Friday Favorites: A San Francisco edition

Happy Friday to you! It’s the last day of the work-week, and I’m heading off on a fun camping adventure this weekend, so let’s keep it light.

I often get asked questions about the top things to do in San Francisco as a visitor, so I thought it would be great to share some of my favorite things in the City.

If you don’t live in the Bay Area, you’ll at least enjoy the photos. But really, you should visit some time. And before you do, be sure to check out my San Francisco page for more tips, as well as find a good pair of walking shoes.

My favorite City experience: A park day

Hanging out at the park is something that as a Floridian I didn’t understand. But in San Francisco, when the skies are clear and the weather is moderate, people flock to the public parks just to “hang out.” No really. You bring a blanket to sit on, some nibblies, maybe some champagne or wine, and you sit back and relax. The people-watching is incredible. Sometimes you’ll even be invited to participate in an outdoor game with a neighbor group. If you ever visit here, even though you’re likely to want to go-go-go, you’ve got to try a park day. It’s the best.

Park day

My favorite park in San Francisco is Fort Mason, (shown above when our best Florida friends visited in March).

There are tons of parks, and San Franciscans tend to band together on which park is “theirs.” I find Golden Gate Park a little too large and cold (it’s on the foggy side of the City), and I find Mission Dolores a little too crowded and ultra-hipstery, especially when someone is offering to sell you “edibles” at every turn. Therefore, Fort Mason takes the cake.

My favorite restaurants in the City

It’s impossible to choose just one, so I refuse. The food and drink in San Francisco is unlike any other city I’ve ever visited. There are more than 4,000 restaurants and each has its own flair. If you’re coming to the City, you’ll need to make reservations in advance. While this seems foreign to people who live in smaller locales, the restaurants in the Bay Area are generally much smaller, and people seem to eat out much more often.

San Francisco dining

But what’s even more amazing is you’ll find healthy options everywhere. For instance, it’s never an issue to be gluten-free or vegan (both of which I’m not), because Bay Area restaurants tend to cater to the health-conscious.

For visitors, I would recommend the following places, all of which Dave and I have loved:

Those are just a start. There are new places opening all the time, many of which we’ve not been able to check out yet. But when you visit San Francisco, you have to sample the local cuisine and do it the San Francisco way. You’ll find short menus, small tables situated close to each other and interesting food combinations, no matter where you choose to dine.

My favorite way to explore the City’s neighborhoods: A food tour

You’ve got to go on a walking food tour. Dave and I have only done one official walking food tour, and it was incredible, as you can see here. We went on a Local Tastes of the City tour through the North Beach neighborhood, which took us in the back of bakeries watching dough being made, and in the dining room of restaurants learning about how fresh pasta is prepared each morning. Of course, you get to sample food and drink at every single stop. And you’re doing it the healthy way — on foot.

Here’s the North Beach neighborhood, also known as San Francisco’s “Little Italy.”

North Beach

I’ve wanted to do another food tour again, and I think the Mission neighborhood is next on our list.

While that just touches the surface of my San Francisco recommendations, that should do it for today.

I’ll definitely do another “Friday Favorites: San Francisco” edition in the future. In case you missed the first few installments of this regular Friday feature on A Lady Goes West, here they are:

  1. A snack, a purse and a ritual
  2. A delivery, a bra and a guy
  3. A sweet, a wine and a read
  4. A drink, a gadget and a plan 
  5. A time, a bottle and a powder

Thanks, as always, to the link-up host, Heather.

And one more thing, before I send you off. Are you on Facebook? If so, head on over and like A Lady Goes West today. I’ll be good to you, I promise.

Have a great Friday!

Questions of the day

Have you ever been to San Francisco? If so, what was your favorite thing about it?

For local Bay Area residents, what’s your favorite restaurant?

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31 Comments

    1. I’ve heard that place is good, although Burma had a health-code violation not too long ago, which kept me away. Thanks for reading, Sherry!

  1. Wow that is a crowded park! I have family in and around San Fran, I went to visit when I was 16, I remember walking up a lot of hills but not being able to complain because I was with my grandma and she didn’t seem to think much of it!

    1. Hi Sarah,
      Thanks for stopping by! You have no idea how hard the hills are, and I live on top of one in the Nob Hill neighborhood. That’s really funny that your grandma had no problem, because I see elderly people taking the hills like champs. It’s the tourists that really show the pain. 🙂
      Have a great weekend.

  2. I’ve only been to San Fransisco for a quick two days. I really loved the feel of the city and lan on going back in the future. We mostly did touristy things like go to Alcatraz and Angel Island. I’d love to come back and do a food tour!

    1. Hi Katie,
      Food tours are the best. I love educational entertainment like that. Hope you get to come to the City again soon. Have a great weekend!

  3. OMG Look at that park!! WOW!
    I can honestly say I’ve never seen a park crowded like that, other than for baseball season of course! But that’s unreal! Looks like so much fun! Plus, its a great way to get outside and just enjoy fun time!!

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