san francisco was our home for two years. we lived at the bottom of lombard street. my heart aches for the views of the golden gate bridge. the architecture inspired me, the culture enlightened me, the food shaped me (literally, gained all the weight!). san francisco made me who i am. i hope when you visit it becomes a part of you too.
obviously the classic touristy things are popular for a reason, they are fun and gorgeous! walk the embarcadero for great tourist attractions. pier 39 and the bay bridge. the painted ladies of course! do not miss lombard street (my home!!) riding a trolley, fisherman's wharf and museum of mechanic (princess diaries hand wrestling arm, funnest place in the whole city) but here are our favorite local secrets... ranked in order of coolness.
bernal heights at sunset. It's amazing at any time, but especially at sunset. the view is UNREAL. hawk hill or spencer battery park are the best views of the golden gate bridge, don't skip it!!!
the LYON street steps, and palace of fine arts. the steps start at broadway and lyon which is known as billionaire row, they walk you down to millionaire row, and through some of the most gorgeous viewpoints (and houses) of the city, definitely spend time relaxing on the lawn of the palace and watching the swans. (princess diaries high school is the house at the bottom of the steps!)
sutro baths, lands end, and baker beach. they're all in the same vicinity, sutro baths turns into a hike that ends up at lands end. it's gorgeous. baker beach has the most insane beach view of the GG bridge. beware of nudists!
mission dolores park, and BI-Rite ice cream. explore Mission street for authentic culture, explore Valencia street for hipster culture. SUCH good restaurants!!! walk clarion alley for the coolest graffiti you've ever seen! make your way to mission dolores park and end with ice cream at bi-rite and a tart from tartine.
if you have time and are done with feeling like a tourist, definitely explore Chestnut Street, Polk Street, Union Street, or Fillmore Street. They are all in the Marina District and have great shops and thee best restaurants. The quickest places to feel like a true local!
explore the ferry building, especially on saturday morning for the farmers market. take the ferry across the bay to sausalito. it's gorgeous and quaint. eat at FISH. if you're really adventurous rent bikes and ride across the GG and then ferry back.
FOOD TO DIE FOR:
-Ferry Building Farmers Market (only on saturday) but food tasting in the Ferry Building is great any day of the week!
-Brenda's French Soul Food
-La Taqueria in the Mission
-Zero Zero Pizza
-Una Pizza Nepolotana (on 11th street, it's the best pizza you'll ever have in your whole entire life)
-Cheeseboard pizza (berkley)
-Foreign Cinema (get a reservation in advance)
-Burma Star (dim sum)
-Super Duper Burger
-Off the Grid (check the online schedule, Friday nights its at Fort Mason, Sunday's its at the Presidio, DEFINITELY go if you get the chance, it's so much fun and the food is out of this world)
-Le Boulange (there are a lot of them, great place for lunch)
mr holmes bakehouse (famous neon wall!)
bi-rite ice cream
cream (ice cream tacos!)
smitten ice cream
salt & straw
go to brunch every single day. there are so many places, but these are our favorites that we keep going back to.
-Blackwood on Chestnut
-Straw (doughnut breakfast sandwich, omg! you're welcome in advance)
-MAMA's (avoid at all costs on the weekend, and be prepared to wait, the only thing worth the wait is the Apple Pan Dore)
-Brenda's French Soul Food
if you have the time, John Muir Redwood park is so beautiful. It's a national park, and a smaller version of The Redwood Forest, but it's an unbelievable drive and hello, a redwood forest! Doesn't get prettier than that!
golden gate park: conservatory of flowers, academy of sciences, de Young art museum, rent row boats on stow lake, visit the windmills (from over 100 years ago), visit the buffalo farm, have a fire at ocean beach, the options are endless!!
if you're into the hippie/70's/vintage vibe definitely make your way to Haight-Ashbury and spend time browsing in and out of the thrift stores and record stores. Super cool area, it feels like you are transported right back to the woodstock era! There's also a place called Ice Cream Bar that's a vintage soda/ice cream shop near there. ice cream is obviously a priority in my life, i hope it is in yours too:)