This is a beginner's guide to shopping and schlepping groceries locally in San Francisco.

If you grew up thinking the only way to shop was at Big Name stores with a lot of trunk space, then you're probably having a frustrating time shopping in SF right now. Experienced city people know that shopping for groceries at smaller, neighborhood stores is much less stressful and easier to fit into your busy urban lifestyle.

To do this Instructable you will need:

-money for your groceries
-stores in walking distance or easily accessed on a short bus or train ride
-any of the following:
-reusable paper, canvas, nylon or cotton totes
-"Granny Cart" (wheeled, personal shopping cart)
-bicycle with a bike basket

This is an item on the Neighbors Project Checklist.

Check out more stuff by me, Casey, at my website: www.telephoneandsoup.com

Step 1: Get Your Urban Shopping Gear

Sure, you can just show up and buy stuff without any special gear. But these specialty urban shopping items will make your life a lot easier.

These three gear options can work by themselves or with each other.


There are quite a few possibilities for bags beyond the world of Paper and Plastic. Pick one that works best for carrying your groceries and matching your good style. Keep one in your office/gym bag you have with you every day for those spur-of-the-moment shopping trips on your way home.


The Granny Cart is for when you and your roommates start saying things like, "Plain pasta for breakfast AGAIN?" or "You can just scrape mold off and it's ok, right?" They're best for the BIG trips. They are also great for shopping with kids since they provide easy schlepping and lots of entertainment.

Something important to keep in mind about Granny Carts is how you pack them. You don't want your tomatoes on the bottom where they will be squashed by things stacked on top and subsequently pureed for sidewalk gaspatcho by the metal squares of the cart. Put heavy, boxed or canned items on the bottom (any pre-made frozen stuff, canned soups and beans etc), followed by lighter containers (pasta, cereal, tea), and lastly, crushable produce.

One last tip: the key to looking cool with your Granny Cart is KNOWING you look cool with your Granny Cart. So stand tall and STRUT IT.


Classic, functional and an easy way to express your style. A very sensible shopping option for those who bike to work, or for trips just beyond walking distance. (But beware of hills!)

There are a million bike baskets out there, from the insubstantial wicker or plastic ones to the standard metal to the super high end wood and metal. You can put a basket on the front of your bike (attached to your handlebars), on top of your rear rack or on the sides of your rear rack. Some baskets fold and some detach.

There are also a variety of saddle bags (technically called "panniers") you can attach to the back of your bike for bigger, heavier loads.

Much like with the Granny Cart, keep a stacking strategy in mind while packing it.
Brilliant job. I love it. I hope that denizens of different (rival?) cities each create their personalized/ localized response. A note on "granny carts": I find rolling it behind me when I go over curbs, cracks, and 'tracks to be helpful. Cheers!
....er.....thanks for the warning, you know.............. about the "shopping challenges" of San Fran. Do they sell ammo at that store? Do I have to bring my own bags? Are the parking spaces big enough for my 4x4? I need a much bigger cart than that, pork ribs, charcoal, lighter fluid briscuit, beer, ice, yard guard,chewin' tobacco, ya' know, the essentials. The gun rack is not "just for show" Step back from the truck, my dog bites vegetarians. just kidding.
im not going there anytime soon anyway so i dont really need the "shopping challenges" lol
Well beer technically is a vegetarian meal so you better watch your dog.... :-P
for the "granny cart" as you called it, those are also good in vegas, plus you can take them on the bus.
Very enjoyable instructable , you've nearly turned the chore of shopping into a fun outing :-) . Thank you.
Granny carts are <em>cool?</em> xD <br/><br/>nice iBle (-; <br/>
Awesome tutorial! I created an acct just to say thanks for this delicious article!

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