City Spotlight: San Francisco

by Tiffany Paul

This will be the first, of a monthly blog series of “City Spotlights” posted on the 1st of every month. It will be a quick glimpse into some of my favorite cities. First up, the city of San Francisco…the city I currently call home. 

One of my favorite things about San Francisco is the weather. Consistently delivering 60+ degree days means it's ideal weather to explore the city by foot year round. Not to mention, the perfect weather for adding a cute pair of boots or a Sleeper Scarf to any outfit.

Make sure a scarf and a great pair of flats are part of your San Francisco packing list. Consider a Sleeper Scarf, which allows you to remove the neck pillow once you arrive at your destination and wear as an everyday scarf. 

Make sure a scarf and a great pair of flats are part of your San Francisco packing list. Consider a Sleeper Scarf, which allows you to remove the neck pillow once you arrive at your destination and wear as an everyday scarf. 

In general, it's always a good idea to layer when visiting, as temperatures can fluctuate throughout the day depending on the breeze and fog. Typically, the best months to visit San Francisco are September-November when we experience our warmest temperatures. Many visitors are surprised to learn that summers in San Francisco tend to be our foggiest months and with that, brings cooler temperatures. 

It's not only the weather that makes this city ideal to explore on foot, it's also the size. The city of San Francisco is only 7 by 7 square miles. I lived in Los Angeles prior to San Francisco and everything was so spread out, coupled with heavy traffic, which resulted in lots of frustration in trying to get around and many hours spent in my car. This made me appreciate the city of San Francisco that much more. You have everything you need; the best restaurants, shopping, museums, parks, the ocean and more, within walking distance or a quick drive. I recommend taking a taxi or Uber to save time and money parking. 

Despite it's size, San Francisco has more restaurants per capita than any other U.S. city. It's a foodie's dream. Any variety of cuisine you desire, San Francisco offers. I once heard a statistic that there are enough restaurants in this city, that every resident could go out to eat at the same time and there would be enough seats for everyone. Quite honestly, I could write a whole blog on the great food I've eaten during the past year living here, but the point is, get excited to eat exceptionally great food while you're here. I've recapped my favorites in the "Must Eat" section below, along with a few honorable mentions. 

When planning your trip, of course there's the fun touristy stuff like Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, Fisherman's Wharf, Ghirardelli Square, Union Square (Can you say 8 story Macy's?!), Chinatown, AT&t Park, riding the cable cars or visiting the "Full House" house. However, San Francisco offers so much more. Be sure to leave some room in your itinerary to try something unique like seeing America's longest running musical Beach Blanket Babylon, try a walking food tour through one of San Francisco's diverse neighborhoods or rent a mini Go Car and zip around the city. You might also consider a day trip to neighboring city Sausalito or Marin County, just over the Golden Gate Bridge. Drive a bit further, and you can check out Muir Woods or wine country.

Must Do:

Bike Ride across the Golden Gate Bridge: We all know the Golden Gate bridge to be the most recognizable landmark in San Francisco, but have you considered seeing the bridge by bike? Biking across the bridge offers amazing views and gives you a chance to see one of my favorite neighboring cities, Sausalito. Once you’ve arrived in Sausalito, you can take the ferry back if you're not up for the bike ride back. Check out Trip Advisor for details on where to rent bikes and directions for riding the ferry back.

Walk along the Embarcadero: See some of San Francisco's top sites while enjoying great views of the bay, using this flat, two-mile waterfront walkway. This pedestrian only path connects Ghirardelli Square to the Ferry Building, with stops at the Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 39, and Alcatraz Landing if you plan to take a tour. If you start at Ghiradelli Square, start your day off with an Irish coffee from the historic Buena Vista Cafe, a Sundae from Gharadelli Square or grab a burger, from nearby In-N-Out. If you start from the Ferry Building, take your pick from the numerous food stands, ensuring everyone finds something they will enjoy. I've mapped out the walk here.

Picnic in Golden Gate Park: Escape the hustle and bustle of the city in beautiful Golden Gate Park. Among the 1,000 acre park is your choice of the Japanese Tea Garden, San Francisco Botanical Garden, Conservatory of Flowers or Stow Lake to enjoy as a backdrop to your picnic. After lunch, enjoy a stroll through the park.

Enjoy a picnic in San Francisco's Botanical Gardens.

Enjoy a picnic in San Francisco's Botanical Gardens.

Tourist Tip: San Francisco City Guides offers FREE walking tours of the city, with a variety of neighborhoods and sites to choose from. For more details, visit their website.


Must Eat:

Ike's Place: Although Sourdough is widely known as the signature bread of San Francisco, locals know it to be Dutch Crunch; a slightly sweet, soft bread with a crispy top. Ike's offers some of the best sandwiches in the city and all are available on Dutch Crunch. I highly recommend the "Matt Cain" or "Bella". Feeling adventurous? Check out their $26 "Kryptonite" sandwich featuring 5 kinds of meats, onion rings, mozzarella sticks and jalapeno poppers. Whatever you get, just get it on Dutch Crunch. Check out the full menu here. This casual drop in spot doesn't have a dining area, so enjoy your sandwich on one of the few benches inside or take it to nearby Dolores Park. 

Leopold's: Hands down the best German food in the city and only a 10 minute walk from Ghiradelli Square. Despite my German heritage, I couldn't tell you the last time I went to a German restaurant, so this place totally caught me off guard with how amazingly delicious it was. This place rocks a 4.5 star rating on Yelp and it delivers, especially on a those chilly San Francisco evenings when you're craving comfort food. Enjoy a mug of German beer and start your meal with their house-made sausages. My favorite menu items are the Braised Beef Short Rib and Choucroute Garni Platter.

Wayfare Tavern: Offering a modern take on comfort food, the Wayfare Tavern has some of the best fried chicken I’ve ever had (One order is enough to feed two) Oh, and don’t forget the side of Mac & Cheese with your fried chicken and homemade donuts for dessert. Reservations are required weeks in advance, but it’s worth it.

The homemade donuts at Wayfare Tavern are made fresh daily and served with a trio of accompaniment that change nightly.

The homemade donuts at Wayfare Tavern are made fresh daily and served with a trio of accompaniment that change nightly.

Honorable "Must Eat" Mentions: Spruce, Gary Danko, Prospect, Slanted Door, Rose Pistola, Momacita, Michael Mina, A16, Zushi Puzzle, Firenze by Night, Far East Café, Ella's (Brunch), Swan Oyster Depot and The Original Ghiradelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop.

Ghiradelli's Signature Hot Fudge Sundae.

By now, I'm sure your stomach is growling, so I'll stop. But hopefully you've also built up an appetite to visit one of my very favorite cities!

Questions? Comments? Tweet me at @SleeperScarf