What’s the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of San Francisco? Right. The Golden Gate bridge. Even if you wouldn’t recognize it by name, I’m sure seeing the image will ring some bells. Then of course there’s the famous cable car too! But hey, there’s more to San Francisco than that. Do you want to find out what we did? Read on.
1. Explore the views
One thing that never fails to fascinate me is a good view. San Francisco is one of those places where finding a good view is super easy! Sure, the never ending hills get a little tiring after a day of roaming the city, but every time you’re standing on a hill overlooking the ocean and beautiful skyline, you know the climb was worth it. By coincidence we ended up at Coit tower in the Telegraph hill neighbourhood, a unique little spot on a hill from where you can look out over San Francisco from a 360 degrees perspective.
2. Lombard street
OK, so this is a major tourist spot, but really worth a visit! Aside from the incredible view you’ve got from here over the city, this street features eight sharp turns, making it the most crooked street in the world. It was designed this way because the hill’s natural 27% grade makes it otherwise impossible for cars to drive on. As you can probably imagine, making it to the top of this hill is tiring but luckily the Powell-Hyde cable car stops at the top. We randomly took that cable car, not knowing we would end up at Lombard street. We simply got out at this stop because we thought the view was nice. When we were there, the flower beds in the middle of the road where in full bloom and totally added to that postcard perfect view.
3. Walking across the Golden Gate Bridge
I’ve always loved bridges, blame it on the fact that I grew up in the Netherlands. It’s fascinating how a construction like that enables thousands of people to cross every day. When I was younger I remember having looked at photos of the Golden Gate bridge many times, not knowing that I’d be standing on it myself one day! Sure, it’s still just a bridge. But definitely one that’s gigantic and so beautifully designed. A tip if you’re going to cross the bridge? Wear some layers! On the bridge temperatures can be 10 degrees colder than elsewhere in town and it’s often incredibly windy too. Don’t do like Tatiane and wear only shorts and a top.
4. Relax on the beach
Crossing the Golden Gate bridge is nice, but what’s even better is to walk along the ocean with a view on the bridge. Or maybe that’s just a personal preference. We simply walked down from the Marina neighbourhood to the ocean, sat down on the beach with our feet in the sand and a drink and chatted away several hours. It’s absolutely magical when the late afternoon light sets in over the ocean while sail boats pass by and the occasional seal pops out of the water to say hi.
5. Explore the Marina Area
What us Europeans always find hard when going abroad is that you can’t find everything you’re looking for in one spot. For example, when you want to go out in Amsterdam, you know that from Leidseplein you can walk to almost every bar, café or club in town. San Francisco (and many other places in the world) are a lot more spread out. You really have to know the different area’s in order to find out which places are your taste. Anyway, we found out that most down town spots weren’t really our cup of tea, but we absolutely loved the Marina area. Not only for its cool shops, but there’s so many nice restaurants and bars here too. A great place to spend an afternoon of wandering and finishing the day with a cocktail!
San Francisco really is the place for food and we absolutely loved trying out many different spots! Here’s a few that we’d recommend:
MKT Restaurant and Bar
I love trying out new foods and MKT restaurant made it easy on us! We tried out the charred octopus, tuna bresaola and the yummiest Rib eye cap to name a few. Mouthwatering good food and located on the fifth floor in the Four Seasons with a lovely view over downtown San Francisco. Oh, and don’t forget to try out the Lychee Martini. It’s delicious.
Website: MKT Restaurant and Bar
Address: Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco, 757 Market St
A spontaneous find. I was attracted by the bread bowls I saw on tables and had to try it out for myself. Turns out that creamy soup in a bowl of sourdough bread is one of the most delicious things I’ve ever tried.
Website: Bodin Bakery
Address: 251 Geary St, San Francisco (more locations)
I’m not sure what it is with San Francisco and great restaurants located in hotels? Anyway. Upon recommendation from someone we met, we went to try out the newly opened BDK Restaurant in Hotel Monaco. It was so good that we came back the next day too. Oops. They’ve got some things on the menu that spark the curiosity like: “Thai coconut red curry popcorn” (delicious!) and also some great classics made with the best ingredients, for example the Spring Risotto. Great ambiance too, so after dinner you can hang out for a couple of more hours for drinks.
Website: BDK restaurant
Address: 501 Geary Street, San Francisco
Photographer: Tatiane Kozijn