You probably know that San Francisco is great city for a weekend (or longer) visit – I recently spent time there with some good friends and had a fantastic time! Because of all of those hills, it offers scenic vistas at every turn, as well as excellent cultural activities and delicious food (Chinese, Italian, and of course tons of fresh seafood). Here are a few of my favorite things to do in California’s other must-see city:
Eat and shop at the Ferry Building. San Francisco’s beautiful ferry terminal is filled with artisanal food shops selling delicious local cheeses, meats, sweets, olive oil, everything. There’s also a farmer’s market there two or three times a week, with the most eye-popping array of fresh produce you’ve ever seen.
Museum hop. The city has some A-list museums housed in buildings that are works of art in themselves. I love the DeYoung museum of art (currently showing a special exhibit of Bulgari jewels), the Asian Art Museum and the Legion of Honor, which is perched on a hill surrounded by the Pacific and the entrance to San Francisco bay.
Feel transported in Chinatown. San Francisco’s Chinatown is the oldest in North America and the largest Chinese community outside of Asia, and when you wander its busy streets you almost feel like you’re on another continent. Visit the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company, which has been supplying the world with fortune cookies for more than fifty years.
Hit the best bakery this side of Paris. In the hip Mission district, you can find some of the best bread, croissants, sandwiches and sweets you’ve ever tasted at Tartine. This cafe and bakery is always packed, for good reason. Try the super-sized gougeres, light-as-air cheese puffs that are absolutely delicious.
Have a drink with a view. The Mark Hopkins hotel sits atop Nob Hill and has a rooftop lounge called Top of the Mark, which is an absolute classic. It offers 360 degree views of the city lights and old-fashioned cocktails and appetizers. Gazing down at the lights, landmarks and surrounding water from that vantage point is an unbeatable way to see the city!