San Francisco

here are some of our favorite places in San Francisco - all of them will provide you with the best views of the city + the Golden Gate Bridge - many of them should be also visited at night

 

 

 

san francisco

if you want to experience san francisco like a local then spend the day with us as described below - we will take you to the nicest neighborhoods, best eateries and greatest views of the bridge and the city. Tip: always dress in layers it can get chilly in San Francisco 

our day in San Francisco starts with breakfast at The Grove on 2016 Fillmore Street. on the weekend and in the afternoons Fillmore Street is a lively place and home to the famous Jazz Festival in the summer. The Grove is great for breakfast any day of the week - and you will instantly feel like a local 

then get your camera ready!!!!! 

after breakfast head over to the Pacific Heights neighborhood and then simply drive down the hill to the Marina. along the way make sure to stop for breathtaking views at the local Lafayette Park or Alta Plaza Park - from here you can basically take any street that takes you down the hill - they all end up at Crissy Field and the San Francisco Bay. Divisadero is just one of them. if you are old enough to remember the "Streets of San Francisco" - you now know where they were filmed - right here! Pacific Heights - is one of the most coveted neighborhoods in the city - you will find stately rows of elaborate and unnaturally tidy mansions at the crest of the hill that shoots up from the Marina into Pacific Heights. the view is all open sky and sparkling bay ... it’s the kind of vista that will make you fall in love with San Francisco

must do insider tip: Knockout views. Appealing mix of people. Good coffee. Crissy Field gives you everything that we love about San Francisco in one package. a historic Army airfield transformed into a native plant-lined oasis, Crissy draws moms with strollers, kitesurfers, picnickers, dog walkers, cyclists, fishermen - from crack of dawn until late into the evening and all hours in-between. all this and the Golden Gate Bridge looming gracefully in the back ground. don’t miss: Let’s Be Frank’s superior grass-fed beef hot dogs from the cart just outside the Warming Hut on weekends. best way to get around: go for a walk or bike ride at Crissy Field + the Marina ( you can rent bikes at Sports Basement at Crissy Field ) - this excursion can take 1-2 hours and you will get some of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge + the San Francisco Bay from right here + you will feel like you live here. everyone in San Francisco exercises - we walk, run, bike and those who dare - swim or kite surf. stop at the Warming Hut if you need any refreshments + great San Francisco memorabilia. if the Fort below the Golden Gate Bridge is open walk thru it and go upstairs - it offers amazing views of the bridge - entry is free and you can nearly touch the Golden Gate Bridge

close by is the Palace of Fine Arts. insider tip: make sure to see it at night!!!!  - everyone looks at it during the day - and that is nice - but night time is extra special. make it a picnic and bring wine + cheese or get take out chinese from Dragon Well on close by Chestnut Street. you will be blown away by the evening glow of the park - it is safe and breathtaking! after that head one block down the street to the marina for great night views of the Golden Gate Bridge. if you love sight seeing at night make sure to see the Bay Bridge from the Embarcadero at night - the light installation on the Bay Bridge are a fantastic sight + should not be missed - San Francisco glows at night!

from the Palace of Fine Arts it's only a 5 minutes drive to another attraction - also a must see + experience - Lombard Street - the most crooked street in the world. you can walk or drive down Lombard Street - it takes just a few minutes - especially early in the morning or at night. ( option : you can take a cable car from downtown Union Square to get here - then continue on to Fishermans Wharf)

on the way to Lombard Street you can stop by Fort Mason - in Fort Mason - is a place called "The Long Now" - this place will make you think about time - they are working on a clock that will count down the next 10,000 years - it is a foundation worthwhile knowing about even if you can't visit: www.longnow.org - Fort Mason also hosts a Friday Night Food Extravaganza + is home to the famous vegetarian Restaurant Greens

for lunch or dinner go to Chestnut Street in the Marina here you will find some of our favorite restaurants Dragon Well + Blue Barn + The Plant all on Chestnut - great for a healthy + delicious lunch, dinner or take out. Chestnut Street + Union Street (which runs 3 or 4  blocks parallel) is were the young + hip + healthy meet for lunch + dinner + shopping. this is what living in San Francisco is all about.

on sundays you will find a food truck extravaganza in the presidio around lunchtime - everyone brings their kids, dogs and a picnic blanket for an afternoon on the lawn 

after lunch go on a short but scenic drive to Ocean Beach - drive thru the Presidio via Baker Beach, Lands End, Legion Of Honor to the Cliff House + Ocean Beach. this is one of the most scenic routes in San Francisco and not to be missed!!! - it leads along the ocean and the Golden Gate and multi million dollar mansions. Make sure to stop at Land's End and walk along the winding, moderate, 3.5-mile trail with unbeatable views of the Pacific and Golden Gate Bridge, or explore the rehabilitated Merrie Way overlook. also stop at the Land's End Look out - If it’s sunny, the ocean views are the best in S.F.

the Cliff House + Ocean Beach are great places to watch sunset - you will need reservations for dinner at the Cliff House. From Ocean Beach you can drive thru the Golden Gate Park - via the wind mills back to 19th Avenue, which will take you back to the Golden Gate Bridge, the Presidio + the Marina or via California Street to Downtown.

 

EAT:

some of our favorite restaurants in Downtown San Francisco are walking distance to Union Square - others can easily be reached by car or Ueber - they are highly recommended - not just for the food, but also for the neighborhoods they are in

Cafe Claude on Claude Lane - french food in a great atmosphere

Belden Place or Maiden Lane - it is an alley in San Francisco filled with charming restaurants - magical at night!

The Ferry Building is another must see - it walking distance from Downtown Union Square - you will find eat- drink - shop at it's finest

Leo's Oysters is an Urban Oasis also ask for Hideaways - a side kick lounge at Leo's

Alfred's Steakhouse - recently redone - the oldest steak house in San Francisco - since 1928

The Cliff House - amazing food + breathtaking views

Dragon Well - delicious chinese food - but healthy + modern

Suppenkueche - a real german restaurant  

Just inside the Presidio, the Presidio Social Club - this is a swank retro diner

On sunny days, soak up the scene on the front patio at Nettie’s Crab Shack ($$; 2032 Union St.; 415/409- 0300), an instant hit with its bright cottage charm and killer lobster roll.

Over by Fillmore Street, check out  Pizzeria Delfina ($$; 2406 California St.; 415/440-1189) - locals line up into the night for blistered pizzas with a toss of prosciutto, arugula, and fresh mozzarella.

 

STAY: 

in San Francisco

we love the - Inn at the Presidio - if you like staying in nature while visiting the city then this is an amazing hotel - you can walk to Crissy Field from here. the famous Pacific Heights and the Marina/Cow Hollow neighborhoods are close by for exploring - simply follow our shop + eat + relax ideas below  - www.innatthepresidio.com - 

 

we also love at the Joie de Vivre Joyride hotel brand - specifically  - the Laurel Inn - a Boutique Hotel in Pacific Heights near the Presidio. Why would you want to stay here? Becasue it feels like "your home away from home". CENTRAL BUT LOW-KE - YOU'LL FEEL LIKE A LOCA - 444 PRESIDIO AVENUE, SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94115 -  415.567.8467

Hotel Drisco - one of our favorites: located in Pacific Heights - www.hoteldrisco.com - we love it here - staying here is your key to the Pacific Heights neighborhood + a complete insider's experience of what living in San Francisco feels like. from the street, Hotel Drisco, passes discreetly as an elegant apartment building. by choosing the Drisco over, say, the Ritz-Carlton or the Four Seasons downtown, you get a tasteful, comfortable room with lovely views on one of the city’s most covetable blocks, far from the Union Square hordes. on a clear day, let the shimmering bay draw you down the Lyon Street steps and through the eucalyptus-scented Presidio to Crissy Field. 

shop + eat: no matter which direction you walk from the Drisco hotel, you’ll stumble upon a strip of one-of-a-kind boutiques that think way outside the department-store box. Head four blocks north, and you’ll hit Union Street; five blocks east, and you’ll find Fillmore Street. And a few blocks south, Sacramento Street in Presidio Heights, which harbors some seriously upscale consignment stores. Places like Goodbyes Consignment Shops (3464 and 3483 Sacramento St.; 415/674-0151 or 415/346-6388) are packed with amazing designer finds. along the way you will find many delicious + hip restaurants 

relax - to hide out for a while, check into the Presidio’s SenSpa (1161 Gorgas Ave.; senspa.com or 415/441-1777), a sophisticated retreat that’s all curved bamboo walls and trickling water walls. After hiking up and down the city’s hills, your tingling legs will be ready for a serious deep-tissue massage

other great options to stay

Argonaut Hotel in Fisherman's Wharf - www.argonauthotel.com

Intercontinental Mark Hopkins - www.intercontinentalmarkhopkins.com

in Marin County - just across the Golden Gate Bridge

Acqua Hotel - Mill Valley - www.marinhotels.com

Mill Valley Inn - www.marinhotels.com

Casa Madrona Hotel + Spa in Sausalito  - www.casamadrona.com

Cavallo Point in Sausalito - amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge - www.cavallopoint.com

 

Heading South on Highway 1 from San Francisco to Los Angeles and beyond

Malibu ( Los Angeles Area) - The Surfrider Hotel - Malibu - (310) 526-6158 | www.THESURFRIDERMALIBU.COM
23033 PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY, MALIBU, CA 90265 - why we love this place? -  we bookmarked it as one of the coolest boutique hotels in California - classic california surf culture mixed with equal parts modern hospitality design and a 1950s “surf shack” sensibility

Laguna

Casa Laguna Hotel - was designed in the early 1900’s by california architect frank miller as a gift for his wife, marion, and was once an artist’s colony, but in 2016 it was reimagined as a luxury boutique hotel. the updated and very stylish bungalows each have their own unique charm and an almost moroccan flavor with beautiful blue tile work, copper ceiling fixtures, vintage-inspired photography prints and the softest bedding you'll ever sleep in. www.casalaguna.com 2510 South Coast Hwy | Laguna Beach, CA 92651 | ph: 949-494-2996