Our next local guide is for San Francisco from team member Cindy Souza. An avid San Francisco explorer, Cindy lived there her whole life until she moved to San Diego where she still frequently visits the beautiful city. I guess you could call her a San Franatic!
Below, Cindy goes in depth on all the coolest things to eat, see, do, and drink in San Francisco which will keep you busy from your morning cup of coffee to your late night bar visit. Keep reading for insider recommendations as Cindy spills on her ultimate favorite spots in the city.
Favorite Local Hotspot:
There are just too many to name and I think I have a different favorite hotspot per neighborhood! I have loved Flour + Water since they've opened. They definitely live up to the hype and it's not as hard to get a table as you think. Their fresh made pastas and wood burning pizza oven really pair the authentic italian with their locally sourced and sophisticated ingredients.
The best meal I ever had was at Spruce. When you walk in it's so beautiful and elegant while also being chic and modern. My favorite hidden restaurant is hidden in an alley in the FiDi (Financial District) called Gitane. Its cuisine has french, spanish and moroccan influences, the cocktails are amazing and such a romantic ambiance as it is filled with warm rich colors and tapestries.
Foreign Cinema is a dining experience like no other. Besides their food being impeccable they show a film during dinner service. Personally I love their Brunch!
Favorite Place to Grab a Drink:
Again too too many to name! Laszlo is my favorite for a shot of fernet with a ginger beer back (a very San Francisco bar order) and it's right next door to Foreign Cinema. Like Cassy I'm partial to the old SF Classic the Tonga Room which is especially fun during their happy hour with Polynesian buffet. If you are really looking to go out with the locals I would recommend Polk St. where young professionals frequent Bullitt where Fernet is on tap or Mayes Oyster Bar where you can dance all night.
Favorite Local Goods:
When I come to visit, Blue Bottle Coffee is one of my first stops. If you love coffee San Francisco really has some of the best. My favorite Chai is definitely at Philz Coffee where they ask if you want it sweet or spicy and they add fresh mint! I can't mention coffee without the mentioning the birth place of Irish Coffee the Buena Vista Cafe.
I definitely second the vote for Tartine, but if bread is your thing you have to try Arizmendi Bakery and The Mill. Why are San Franciscans so serious about their bread? It's the birthplace of Sour dough!
If You Were Having A Stay-Cation Where Would You Stay:
I would stay at the Palace Hotel. It has an amazing stain glass ceiling in the lobby and great restaurants. It's absolutely the most beautiful hotel I've ever been to and there is a ton of history about this lovely place.
San Francisco can be a really expensive place, I of course think it's worth it, but I also know some fun free activities that really show off the city. Great views galore on Tank Hill etc. If music is your thing (it is definitely my thing) there are free concerts at Amoeba Music on Haight St. or if you are there in the summer there are also free concerts in a lovely outdoor park called Stern Grove.
Did you know that the Giants are the best baseball team ever? Well maybe that's just my opinion, but if you are into baseball you can actually catch the game for free at the waterfront walkway on the east side of AT&T Park also known as McCovey Cove! Also the first Tuesdays of the month many of San Francisco's amazing museums are free. Lastly the tours of Anchor Brewery are totally free and you get samples.
Describe Your Perfect Day In San Francisco:
First of all every day in SF is a perfect day! If I had to pick a particular day it would start at the Farmer's Market in the Fairy Building, where I could drink blue bottle coffee while picking out some of the best produce and artisan foods you can find. Then boutique shopping in the Mission at my favorite stores like Therapy where I swear buying and browsing through all the cute clothes, jewelry and is actually therapeutic or Bell Jar the land of gorgeous little things. If it's a pretty day I would stop by Birite Creamery for a scoop of Ricanelas and a walk in Dolores Park where the people watching and views of the city are incredible. In the evening I would attend an Opera at the world famous War Memorial Opera House and Dinner at Hayes St. Grill or Absinthe.
If I Had A Rental Car I Would Go To:
I would go to the Marin Headlands and Mount Tam. Great Hiking and there a very few places in the world where you can walk among giant Sequoias. While in Marin head to Sam's for fresh Crab or Oysters!
Only in San Francisco: You can attend a sing-a-long movie at the historic Castro Theater, eat a Princess Cake or try Dim Sum at Yank Sing.Looking for Bay Area event venues? Check out Caballo Estate in Los Altos Hills, St. Helena Estate in Napa (Please note - not available for wedding, Pienza Estate or Fontaine Estate in El Dorado Hills.