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2024

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Best Tattoo Shops in San Francisco, CA

Our Recommended Top 19

We did the research for you!

  • Licensing
  • User Reviews
  • Mystery Shopping Calls

Our goal is to connect people with the best local professionals. We scored San Francisco Tattoo Shops on more than 25 variables across five categories, and analyzed the results to give you a hand-picked list of the best.

185Reviewed

118Curated

19Top Picks

Learn about our selection process.

Providers

featured provider = Featured Provider

610 Bush Street, San Francisco, CA 94108

Expertise.com Rating

Review Sources

Yelp
5.0 (145)
Google
4.0 (47)
Facebook
5.0 (44)

Why choose this provider?

Moth and Dagger Tattoo Studio was founded in 2009 and has since provided tattoo services to San Francisco and other surrounding communities. The portfolio of its owner and artist, Mario Delgado, includes realism, illustrative, and portrait-style tattoos. He also performs cover-ups and reworks. Another artist, Rigers Strange, focuses on gothic-inspired tattoos that are mostly black and gray. In addition, the studio also offers merchandise including clothing apparel and towels. It also organizes events to raise funds for specific causes.

  • Portraits
  • Realism Tattoos

1309 20th Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94122

Expertise.com Rating

Review Sources

Yelp
5.0 (80)

Why choose this provider?

Eye of the Tiger Tattoo has been tattooing in the San Francisco area since 2013. Owner Salem has some 25 years of experience in the field and has traveled the globe perfecting his skills. Artists at the studio can render most any custom design in various styles such as traditional, portrait realism, Asian, color, and sacred geometry. Salem won the award for Best Color Tattoo at Inked Hearts Tattoo Convention.

  • Traditional Tattoos

528 Green Street, San Francisco, CA 94133

Expertise.com Rating

Review Sources

Yelp
5.0 (182)
Facebook
4.7 (158)
Google
4.0 (61)

Why choose this provider?

Tattoo Boogaloo in San Francisco accepts clients on an appointment basis. Its tattoo artists are proficient in various art styles, such as art nouveau, realism, neo-traditional, and illustration-based tattoos. In addition, their portfolio of tattoo art ranges from animal memorials and mod-style flower designs to pop-culture illustrations and cult-classic imagery. Tattoo Boogaloo also sells merchandise such as enamel pins made by one of its co-owners, Deanna Wardin. A portion of the proceeds from this merchandise is donated to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

  • Body Art

825 Sacramento Street, San Francisco, CA 94108

Expertise.com Rating

Review Sources

Google
4.0 (44)
Yelp
4.5 (26)

Why choose this provider?

Located in the heart of Chinatown, Two Cranes Tattoo serves the residents of San Francisco with all aspects of tattoo services. From small to large pieces, the team is focused on handling tattoos of all sizes. The shop's artists, Nicholas, Angeldust, Beeso, and James, offer different types of styles that clients can choose from. The artists provide various kinds of custom designs, such as black and grey, line work, and American traditional pieces. For convenience, the shop accepts walk-in clients.

  • Body Art
  • Traditional Tattoos

5736 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94112

Expertise.com Rating

Review Sources

Yelp
4.0 (126)
Facebook
5.0 (81)
Google
4.0 (56)

Why choose this provider?

Lucky Van's Tattoo is a family-run tattoo studio catering to San Francisco clients for over 13 years. It performs a myriad of tattoo styles, including 3D tattoos, portraits, watercolor, Japanese traditional, fine lines, and white ink. Its artists are also versed in cosmetic tattoos for hairlines and eyebrows, as well as permanent lip and eyeliner. A broad range of piercing services is also available. The shop's founder, Van Trinidad, has been tattooing for over 27 years.

  • Body Art
  • Piercings

228 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94133

Expertise.com Rating

Review Sources

Yelp
4.5 (66)

Why choose this provider?

Dream Masters Custom Tattoos is a San Francisco ink shop. Artists work personally with clients to make sure each design is rendered per request and will go well on the client's anatomy. All tattooers are licensed and certified by the San Francisco Health Department, have current vaccinations, have completed bloodborne pathogen training, and have been tested for Hepatitis and HIV. Dream Masters has won numerous awards including Best Tattoo Shop in San Francisco from 2013 to 2016.

  • Body Art

1783 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

Expertise.com Rating

Review Sources

Yelp
4.5 (430)

Why choose this provider?

Cold Steel America has been a San Francisco tattoo shop for over 15 years. The studio is known to be safe, clean, and friendly and is open seven days a week. Appointments are not required, and all design styles as well as custom work, large and small, can be accommodated. The shop's piercers are licensed and have a combined 50 years of experience, and a full line of jewelry is also for sale.

  • Body Art
  • Piercings

2455 3rd Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

Expertise.com Rating

Review Sources

Yelp
4.5 (1122)
Facebook
4.5 (562)
Google
4.8 (278)

Why choose this provider?

Body Manipulations is a tattoo and piercing shop operating in San Francisco. It provides tattoo services and accommodates walk-ins and appointments. Guest or apprentice artists sometimes join its team to provide different tattoo styles for clients. Moreover, the shop specializes in a wide range of piercings, including traditional earlobe, standard body, and genital piercing or pearling, as well as subdermal anchor removal. Delivery services are also available for products, available at the shop, such as aftercare products, dangly earrings, and rings.

  • Piercings
  • Traditional Tattoos

850 Clay Street, San Francisco, CA 94108

Expertise.com Rating

Review Sources

Facebook
4.8 (47)
Google
5.0 (5)
Yelp
5.0 (5)

Why choose this provider?

Based in San Francisco, Golden Star Tattoo Company offers custom tattoo services in and around the area. The studio artists specialize in Asian tattoos and accept walk-in appointments. They also conduct consultations, work closely with clients to create designs, and plan sessions in case of large-scale tattoos. Moreover, they perform tattoo work in a sterile and clean environment. Golden Star Tattoo Company has been in the industry since 2018. Tito Gavina, one of its artists, provides Japanese and Filipino-illustrated tattoos.

  • Body Art
  • Portraits

5124 Geary Boulevard, San Francisco, CA 94118

Expertise.com Rating

Review Sources

Yelp
4.5 (353)

Why choose this provider?

Picture Machine Tattoo is a famous San Francisco tattoo studio with a history dating back to its founding in 1976 by Pat Martynuik. The store has been home to some of tattooing's biggest names and today employs four resident artists whose work and bios are shown on the studio's site. Picture Machine is open seven days a week, and all artists can be contacted directly.

  • Traditional Tattoos

555 Irving Street, San Francisco, CA 94122

Expertise.com Rating

Review Sources

Yelp
4.5 (418)
Facebook
4.8 (64)

Why choose this provider?

One Shot Tattoo, located at San Francisco's Inner Sunset district, has been in the business since March 2003. It can provide cover-ups and work with a number of tattoo styles, including custom designs, traditional American, nature-based, and illustrative black and gray. The shop has six tattoo artists, including Adrian Sanchez, who has been tattooing since 2003, and Rhianna Helfman, who carries experience working with scar cover-ups. Its artists are trained and certified in areas of bloodborne pathogens, cross-contamination, and CPR practices.

  • Traditional Tattoos

5250 College Avenue, Oakland, CA 94618

Expertise.com Rating

Review Sources

Facebook
4.7 (70)
Google
4.7 (54)

Why choose this provider?

Old Crow Tattoo provides high-end tattoos in a well-equipped space designed to help clients find their talisman and power. It also imprints original tattoo designs on clothing, mugs, sublimation socks, and phone cases. Founder Hannahwolf has been tattooing clients since 2003 and has published a book entitled The Science of Tattooing. Her apprentice, Natasha Tsozik, specializes in creating a portrait, animal, and floral tattoo using a black and grey illustrative style. They cater to individuals in San Francisco.

  • Traditional Tattoos

1124 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109

Expertise.com Rating

Review Sources

Facebook
4.8 (234)
Yelp
4.5 (122)
Google
4.8 (79)

Why choose this provider?

Let It Bleed Tattoo is a shop servicing clients in San Franciso. It provides custom tattoo services and accommodates walk-ins and appointments. Its artists also conduct in-shop consultations for cover-up procedures. A variety of information about the parlor's tattoo artists is available on the website including their emails, contact numbers, and social media pages. Aftercare instructions are also available. Clients can view a photo gallery of completed tattoo procedures online for reference on available styles.

  • Traditional Tattoos

3424 25th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

Expertise.com Rating

Review Sources

Yelp
4.5 (62)
Google
4.0 (31)
Facebook
5.0 (15)

Why choose this provider?

Established in 1995, Frisco Tattoo is a tattoo shop that operates in San Francisco. It is run by Jonah Levin, a full-time artist who once worked as the designer for the WuTang Clan's official clothing line. He and his team offer a variety of tattoo styles such as animal portraits, cartoon illustrations, black-and-white images, and lettering. They also educate first-time clients about proper aftercare for their tattoos and skin. The shop can also provide Japanese and Polynesian-based designs and letterings.

  • Traditional Tattoos
  • Realism Tattoos

1157 Masonic Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94117

Expertise.com Rating

Review Sources

Yelp
4.5 (473)
Google
4.6 (120)
Facebook
4.0 (114)

Why choose this provider?

Rose Gold's San Francisco is a tattoo studio in San Francisco that hosts a collective of artists that offer a wide variety of inking styles for custom-designed tattoos. The studio currently has three tattoo artists on board and is known for its unique tattoo styles, including black and grey, watercolor styles, crisp linework, and smooth blends. Additionally, tattoo aftercare is thoroughly discussed with clients to make sure they enjoy their new body art. Aside from tattoos, the studio also piercing and custom jewelry services.

  • Piercings
  • Traditional Tattoos

700 Lombard Street, San Francisco, CA 94133

Expertise.com Rating

Review Sources

Yelp
5.0 (94)
Google
4.0 (36)

Why choose this provider?

Ed Hardy's Tattoo City is a tattoo shop that caters to clients in San Francisco. Even though Ed Hardy has retired from active tattooing to focus on personal art, his son, Doug Hardy, remains one of the shop's active artists. Doug Hardy traveled to Hawaii in 1992 to apprentice under Mike Malone. In 1998, he moved to Minneapolis to help a friend, then moved back to San Francisco in 2009 to work at his father's shop.

  • Traditional Tattoos

1915 Page Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

Expertise.com Rating

Review Sources

Yelp
5.0 (9)
Google
4.0 (8)

Why choose this provider?

Kazoku is a tattoo studio that has been servicing San Francisco since 2018. It offers tattoo services using a wide range of styles with a specialty in Japanese tattooing. Its artists conduct initial consultations for custom tattoos. World-renowned tattoo artist, Jill "Horiyuki" Bonny, works at the studio providing large-scale custom tattoos. She has more than 20 years of industry experience and has published various tattoo-related books, which have been featured in publications and museum catalogs across Japan, the US, and Europe. The studio accommodates walk-ins and same-day appointments.

  • Body Art

1525 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94117

Expertise.com Rating

Review Sources

Yelp
4.0 (413)
Google
4.6 (132)
Facebook
5.0 (32)

Why choose this provider?

Haight Ashbury Tattoo and Piercing has been serving the San Francisco area since 1992. A gallery of designs from the studio's four resident artists can be found online as well as bio and photos from the guest artist. The shop also sells unique jewelry, accessories, books, clothing, and homewares collected both locally and from around the world. Walk-ins are welcome seven days a week, but clients must be 18 years-old or above, and student/school IDs will not be accepted.

  • Body Art
  • Piercings

2000 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94109

Expertise.com Rating

Review Sources

Yelp
4.5 (81)

Why choose this provider?

Diamond Club Tattoo is a skin art studio that has been operating in San Francisco for the past 25 years. It was started and is being managed by husband and wife tattoo artists Junjii and Bill Salmon. While Bill is known for his high, happy, and glowing with psychedelic colors skin art, Junjii specializes in classic Japanese designs and kanji tattoos. Diamond Club Tattoo occasionally hosts foreign guest skin artists and offers all inks styles whether traditional or new school designs.

  • Traditional Tattoos

Compare our Top Tattoo Shops

NameExpertise RatingAddressPromotionsLearn more
Moth and Dagger Tattoo Studio
610 Bush Street, San Francisco, CA 94108
Eye of the Tiger Tattoo
1309 20th Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94122
Tattoo Boogaloo
528 Green Street, San Francisco, CA 94133
Two Cranes Tattoo
825 Sacramento Street, San Francisco, CA 94108
Lucky Van's Tattoo
5736 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94112
Dream Masters Custom Tattoos Sweden
228 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94133
Cold Steel America
1783 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94117
Body Manipulations
2455 3rd Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
Golden Star Tattoo Company
850 Clay Street, San Francisco, CA 94108
Picture Machine Tattoo
5124 Geary Boulevard, San Francisco, CA 94118
One Shot Tattoo
555 Irving Street, San Francisco, CA 94122
Old Crow Tattoo
5250 College Avenue, Oakland, CA 94618
Let It Bleed Tattoo
1124 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109
Frisco Tattoo
3424 25th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
Rose Gold's San Francisco
1157 Masonic Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94117
Ed Hardy's Tattoo City
700 Lombard Street, San Francisco, CA 94133
Kazoku
1915 Page Street, San Francisco, CA 94117
Haight Ashbury Tattoo & Piercing
1525 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94117
Diamond Club Tattoo
2000 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94109

FAQs

  • Introduction

    A tattoo is body art that leaves permanent designs or pictures on the skin. They're applied via needle by depositing ink onto the second layer of skin. While the first tattoos were applied manually with a single needle that was first saturated in ink, today's tattoos are done by a machine. These machines feature multiple needles that pierce the skin simultaneously, speeding up the process and creating tattoos that are more visually appealing.

    Tattoos are usually done in licensed tattoo shops. These shops adhere to health and cleaning standards and are typically regulated by state and municipal governments. While tattoos are generally safe, there are associated risks, including skin infections. Any person getting a tattoo is legally required to be at least 18 years of age. It's also inadvisable for anyone who isn't in good health to get a tattoo, as the body requires time and energy to heal and prevent infection.

  • What should you know before getting your first tattoo?

    Before getting tattooed, it's important to think about design and placement. A tattoo is a permanent fixture on the body, and it's important not to rush into things. You should also consider the artist's background and take time to look into their portfolio to ensure their style best suits the tattoo you want.

  • What are some examples of tattoo styles?

    There are many types of tattoo styles, and it's important for a person to familiarize themselves with them before they select a design. Styles include:

    • Americana: Bold lines, vivid colors
    • Japanese: Large images that cover the back, arms, and legs
    • Black and Grey: Colorless grayscale designs
    • Stick-n-Poke: Thick, bold, black lines and small designs
    • Blackwork: Bold black lines and larger geometric shapes

  • Is tipping expected & how much to tip on your tattoo?

    While most tattoo artists don't expect tips, it's often appreciated. If you're happy with the work your tattoo artist has done, consider tipping between 15% and 25%. If the tattoo requires multiple sessions, a flat amount per session is appropriate.

  • What are some basic tattoo aftercare tips?

    It's important to follow all aftercare directions provided by the tattoo artist. Usually, artists will advise clients to ensure that tattoos are kept clean and dry. After showering, the tattoo should be gently patted dry and treated with Vaseline or another tattoo aftercare product.

  • What are the best practices for healing a tattoo?

    After removing the dressing, it's important to keep the tattoo clean, dry, and uncovered. Applying Vaseline or another recommended ointment can help to speed up the healing process. As they heal, tattoos can sometimes itch, but it's vital that you don't scratch or pick at it.

  • What are the most and least painful places to get a tattoo?

    Parts of the body that have the most nerve endings are generally the most painful to have tattooed. That includes the head, ears, and face. Places that don't have a lot of fat, such as the fingers, shoulder blades, and feet, are typically more painful. The least painful parts of the body to get tattooed include the outer arm, buttocks, and thighs.