San Francisco is a city of surprise, diversity, and fascinating history. There is an activity for any mood, a restaurant for any taste, and a coffee shop suited to any form of aficionado. Whether you know the city well or are just discovering it for the first time, the cool yet energetic buzz of the Bay always leaves you wanting to experience more.

Start your day at Blue Bottle Coffee

Coffee lovers flock to Blue Bottle to get an exceptional caffeine fix. Founded across the Bay in Oakland, this premium coffee company offers the freshest brew in town. There are several locations throughout San Francisco, including the Ferry Building Marketplace, a veritable foodie haven. To escape waiting in the long line for Blue Bottle at the Ferry Building, stroll a few minutes down the Embarcadero to Plant Café located at Pier 3. They offer Blue Bottle, along with tasty breakfast and lunch options, and usually have a much shorter line!

Meander through Golden Gate Park.

Sitting proudly in the middle of San Francisco is picturesque Golden Gate Park. With over 1,000 acres of land, the park offers fields, ponds, and picnic spots, as well as a Japanese tea garden. It is also home to the California Academy of Sciences, which was recently renovated and features a 4-story rainforest, and the de Young Museum, San Francisco’s oldest art museum. Adjacent to the de Young Museum is an observation tower that stretches 144-feet into the sky. Admission to the tower is free, and the view offers a spectacular panorama at San Francisco from above.

Fuel up at Gracias Madre.

For a memorable and truly unique meal in the city, visit Gracias Madre located in the Mission district. This is not your typical Mexican fare, but a delicious assortment of organic, plant-based dishes with a strong Mexican influence. As an appetizer, the popular Quesadillas de Calabaza offers fresh corn tortillas stuffed with butternut squash and caramelized onions, drizzled with house-made salsa and cashew cream. The Enchiladas Con Mole is a favorite entrée option, made perfect by a hearty helping of their traditional mole cocoa sauce. 

For something sweet, hit Dolores Park and Bi-Rite Creamery.

Dolores Park is a great place to kick back and soak up some sun after a full day of exploring. There are always local musicians and eclectic crowds to entertain the casual people-watcher. To get the full experience, grab a double scoop of ice cream down the block at Bi-Rite Market, located on 18th Street.  I recommend the Salted Caramel and Chocolate Coconut, or try one of their inventive seasonal flavors.

End your day at Land’s End.

Strolling along the coastal trail at Land’s End it’s hard to believe you’re in San Francisco. Set along the northwestern tip of the city, this beautiful park is an oasis from the buzzing S.F. streets. This short trail offers sweeping views of rugged cliffs and crashing waves. If your visit to the Bay Area doesn’t allow time for a trip to Big Sur, Land’s End is the next best thing!

Image via Hither & Thither

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  1. Try Grand Rapids, MI! It’s up & coming (great music, art, foodie & design scene) and a great “mini Chicago”!

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