Tech Store (credit: PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Time-wasting gadgets and productivity-killing toys are what tech lovers live for. Creative, imaginative, and, most of all, fun are what is looked for in the best type of gifts for the geeky-side in all of us, young and old. Although there are some “bigger box” stores that have gotten this right, we concentrate more on the quirky, bizarre, smaller shops around the San Francisco Bay Area that give us something unique, and things we just didn’t know we had a “need” for. From family friendly to unleashing the inner CIA agent in you, these are our picks for some of the best shops for gifting your amateur or advanced tech lover.
1734 University Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94703
We live in an age where do-it-yourself (DIY) is becoming more common, with a vast selection of YouTube videos to show how to do or fix just about anything, Al Lasher’s Electronics in Berkeley is the perfect spot to supply the tech DIY person in your life. Founded in 1960, Al Lasher’s has a boundless supply of network cabling, soldering equipment, connectors, resistors, even remote surveillance equipment and custom neon lighting. Whether you are restoring an antique radio or customizing a new laptop, Al Lasher’s Electronics has you covered.
820 Valencia St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
For the musician and music aficionado, Dijital Fix in the Mission District of San Francisco is the place to go. Quirky gadgets like the Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator, a hand held drum and beat synthesizer, will keep even the most advanced musician playing for hours. Professional and quality grade headphones, speakers, turntables, and even artwork and photography items, literally everything your eye sees at Dijital Fix is available for sale.
201 S. Market St.
San Jose, CA 95113
One of the most family-friendly places on the list, Silicon Valley’s Tech Museum of Innovation store is an adventure all on its own. Ranging from a mug with math formulas to science kits enabling the scientist in all of us to come out, there is something for everybody. Although linked to the museum, which offers tours and classes for the science and space lover, there is no charge to visit the adjoining store.
555 Beach St.
San Francisco, CA 94133
Allow your inner James Bond to come out. You can honestly hear the theme song in your head as you walk in to International Spy Shop. With a boundless amount of different types of hidden cameras to even an infidelity test kit (no black-light needed), International Spy Shop has all your bases covered with unique items all over the store.
Sausalito, CA 94965
Nothing screams geek like a good, old fashioned modeling kit. Taking it to the next level, Sausalito Ferry Company has a endless supply of metal modeling kits, with choices ranging from castles to Star Wars, you really can’t go wrong. Heavily themed in Japanese products, Sausalito Ferry Company also has a ton of quirky gadgets and do-dads to occupy any tech lover’s time-wasting needs for hours.
Andrew Wilson started a music webzine to photograph and write about his favorite artists. He quickly notoriety as both a writer and photographer, and has since been published to a variety of national news sites. Andrew resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and is pursuing a degree in landscape photography.