Have you ever wanted to experience San Francisco like a local? Well, here is a quick and easy guide to some of the best eateries and attractions in the most popular neighborhoods of San Francisco.
As one of the oldest and largest Chinese communities outside of Asia, the San Francisco Chinatown stands out in both its rich culture and unique history. It is a place where locals buy their groceries fresh daily at one of the many Chinese supermarkets on Stockton Street and Jackson Street. It is a place where the elderly gather in Portsmouth Square to practice the art of Tai Chi and to gamble with cards and play Chinese chess. And it is a place filled with great Chinese cuisine. A good choice for dim sum is the R & G Lounge. Walking through the streets filled with lanterns and intricately built pagoda-style buildings, you will come across a fresh aroma and it is likely to come from the Golden Gate Bakery. Even the Chinese locals come to this bakery to wait in the long lines, just for a taste of their freshly baked custard tarts. Another great choice is the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory. There, they make homemade fortune cookies of all flavors and sizes.
Right on the edge of the financial district is the Embarcadero. On a day with great weather, the Embarcadero makes for a perfect stroll by the bay. Start off at the Ferry Building and make your way towards Pier 39. Before you take the stroll, you might want to explore the farmers market (only open on the weekends), which features a plethora of options, giving you a taste of the freshest ingredients and popular foods of the city. Inside the Ferry Building, there are also plenty of artisan foods and freshly roasted coffee such as Blue Bottle Coffee, simply perfect for a breakfast in San Francisco. If you feel adventurous, order the mysterious Secret Breakfast ice cream flavor at Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream. There are raving reviews about this flavor and many other brilliant flavors too. On Pier 15 of the Embarcadero, there is an amazing interactive museum called the Exploratorium, which is a great place not only for kids but for people of all ages. When you finally reach Pier 39, or better known as Fisherman’s Wharf, take your time to explore the different shops and then visit the sea lions. And if you still have time, take a ferry out to Alcatraz or Angel Island for more sights and historical adventures.
Another neighborhood with a whole lot of history and culture is the Mission District of San Francisco. The Mission is home to one of the oldest buildings in San Francisco called the Misión San Francisco de Asís. Besides this historic structure, the Mission is also known for its beautiful storytelling street murals, such as the famous Clarion Alley, located between Mission and Valencia Streets at 17th and 18th Streets. All around Mission, there are plenty of vintage clothing stores. If you look hard enough, you will definitely find a steal! For a nice picnic or comfortable nap, head over to the vibrant, culturally diverse Mission Dolores Park, one of the most popular parks in the city. Across the street from the park is a delicious ice cream shop called Bi-Rite Creamery. And when in the Mission, you cannot leave without getting the famous San Franciscan burrito. The most notable places are El Farolito and La Taqueria. If that still isn’t enough for you, grab a homemade banana crème pie or a loaf of fresh bread at Tartine Bakery and Cafe.