I was really looking forward to set foot in this city since it was my second must see city from the US (after New York, such a cliche, I know). So here's a quick guide of the places I've visited, where I have stayed and my recommendations for food, hope you enjoy it!
A must see in San Francisco! Loved the guided tour and the cruise trip is really nice too! You'll get to know the inside out story of this building that went from Fort to prison from the people that were part of it back in the days. Totally worth it, allow one morning for this.
Golden Gate Bridge
Of course, the main touristy attraction I would say. What we did was to cross the bridge by bike, we had a lovely sunny and warm day, couldn't get luckier. Once on the other side of the bay, we went to Sausalito, a lovely town on the coast with amazing views over "San Fran". Special mention for a meal here at the Barrel House Tavern with its amazing views.
Plenty of shopping to do. Around Union Square you have all the main American department stores (Macy's Barney's, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus...) and all the high street and designer brands are in that area too.
If you're looking for vintage stuff, head over to The Haight-Ashbury neighbourhood and in Mission you can find a lot of cute boutique shops.
The Embarcadero area is a nice area full of piers, souvenirs shops, museums and touristy attractions, worth a visit!
For some exercise during your stay, climb up to Twin Peaks to see the city at your feet. You'll be able to see the Pacific Ocean on both sides of the bay; it is really worth the effort!
This is Lombard Street, a road built in 1922 in zig zag with very curated gardens; it was made this way to make the descend safer for cars (back in the days). This street is within walking distance of The Embarcadero and from here I recommend you take a cable car (another unmisable touristy thing to do!) into Union Square.
This is the gay area in San Francisco, very colourful and plenty of trendy bars and restaurants, great for a fun night out too!
Victorian houses around the corner from Alamo Square. Beautiful pastel houses that became famous for appearing on the credits of the Full House series.
This is the view you'll have of San Francisco's financial district if you take the ferry from Sausalito or the cruise to Alcatraz island.
Food // Where to eat
It is no secret I love breakfast and brunch, sp here are my finds (top left to right):
- The Sycamore: in the middle of Mission for brunch with bottomless mimosas at a reasonable price!
- The Velo Rouge Cafe: Amazing breakfast bagels and sandwiches.
- Tartine Bakery: Just delicious pastries and huge portions. Expect long queues if you go on a weekend.
- Taylor Street Coffee Shop: very central and very tiny too; don't be put off by the windowless venue, the food is so nice, with huge portions and a really good price!
The Mill: Worth queueing to have toasts here and buy some of their bread! a must eat here kind of place if, like me, you love bread!!
Lunch / Dinner
- The Monk's Kettle: Trust me, I've had many (many) burgers in my life and my love for Byron burgers is well known but... this is the best burger I've ever had!
- Foreign Cinema: A bit more upscale and posh but with really nice food. Trendy industrial looking venue with an outside area with a screen, where they will show classic films during dinner time in the evening.
- Flour And Water: If you like Italian food, this is your happy place. Is not your typical "pasta bolognese", these guys experiment making their own pasta infused with other flavours (my rigattoni on the photo are green because they were made with peppers.
- Magnolia Gastropub: The food is good, but nothing amazing, what's good here is their beer!!
- Boudin Bakery: for a bread lover like me, this clam chowder was a highlight of the whole trip. You can find this bakery on several parts of the city, it also has a really nice shop for gifts and ingredients.
Where to Stay
This is more a "where we stayed" than advice really, but here it goes: when in San Francisco, we stayed at friends most of the time and also here:
Special mention to the amazing Westerfeld House, a historical victorian house in Alamo Square. I had never been in a house like this, one of those places that takes you back in time, to the 19th century precisely, with an Adam's feeling to it. Looking forward to stay there again on my next visit to San Francisco!
The Clift Hotel, very central with an amazing location. A very eclectic deco and functional rooms with great views over San Francisco's roofs. Even if you don't stay here, the lobby is worth a visit, as well as sipping a cocktail in the stunning Redwood Room
The excuse to go to San Francisco, really, was a wedding in Big Sur on the weekend. Big Sur is a natural reserve in the central coast of California. We drove down from San Francisco (about 4h) following the Pacifi Ocean at our right, with breathtaking views; I can't recommend this road trip enough! Of course I had to put my feet in the Pacific Ocean to check it is as cold as the Atlantic Ocean that I am used to.
The wedding took place in the Fernwood Resort, where we stayed 2 nights in the cutest adventure tent (I can't really say I went camping, right? ...glamping maybe?)
I am still uploading photos from this trip every now and then so check my hashtag #utuSanFranciscotips to see what else is coming!
My sources have been Pinterest and Anneli's blog What I bought today.