boulevard and Seventh Avenue that will indulge all five senses of both the young and the not-as-young.
Start your walking tour at Thidwick Books, on the corner of Clement and Arguello. This indie bookstore has a great section of children’s books and toys hand-picked by owner Lea Grey to provide plenty of eye candy. Let her know the age and interests of your tyke and she’ll select the perfect read. At Fabrix, a discount fabric store near Second Avenue, young hands can touch a variety of different notions and over 25,000 yards of fabric. A great place for a rainy day scavenger hunt: Find a blue button with four holes! Show me an animal print! On the corner of Third Avenue, stop and smell the roses (and plenty other flowers) at Sloat Garden Center. This local nursery has several locations throughout the Bay Area but we love this little “plant boutique” because it’s such a haven from the hustle in its spot right off the Clement Street strip. Pick up some fresh potted herbs to use for dinner or ask the nursery experts about native plants to put in your yard. Genki Crepes & Mini Mart, down the block between Fourth and Fifth Avenues, has a crepe to satisfy every taste. Choose a savory offering like turkey, avocado and jack cheese crepe or a sweet one with Nutella and bananas. Picky eaters won’t be able to resist the amazing selection of Japanese candy and snacks, in some of the coolest packaging around. And finally, no ttrip to this hood would be complete without a trip to Kamei Restaurant Supply, a house wares emporium between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. The sound of clanging stainless steel pots and stacking ceramic dishes ring throughout this great place to outfit a new play kitchen.
—Sarah K. Choi