City Guide: San Francisco
Will Rogers called San Francisco “the city that was never a town.” Metropolitan without being pretentious, vibrant but not overwhelming. Just try not to leave your heart here!
For proximity to shopping and dining, book a hotel near Union Square. Try the Omni San Francisco Hotel or Chancellor Hotel, which are both walking distance to shopping, the theater district and the city’s iconic cable cars.
After check-in, take your wallet and your fine self out for some high-end shopping (or browsing!) at Chanel, Burberry and Bottega Veneta. Once you’ve both worked up an appetite, head to Fiona’s Sweetshoppe to share some European delights, including chocolate limes, toffee Brazils, peppermint creams and coconut teacakes.
Stroll over to the very cozy Zuni Café for a romantic dinner. Known for its daily menu full of seasonal, organic ingredients, the menu boasts French and Italian gems, such as the scrumptious grouper and polenta.
Hop the cable car to Fisherman’s Wharf so you can caffeinate at the Buena Vista Cafe, home to the original Irish coffee. Enjoy the seaside view while you feast on cinnamon French toast or crab Benedict.
Grab a table for two at the quaint family-owned L’Osteria del Forno. The resto serves a mix of rustic Italian fare and its known for making the best focaccia in the city. But beware: This hidden gem doesn’t take reservations and they only accept cash.
After you’ve explored the waterfront and its kitschy shops, make your way to North Beach, a.k.a. Little Italy. The area was named one of the top 10 greatest American neighborhoods by the American Planning Association and it’s bursting with unique boutiques and cute restos.
On your way back to the hotel, explore San Fran’s Chinatown, the largest outside of Asia. The streets are filled with herbs, fabrics, porcelains and trinkets from China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
For some vino and a taste of the city’s eclectic nightlife, head to Heart, an art gallery turned wine bar. Located in San Fran’s most up-and-coming neighborhood, the Mission District, the bar’s hip-hop and blues soundtrack will set the mood as you clink your wine-filled Mason-jar glasses.
No visit is complete without visiting the Golden Gate Bridge, one of the modern wonders of the world and possibly the world’s most photographed bridge. Chill by the rocks at the base to share a smooch, and if you’re feeling ambitious, walk across–it’s 1.7 miles across!
Before you head to the airport, grab a few of the world’s best cream puffs at Beard Papa. And take a few for the road as these crunchy puff pastries filled with fresh custard will leave you dreaming of the City by the Bay!
Image(s): Top to bottom: Philip H. Coblentz; Lewis Sommer