Have you heard? We just released our first travel series, “Go, Be You,” with Alaska Airlines! So we’re spending the next eight weeks highlighting every city we toured across the West Coast. This travel series is about more than the destination itself; we’re taking a look at why certain cities have the power to unlock the best versions of ourselves. As you get to planning your next trip, we hope you enjoy the suggestions that follow.
And don’t miss the San Francisco episode at the end of this post!
San Francisco is saturated with color: The architecture, the lifestyle, the aesthetic of tradition and innovation. It’s a city filled with vibrant blooms, antique homes, artsy hues, colorful shops and pastel doorstops. You can easily travel across the city without a car, so grab your loafers and hit the streets.
San Francisco is a style lover’s dream.
As you stroll the colorful streets of SF, you may find yourself at The Color Factory, a vibrant sensory experience created by a collection of incredibly talented artists. Once inside you can explore rooms designed to bring color to life: Hop into a giant yellow ball pit, smell your way through a scratch-and-sniff color wall, get lost in Alaska Airline’s blue balloon bath, be showered by a rainbow of confetti, and more.
You can dive into the world of abstract expressionist painting at the Mission Art Collective. Be guided through a few modern art galleries, get some expert instruction and create a work of your own in their collective studio space.
If you’re an anthophile, then there are many options to surround yourself with beautiful flora in the city. If you prefer to assemble your own blooms, the San Francisco Flower Mart is a floral paradise. This historical market is a favorite among San Francisco florists and is open to the public. Nature is the original stylist. Feed your senses and feast your eyes on color, color and more color. Reds, pinks, purples — oh my.
Now that you’ve seen the raw materials, go see how beautiful flower arrangements can be created at Ampersand. Ampersand is a place to gather the most glorious blooms. From magnificent ranunculus with eucalyptus to peonies and phlox, they blend many varieties you may not have seen before, combined in ways that might surprise you. When developing a personal style it helps to see how other creatives put beautiful things together. Be inspired here.
Suddenly, you’ve stepped into a café in Paris. Well, you’re really at Le Marais Bakery in the Castro, but still, your imagination is piqued. With exquisitely beautiful pastries and scrumptious French inspired cuisine, here you’ll feel invigorated by the surroundings and the food.
At La Marais Bakery, Proprietor Patrick Ascaso draws his inspiration from the classical recipes of his French upbringing and marries that inspiration with a Californian chef’s emphasis on fresh ingredients. Be light, be delicious, be beautiful, be energetic and be nutritious. Look up at the chandeliers and dream, but don’t forget to look down…the beautiful black and white tile is just as noteworthy. It welcomes you at the front door, which is a perfect place for a shoe selfie.
Women-owned companies are thriving in the Bay Area and Lady Falcon Coffee Club is an absolute gem. LFCC offers one of the best cups of coffee to be had. Their distinctive branding reflects a quintessential San Franciscan aesthetic and inside their petal pink bags are blends of beans unlike any other. Find their 1948 GMC bread truck in the heart of Alamo Square within a hop, skip and a jump of the pastel-covered Painted Ladies.
Need a little boost of inspiration to seek out new sources of creative refreshment? Lady Falcon is the answer. Coffee is everywhere, but don’t get yours just anywhere.
Next, breeze over to Gravel and Gold: This women-owned design collective based in the Mission offers vibrant handcrafted art from artists all around the world. From bags to Bengal bracelets, there is something for every style aficionado. The variety is vast and the space is welcoming, a win-win.
Freda Salvador is another Bay Area-based company with its flagship store sitting nice and pretty on Fillmore Street. They offer luxurious shoes, shoes that are “elevated, timeless and slightly unconventional” designed in California and handmade in Spain. Shoes are the vehicles of your style — step into Freda Salvador and try on a San Franciscan gem.
What does style look like? You can see it on the streets of San Francisco, but what does style look like in Milan, Buenos Aires or Santa Monica? Stay au currant and peruse the periodicals at Cow Hollow’s Juicy News. Filled with independent magazines and chic coffee table books, this is the place where you could spend an entire afternoon after a long day of walking around San Francisco. An impressive selection of esoteric imports and old favorites including high fashion, architecture and visual arts.
Take a break there before you shuffle your way to another shop that features beautifully-curated works of art: Anomie. Anomie isn’t just pretty. With an unusual array of clothing, jewelry and accessories by independent, emerging artists, it’s sure to liven up your closet and decorate your soul. This shop also sells online, so you can have a piece of the city whenever your heart desires.
Everlane is another San Francisco-based clothing company which rewards the inquisitive shopper with a keen eye for style. The pieces to be found here are simple, well-made wardrobe staples from oxfords to collared silk blouses. Those seeking chic, clean and sleek are likely to leave with at least one piece that will last for years and feel good to wear time after time. For those into vintage fare, check out Afterlife Boutique. Searching for something unique and classic at the same time? Afterlife carries a wide array of vintage and not-so-vintage clothing from the 1960s to today so you can finally get that Nirvana crop top you never knew you wanted.
San Francisco is collection of jewels where you can enjoy a full sensory experience: color, shape, texture and taste. Feel the work of style innovators from around the world that now call San Francisco home. Enjoy the colorful city by the bay.
This post was sponsored by Darling’s airline partner, Alaska Airlines. All thoughts and reviews remain Darling’s own.
Watch “Go, Be You” Episode 2 – San Francisco
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Feature Image on Daily Coffee News via Lady Falcon Club