Despite its small size of 121km squared, San Fran packs a big punch. The city is home to all sorts of things – a fashion-forward youth, enveloping morning fog, countless start-ups, iconically strong winds, delicious sandwiches and that handsome bridge.
While you’ll likely be filling your days with sightseeing and activities, trust us when we say these five experiences should be prioritised on your itinerary if you want to get a real sense of the city.
#1 Toast At The Mill
The Mill is set in a beautiful light-filled space in the Mission area of SF. Join the queue (which sometimes snakes out the door) and use the waiting time to work out which slice of Josey Baker’s (yep, that’s actually his name) infamous toast you’ll order.
A thick, chunky piece of sourdough, dripping with butter and the topping of your choice (even the simple cinnamon and sugar option will rock your world), coupled with a coffee from our favourite San Francisco coffee roasters, Four Barrel, is as good as it gets.
#2 The Ferry Building Farmer’s Market
It pretty much makes all of the tourist to-do lists for San Francisco, but the ferry building really is quite magnificent — as is what’s inside it. The farmers market is open three days a week (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday) and offers a spectacular range of fruit, vegetables, herbs, flowers, meats and eggs from small regional farmers and ranchers, many of whom sell certified organic produce.
The Thursday market features a whole bunch of artisan street food stalls as well, and Saturday’s market showcases many local restaurant fare.
#3 Cross The Bridge To Oakland
What Brooklyn is to New York City, Oakland is to San Francisco — still gritty in parts, but rich in culture, diversity and history. Cheaper living and constant growth make it appealing to many.
Visit the Temescal Alleys for a spot of shopping (we especially like Ali Golden), then grab a fried chicken sandwich from Bakesale Betty’s. Th Oakland institution was founded by an Australian and is only open from 11am to 2pm, Tuesday to Saturday, and sells out every day.
Afterwards, grab a coffee from beautiful Blue Bottle, which is around the corner in the old WC Morse building.
#4 Visit The General Store
Head west of the city to Outer Sunset to visit our favourite store in California. The General Store (we love their Venice Beach outpost, as well) is a heavenly boutique with a lush garden in the backyard.
The bright and woody space is filled with gorgeous jewellery, vintage clothes, homewares and design pieces to make your heart swoon. It’s impossible to leave empty handed. Your camera will get a workout as well — it’s a stunning space.
#5 Catch The Sunset At The Sutro Baths
After visiting the General Store (and grabbing a quick drink at Outerlands up the road), make your way to Ocean Beach and then along the coast to Sutro Baths in time for sunset. What was once a large, privately owned swimming pool complex, built in the late 19th century, is now a spectacular set of ruins.
The sunsets here are seriously impressive.
Georgia Hopkins is the friend you want to have. With the heart of a gypsy this Aussie girl has made friends with the locals in over 300 cities. Now based in California ‘Gigi’ explores life with the motto that “travel is not to escape life, but for life not to escape us". Join her at www.itsbeautifulhere.com.