September 27, 2014

Top 10 things to do in San Francisco

Okay, I overindulged in being a francophile for the last few months, more so leading up to my France trip.  It's not quite out of my system yet, but let's save that for another time and go back to the basics, which should stay true to the title of this blog.

After blogging about top, budget-friendly things to do in France, I dreamed up my own list for San Francisco.  I hope San Franciscans would agree with my list and I hope it gives visitors the most of what they can get while staying in this beautiful city.   In no particular order...

Ride the Wiggle:

A great way for cyclists to get intimate with the city while avoiding her treacherous hills.  If you're not allergic to climbing hills then good for you, skip to the next entry.  The Wiggle route is about one-mile long and stretches from Golden Gate Park to Market Street.

Try the Anchor Oyster Bar in the Castro, 579 Castro Street:

I know, I know.  Your guidebook told you to go to Hog Island Oyster Co.  But being that this is from a local's perspective, I'm trying to drag you away from touristaland. You protest, bu-but Hog Island has waterfront views.  Yes, but you can walk off all the calories from your chowder and cioppino by exploring the Castro neighborhood afterwards.  Why not support LGBT local businesses while you're here.

Visit colorful Clement Street in the Richmond district:

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Okay, I guess I'm partial to Clement Street since this was my old 'hood.  But if you're super short on time I definitely recommend this street.  It is so diverse in terms of food offerings and shops.  Heard of shabu or boba but don't know what the heck they are?  Then you came to the right place.

Shop in the Marina or the Mission district:

Your guidebook again points you to the burning lights of Union Square.  Okay, there's an H&M, Macy*s, Forever 21, and ___________(insert a major department store here).  That's nice and dandy but where in the U.S. is there not a major department store within a 50 mile radius?  Depending on what your style is, I would recommend the Marina district's Union Street and Chestnut Street boutiques if your style is more uptown, and the Mission district (along Valencia Street betweet 16th and 24th Street) if your style is more downtown.

-Try SOMA Streat Food Park, 428 11th Street:

A wide variety of food truck vendors all in one area and a perfect chance to hang out and observe techies from all walks of life.  You can pass the time waiting in line by counting how many start-up logos you recognize on t-shirts and utility bags.        

Catch a show at the Castro Theater, 429 Castro Street:

This is not your ordinary theater.  This is an institution.  It's one of the few movie theaters still in operation from the roaring 20's.  They sell tickets for movie sing alongs (waiting for the Sound of Music) and shows.  There's also an organist who plays live before each show which makes going to the movies all the more unique.  

Grab a beer at Southern Pacific Brewery, 620 Treat Avenue:

Set in a 10,000 square foot industrial warehouse, this brewery in the Mission District is a nice change of scenery.  There's also another bar and more seating in the second floor.

Have a picnic at Dolores Park, 19th Street and Dolores:

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It's the next best place for locals to go on a Sunday afternoon after brunching with friends or just for getting fresh air to ease their hangover.  Grab a sandwich from Ike's Place and bask in the sun while you can because it's most likely to be foggy everywhere else.  

Hike Mount Davidson, on 125 Dalewood Way:

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It's the highest point in San Francisco, and I would say it's an easy to moderate hike from Dalewood and Lansdale and you're rewarded with views of the city.  Avoid coming here on super foggy, cold days because the ground will be muddy and slippery.  Mount Davidson is the City's best kept secret, so much so that even most locals have never heard of it.  Don't forget to visit the foot of the massive cross commemorating Armenians who perished during the genocide of the Turkish Ottoman Empire.

West Portal for vintage treasures:

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This neighborhood is becoming a hotbed for vintage finds.  They've got everything from a Goodwill (possible donations from nearby posh St. Francis Wood residents), the City Antiques store, and West Portal Antiques.

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