Before getting into what you need to do in San Francisco, I’m going to give you 9 tips on how to be “like a local” in the city that is now my second home.
- Never under any circumstances refer to the city of San Francisco as “San Fran”.
- Carry a backpack.
- Wear sneakers. All the time.
- Know the difference in your trash: compost, landfill, recycle. (Still my biggest WIP.)
- Never take the elevator unless you’re going more than 4 floors.
- Don’t be scared off by vegan food, because it’s actually good here.
- Complain about getting stuck on the Muni. (Never taken it, but all the cool kids are doing it.)
- Eat a different kind of Asian food for every meal.
- Remember that even on the foggiest mornings, the sun is coming!
I ate, I drank, I conquered.
Get You Some Food…& Dim Sum: You’ll come to learn that you’re probably gonna eat a lot of Asian food while you’re in town, but I don’t hate it. There are plenty of quality places to grab some dim sum, but if you find yourself on Market Street then go to Yank Sing. It’s my soup dumpling & pork bun heaven!
Garden Court at The Palace Hotel: In my mind, it’s one of the most stunning places in SF. I was lucky enough to stay there for work and would come home to have a lovely “Garden Spritz”. On the weekends they serve their famous High Tea, which is still on my bucket list.
Z&Y: A Michelin Recommended spot in Chinatown (and like, Obama ate there too…). I literally knew nothing of what was on the menu (it’s fine, three of my friends speak mandarin), but loved every dish we had!
Ritual Coffee Roasters: I found this gem the first time I went to SF and have loaded up on bags of coffee each time I go. I don’t know how to describe it other than the fact that it’s just really, really good coffee.
The Italian Homemade Company: You know how sometimes you just want a big bowl of pasta? Maybe it’s just me. But at this place you can build your own bowl of homemade pasta. Words do not even describe how much I’m in love with this restaurant..it’s my heaven. The gnocchi is my favorite (obvi) and literally melts in your mouth!
Ferry Building: The city’s food hall is so fun to explore! Don’t miss out on the grilled cheeses from Cowgirl Creamery and please get the “After School Special” from Humphry Slocombe.
Waterbar: If I could tell you ONE place to eat in SF, this would be it. You’ll want to make a reservation ahead of time, but if you can’t the bar is first come, first serve. It tends to fill up because it’s at the base of the Bay Bridge, which you can watch light up at night!
Orenchi Beyond: It’s probably time I confess that one of my SF friends (@JYW) is who hooks me up with all the good spots. Follow her food adventures @littleconsultingkitchen! But this was the last place we went for “date night” and it was dank.
La Mar: Since my trip to Peru, I’ve been on a major ceviche kick (never too much raw fish for this chica). This is a Peruvian fusion restaurant serves the best ceviche I’ve ever had! The California one is my personal favorite, but I hear amazing things about others from the locals. Don’t miss out on their empanada or anticucho tastings either.
Angler: I really don’t have word to describe how amazing & unique the dishes were – fried blowfish tails, antelope tartar, and fried rabbit? On top of that, the open kitchen is stunning and the cocktails are deadly delicious.
Philz: Would be remiss to not tell you about my favorite coffee drink like, ever. Nothing will ever beat a sweet & creamy Mint Mojito from Philz. The best thing about this place is that each cup is made perfectly to your liking. You pick the coffee, the milk, and the sugar, and the amount you want of each.
It’s Still On My List
Flour + Water: Bomb Italian place. Prob will take myself on a nice date there one night soon!
Leo’s Oyster Bar: One of the most ‘gramable restaurant interiors with great seafood.
Burma Superstar: Never knew Burmese food was a thing, but this place is supposed to be the best in SF.
Plow: Apparently a great Californian breakfast & lunch spot.
Media Noche: Since about five people have told me it’s their favorite meal in SF…
Nopa: Supposed to be a “San Francisco Gathering Place”. Will keep you updated on what I think!
Hakkasan: Boujee asian fusion.
Monkey See, Monkey Do
Trolley Car: You’ll find super long waits to see and ride the trolley at the Powell Hyde turntables, but the coolest car is actually the Castro line. Opt to ride that one instead and it will take you right down Market Street!
The Painted Ladies: So i never really watched Full House…but it does make for a pretty cool picture!
Baker Beach: If you go to one beach in SF, this is the one to go to. Make sure to go on a clear night to watch the sunset from this beach, which sets right over the Golden Gate Bridge! Best view in town.
Pier 39: The famous spot with all the baby sea lions!
Golden Gate Bridge: I do recommend going over the bridge at some point in your trip. You can drive, walk, or bike from SF to Sausalito.
Palace of the Fine Arts & Sutro Baths: Both spots are incredibly beautiful and still on my list to go explore. I’m headed there this week and will update this with more info after that.
The Mosaic Staircase: One of those spots that are for the ‘gram.
Embarcadero: Right along the water, the Embarcadero is my favorite place to go for a walk or run in the morning. Guaranteed it’s in close proximity to my SoMa digs, but there is nothing like being on the water with a view of the Bay Bridge. My place to take it all in is from Pier 3!
Haight-Asbury: The trendy neighborhood with a bunch of fun shops, bars, and restaurants. I recommend spending some time just exploring here.
Chinatown: Dragon Gate is where you will find the main entrance, but the stereotypical picture with the lanterns strung along the street is on the other side (moral of the story: no bad side to enter). I will confess the first time I went to Chinatown I was overwhelmed, but I highly recommend going because you will never see anything like it anywhere else in America.