San Francisco is one of the most unique cities in the world, thanks to its cultural heritage, one-of-kind population and unparalleled landscape. Its population density is rivaled only by New York City, but San Francisco still maintains the laid back mentality notorious in the West Coast. Famous for its strikingly steep hills, eerily beautiful fog and iconic Golden Gate Bridge, there is much more to this city, like world-class food, arts of all kinds and more. Here are some of my recommendations.
Logistics :: Most of the hotels in San Francisco are in the downtown areas like the Civic Center, SOMA, Chinatown and Financial District neighborhoods. As long as you avoid the Tenderloin, all of the areas are ok. You could spend anywhere from a weekend in the city to more than a week, depending on how much you want to do or if you want to venture into the surrounding cities like Berkley, Oakland or wine country (like we did), so build your own adventure accordingly.
Eat :: The food scene here is unbelievable. Food-dedicated websites like eater.com, 7×7, and SFweekly are good places to check for up-to-date restaurant recommendations. Go to Dosa for Indian, Cocobang for Korean, Great Eastern for dim sum, Mission Chinese for Chinese and the famous Swan Oyster Depot (if you can get in). Roxanne’s or Groves are great breakfast options. Our dinner at Luce was the food highlight of our trip.
If you venture to the Mission District, Tartine Bakery is a must. Mission Cheese is a great midday stop for wine and cheese, Humphrey Slocombe will blow your mind with crazy ice cream flavors (or check out Bi-Rite for a less extreme option), Pizzeria Delfina is an incredible favorite and Saison is a splurge you’ll remember for years (I still do two years later!).
Drink :: Where there is good food, there is good libations and San Francisco is no exception. We went to the speakeasy Bourbon & Branch, which was a lot of fun. Baretta is a good time. We were also recommended Comstock and Rickhouse. Again, bars are an ever-evolving entity here so check out the websites listed above for the latest hang outs.
Do :: Tour the city’s neighborhoods. Make sure you hit Chinatown, shop at Union Square (grab a bite to eat at the food court; it has surprisingly excellent food), go to Fisherman’s Wharf if you must (it’s incredibly touristy but sort of a one-time must-see like Times Square), visit the farmers’ market at the Ferry Building, take the ferry to Alcatraz for a history lesson and venture down to the Mission District to see Delores Park and go to Japantown (it’s one of three in the entire country).
See a baseball game at AT&T Park (sit up high enough and you’ll see the bay, like we did) or see a football game at Candlestick Park. If you’re in a museum mood, the Museum of Modern Art is awesome (although currently under construction) and the Contemporary Jewish Museum has fun exhibits. While you’re in an artsy mood, see the opera! It’s one of the best in the country and one of the few that performs throughout the summer.
What are your favorite San Francisco places to eat / drink / do? I’d love to hear in the comments!