Your Cheat Sheet to “The City”
Arriving from the airport at Haight-Ashbury on a summer night to chime the bell of my college pals’ apartment may be one of the hippest moments in my life. The next five days were a blur of seafood, wine on the beach, microclimates, brunch and sightseeing. San Francisco is cool-casual, reminiscent to Boulder, but on chic steroids and situated on a California coast. Trademark design, creative personalities and world-class food fuse together to build one of America’s favorite cities.
Tid Bits and Travel Tips:
- Don’t call it San Fran—locals will immediately correct you. You’re safe with “SF” or “The City.”
- Looking for a foot tour? Start your morning on Pier 39 with seals and tourists, walk south on Stockton St. into Little Italy for some pastries and espresso from Victoria Pastry Co. and then continue south through Chinatown. Avoid sampling the dim sum, you can get that later at Hong Kong Lounge 2. Stay the course on Stockton to Union Square for some downtown bustle and high-end shopping.
- Spend an afternoon at Mission Dolores Park with movie-set views of the city and an ice cream from Bi-Rite Creamery.
- To get active, take a run through Golden Gate Park to Ocean Beach for a long stretch or check out “Planet Granite,” the famed climbing gym with rock walls overlooking the legendary Presidio and Golden Gate Bridge.
Lodging and Transportation:
Much of the sharing economy originated in and is headquartered in SF. Both the Uber and Lyft apps are a must. Look into finding cozy stays via Airbnb. For a local vibe, stay in Lower Haight, Hayes Valley or at the Red Victorian, a hostel in Haight-Ashbury. For a picturesque stay in the city, get a place in North Beach.
Food and Drink:
It’s endless. Swing into Haight Street market for a casual grab-and-go lunch or a drip coffee and some people watching. Suzu Noodle House in Japantown is paramount for ramen. For seafood, share a giant bowl of cioppino and a glass of California red at Wood House Fish Company. Get to Zazie in Cole Valley for a French brunch with no tipping. For beers, go to Zeitgeist on Valencia St. with beer garden seating or Molotov’s, a dog-friendly dive bar with $2 PBRs. Don’t forget to take home a classic country bread from Tartine Bakery, hot loaves are served at 4:30 p.m.