Before my trip this past April, I spent just one day in San Francisco almost eight years ago. Via a double decker bus tour, I crammed in all of the sights around town with my very best friend and her family. We saw the Painted Ladies, watched artists atop Twin Peaks, hiked Muir Woods and ate sourdough bread in Fisherman’s Wharf.
This time around, I visited for more than a week which lead to lots of exploration and many indulgences. I left this past April even more in love with the city than my first trip years ago! Below are highlights from my trip – everything I would highly recommend if only you were sitting right here next to me.
Craftsmen and Wolves – My dad and I both visited this coffee shop twice during our stay just for The Rebel Within – a savory muffin with a soft-boiled egg baked inside of it. I swear I’m still having dreams about it!
Basik Cafe – I had heard all about acai bowls, but this was my first time trying one. Go hungry! They’re the size of your head and will leave you full til lunch.
Jane Cafe – Killer salads in a fun cafe with chill vibes!
St. Frank Coffee – If I remember correctly, someone on Yelp referred to this as, “The Apple version of a coffee shop.” The baristas were incredibly friendly which distracted me long enough from panicking about spilling my latte all over their spotless counters.
Seed and Salt – A great place to stop for a quick bite or a full meal.
Tartine – My sister and I waited nearly thirty minutes for one of their world famous croissants. The bakery is pretty cramped, so in the future, I’d take our treats up the block to Dolores Park instead.
Union Street Papery – Hands down the best paper store I’ve ever visited. I was in the tiny shop for nearly an hour ogling every card! Before entering the store filled with party supplies, stationary and planners galore, you first walk through an archway, past a small garden with a pond and into the shop. Pretty sure I gasped out loud when I rounded the corner.
The DeYoung Museum – There was a touring Oscar de la Renta exhibit (pictured above) which took my breath away. Easily the youngest one there on a weekday afternoon, I loved hearing the commentary of the senior citizens around me. “Ooh, I’ll take that in a ten.” “Oh my, just look at that embroidery!” Their enthusiasm and appreciation for all of the incredible gowns was welcome company as all of our jaws kept hitting the floor. Go for the lookout deck on the top level, but don’t prioritize this museum over a sight you really have your heart set on.
Green Apple Books – My sister’s favorite used bookstore in the city! There were cookbooks galore, graphic novels and even small zines which combined the two. If only I had left more room in my suitcase, I guarantee I would have left with more titles in tow.
The Exploratorium – Filled with interactive exhibits about science, math and physics, this museum kept us busy throughout our entire visit! I recommend Adult Happy Hour from 6-10p.m. every Thursday when only adults are admitted. There’s so much to interact with you’ll be glad you’re not elbowing small tots out of the way because you’re excited about your own turn at each station.
Sutro Baths – A former swimming pool for San Franciscans, all that is left now are the ruins. Climb all around the structures where former pools existed and explore adjacent caves which have views of the ocean on the other side! Or, listen to more about the history from the podcast 99% Invisible.
Lands End – Near the end of Golden Gate Park (or at least what was the end for us) lies an incredible lookout of the Golden Gate Bridge complete with a rock maze and stunning views of the water. You’ll wonder why you took all of the paltry shots leading up to this point.
Big Sur – We drove past Big Sur on California One on a cloudy day, but I still had a blast! I can only imagine how beautiful these sights are on a bright, clear day.
Crissy Field – Crissy Field has got to be where they have photo shoots for REI and Lands End catalogs. Walk along the path and you’ll eventually encounter a small beach which leads right into the bay. I dare you to try not reenvisioning your savings going toward one of the adjacent waterfront properties. Stop by the Palace of Fine Arts nearby and take in the grand architecture (and maybe a swan or two if you’re lucky)!
Til next time, SF!