Travel Diaries: Ultimate Guide To San Francisco
Updated: Apr 28
Hey friends! If you've been following me along for a while now, you know how much we love
visiting San Francisco. I've been a total of 5 times in the past 6 years and it's seriously still one of my favorite cities in the world. The weather, views and parks are just breathtaking. I've compiled a list of my favorite restaurants, coffee shops and much more down below in hopes to give you some inspiration to visit this magical city or if you've already been, some hopefully new places to check out!
Whenever we come to San Francisco, we do hot pot! I must say this one was my favorite of them all. The ambiance was peaceful and the food was great. This night I did sacrifice good skin and digestion for some hot pot. I avoided noodles and subbed white rice instead and didn't use the ponzu sauce. I know there was most likely gluten in the broth but it was worth it! If you haven't had Shabu before, its a Japanese style soup where they bring out a huge pot of broth, you pick your fillings (meat, veggies, carbs) and add it in once the broth boils. This happens right in front of you, btw!
100% vegan, gluten free + soy free bakery that sources organic and local ingredients located in SF's Divisadero Corrior. This place was amazing since both myself and my niece since we both have food intolerances. Finding a bakery that's soy free is very rare so this was great. I love bread so its always nice when you find somewhere that you can get some avocado toast that has good ingredients. We came her twice on our trip in January and everything was amazing. My favorites were beet and goat-less toast, cookies and the soup was incredible!
Delicious brunch + drink spot in Haight Ashbury
An upscale vegan Mexican restaurant with quality ingredients. It is pricey but you seriously get SO MUCH food. Definitely recommend. They also have a location in LA that I've been to which is also great but I like the traditional vibe much more in SF.
A vegan cafe with delicious salads and bowls. Sometimes when traveling all I want is the comfort of home with warm nourish bowls + salads. This place does just the trick! :)
This filipino food truck located in the mission! They have vegan/vegetarian options as well.
Tony's Slice House
Amazing pizza by the slice in North Beach
This spot is so good for a quick, healthy bite.
COFFEE + TEA
Samovar Tea is probably my all time favorite place to go when visiting SF. Our first visit, we went to their Yerba Buena Gardens location and had tea outside overlooking the city and in 2017 we visited the Chai Bar without even knowing they were the same thing. I never liked chai before that visit but when I smelled it from the street which led me into the shop, I couldn't resist. They make the chai in these huge copper pots and serve them straight from them. They have an almond + oat milk option which is a plus. They do have a variety of small eats as well. I loved their toast (gf option) and their egg in a jar. They also have an array of GF mochi pastries as well which are great! The cardamom oneis my favorite.
I found this place while driving in my uber and wanted to check it out. Who would've known it was always busy? Seriously they have a line out the door. This place gives you both the traditional and modern day experience. You can get a classic cup of green tea or a boba milk tea. I got the Hojicha tea which is a smoky roasted tea which they offered as a latte. I was weird about it at first but I bought the tea and added some milk when I came home and it was fire!
While Boba Guys has multiple locations in NYC, L.A. and SF it's still a must visit in any place. They use next level, quality which means they don't use any artificial ingredients and never use powder. They use local dairy milk (if you're into that) and use Califa Farms almond milk. I always get the strawberry matcha latte with almond milk. The strawberry puree is made with REAL fruit.
Another one of my must go to's in SF. I've never tasted juice with such quality as this place. They work with local farmers and are 100% organic. My favorites are the seasonal watermelon juice, almond milk with coconut and citrus gold! The location is Hayes is a little pop up outdoor shop with a nice patio next to Ritual Coffee.
This was the first time visiting San Francisco and being into lattes. I must say that Ritual Coffee has one of my favorites of all times. The milk is so fluffy and the espresso is top notch!
Hole In The Wall
The cutest little hole in the wall (literally) coffee shop located in North Beach and The Mission. Make sure to get the "Pookie" - their neighborhood famous cold brew concentrate shot.
They now have locations in NYC + LA but they did start in the Bay Area. Quality coffee + ingredients. Definitely a must!
Great juice + smoothie bowls!
Another great juice shop with a lot of on-the-go raw food options.
This is a must see in San Francisco. Seriously the cutest micro ceramic shop located in the heart of The Mission on Valencia St. Female owned and offering 6-week pottery classes. If I were in SF, I definitely would be taking one of her courses!
The most adorable eco-friendly lifestyle shop located near Alamo Square
For all the plant lovers -- this is the spot!
I've been following them along on social media for so long now and finally visited one of their brick and mortar shops. They have the most beautiful ethically sourced clothing, shoes + handbags. A little pricey but worth it!
I found this place on one of my first visits in SF. It's an herbal shop that offers courses, workshops and has the most amazing variety of herbs, skincare and more.
Huge vintage shop with designer pieces. Can be quite pricey but you find really great quality items. Can range anywhere from $20-500.
I walked past this place and had to go in. They make quality, handmade Turkish shoes that are absolutely stunning. Can't wait to own a pair one day.
I LOVE Azalea. Especially the location in Hayes. A cute little boutique with quality pieces.
Huge record shop located in Haight Ashbury
You've probably heard of Everlane for their affordable + sustainable clothes. I own a few pieces from them that are some of my favorites. This is the first location I've been to and it's not always insane like the one in NYC! :)
WHERE TO STAY
I've been to San Francisco a total of 5 times in the past 6 years and to be completely honest, it doesn't matter where you stay because you won't be in it that long. We spend most of our days exploring with breaks in the park in between. The only time we really are in the hotel is to sleep and shower. We've stayed at a hostel type hotel, airbnb and a nice hotel one night.
Here are the places we stayed:
I've been here multiple times at both Hayes and The Mission location. This yoga studio is one of my favorites!
I haven't been here YET but it looks awesome.
WHAT TO WEAR
Layers, layers and more layers. Even if you look at the weather beforehand, the weather can change and is different depending on where you are in the city. Use the weather app as a guideline but ultimately bring layers because you just never know.
THINGS TO DO
The famous park where you see the "Painted Ladies" from Full House. A classic! Also close to Steiner Street where Ms Doubtfire was filmed.
Japanese Tea Gardens
One of my favorite things about SF is the Japanese Tea Gardens. It's so beautiful and they have a little cafe where you can drink tea + Japanese snacks looking out into the garden!
A hike up but you have the most beautiful view of the city.
Beautiful park next to Telegraph Hill, Chinatown and Little Italy. If you go early, you will see all the people doing tai chi and yoga
Corona Heights Park
Another hike but the most beautiful 360 view of SF. Near Castro as well!
You must check out Alcatraz Island at least once in your life. An old federal and military prison from as late as 1850. Famous criminals like Al Capone did time there. It's no longer a prison but you can visit the island, take a tour and learn about it's history
the famous zigzag road
One of the oldest Chinatown's in the USA. Even if you don't eat anything just go and walk around.
Japanese shopping, food and so much more
One of my favorite parts about SF is this park. Just a little walk from Valencia St. to see a beautiful view, hang in the park and there's usually someone selling delicious treats like Rice Krispies or frozen bananas. There's never a dull moment there.
Home of counterculture movement and hippie vibes. Where you'll find vintage shops, dive bars, tattoo shops, record shops and so much more
Golden Gate Park
A gorgeous park with so much to do. This is where the Japanese Tea Garden is located, De Young Museum, Botanic Gardens and so much more. You could spend an entire day here and yet, not see it all.
Mission District Murals
A beautiful outdoor art gallery in The Mission with art featuring political and cultural heritage
A public beach on the peninsula of SF with a stunning view of the Golden Gate Bridge.