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We want to make sure that you have the most amazing time in our city, San Francisco. These are some of our favorite places. Index City Guides Places to book ahead of time Free Attractions Museums Organized Tours Food & Drink San Francisco walking tours City Guides • Yelp.com – Yelp is a website that allows locals to review local businesses. This is a great tool to find great restaurants that aren’t touristy! • Not For Tourists, San Francisco – Probably the best city guide out there. This is also a physical book that you can buy and carry with you. Available at most book stores. • San Francisco Guide • Bay City Guide • Only in San Francisco Book these ahead of time These are amazing attractions that you are going to have to plan for. • Alcatraz – Alcatraz is touristy, but it’s really great. Make sure you get the audio tour, which, I believe, is now included in the tour. But make sure you pick one up. Estimate this tour taking half your day. If you want an extra creepy tour, look into the night tours! Anchor Steam Brewery – Anchor Steam is free brewery tour. You will get to see how their beer is made and then sample a lot of it as well. They only do one tour a day (weekdays only) and so are booked out very far in advance. Make your booking as soon as possible. TCHO – A chocolate tour! This newly opened chocolate factory is now doing tours. It’s free and you get to eat chocolate! There are a few restrictions on things to wear, so make sure to read the website.
Free attractions They are fun and they’re free… what else can you ask for? • Tues, Thurs & Sat morning Ferry Building Farmers Market – The Ferry Building Farmers Market is a great place to find great food. There are plenty of samples, has a wonderful atmosphere and a great view.
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City Walks – San Francisco is a walking city and has absolutely beautiful and interesting neighborhoods. This is a must do! These guys give walking tours for free. Please tip them well. The murals of Coit Tower – It costs a few dollars to take the elevator up Coit Tower (which is totally worth it) but the murals at the base are free, and are very impressive. They were painted by Diego Rivera, the husband of Frida Kahlo. TCHO – See the listing under “Book these ahead of time.” Anchor Steam Brewery – See the listing under “Book these ahead of time.” Musée Mécanique – See listing under “Museums.” Note that this isn’t really free, but rather “really cheap.” San Francisco Cable Car Museum – See listing under “Museums.”
Museums San Francisco has some amazing museums. These are our favorites. • California Academy of Sciences – Mariko’s favorite museum. This is a science museum that is focused on the environment and nature. They have a rainforest, living roof, planetarium, amazing aquarium and many ever-changing exhibits. Mariko also had a photo shoot here for ilivehereSF! Incidentally, this photographer will also be photographing the wedding. De Young Museum – This art museum faces the California Academy of Sciences. They tend to have cultural and modern art, for example Mayan masks, the Tutankhamen exhibit and works by Picasso. Asian Art Museum – Sadly an incredibly overlooked museum in San Francisco, but it’s a great one. They work very hard at educating you, rather than just showing you things. A note that this museum is huge, so don’t be upset if you don’t make it all the way through. SFMoMa – The San Francisco Modern Art Museum is a pretty standard modern art museum. Don’t miss the sculpture garden on the roof! Every Thursday evening (6 -9pm) there is half price admission. Exploratorium – A science museum that is geared towards children, but is fun and interesting for adults as well. A must if you are in the city with kids. Musée Mécanique – This is a San Francisco gem. This is a true penny-arcade featuring arcade games going all the way back to the early 1900s. That’s right… actual pennies are worth something here. You will have to “splurge” on some games and pay the actual 25 cents. This museum is the only reason to venture to Fisherman’s Warf. San Francisco Cable Car Museum - It’s fun and it’s free!
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Organized Tours These are tour companies that will show you around the city. All San Francisco Tours – A discount tour website. Great place to get ideas (and tickets.) Double Decker, Hop On/Hop Off Tour – Take a tour of the city at your own pace. Duck Tours – A boat that’s also a bus. See the city from both angles. Blue & Gold Fleet – This is the City by the Bay. So you gotta see it from the Bay! Segway Tours – Look like an idiot, but have fun doing it.
Food Tours – Take a food tour. Food & Drink Yelp.com will be a great guide for you, especially for food. But here are a few of our favorites. Also, feel free to work your way through the 7x7 100 things to eat in San Francisco before you die list. We have certainly tried! To make reservations, check out OpenTable.com. Restaurants Limon Rotisserie – $ – Good for dinner. This is one of Marc and Mariko’s watering holes. A small Peruvian place and the best chicken that you will probably find in San Francisco. Make sure you don’t confuse this with “Limon,” which is a different restaurant. Also this place is not very vegetarian friendly. La Taqueria – $ –Good for lunch/dinner. San Francisco has amazing Mexican (and other South American) food. Especially great are the tacos and burritos. And these guys do those well. Mariko, who loves “weird” food, swears by their tongue burrito. Follow with Mission Pie (under Dessert). St. Francis Fountain – $ – Good for breakfast/brunch. This is a very American place. It’s a 1960s diner! Don’t forget to order a milkshake – it’s totally acceptable at 9am. Tartine – $ – Good for breakfast/brunch. A great thing to do is to take your food to go and eat it in Mission Delores Park. And don’t leave without some bread pudding, even if you are getting a little bit for the group. Also, visit Bi-Rite (under Dessert), after. The Sentinal – $ – Good for lunch. If you are downtown on a weekday, this is the place to go for lunch. Fantastic (although slightly messy) sandwiches. This place does not have any seating, but a great place to eat this sandwich is the roof of The Crocker Galleria, which is about a block away. The Grove – $ – Good for lunch/dinner. This is a great café that serves American food. Mariko’s fav is the Mac & Cheese and Marc loves their Reuben sandwich and Chili. They also serve beer & wine. There are multiple locations: Yuerba Buena, Fillmore, Marina Chez Maman – $$ – Good for breakfast/lunch/dinner. We think these guys have the best burgers in town. Impressive considering that they are a French bistro. All their other food is fantastic as well. This place is tiny so go with a small group. We would suggest 4 people maximum, although that is pushing it a bit – 2 is ideal. Expect to wait but it’s totally worth it. Nihon Whisky Lounge – $$ – Good for dinner. Our favorite Japanese joint. This place has a great happy hour (from 5-7) where the best things on the menu are 50% off. The cocktails are whiskey based and are fantastic. Absinthe - $$ - Good for lunch/dinner. Mariko really wanted to have the party here, but it’s just too small. The food is fantastic! Samovar Tea Lounge – $$ – Good for lunch/dinner. This is located in a park in the middle of the city and is a great place to relax and chill out in the city. La Folie – $$$$ – Good for dinner. An amazing restaurant and great if you want to splurge a bit. Expect to pay about $100 a head. Fun fact: We came here right after getting engaged. Bars
Note that is it not legally required for a bar to serve food in CA, so don’t expect it. We aren’t exactly Chicago, but San Francisco has a pretty good speakeasy culture as well. We take our cocktails very seriously. Cocktails range in price from about $9 - $20. The standard for a cocktail is about $11. Bourbon & Branch – $$$ – A Speakeasy that still has that style. It will be hard for you to find this place, you will be given a password and the cocktails are fantastic. You must reserve to get in here. Do that online here. The Library – $$$ – Technically part of Bourbon & Branch. If you managed to try to go to Bourbon & Branch without a reservation and (shockingly) didn’t get in, try The Library. It is owned by the same people, serves a few of their cocktails and will give you a “light” version of the experience. It’s also a great place to go after your time at Bourbon & Branch is up. Rye – $$ – A newly refurbished bar that has really nice specialty cocktails. 15 Romolo – $$ – A former Speakeasy. They also serve food. This is one of our favorite bars. Smugglers Cove – $$ – A tiki bar that serves fantastic and strong rum drinks. Don’t be surprised to see a group of ninjas or pirates walk in! This place has great bartenders too. Rouge et Blanc – $$$ – A wine bar that is perfect for unwinding. Gitane – $$ – Gitane is a also a restaurant but we usually just use it as a bar. Their signature cocktails are very good and are mainly whiskey/rye based. Coffee & Dessert Blue Bottle Coffee – There are multiple locations in the city, but this one is the nicest. There is one in the Ferry building too. Dynamo Donut & Coffee – This place has amazing donuts. Take your coffee and donut into the shop. If it’s a nice day, keep walking through the shop to get to a garden they have in the back. Humphry Slocombe Ice Cream – This place is known for interesting combinations when it comes to ice cream. Don’t expect anything “normal.” Try the “Ultimate Breakfast.” Bi-Rite Ice Cream – People always argue which is the best, Humphry Slocombe or BiRite. We will let you decide. This is a great stop after Tartine (under Restaurants.) Mission Pie – Great pie. This is a good stop after La Taqueria (under Restaurants.) Kara’s Cupcakes – Like in many US cities, San Francisco has jumped on the cupcake bandwagon. Kara’s has amazing cupcakes. Mariko thinks their frosting is the best. Multiple loctions: Fisherman’s Warf, Marina Cako Cupcakes – Cako possibly has the best cake, in Mariko’s opinion.
Walk yourself through San Francisco San Francisco is a walking town. These are some great walks that you can do by yourself. Embarcadero to the Golden Gate Bridge This walk is pretty but long. The entire walk is about 6.5 miles, but you can stop and turn around any time. 1. Start at AT&T Ballpark, the home of the 2010 Baseball World Series Champions, the San Francisco Giants. (4th and King St) 2. Walk east. If you are facing the ballpark with the Willie Mays statue in front of you and a small bridge to the right in front of you, go left. Always keep the water to your right. 3. This road is called Embarcadero. It will see the Bay Bridge and then pass the Ferry Building. It you happen to do this walk on a Tues, Thurs or Sat morning (before 2pm) you will go by the farmers market (see listing under “Free Attractions”), which is a great place to take a look around and sample some food. 4. Keep going and you will get to Fisherman’s Warf and pass Musée Mécanique (see listing under “Museums.”) Note that this is a very touristy area. 5. Once you are past Fisherman’s Warf, you will pass the Argonaut Hotel. 6. Keep walking and you will walk by the Marina and finally get to the Golden Gate Bridge. Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge The Golden Gate Bridge is a San Francisco icon and should not be missed. And you can walk across it! Note that it is very breezy up there and so don’t forget some extra layers. Angel Island Take a ferry ride to Angel Island and have lunch there. It's just very pretty on the water. Ferries depart from the Ferry Building. A climb to the top of the island rewards you with 360-degree views of the city and the bay. Hyde Street This was is a pretty steep climb, but is amazing for views and pictures! 1. Start near the Argonaut Hotel/Ghirardelli Square (North Point St & Larkin St) at the cable car turnaround. 2. Follow the cable car line up the hill on Hyde Street. 3. Stop at Lombard Street to watch the craziness on the “crookedest” street. 4. Return the way you came, or walk down Lombard all the way to North Beach, where you could pick up the Telegraph Hill walk. Telegraph Hill This walk will give you great views of the city. Don’t do this walk backwards unless you want a serious workout. 1. Start in North Beach on Stockton Street. Stockton and Columbus is a good place
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to start. Look around and find Coit Tower. It’s kind of hard to miss as looks like the tip of a fire hose. Walk up any street you like toward the tower. I like Lombard Street for this walk. You can also avoid the climb by taking the #39 city bus from Washington Square. Visit Coit Tower and take advantage of the restrooms while you're there. There is an amazing mural on the ground floor of Coit Tower, done by Frida Kahlo’s husband. Walk across the parking area, where the street enters it, and find the steps going down. Follow them. It's hard to get lost from here. Follow the steps down the hill. No matter which small turn you take, you'll eventually end up at the bottom of the hill. You'll walk through an area of houses and well-manicured gardens, where sidewalks and steps replace streets. If you're a film fan, you may recognize the apartment house at 1360 Montgomery, where Lauren Bacall gave refuge to Humphrey Bogart in the movie Dark Passage. When you reach sea level again, you will be on Battery Street. Turn left to get to the waterfront.
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