Best Fry's Electronics in Bay Area
July 5, 2006 7:25 AM   Subscribe

What is the largest/best Fry's Electronics in the Bay area?

I'm going to be visiting San Francisco and wanted to hit that geek wonderland, Fry's Electronics. Which store is the largest/best? Other nifty geek shopping locations in the area welcome.
posted by bitmage to Shopping (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Each one has their own theme/decor. Aside from that I'd say they're more or less the same, so go with whichever one is the closest to where you'll be, as the extra hour or two you'd spend driving would definitely be better spent wandering around. But note I've only been to 2 or 3 of them so I am certainly not an expert on the topic. (The one closest to me in Fremont is ginormous.)

As far as other geek desintations, definitely try to hit Weird Stuff Warehouse in Sunnyvale.
posted by Rhomboid at 8:20 AM on July 5, 2006

Sunnyvale is large and clean and the newest in the immediate Bay Area. For the true Fry's experience you ought to definitely buy something just for the sake of returning it.
posted by johndavi at 8:27 AM on July 5, 2006

the one in fremont doesn't have a theme though, there one in san jose is egyptian, which is pretty odd. the one in concord is pretty huge too, though very dull.
posted by kendrak at 8:39 AM on July 5, 2006

They're all more or less interchangable, and the one in Sunnyvale is really in the middle of nothing else worth seeing - you could stop at Palo Alto if you're coming down this way and make a Stanford stop to see the Gates building, the Packard building, and the Allen building among others. Then go have a burrito for lunch at La Bamba.
posted by kcm at 8:47 AM on July 5, 2006

(That is to say, stop at the PA Fry's and save yourself 10-20 miles of suburban wasteland round trip..)
posted by kcm at 8:49 AM on July 5, 2006

kendrak writes "the one in fremont doesn't have a theme"

I visited one somewhat at random during my family's recent trip out there (on my way back from a day trip to Monterey), and wouldn't you know it, I picked Fremont. It was still something else, though.
posted by Songdog at 8:54 AM on July 5, 2006

But be advised -- there is no weird stuff, just a bunch of computer equipment.

I'd say the largest/best is the Sunnyvale branch, off the Lawrence Expressway -- it's their flagship, and the theme is class.
posted by Rash at 8:58 AM on July 5, 2006

In terms of sheer scale, I think the Freakmont (Fremont) one is the largest. Yes, it lacks a theme but it's laid out well and the cafe is pretty good.
posted by cubedweller at 9:34 AM on July 5, 2006

The Palo Alto location is the smallest of all the Fry's I've visited, and has a Wild West theme. I think the San Jose store with the Mayan theme is the best Bay Area Fry's I've been to. It's pretty damn big.
posted by EnormousTalkingOnion at 9:42 AM on July 5, 2006

Although not in the Bay Area, if you find yourself in Manhattan Beach, the Fry's there has a Polynesian theme that made it unique among the Fry's I've visited.
posted by birdherder at 10:21 AM on July 5, 2006

This reminds me of the old days of the original Fry's in Sunnyvale. It was a combination of hobby shop and Seven-Eleven. You could pick out your integrated circuit chips -- Intel 8086s, Motorola 6805s, 8 kilobyte SRAMs -- from displays of black anti-static foam arrayed in glass cases like a jewelry store. Eight-inch floppies were sold by the piece.

On your way out you could load up with all the necessities of life, including soda pop, milk, chips, canned chili, magazines and newspapers, T-shirts, even panty hose.

I think the theme was classical geek.
posted by JackFlash at 11:37 AM on July 5, 2006

i'm pretty sure the one in fremont does have a theme - or at least it did when i was there last.

there was, of course, the giant tesla coil, and lots of little museum-like displays scattered about the store, with historical pieces of early electronics from the early brass-and-glass days when everything was mounted on pieces of wood and the inventors were named things like wheatstone and faraday.

not as visually interesting as the other themes, but plaster cowboys get old real quick. i ended up liking that store the most.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 2:12 PM on July 5, 2006

Fry's sucks. Skip them all.
posted by clh at 5:09 PM on July 5, 2006

There is no such thing as a 'best Fry's' as all of them are pits of despair. Avoid like the plague.
posted by bcnarc at 5:34 PM on July 5, 2006

From my web journal:
I went to Fry's yesterday. Shame on all you crack smoking people. I was expecting to pretty much enter a dilapidated, filthy warehouse with dust inches thick on all visible surfaces. There, amphetamine-crazed forklift operators with an average of 2.3 children speared on each fork were to be careening through the aisles at speeds approximating 0.9c. Meanwhile, my slight form was to be being crushed among a Namibia-grade crowd of savage, sweaty, unwashed giants who tossed and banged me about like a red-headed step child at an ass-whoop can opening contest. Merchandise was supposed to be uniformly underdesirable, previously returned, and broken. And exiting the place was supposed to be a feat on par with winning the biathlon gold medal and the Nobel Peace Prize in the same week.

Reality turned out to be quite different. Entry was accomplished via the mouth of an amusing stone tiki. Wide aisles, lonely in their splendor and travelled only by the occasional scrawny Asian tech geek, welcomed my hushed footfalls. No one touched me or so much as violated my personal space. A lot of things were for sale. As I inspected the Roombas a polite, smiling gentleman wearing a tie came over and explained them to me. When I went to check out, I was whisked directly to an open register without any fuss.
posted by ikkyu2 at 8:46 PM on July 5, 2006

the fremont fry's may have had an intended wild west/late 19th century theme, but it must not have been attempted beyond the signage and the return area. the giant tesla coil and jacobs ladder may have been part of that, but who knows. i just know that it's where i go to buy lots of crap- robot turtles, nintendo games, blank cd-rs, cable ties, cereal dispensers, and now-n-laters.

as far as theme-fry's go, the one by thousand oaks area (i don't know, it's where my "roommate's" brother lives) is alice in wonderland. that's pretty cool.

oh, here's the wikipedia entry on fry's themes. alice in wonderland is in woodland hills. fremont is supposed to be electric? hmm...
roseville's getting a railroad history one? awesome!
posted by kendrak at 9:50 PM on July 5, 2006

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