Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco

A Perfect Day in San Francisco

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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!

Golden Gate Bridge in San FranciscoI 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).

Victorians in San Francisco's Haight-AshburyBrunch 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.

Zazie brunch in San Francisco Zazie brunch in San FranciscoTour 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.

Airbnb HQ in San FranciscoHit 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.

Pescadero beach in CaliforniaSip 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!

Bluxome Street Winery in San FranciscoHike 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.

View from Corona Heights in San FranciscoDinner 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.

Toy Boat Dessert Cafe in San Francisco Toy Boat Dessert Cafe in San FranciscoOf 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?

What would you add to my idea of a perfect 24 hours in San Francisco?

  • September 11, 2013

    I’d say your day is pretty much perfect! Very full, but doing great things. Love the pics, especially the first one!

  • September 11, 2013

    This sounds like such a great day in San Francisco!! I went here a few years ago just for a weekend at the beginning of September, and it was perfect weather. I really liked Haight-Ashbury, and had the most incredible Puerto Rican food and watermelon beer at a fantastic restaurant, but I’ll be damned if I can remember the name!

  • September 12, 2013

    I just spent last weekend in SF– I couldn’t believe the weather!! We spent a glorious day at Golden Gate Park soaking up all the sunshine.

    • September 12, 2013

      We must have just crossed paths! I was staying on Page by the entrance to Golden Gate Park through this past Sunday (Sept. 8)!

  • September 13, 2013

    I made the blog!!

  • September 13, 2013

    Always a good reminder that all of San Francisco is stuffed with Victorian and Edwardian ladies. At this point, stock options from Facebook, Google, Twitter and Linkedin et al are driving a restoration renaissance. It’s soOooo much a walking city. Start at Krissy Field and head over the hills. You could do it nine times and be amazed always. Rinse and repeat in another direction.

    • September 18, 2013

      Dang, we didn’t make it to Crissy Field! How did that happen (or rather, how did that *not* happen)?

  • September 15, 2013

    Woah, that does seem like an amazing day! I felt happy just reading this. I love San Francisco and hope to visit again soon..

  • September 17, 2013

    I love a day in San Francisco. When the weather gets just right on one of those bottlomless Mimosa days…so good.

    • September 18, 2013

      I mean, in my opinion, good weather or not it’s always an appropriate time for bottomless mimosas… πŸ˜‰

  • September 20, 2013

    Well done on timing the weather! So many people show up in June and then say “WTF is it is so cold?”

    This is a pretty great 24 hours in SF but for SF newbies, I always like taking them to Dolores Park in the Mission. Not only is there great food nearby but the park is phenomenal for people watching. It really attracts the weirdoes that make San Francisco what it is. πŸ™‚

  • September 21, 2013

    Sounds like a perfect day to me!

  • September 23, 2013

    The Tonga Room!

  • September 25, 2013

    hahaha i don’t think i’d want either of those cereals

  • December 16, 2013
    David Lytle

    Hit me up next time you’re in town, lady.

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