I am in a very serious relationship…I have fallen hard for the city of San Francisco. It is diverse, innovative, alive and breathtakingly beautiful. My love affair started over ten years ago with my first glance at fog rolling over the city. Although I was only visiting for the weekend, I knew our paths would cross again and now I am happy to call it my home.
I could never include all the amazing things to experience in this iconic city. After living here for five years, I am still exploring everything it has to offer. Yet, below serves as my cheat sheet for a pretty remarkable, long weekend. I hope you enjoy the city as much I do. By the way, they are in no particular order.
1) AT&T Park
Photo credit: AT&T Park by Feidoy
Catch a baseball game at AT&T Park. It does not matter if you know the difference between a ball and a strike, it will not disappoint. Go for the amazing views and stay for the best ballpark food in the nation. Where else can you get a caprese salad made with basil from the ballpark herb garden or a crab sandwich on toasty, crusty sourdough? If you do love baseball, you will enjoy the park for the history and vintage feel. Every seat has a great view. This delivers every time…every day.
2) Tosca Café
Photo credit: Bon Appetit
Enjoy dinner at Tosca Café. This San Francisco institution was recently taken over by the very talented, April Bloomfield. You may know her from her famed New York eatery, The Spotted Pig. She has kept the original character of the old Tosca dining room and has only improved on the Italian fare. Don’t miss enjoying a Negroni and the Bucatini. You can walk off the pasta by exploring the North Beach neighborhood it is anchored in. It is our Little Italy.
3) The Presidio
There are at least ten awesome things to do within the Presidio so just get there. Whether you are just watching dogs play at Crissy Field, taking a bike ride through the forest, or there to take in the most camera-worthy views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the entire Bay, this place will not disappoint. On Sunday afternoons, you can experience food truck heaven at Off the Grid.
Photo credit: Presidio Trust
Photo credit: Star Chefs
Dinner here should not be missed. The menu reads like poetry and the dishes are as inspired as any painting in a museum. Although a big commitment in both time and money, this grand tasting menu truly is worth it. With dishes like “A walk in the forest” or “I take a sip of spring”, how could you not leave feeling inspired and very full?
5) Mori Point
Photo credit: Volition Beauty
This national park is about 15 miles from the city. Once you arrive, you can hike about 2.5 miles to a bluff that delivers some of the best ocean views of the California coast. During whale season, skip paying the $100 for the boat excursions and just hike up to the point. It has some of the best whale watching in the region.
Gallery or Shop? That is the question you will enjoy answering when you enter this gem on Sacramento Street. The furniture, lighting, jewelry and home accents are seriously stylish and definitely art. They started in New York and, lucky for us, they have opened a store here. Don’t tell the owner, David Alhadeff, but I prefer the San Francisco location…you will too.
Photo credit: Sunset.com
This restaurant only takes cash. They do not take reservations and there is always a line. The staff is salty. Yet, it serves by far some of the most amazing Chinese cuisine the city has to offer. When the server asks you what you want, simply reply “chef’s choice”. I assure you they will bring you something off the menu that is made with passion and complex flavors to match. After lunch, walk the historic Chinatown. Culturally rich, this neighborhood is a favorite destination for all.
Photo credit: House of Nanking by Gogobot.com
During the day, this is one seriously fun place to be. They call themselves a “science and education institution”. That is an understatement. They have a planetarium, a butterfly house, revolving exhibits that have included skulls, earthquakes and so much more. Go Thursday night to experience Nightlife. This adult only evening grants access to all the exhibits plus includes craft beers, cocktails and great food. They had me at “butterfly house”, “adult only” and “craft beer”.
Photo credit: California Academy of Sciences
9) Hotel Vitale
San Francisco has some amazing hotels to choose from. Hotel Vitale definitely ranks high. It is situated on the Embarcadero which is always bustling with people, novel bars, beautiful water views and the Ferry Building. This boutique hotel offers unobstructed views of the Bay Bridge and its nightly art light installation.
Photo credit: JDV Hospitality
10) St. Regis
Photo credit: Starwood Hotels
If luxury accommodation is what you are used to, look no further than the St. Regis. This downtown location is near Union Square which includes every designer store you can think of. The hotel bar is one of the best in the city and the upper floors have panoramic views of the impressive San Francisco skyline.