San Francisco

Where to stay:

  • The Clift Hotel: modern hotel, somewhat noisy though – room 340 is the quietest rooms (it faces the courtyard), the bar is very cool and features “Harry Potter like  picture frames with moving faces and eyes – quite creepy but cool)  – rooms are very reasonably price – around $250 – quite the steal for San Fran
  • Hotel Vitale: Modern newer hotel with bright rooms  located across from Pier 1 with beautiful water views – room 716 is the best room, its a big King circular room on the terrace level with views to the Ferry Building and the Bay Bridge
  • Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay: I haven’t been there yet but hear its amazing.

Where to eat:

  • Liholiho: Hawaiian Fusion, 5 minute walk from the Clift Hotel. Its one of the “in places right now”. The lay out of the restaurant is not very “inviting” but the food is unique and tasty. Liholiho is though in Tenderloin, not the best district in San Fran to walk around on your own.
  • Kokkari: Greek – another “In” restaurant. If you want to sit at a table you need to reserve 2 months ahead but you could go and “hover” at the bar and see if you can score a seat at the bar. The Lamb chops are their staple.
  • The Slanted Door: Vietnamese “fine dining”, very unique Asian/Vietnamese food in the Embarcadero Pier 1 Ferry Building. Also a very sought after restaurant where you need to reserve months ahead but again, if you don’t mind eating at the bar and have patience, you can hover at the bar and wait for a seat to open up.
  • Barrel House Tavern: Modern American waterfront restaurant in Sausalito. Great views on the Golden Gate Bridge and San Fran Skyline on a nice day.
  • Boulevard: Kind of “old school” French “stuffy” restaurant – everything in dark brown – BUT from what I can tell the food here is really good. I only had a beet salad and Lemon drop and both were outstanding and the service was impeccable. Boulevard is across from Hotel Vitale which is across from the Ferry Building and the Embarcadero.
  • Waterbar: I haven’t eaten there yet but walked into the restaurant to check it out as a possible restaurant for celebrating my mums 70’s birthday and it looked really cool. You can sit outside or inside with an amazing view onto the Baby Bridge. They have two huge columns in the restaurant that serve as a vertical aquarium, kind of cool and a really cool bar stuffed with ice and fresh oysters. As the name says, mainly fish is on the menu.
  • Right next door from the Waterbar is Epic – a steakhouse. Same outstanding view and inside and outside seating.
  • Now if you are into Oysters, then I bet the Hog Island Oysterbar would be pretty cool. Its on the water in the Ferry Building and when I walked by there was quite the hustle and bustle going on.

What to do:

  • San Francisco in One day: This is a great list and map of the most important “items” so see in San Francisco:
  •  Alcatraz tour you can chose between a night and a day tour. Ferry leaves at Pier 39
  • Ride a cable car: I took the one from Union Square to Fisherman’s Wharf, that was a nice long hilly ride. It costs $7 – per person per ride. Have the $7 handy because the conductor will not give back any change. If you plan on riding the cable car more often buy a “punch card” at Walgreens, that will be more economical.
  • Rent a bike at the Ferry Terminal, bike over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito and take the ferry back to San Francisco.
  • Shop at the Ferry Building Market and buy everything you need for a picnic at the water, the shops in the building offer an amazing selection of cheese, meats, fresh fruits, chocolates, breads and much more.
  • Visit Sausalito: Take a ferry and visit Sausalito on the exact other site of San Francisco. Its a really cool little artsy “hippie” town with lots of water view restaurant, little shops and a boardwalk.
  • See Big Sur: approximately 2 hours from San Francisco
  • Visit Capitola one of Santa Cruz’ “neighborhoods”. Really quaint little town right on the beach with cute little shops. 5 -10 minutes further down the road and you will reach Santa Cruz. Walk the Pier and possible the Boardwalk but other than an awesome beach there is not much to see in Santa Cruz – well a bunch of surfers of course are also hanging out there!