The biggest driver for starting Eat & Escape was to show people the best my city had to offer, so my heart breaks a little when I see tourists make a beeline for all the traps and skip on the essence that is San Francisco. San Francisco’s beauty lies within its differences. There is a plethora of neighborhoods to explore – each with their own unique adventures and must-sees. In the near future I will be writing a post decoding all SF neighborhoods. Today, however, I will focus on the broader question that I get asked A LOT: What should I see in San Francisco and what are things I can cross of my itinerary.
The following are my suggestions:
Ditch: Fisherman’s Wharf
I personally think the wharf is super touristy and not all that telling of San Francisco. Yes, there is water, but look around – it’s pretty much everywhere. And, yes, it’s possible to get clam chowder elsewhere. Visiting a city, whether for the first time or the fifth – I look for places that capture the essence of that city and one that will leave me with the best memories. If I-heart-SF shirts are what you’re looking for then this may be the perfect place, but if you crave something a little more meaningful I’d skip it.
Do: Ferry Building
If we want to see the true hustle and bustle of this place go on a Tuesday or Thursday around lunch time and you’ll see the Farmer’s Market in full swing as well as real San Franciscans catching a break from their busy work days. If you want even more food selection take a stroll in and around the building on a Saturday when the Farmer’s market is even larger. And, of course, if you want to avoid the crowds, head there during the week any time before lunch time. The Ferry Building, where you can see the ferries dock as well as great views of the bay bridge, is foodie central. With butcher shops, ice cream stores, sit down restaurants and stands selling pretty much everything, it’s a great place to dip your feet in what is one of the best food cities in the world. Here’s a list of a few things you may want to buy while you’re there:
- Meat cone from Boccolone
- Bread from Acme Bread Co. (cash only)
- Mt. Tam brie cheese from Cowgirl Creamery (or any cheese really)
- Tip: grab a seat outside and just eat this with the bread you just bought and get ready to experience the delicious simplicity of life 🙂
- Avocado toast from Frog Hollow Farm Café
- Grilled cheese from Hog Island Oyster Company
Ditch: Vista Point
This is the place that all the double-decker buses take you to nab a view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Well I’ve got a better viewpoint.
Do: Marin Headlands
The view is spectacular – the closet view you get from the bridge without actually being on it. There’s various viewpoints at this location- the closest one being the second turn off on the left as you go up the hill. You can’t miss it, there will be quite a few people stopped there. You’ll see the mountains, the bridge, and water. Great Views! It’s one of my favorite places to go in the Bay Area. If you don’t have access to a car you can technically walk the bridge (which I think is fun to do regardless) and then take a little hike to the first viewpoint (and some of the trails).
Ditch: Ocean beach
It’s a beach and it’s nice, but there’s one that takes the cake (in my opinion).
Do: Baker Beach
It’s a small beach with views of the golden gate bridge. You can’t beat that.
Ditch: Union Square
Unless you came to SF to shop, there’s really nothing else in Union Square. The restaurants are overpriced, there are hotels everywhere, the parking is horrendous and it’s filled with chain stores.
Do: Either Union Street or Hayes Valley
You’ll find cute boutiques in both that are locally run. You’ll be supporting local business and find one-of-a-kind pieces: it’s a win-win!!