Hometown Travels: San Francisco Bay Area
Collected by Serena Renner, AFAR Contributor
Travel finds close to home
Alamo Square, San Francisco, CA, USA
Alamo Square is home of the "Painted Ladies," eclectic musicians, and some of the most incredible views of San Fransisco. The trolleys won't take you all the way there, but cabs are easy to catch. We couldn't have chosen a better way to burn the...
2170 Bryant St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
San Francisco gets a lot of great seafood and there are a ton of sushi restaurants, but when it comes to rolls there aren't that many places that knock your socks off. Blowfish Sushi to Die For in the Mission District will blow your mind with...
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...
19225 CA-1, Marshall, CA 94940, USA
North of the little town of Point Reyes Station, the Marshall Store sits on the banks of Tomales Bay. I've been coming here for years after hiking or horseback riding or walking on the beach in Point Reyes National Seashore. The place is super...
Treasure Island, San Francisco, CA, USA
Treasure Island is still technically located in the city of San Francisco, but you probably wouldn't venture to the island unless you're making a trip over to Oakland and the east bay. I have often noticed the great views of SF from the bay...
80 4th St, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956, USA
This is another place I immediately return to when I'm in the Bay Area. It's a cheese lover's temple! I loved this salad pictured that I had. It was also my first picture of San Francisco! I must say that the Mount Tam is one of my favourite...
CA-1, Bodega Bay, CA 94923, USA
Many car commercials have been filmed along this stretch of the iconic California road. The hairpin turns and switchbacks make it a wild ride for some, but the views to the west (the ocean) and the east (Northern California's inimitable green...
Johnson Pier, El Granada, CA 94019, USA
You came all the way to San Francisco and you're going to let some stranger in a chef's hat cook your dungeness crab for you? Pshaw. There's a little-known alternative, even among locals, that's far more fun: Zip down the coast half an hour to...
4035 Judah St, San Francisco, CA 94122, USA
An artist and an architect curate a cool mix of practical things here. You’ll find books on furniture and design, and interesting items like wooden radios and pencil sets. Lots of it is handmade. The store also sells chairs and tables that Luke...
317 Cedar St # A, Santa Cruz, CA 95060, USA
David Wright introduced me to pu-erh tea at his happy, mellow, stimulant-infused palace of tea culture in Santa Cruz. I went to the city with this stop in mind, and am so glad we made it a priority. David let me taste teas, and even made "tea" (a...
Twin Peaks, San Francisco, CA, USA
The best views of San Francisco are from the top of Twin Peaks, the two hills that are located in the geographic center of the city. Only from Twin Peaks can you get a 360-degree view of the entire city. If you are lucky, on a clear day you can...
1512 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94709, USA
When my friends came to visit from abroad this was the first place I had to take them. Bay Area locals can't get enough of this co-op run, cheap, gourmet pizza! This particular pizza was a delicious combo of gruyere cheese, cilantro, garlic, corn...
6711 Washington St, Yountville, CA 94599, USA
This venue is temporarily closed for renovations, 10/2018. Ma(i)sonry Napa Valley is a well-curated art gallery and wine tasting room set amidst an eclectic sculpture garden. At this Napa Valley tasting room, originally built in 1904 as a private...
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...
1529 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94115, USA
Nicole Krasinski describes the novel concept of her restaurant State Bird Provisions as “dim sum and a great hors d’oeuvre party morphed into one experience.” She and her husband, chef Stuart Brioza, prepare beautifully executed...
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...
390 Capistrano Rd, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019, USA
It may be a little cold and foggy on the the patio at the Half Moon Bay Brewing Company. And certainly a pint or two of their microbrew will refresh more than heat your insides. But don't worry, there are heat lamps over the picnic table or a few...
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...
23240 California 1, Marshall, CA 94940, USA
Since I’m still relatively new to San Francisco, I’m still discovering all of the amazing places just outside of the city. Every weekend I try to hop in a car and explore. My latest discovery is Nick’s Cove, a restaurant and cottages located in a...
3901 Noriega St, San Francisco, CA 94122, USA
The owners wanted a neighborhood pizza joint like they had growing up in Boston. The Dimitri is a pie they named after the guy who runs Noriega Produce up the road. It has every crazy thing on it: sausage, pepperoni,mushrooms, garlic. The bar...
3876 Noriega St, San Francisco, CA 94122, USA
This bakery just opened across the street from Woodshop. It’s a godsend. It’s been rough finding good coffee out here, but they serve Blue Bottle Coffee and breakfast sandwiches on house-baked biscuits.”
4025 Judah St, San Francisco, CA 94122, USA
The guy who runs Tuesday Tattoo, Jesse Tuesday, is a superfamous tattoo artist and a diehard surfer. It’s a rad little shop. The vibe is different from most tattoo parlors. It has a cozy, humble feeling. It’s the type of place you’d go to sip a...
48123 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
New safari tents at an iconic central California coast resort invite guests to glamp under the redwood trees. Nightly turndown service, included. Big Sur is once again open for business following last spring’s debilitating mud slides, and autumn...
52801 California State Route 1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
Driving Highway 1 through Big Sur is one of my favorite California experiences. Last year, I made the stunning trip north after visiting my family in Santa Barbara for Thanksgiving. Fall is one of the best times to visit because the cold fog that...
Russian Hill, San Francisco, CA, USA
Roam Artisan Burgers on Union Street in San Francisco is not your typical burger joint. The interiors are an artsy blend of wood, glass, and recycled fixtures and burgers can be made with a beef, turkey, veggie, bison, or elk patty. I can vouch...
2301 Monarch St, Alameda, CA 94501, USA
I found a new reason to go to Alameda Point besides the monthly antiques fair and the homeless-helping bike shop, Changing Gears. The Rock Wall Tasting room is also there, pouring a range of wines produced in the old hangar next door. I especially...
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,...
1001 Minnesota St, San Francisco, CA 94107, USA
They had me at the yellow building. I love wandering the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco and both Piccino restaurant and separate coffee bar, are lovely places to gather. The coffee bar on 22nd Street serves carefully crafted Sightglass...
901 Lincoln Ave, San Rafael, CA 94901, USA
Six years after opening its doors, Sol Food has become a Marin institution. I eat here several times each month (and post about it often, to the chagrin of some of my FB friends) so I've tried just about everything on the menu. Sandwiches make for...
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...
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