Last week was full of adventure, and I thought I’d share the first stop on my road trip last week. Being 3 hours south of Redding, I knew that San Francisco was a must-see on our list. Knowing we wanted to be in a walkable area of the city, I opted to stay in the Haight and Ashbury district. Close to Golden Gate Park and arriving to the city on a beautiful day, I set out to explore and fit as much in during my stay as possible. Below are some of the spots that I loved and ones to check out while you’re in San Fran as well.
Haight & Ashbury District
Known for loads of tye-die and beatniks, this neighborhood has a few hidden gems that need to be sought out. Head to Sparrow Bar & Kitchen on Haight Street for some fresh, local California cuisine. While dining there, I had a Napa rose wine, local mussels, and an appetizer of fried cauliflower. If you’re looking for a local coffee roaster, head to Flywheel Coffee Roasters. Featuring a simple coffee menu, they focus on the roast and offer comparable taste to Four Barrel or Blue Bottle Roasters. Designed and inspired by the local bike scene, Flywheel has an interior of wood, metal, and exposed rustic lighting. I recommend trying their siphon coffee for a unique experience that cuts the acidity of a typical latte.
To shop, head to Ideele Boutique for local finds that won’t break the bank. Featuring designers from the states and the San Francisco area, you will find unique pieces suiting a California state of mind. For your feet, head to Piper’s Shoe Parlor for an excellent variety of men and women’s fashions. Here they stress quality over quantity fashion and feature designs that will last the test of time.
The Golden Gate Bridge
It’s iconic, classic, and something that is a “must-see” for a day in San Francisco. Try to take your pictures mid-afternoon, so that the fog will burn off and the bridge is clear. I was in San Francisco on an unseasonably warm day, so it was perfectly clear, and I got some excellent shots. Pack a picnic and head to Golden Gate Park by the bay. There are plenty of running and bike trails, a beach and paths that lead to the pedestrian lanes across the bridge.
If you’re looking for some local seafood and want to see seals that frequent the bay, head to Pier 39. Here you will find various species of seals and sea lions. Recently, the seal and sea lion observation area has been revamped by the Aquarium at the Wharf. Marine biologists are available to educate and provide optimum viewing. Walk a few blocks and head to the Boudin store at Fisherman’s Wharf. This famous sourdough bread factory is a classic and another experience that is quintessential. Visit the factory tour at the store and learn about the baking and proofing process. They still use a portion of the same mother dough from the original batch in 1849. Spend the afternoon here eating lunch over the bay in their famous San Francisco sourdough bread bowl filled with Clam Chowder.
The Mission District
One of my favorite places for shopping is the Mission District. While you’re there, make sure to head to Paxton’s Gate. Here you’ll find incredible succulents, terrarium supplies, and various items of taxidermy that have become popular in recent interior design. Complete with DIY terrarium planting stations and full succulent walls, you’ll want to head here.
Looking to fill your sweet tooth? Head to Dandelion Chocolate. Featuring small batches of limited-edition dark chocolates, this factory was built around the love of chocolate and goes from bean to bar in one location. Crafting the perfect multi-sensory experience with customers, you are encouraged to sample chocolate, ask chocolatiers questions, and take a piece of the process home with you.
San Francisco is known for an incredible arts scene. The Mission District is no different and hosts numerous murals done by famed graffiti and street artists. One of my favorite alleyways is Clarion Alley at the corner of Clarion and Valencia Street.
One of my favorite finds in the Mission District is The Apartment. Located on Lexington and 18th Street, this store features an incredible collection of affordable vintage postcards and photographs. If you’re a lover of photography or vintage type, make sure to check out The Apartment to add to your collection.
Where should I head for my next 24 hour city guide?