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).
Hong Kong Lounge
I would start out my morning with brunch at my favorite dim sum spot, making sure to line up right before 10:30 to try and beat the line (try being the key word). As someone who usually picks up dim sum on the go, I love being able to sit down and order all the shrimp dumplings, taro cakes, and egg tarts by marking up a paper menu old-school style. For me, there’s nothing more San Francisco than a morning filled with dim sum.
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.
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 Crissy Field, and walk along the water and watch the dogs playing in the surf. Living near the water most of my life, it’s hard to imagine living in a city that’s not next to the ocean, and this restored marshland is the perfect reminder of how beautiful coastal cities like SF are, with sweeping views of the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.
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.
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.
What is on your ideal San Francisco itinerary?