San Francisco could be labelled Melbourne’s brother from another mother. Four seasons in one day, rich in food and diverse in culture, it’s no wonder it consistently ranks as America’s favourite city.
My heart may belong to New York City, but my stomach is hopelessly devoted to San Francisco. Some of my fondest food memories were created there.
The smell of just baked sourdough. Cold hands wrapped around a steaming cup of clam chowder. The crack of fresh dungeness crab. Unwrapping a decadent piece of Ghirardelli chocolate. Filling your pockets with salt water taffy. Mmmm Taffy!
Focus people, there is plenty to see and do in fog city, let me share the rest of my intel with you.
No matter the season, pack a jacket. Dress in layers. Cashmere is your BFF in terms of warmth per ply. Winter travellers go nuts on coats, scarves, gloves and boots. If you are a cold weather wimp like me, load up on the thermals.
- If you have minimal luggage (oxymoron?!) the BART will get you from the airport to the city in under 30 minutes.
- Exploring the city is a breeze with a Muni Visitor Passport. Enjoy unlimited rides on the buses, cable cars and historic streetcars.
- At the risk of sounding like Captain obvious, be warned that traversing San Francisco on foot is akin to the treadmaster 2000 at maximum incline. The gradients are challenging (don heels at your own risk), but just imagine how spectacular your ass will look at the end of your trip.
- I’m partial to a small boutique style hotel with oodles of inclusions. On that basis, you’ll find me at the Inn at Union Square.
- Cool cats will be comfortable at the Clift.
- If you have money to burn and prefer a view of the bay, check out the apartments at the Fairmont Heritage Place.
- Discover heaven on a food truck at Off the Grid.
- Enjoy buffet breakfast in the palatial surrounds of the Garden Court at the Palace Hotel.
- Sip a phenomenal espresso at Caffe Greco, North Beach.
- Suffer a vegetarian’s nightmare at the House of Prime Rib.
- Get your Gatsby on with old school drinks at Bourbon & Branch Speak Easy.
- Peruse the region’s best produce at the Ferry Building Market.
- Partake in the institution of afternoon tea @ Laurel Court, Fairmont Hotel.
- Sample sourdough at Boudin Bakery, then head upstairs to the Bistro for a serve of clam chowder.
- Devour award-winning French fare at Restaurant Gary Danko.
- Sample simple seafood at Swan Oyster Depot, so fresh, it might still be wiggling.
- Navigate the city (and look like a total peanut) in a GPS guided Go Car tour.
- Get spooked at Alcatraz (the night tour).
- Ride one of the historic streetcars along the Embarcadero.
- Wander along Fisherman’s Wharf and around Ghirardelli Square.
- Soak up the view from Twin Peaks or Coit Tower.
- Hang on for grim death on the Powell/Hyde cablecar line.
- Cycle along the presidio, across the Golden Gate bridge to Sausalito, then through the Redwoods to Tiburon (catch the Ferry back to the mainland).
- Drive down Lombard St (the crookedest in the world).
- Cheer on the 49ers @ Candlestick Park or the Giants at AT&T Park.
- Flex your retail muscles at Westfield and complete a lap of the major department stores anchoring Union Square.
- Get pampered with an oxygen facial at Bliss, followed by a blowout at Drybar.
Got a hot San Fran travel tip? Don’t leave me hanging. Spill!