I’m making a mental note to plan all subsequent visits back to San Francisco for early September moving forward, because hot damn, if it isn’t gorgeous there when the Indian summer is in full swing. Balmy mornings, 80-degree afternoons and brisk evenings—I’ll take it!
I won’t say our trip was by any means “leisurely”—until KEEN Digital Summit has passed, sleep is but an afterthought—but we sure managed to cram a whole lot into eight days nonetheless, including stops at many of our favorite former haunts. If you’re traveling to San Francisco soon and want to create my idea of a perfect day, here goes:
Stroll through the Haight. The Lower Haight, in particular—down closer to the Octavia end—has some really cute boutiques. The Haight-Ashbury area is more, erm, free-spirited and where you’ll find your odd trinkets, hippie attire and herbal supplements. I prefer the Lower, but Upper also has some gems (like a couple creperies and some delicious coffee and some gawgeous ladies, like pictured below).
Brunch at Zazie. During my Bay Area days, Zazie in Cole Valley was my go-to brunch spot, but do not try to snag a table on a weekend; the wait is surreal. Instead, go mid-week and take advantage of the fact that you can mix and match menu items (I always get one Pierre Noir egg Benny and one gingerbread pancake with poached pear) and the fact that the flavored mimosas are to die for.
Tour a tech office. OK, so maybe not everyone might be able to swing a visit to the posh Airbnb headquarters, but they invited me for a tour and lunch via Twitter, so if you’re active over on those parts, give it a go. The facilities are phenomenal. But I’m sure you know someone who works in the tech industry in the Bay Area—whether at Google, Facebook or elsewhere—and many of these campuses are more than happy to welcome visitors and show off their digs. I feel like this is a very iconic San Francisco thing to do.
Hit the beach. There are so many stretches of sand that flank the city. Ocean Beach is perhaps the most accessible, though we prefer the vacant plots (like Pescadero or San Gregorio) to the south along the Peninsula.
Sip wine at Bluxome. Day drinking is the best, though I might have had a bit too much vino as all I wanted was a nap after our two hours at Bluxome Street Winery!
Hike at Corona Heights. Somehow I lived in the area for four years and never made it to Corona until Ella’s former dog trainer Dianne suggest we go for a walk there. But oh, the views! Make it a priority; Corona Heights is so convenient to the Haight, Hayes Valley, the Mission and the rest of downtown.
Dinner at B Star. Don’t wait in the insane line at Burma Superstar just three blocks down; instead, nab a table at sister joint B Star Bistro, which boasts the same menu in a prettier setting. SVV has come pretty close to mastering the Burmese fermented tea leaf salad from home, but even masters need schooling some times so it was nice being able to eat the original after two weeks without. (We used to go here weekly as it was walking distance to our apartment.)
Dessert at Toy Boat. Since you’re already in the Inner Richmond, you might as well continue on a couple blocks down Clement and have a delicious float or other sweet treat at Toy Boat Dessert Cafe. You’re on vacation, after all.
Of course, if I really had wanted to round out that day, I would have always squeezed in the following: coffee at Blue Bottle, a wander through the Ferry Building, a cupcake from Miette, and a burger from Gott’s or In-n-Out. But you can’t do everything in one day, now can you?