If there’s one thing that sets our hearts aflutter time and time again, it’s exploring every nook and cranny of our fair city. And while we may be well versed in the haunts and happenings that make S.F. as awesome as it is, an unassuming visitor obviously isn’t as in the know. In fact, if you’re a newbie to our turf, you may find yourself inadvertently unearthing some pretty ghastly locales. Um, Fisherman’s Wharf, anyone? (Hint: Just stay away!)
So, we’re here to guide all you Bay Area guests in a direction that won’t just keep you entertained, but will actually leave you head-over-heels in love with this city. S.F. is littered with cool indie shops, innovative eateries, and chill bars (from beer gardens to artisanal wineries to top-notch coffee joints) that pop up practically daily—so, it makes sense we’d want to share the intel. Whether you’re breezing through town as a visitor or have the urge to play tourist in your own city, after following our cheat sheet, you’re so going to understand what Tony Bennett was crooning about.
If You Have 24 Hours In San Francisco...
9 a.m.: Wake up at the mid-century, rock star-magnet Phoenix Hotel, which touts The Shins and The Killers as recent sleepers. (Or, if the Tenderloin is too gritty for your taste, try Hotel Vitale on the Embarcadero.)
9:30 a.m.: Walk five blocks to the Civic Center BART station and take it one stop over to 16th Street. Stand in line (it's part of the fun, we swear) at Tartine Bakery and order the sticky bun.
10 a.m.: Walk said sticky bun over to Four Barrel for a French-pressed, made-to-order, ridiculously good cup of java — served by friendly (and cute!) baristas.
11 a.m.: Grab a scoop of Lavender-Honey ice cream at Bi-Rite Creamery (pre-noon cones...that’s how we roll). Soak up the morning rays and people watch at nearby Dolores Park.
Noon: Now that you're finished parking it — time to get spendy. The shops are open! Head over to BellJar and Candystore Collective on 16th Street, then walk down Sanchez Street toward the Castro for more rack fondling at Unionmade.
1:30 p.m.: Time to chow down! Fill your belly with organic comfort food at Starbelly. Be sure to nab a seat on the patio.
2:30 p.m.: Hop the F train (vintage streetcar to you) down Market Street to Hayes Valley.
3 p.m.: Happy Hour time! (Hey, you're on vacay, right?) Grab a pint at Biergarten before the communal tables fill up, or if you skipped Bi-Rite be sure to scoop up the tasty treats at Smitten.
4 p.m.: Browse retail besties Reliquary, Acrimony, Dish, Welcome Stranger, Ver Unica, and Gimme Shoes on and around Hayes Street before they close up shop.
5:30 p.m.: Walk up Hayes Street toward Steiner Street and Instagram yourself in front of the Painted Ladies (a famous row of colorful Victorian houses) at Alamo Square Park. Resist captioning it: “Everywhere you look…”
6:30 p.m.: Head back to the Mission for a bite at not-to-be-missed Flour + Water (make your reservations ahead of time). It takes Italian fare up several notches and boasts last-meal-worthy pizzas and pastas (the cappellacci with rabbit meatballs had us swooning — until the divine Calabrese pizza showed up). Don't forget to check out the bathroom.
8 p.m.: Pop by Bloodhound for a post-dinner cocktail (Ricky Ricardo for tequila fans), then hit up Dear Mom for more people watching and a cold one (bartenders Casey or Oliver are great for what’s-on-tap recs) or sling back a whiskey by the digital jukebox.
9 p.m.: Bar hop your way back to the 16th Street BART station, and before you head back to the hotel wrap things up with a nightcap with a view at Jones.
Photos: (Clockwise from left) Via Starbelly, Four Barrel, Candystore Collective, Flour + Water, Welcome Stranger.
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