San Francisco, California, United States- Leslie
San Francisco has got it all, amazing restaurants, fantastic bars, beautiful weather, and plenty to do and see. A weekend is not enough time to see it all but it’s a good start.
Where to Stay
We booked our hotel last minute through Hotel Tonight, it’s a great app that allows you to book last minute and stay for cheap at top-rated hotels. We stayed at Hotel Triton, just blocks from Union Square and right next to the entrance to China Town. Hotel Triton is a boutique hotel with fun, unique decor. The lobby features art exhibits of local artists work and fun accessories like hula hoops in the lobby!
After checking in we made our way to North Beach for an Italian dinner and some wine. We walked through Chinatown and North Beach to get there. San Francisco is a walking town, it’s pretty easy to get everywhere on foot, if you can handle the massive hills. However, the walk through Chinatown to North Beach is a straight shot filled with lots to see. Make sure to admire Dragon's Gate, Golden Gate Bakery and some of the spice and herb shops!
Upon reaching North Beach you are first met with Jack Kerouac Alley, a charming little street in between Vesuvio and City Lights Books, filled with art and Kerouac quotes. Stop at Vesuvio for a drink, I’m sure you’ve heard of it. It’s a historic bar frequented by a number of Beat Generation celebrities, including Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. And then of course you have to stop into City Lights, a landmark bookstore that will leave you in awe.
L'Osteria del Forno is where we ended up for dinner just a few blocks down from Vesuvio. It offered an intimate atmosphere with amazing thin crust pizza and pasta. After dinner we swung into Stella Pastry and Cafe to split a little sweet, can’t go wrong with the Napoleon or Tiramisu. And then it was time to check out some of the nightlife! We headed straight to Pagan Idol, a newer tiki bar in town, because you can’t really go wrong with a tiki bar. Walking into Pagan Idol is like walking into a whole new world. The lighting is dimmed and there’s a feeling like you’ve stumbled onto special, secret island. The drinks are exotic and delicious, I tried a concoction with rock candy as the garnish. There was even a spontaneously erupting volcano!
Saturday morning began with Blue Bottle Coffee, some of the best in San Francisco. After we fueled up, we headed straight to the De Young Museum for the Frank Stella modern art exhibit and the Danny Lyon exhibit. I favored Danny Lyon’s work, he is an American photographer and filmmaker who rose to fame in the 60s and 70s and was interested in social change. He has documented the 1960’s Southern civil rights movement, a Chicago Outlaw Motorcycle Club, and inmates in the Texas prison system. His work is fascinating, eye opening and educational.
After a morning inside, we decided to spend the afternoon exploring the Japanese Tea Gardens which were conveniently close to the DeYoung. It was a beautiful day and we partook in one of the free tours they offered to learn more about the gardens.
Because it was an unseasonably beautiful day we decided to head to Crissy Field after to take advantage of the sun and clear skies and catch a good glimpse of the Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. After working up a sweat it was off to The View, aptly named for its spectacular views, especially at sunset. Located at the top of the Marriott Marquis, the bar has floor to ceiling windows that offer superb views of SOMA and South Beach.
We ended off the day with dinner on another rooftop, Dirty Habit, a craft cocktail bar and restaurant in the SOMA district, it’s an unsuspecting, intimate hideaway that offers a menu inspired by seasonal ingredients.
The day of rest and relaxation! We took our time getting out of bed and made our way to authentic dim sum in Chinatown at Hang Ah Tea Room, a casual, brightly colored Chinese tearoom serving dumplings, egg rolls and other dim sum classics. After stuffing ourselves with goodness, we rolled on out of the city. Looking forward to more cultural and culinary adventures next time!