By Waheeda Harris
Known for the Golden Gate Bridge, the cable cars navigating hilly terrain and endless neighbourhoods for shopping and dining, San Francisco provides many lures for visitors. From pop culture history of Haight-Ashbury to the trendy Mission neighbourhood, this bay city should be number one for a weekend escape.
WHERE TO STAY
Establish a central locale at the Hotel Adagio, in the Union Square neighbourhood. Located near Union Square Park (as well as Macy’s and Neiman Marcus) this contemporary hotel offers custom city guides as well as use of a town car for downtown destinations. For those wanting to be closer to the water, consider Hotel Vitale in the up and coming Embarcadero district, with a relaxing day spa and ability to welcome canine guests.
WHAT TO DO
Voted one of the most walkable cities in the US, newly arrived visitors should head to Fisherman’s Wharf – despite its touristy characteristics, it offers the best view of the Golden Gate Bridge and easy access to Golden Gate Park. Art lovers should make time to wander the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, recently gifted with a contemporary art collection including Andy Warhol, Chuck Close and Alexander Calder. Pop culture lovers will appreciate the earthy, grafitti-positive Haight-Ashbury area, while trendy girls should head to the Marina district for its unique boutiques with Euro styles. Don’t miss Gump’s, an original local department store offering stylish home décor and jewellery.
WHERE TO EAT
For a mix of fresh market produce and small café, the Ferry Building Marketplace is a perfect spot to indulge in northern California cuisine for breakfast or lunch. Have a Peet’s or Blue Bottle coffee and consider samples from Cowgirl Creamery, Boccalone, Ciao Bella Gelato, Hog Island Oyster Company before stopping for a full meal at Delica or Mijita. Mix outdoor dining and art films at Foreign Cinema in the Mission District, where the courtyard walls act as movie screens while indulging in Italian faves, SF-style. Treat yourself to a table at Gary Danko at Fisherman’s Wharf for modern French cuisine and a must-have chocolate dessert.
Images: Cable car and Golden Gate Bridge – San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau photo by Phillip H. Coblentz; Dining – San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau photo by Jack Hollingsworth