After explaining to visitors that the Golden Gate Bridge is actually some shade of orange for the Nth time, I've decided I'm quite the expert at the SF tour.
- I have timing and dependencies down to a tee. For instance, if you're at Embaracadero in the morning- you must pick up a Blue Bottle Coffee- and you must talk about how excited you are that Intelligensia is opening up a location in the city. This is what makes you a San Franciscan.
- I know my guests will neglect their time zone difference and expect to be at it all night. (They'll only make it to 10 PM - I don't blame them.)
- I don't drive through Chinatown, Fisherman's Wharf, or other tourist traps. If they insist, I insist that they find their own way there. In a tour, it is key that you avoid gimmicks. Gimmicks cause traffic.
- I know the sketchy areas in the city and where NOT to talk about your 401K
What to Bring/Wear (stuff you put in the trunk of your car):
- Windbreaker + fleece/ other warm jacket
- Comfortable walking shoes
- If you insist: cute shoes- I recommend comfortable boots
- Cute jacket (for pictures)- if your cute jacket can function as a warm jacket, more power to you
- A scarf
- Light gloves for the evening (I get really cold- don't make fun of me)
- Snacks (i.e. Salsa & chips, granola bars, water)
I give you... the first of many San Francisco tours...
The Short Version
10:30 AM Breakfast at Home
11:30 AM Blue Bottle (Oakland, CA)
12:30 PM Twin Peaks
1:30 PM The Mission
4:30 PM Battery Spencer (Marin, CA)
5:30 PM Drive Down Great Highway
5:30 PM Explore Inner Richmond
7:00 PM Shabu House (Inner Richmond)
9:30 PM Lion's Pub (Pacific Heights)
The Long Version
The tour begins in East Bay. Wake up at 10 AM and load up on food - cereal, eggs, etc. Drive yourself to the flagship Blue Bottle Coffee in Oakland. Don't leave your valuables in the car.
Blue Bottle Coffee
I stumbled upon Blue Bottle Coffee a few years ago- with a suggestion from a roommate. So I had low expectations. All it took was one sip.
It's not the amount of coffee you drink that makes you a coffee snob - it's the quality of in your cup. You, my friend, are now a coffee snob.
If you are already in the city, make your way to Embaradero and grab yourself a Blue Bottle, but know you're missing out on Oakland hipster experience.
There has only been one time I've been up here that I could stand outside my car without my eyes tearing up from the cold wind.The windbreaker that you told your guest to bring will come in handy.
Stay up there long enough to force some poor stranger to take your picture.
You and your guest are probably caffeinated and hungry by now. Good thing you ate breakfast, right? Wander around- you're in the mission! Don't worry, that smell is urine.
This is where you choose your own adventure. Select a place to eat. Don't use Yelp. Peer at the menus posted at the front of different restaurants. Then, let me know how it goes.
In the mood for a snack?
Philz Coffee: Very grungy, chic coffee shop. Reminds me of Austin, TX. If you need caffeine (which you probably do), I would recommend it.
Tartine Bakery: If you can brave the line- you can get a tasty treat, like a morning bun - or bread pudding. Just be careful. You have a long day ahead of you - and it's too early to have a sugar crash.
Monk's Kettle: If you want an afternoon beer.
Walk around some more, explore Dolores Park, the graffiti on the sides of buildings, specialty clothing stores.
It is integral that you get your butt over to your next location between 4:30-5:00 PM This is to ensure you get there before the fog has a chance to roll in. If you're going on a weekday, add an hour to your commute time.
Golden Gate Bridge from Battery Spencer
On your way here, your guest will whine about how they want to get out of the car and take pictures. You firmly say, "We're not there yet." and lock the car doors.
The correct way to park here is to double park, and to wait for someone to leave. Bicyclists will curse at you and drivers will give you the finger. Don't worry- it'll all be worth it. (See first image.)
On your way to your next destination, you'll take the scenic route. Drive down on Lincoln Blvd down Great Highway past the Cliff House down to the Beach Chalet. (This is definitely out of the way, but definitely worth it.)
Make your way to Inner Richmond. If you're not hungry yet, do a little bit of exploring.
NOTE: If you're in the winter months, you'll need to do your sight seeing with respect to when the sun sets. Sight seeing in the dark sucks.
All you can eat shabu shabu. But don't get the "all you can eat option". Just pay for platter of veggies or meat- trust me- it's enough. Oh yeah, get the spicy miso broth - don't bother with the ginger chicken.. Eat at the bar; you'll get your own pot. You don't have to eat shabu shabu that your guest has poured half the peanut sauce in.
I took a friend here after a long day and she tied up her hair to "get ready for battle".
Your guest will appreciate you for feeding them soup for dinner. They didn't expect San Francisco to be this cold. All they brought on this trip was shorts. After all, they thought they were going to warm, sunny California.
It's a great place for fresh cocktails- a place where they muddle their own fruit. The typical thing to get here is a mojito.
The drinks are so good that I didn't even realize that my strawberry margarita was not frozen (how I like it), but rather on the rocks. Every time I go back here, I ask for a frozen margarita and they decline.
WARNING: The clientele here is not particularly friendly. They are snobs -and not in the good way. Be very territorial of your seats and talk to no one.
Your guest will be exhausted. Drag their butt home. They need their sleep. After all, you're going to Napa tomorrow.
New Post on Wednesday.