san francisco

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San Francisco, in northern California, is a hilly city surrounded by the Pacific Ocean and San Francisco Bay. It's known for its year-round good weather, iconic Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars and colorful Victorian architecture. The food & culture scenes here are unlike anywhere else in the US. Hopefully you have time to cross off some must-do, only-in-SF items from your bucket list. Here's what I would do there:


STAY

 

argonaut hotel

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4-star boutique hotel in Fisherman's Wharf with incredible amenities and great location 

Address: 495 Jefferson St, San Francisco, CA 94109

sir francis drake 

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Enduring Union Square hotel with chic quarters, plus bistro dining & a ritzy nightclub with panoramic views.

Address:  450 Powell St, San Francisco, CA 94102

taj campton place 

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Boutique hotel at the edge of San Francisco's Union Square, with a refined ambiance and a Michelin starred restaurant 

Address: 340 Stockton St, San Francisco, CA 94108

hotel zoe

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Boutique hotel in the heart of Fisherman's Wharf that offers incredible comfort and easy access to explore nearby adventures.

Address: 425 North Point St, San Francisco, CA 94133


eat

For my city guides, I try to have a mix of everything - new restaurants, iconic venues, and tourist spots worth a visit. These will range from casual cafes for breakfast to suit jacket fine dining. As with all guides, it is not exhaustive but hopefully full of wonderful recommendations that will help you make the most of your visit! 

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flour & water

Handcrafted pasta & wood-fired pizza, served in a casual, rustic space.

2401 Harrison St, San Francisco, CA 94110

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swan oyster depot 

No-frills counter nook is a bustling landmark for raw-bar fare & casual seafood.

1517 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109

 photo:  TheCultureBite

golden boy pizza

Funky joint serving focaccia pizza

542 Green St, San Francisco, CA 94133

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zuni cafe

Bustling, bi-level bistro serving famous roast chicken & other seasonal wood-fired eats.

1658 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94102

 hoto:  OpenTable

hoto: OpenTable

spqr  

Italian entrees & tasting menus made with local ingredients served in cozy digs.

1911 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115

 

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State Bird Provisions

Urban-rustic setting for a changing menu of American small plates served dim-sum style.

1529 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115

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Kin Khao  

Modern hot spot providing ambitious, locally sourced Thai dishes & cocktails.

55 Cyril Magnin St, San Francisco, CA 94102

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tartine bakery 

Breakfast pastries, hot pressed sandwiches & coffee.

600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110

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wise sons Jewish Deli

Traditional Jewish deli offering sandwiches like pastrami & corned beef made in-house 

3150 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

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Foreign Cinema  

Crowds eat Californian-Mediterranean fare in an outdoor space screening films.

2534 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

 photo: bon appetite 

photo: bon appetite 


Liholiho Yacht Club  

Buzzy, casual eatery for Hawaiian, Indian & Chinese dishes in a brick-walled space 

871 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109

 photo: thrillist 

photo: thrillist 

la tacqueria  

This no-frills taqueria serves Mexican eats, including famed traditional-style burritos.

2889 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

 photo: thrillist

photo: thrillist

nopa

Ingredient-focused Californian eats in a lively, 2-story setting.

560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117

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china live 

Modern marketplace & culinary stop offering multi-course Chinese fare, casual snacks

644 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94133

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johnny doughnuts

Chic donut & coffee shop featuring small-batch pastries with some local ingredients.

1617 4th St, San Rafael, CA 94901

 


play

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fisherman's warf

Souvenir shops & stalls selling seafood along the boardwalk with postcard views of the bay, Golden Gate and Alcatraz. Visit Pier 39 for boat rides 

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the mission district

Old-school taquerias, eclectic live-music clubs, chef-driven eateries & craft cocktail lounges. There are also tattoo parlors and vibrant murals line streets such as Clarion Alley.

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Ferry Building Marketplace

Vendors sell produce, cheese, coffee, candy & prepared food in this soaring, restored 1898 space.

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San Francisco Museum of Modern Art   

Park with views of the Painted Ladies - a historical row of Victorian houses well-known for appearances on movies & TV shows 

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chinatown 

One of the oldest & most established Chinatowns in the U.S. Beyond iconic Dragon’s Gate, a bustling maze of streets and alleys brims with dim sum joints and other traditional eateries.

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Palace of Fine Arts Theatre

Monumental Greco-Roman palace & architectural attraction originally constructed for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition

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Golden Gate Park  

The city's 1,000-ac. oasis draws hikers, bikers, art lovers & music fans.

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bar hop in the castro District 

Vibrant area in Eureka Valley synonymous with gay culture. 

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thrift shopping on haight street

Haight Ashbury was the epicenter of the hippy culture and it could be said, still is. Dotted with rows of thrift shops and casual cafes 

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Twin Peaks  

Renowned, 180-degree views of the Bay Area are offered at this 64-acre park with hiking trails.

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Alcatraz Island

First lighthouse and US built fort on the West Coast plus the infamous federal penitentiary long off-limits to the public

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picnic in Alamo Square Park  

Park with views of the Painted Ladies - a historical row of Victorian houses well-known for appearances on movies & TV shows