Close to home
Collected by Derk Richardson, AFAR Staff
Treasures found -- and sought -- within striking distance of Oakland, CA.
30 Beckett St, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
Often, when I feel overly strapped to my desk, hankering for a trip to another land, I stroll into San Francisco's Chinatown. Once I'm off the main drags and into the residential neighborhoods or the commercial streets chockablock with shops...
44 Webster St, Oakland, CA 94607, USA
I've never thought of "molecular gastronomy" as comfort food. But at Haven, chef Kim Alter (before moving over to Plum) created some radical-seeming dishes as homey as anything your grandma made. Even though Daniel Patterson (Coi, Plum) owns this...
4012 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94611, USA
Mama's has been a breakfast institution for decades, and this neighborhood joint—with old wooden booths ornamented with original (non-functioning) individual juke boxes, and vintage posters, embroidered apron, and customers' napkin art on...
5655 College Ave #201, Oakland, CA 94618, USA
Oliveto, Oakland's best fine-dining Italian restaurant, is the corner anchor of an upscale shopping compound that includes artisan coffee, a bakery, fish and produce markets, butcher, pasta-cheese-charcuterie shop, wine merchant, and flower stand....
Mt Diablo, California 94598, USA
On a clear day, Mount Diablo yields some incredible views in the country. Literally, it has one of the highest viewsheds in the U.S. The state-designated trail can get confusing-- our group ended "hiking" for a long period of time up the road to...
One, Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA 94111, USA
If Chinatown is one of San Francisco’s most historic neighborhoods, continue walking for another ten minutes and you’ll arrive at one of its newest attractions, the Ferry Building. Actually, the building itself is not new, having been completed in...
I discovered this Marin Headlands view of the Golden Gate Bridge on one of my very first trips to San Francisco. In my three-plus years living in the Bay Area, I still haven’t found a view to top it. My favorite time to visit is just after sunset,...
104 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94129, USA
This museum does so much more than tell you about Walt Disney's life—it reminds you of the struggles that all creatives face throughout their careers. The experience is unexpected, interactive, and current for kids and adults alike. The view onto...
242 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
Salty, fatty, and doused in an Italian sweet and sour agrodolce sauce, the fried pig tails at Tosca are just the thing to accompany the bar’s list of rare Italian reds. For more drinking tips, check out our feature "How to Drink Anywhere in the...
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA, USA
Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA, USA
Golden Gate Park was formed out of an expanse of sand dunes to the west of the city in the nineteenth century—a history that is still discernible in the rolling topography of much of the park’s more than 1,000 acres. Over 13 million...
4519, 261 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
In an age when many independent bookstores have surrendered to the advance of chain stores and Amazon, City Lights is a true survivor. Since it was founded by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti in 1956, it has served as a gathering place for San...
601 Vallejo St, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
Caffe Trieste, in the heart of North Beach just off Columbus, is an authentic San Francisco experience where little has changed since Kerouac's day. The North Beach location, which opened in 1956, is a great place to sit down, enjoy a coffee, and...
16th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94122, USA
The 16th Avenue Tiled Steps Project in the Inner Sunset is a reflection of the city’s creative spirit. Artists Aileen Barr and Colette Crutcher led the initiative to cover a stairway in mosaics inspired by the Santa Teresa Steps in Rio de...
2015 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA
Bun Mee recently opened near my house. Their Vietnamese sandwiches are just spicy enough, with the right amount of filling and at the right price. They also have great salads and sweet potato fries with curry aioli sauce. I've been having their...
754 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94109, USA
This place is tiny, but it's one of my favorite places in my neighborhood. The menu is small so there are only a few choices, but no matter what you get, you'll be happy. Make sure to try the iced coffee. It's made with chicory, the way it's done...
4001 Judah St, San Francisco, CA 94122, USA
Outerlands is an Outer Sunset institution. The small restaurant near Ocean Beach serves local, organic cuisine in a rustic-chic setting. Covered floor-to-ceiling in warm, rough-hewn wood, the interior invites lingering over an artisan cocktail or...
490 Pacific Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
Cotogna is dangerously close to the AFAR Media offices. This rustic sister restaurant to Quince opened last year, and the roomy bar is a cozy place to sit mid-day with a double espresso served neat in a Heath Ceramics cup. The pastas are all...
633 Battery St, San Francisco, CA 94111, USA
Look for the "Jackson Place Cafe" sign on the Sansome Street sidewalk between Jackson and Pacific. Turn down into the breezeway toward Battery Street and find this secluded, New Orleans-like courtyard. When the summer fog hasn't rolled in, the sun...
355 11th St, San Francisco, CA 94103, USA
If their New American–style brunch and dinner menus don’t tempt you to Bar Agricole, in SOMA, maybe their recent James Beard Award nomination for Outstanding Bar Program will. Cocktails run at $11 across the board, and head bartenders Thad Vogler...
Inverness, CA, USA
Explore the natural beauty of West Marin, with plenty of small towns to explore. At Point Reyes Station, stop at the CowGirl Creamery to grab a picnic lunch while exploring the small shops, or head to Point Reyes National Seashore. Later stop in...
475 25th St, Oakland, CA 94612, USA
On the first Friday evening of every month, Art Murmur takes over the streets and galleries of downtown Oakland, from Old Oakland to Uptown. The epicenter is 25th Street, between Telegraph Avenue and Broadway, where this bubble man, viewed from...
2216 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612, USA
One of the recent additions to Oakland's Uptown neighborhood is Plum Bar, adjacent to Daniel Patterson's Plum Restaurant. The Bailout blends scotch, gin, carpano antico, and orange bitters. It complemented the creamy macaroni and cheese quite...
99 Yacht Rd, San Francisco, CA 94123, USA
The wind in the San Francisco marina, in the St. Francis Yacht Club parking lot, was ferocious on this January day. If you look closely, I swear this gull was gripping the concrete wall for dear life. The upside of the wind was a crystal-clear...
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