Whether you’re into your food, fashion, culture, coffee or just steep hills… San Francisco is the place. It’s a cool, vibrant and progressive city with its own charm- loved by people all over the world. The city is a leader in LGBQTI rights, technology, cocktails, farm to table food, gorgeous views and fun times. Long story short: it’s wonderful. If you have a weekend or even longer to spend there, here are a few things that you won’t want to miss.
San Francisco is well known for its coffee, and with good reason. For breakfast (or afternoon pick me up) check out one of these excellent coffee shops to pick up a good cup and fresh pastry to start the day. We recommend Blue Bottle Coffee, Sightglass Coffee, Fourbarrel Coffee, Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters and The Mill.. you really can’t go wrong.
This is a lovely spot to check out, it has beautiful views and is much less mainstream touristy than Fisherman’s Wharf. If you’re there over the weekend they have a fantastic Farmers Market with plenty of fresh foods and especially on Saturdays, have some of San Francisco’s best chefs around the market. It really is a foodies paradise. There is also a fabulous wine shop/bar in the market which is well worth a visit to find some local wines and try a glass or two.. or three.
Lunch at The Slanted Door
Whilst at the Ferry Building, why not have lunch at the very popular and very delicious Slanted Door Vietnamese restaurant. Serving modern Vietnamese cuisine with gorgeous views over the bay, it’s perfect for lunch-easier to get seated and slightly less expensive than dinner, yet still incredible food. But if you’ve planned ahead and have a reservation it’s hard to beat for dinner too. Just bring the dough!
Golden Gate Park
If the weather is good, which it quite (moderately) often is, head down to Golden Gate Park. It’s a gorgeous place to walk or jog if the San Francisco hills haven’t been enough exercise. You can rent a peddle boat and relax on the lake, visit the Japanese Tea Garden, the aquarium, or just mindlessly wander and enjoy the calmness and beauty that surrounds you in one of the world’s best cities.
Best known for its famous crooked street replete with hairpin bends, take the cable car (which is a great and cheap way to get around the city, by the way) right to the top of the street and walk back down. But then walk back up! There are photo opportunities from top and bottom, BUT- if you continue along Lombard street, you will reach Pioneer Park, offering truly wonderful panoramic views of the city. Sit down, rest the legs, take 360° pics and enjoy.
There are plenty of top notch restaurants to choose from, but one that we particularly love is Seven Hills – a small Italian place serving farm to table with a charming atmosphere, enthusiastic service and wonderfully rustic food. For some after dinner drinks and fun head to one of the hip cocktail bars, which San Francisco is world famous for. Trick Dog, ABV, The Devil’s Acre or Wildhawk. Some are in the top 10 and whichever you choose- you’ll be happy you came.
A trip to San Francisco wouldn’t be complete without a visit here, at least for first timers. There are gorgeous views of the bridge from Crissy Field (especially when it’s not coated in clouds), but if you fancy the walk across the real golden arches, it’s best to Uber from San Francisco to the far side of the bridge and then walk back towards the city. It can be a little loud with the cars zooming by, but a worthwhile thing to do- with occasional dolphin (or great white) sightings.
If you’re a happy shopper, browser or just keeping your girlfriend happy head to Hayes Valley where there are lots of cute boutique type shops, or if you’re looking for the more general high street stores they have pretty much everything by Union Square and the big Westfield Shopping Centre in the same area. There are also some nice boutique style shops along Grant Avenue, not too far from Russian Hill.
If you’re into that kind of thing or maybe just a fan of the movie, ‘The Rock’- a trip to Alcatraz can be pretty cool. It’s easy to book a tour (they also offer night tours). If you have a longer stay and adore wine the way we do, then you should definitely head over to Napa or Sonoma (we wish them well in this sad time) for some fun and educational wine tasting. Some of the best stuff in the world is being produced here and will be, long after the fires are put out.
Images used under creative commons license from Wikipedia. V 2.0.