My Best of the Bay Area
Collected by Julia Cosgrove , AFAR Staff
My favorite restaurants, sights, and experiences in San Francisco and beyond.
400 Gate 5 Rd, Sausalito, CA 94965, USA
Heath Ceramics was founded in 1948 by Edith Heath. Today it is one of the most lasting examples of midcentury American design. Heath is famous for its tableware collections, as well as its tile. The colors are amazing, and their bud vases make for...
8 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA
Hotel Vitale is right at the corner of Mission and the Embarcadero. Most of the rooms have nice views, particularly the corner rooms. But some of the the rooms on higher floors have decks with amazing views, like this one from 808. And this is...
Ferry Building, One San Francisco Bay Trail #8, San Francisco, CA 94111, USA
Everyone seems to try the famous Secret Breakfast flavor, which has bourbon and conflakes, but it's just one of the many creative and creamy options at this Mission ice cream stop (which now has a new location in the Ferry Building). I like a...
155 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
The site of Comstock saloon has quenched the city's thirst since 1907. Named after the Comstock Lode– one of the most significant gold finds in California that prompted migration, mining and the growth of the city –this bar has seen it all. With...
101 Spear St, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA
Most dim sum places in the San Francisco Bay Area are pretty typical of what you can find in Asia, culture and all. And while I love authentic as much as the next person, there is a place that has elevated the art of the dumpling. I am not alone...
768 Sansome St, San Francisco, CA 94111, USA
Just a little highlight of my day, and not related to exotic foreign travels: the Reveille truck serves great espresso. The hordes of North Beach tourists will miss this hidden spot, and that's too bad (for them).
3316 17th St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
The chef behind the open-hearth fire at Saison described this nasturtium wrap as the best taco in San Francisco. He could be right. The wrap may have been the most beautiful dish from Josh Skenes's tasting menu, but my highlight was a tuna...
Mission Dolores, San Francisco, CA, USA
Mission Dolores was the sixth mission of El Camino Real and is the oldest building in San Francisco. It's here that the spirit of the Franciscan monks still live on along with Californian history. Now in the center of the city, the Mission is...
One, Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA 94111, USA
It's a wonderful Farmers Market right next to the water and around the Ferry Building. Organic produce and food interesting goods and many yummy treats. My friends and I got a plate of fresh oysters, salami samplers, gourmet cheese to eat. I also...
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...
4500 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122, USA
Mollusk is a neighborhood surf shop that sells clothing and great boards. They carry my surfboards and handplanes [for body surfing]. They occasionally host art shows and live music. The shop is sort of like the cornerstone of the Sunset. 4500...
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...
2601 Monarch St, Alameda, CA 94501, USA
At St. George Spirits, a liquor distiller located inside a huge hangar on the decommissioned Alameda Naval Base, you can learn all about alcohol production—and you can taste all-natural vodkas, gins, Eau de Vie, whiskeys, and more. The tour lasts...
560 Jackson St, San Francisco, CA 94133, USA
There are a handful of stores in San Francisco that sell quirky and distinctive clothing, jewelry, and homewares. Eden & Eden is one. The brother-and-sister owners stock some vintage pieces and a nice selection of funky jewelry from the U.K. I've...
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...
3400-3416 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA
Bernal Heights is one of my favorite neighborhoods in San Francisco. It's a little off the beaten path, but on a clear day the park at the top of the hill offers an amazing view of the city and the bay. On a foggy day, the park feels like the...
3308 Grand Ave, Oakland, CA 94610, USA
Boot and Shoe Service is the spinoff restaurant to Pizzaiolo, which has been my favorite spot in Oakland since it opened in 2006. Boot and Shoe, its slightly more casual little sister, serves the same pizza--a blistery and crisp crust topped with...
560 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117, USA
At the restaurant Nopa in San Francisco's Western Addition, the long bar and communal tables are perfect places to perch on a weeknight. Go early, order an elderflower gimlet or a sparkling, minty Old Cuban (both off-menu). Don't miss the Mission...
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