San Francisco is where I was born and raised, and after living in Los Angeles, Boston, Kalispell (MT) Krakow and Izmir, it’s hard to call anywhere else home.
Now that I live in the East Bay, I see it in a new light, and appreciate it even more from afar. There’s nothing like driving over the Bay Bridge, and seeing the city skyline emerge with the Bay in the distance.
I grew up in the Inner Richmond, so the Sunset and Richmond are two of the neighborhoods that feel most familiar. In my humble opinion, these neighborhoods have some of the best Asian food, and large open spaces like Golden Gate Park and Land’s End in the city.
So without further ado, here’s how I would craft my ideal day in the City by the Bay (a lot harder than I ever imagined).
I would start the day at one of my favorite brunch spots in in the city. There’s not a lot of Hawaiian food options (except for the poke trend that is currently taking the city by storm), but this restaurant makes up for it, and fulfills all my loco moco cravings. If burgers smothered in gravy is not your thing, you can do no wrong with their buttermilk waffles and bread pudding French toast.
Golden Gate Park
Afterwards, I would head over to the city’s largest park, but first stopping at Cinderella’s Bakery for a few hamantaschen cookies right before entering. Once in the park, I would make a beeline for the De Young’s Hamon Tower, which boasts a 360 degree view of the city (fingers crossed that the fog clears) and is completely free to enter.
Afterward, I would wander through the expansive Botanical Gardens nearby, where it feels like you are transported to different parts of the globe through plants that are native to those regions of the world.
Afternoon Snack: Arizmendi Bakery
After building up an appetite, I would head over to this local bakery to grab olive focaccia bread and a cherry scone. I always leave in a carb coma, but it’s so worth it.
In the later afternoon, I would head out to Land’s End (though Crissy Field is also a great alternative for those days when I feel more beach-incline), and admire the Sutro Bath ruins with the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop. It’s hard to imagine living in a city that’s not next to the ocean, and Land’s End is the perfect reminder of how beautiful coastal cities like SF are, with sweeping views of the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.
Dinner: Sushi Time
For evening sustenance, I would head over to the Castro, where my favorite subterranean sushi restaurant can be found. I love everything about this place, from the delicious sushi (get the Barbie Roll that has salmon with lemon slices on it) to the cozy atmosphere where there are just a few table amidst many wall trinkets and colorful cloths. It feels like I’m in a sushi restaurant in one of Tokyo’s subways.
Dessert: Genki’s Crepes
Whether I’m in a crepe mood, craving egg puffs or dreaming of green tea Pocky, this Japanese mini market has always satisfied my sweet tooth. You can always smell the crepes a block away, and this is more than enough to convince me that I do in fact need dessert.
Nightlife in the Richmond
As I’ve gotten older, I usually opt for a more low-key night out. The dive bars in the Richmond neighborhood like Stars and Plough or Tradr Sams for a tiki-style dive bar fit the bill. Polk Street is also a favorite, where I can get an apple fritter at midnight at Bob’s Donuts, after hanging out at the Lush Lounge.
What is on your ideal San Francisco itinerary?