This is the post I wanted to read when I was visiting San Francisco as a tourist and in my early days of moving to the city. I wanted a list lesser-known spots (not Trip Advisor attractions) to explore from people who know this city well. I couldn’t find one, so I wrote it myself.
With the Free Trip to San Francisco writing contest wrapping up in just ONE WEEK, now seemed like the perfect time to share this list of great spots to visit in San Francisco!
In the comments below, please let me know who I’m missing. Which other great Bay Area bloggers should I know? Also, please feel free to add your favorite spots in the city.
1) Jordan Ferney of Oh Happy Day!
Oh Happy Day features interior design, letterpress and invitations, photography, DIY party projects, and anything “pretty.” Occasionally, she shares some great spots all over the city. A few of my favorite posts are Custom Fortune Cookies, Miette Candy Store, 3 Urban Hikes in San Francisco, and Mission Cheese (an older post back from 2011, when it was new!).
I loved visiting the Fortune Cookie Factory as part of a Chinatown Walking Tour with Rick Evans. Miette is another favorite. Try the salted caramels, the chocolate sables (my fav), or the macaroons. You really can’t go wrong.
2) Andi Fisher of Misadventures With Andi
Misadventures with Andi features great posts about travel, food, France, and the Bay Area. Andi works in San Francisco and lives in Berkeley. Some of my favorite San Francisco posts are: San Francisco Bay Area Dim Sum Guide, San Francisco for Vegetarians, and San Francisco Coffee Cultures.
I’ve been to Yank Sing, but I’m excited to try out some of the other spots listed. I also love Coffee Cultures when I need an afternoon coffee break away from the office.
3) Cheri Lucas Rowlands of Writing Through the Fog
Cheri writes about “the internet, time & memory, relationships, photography, and the writing life.” Enjoy her Q&A with Karl the Fog: San Francisco’s Elusive Landmark, and see some of her favorites in Home, Instagrammed: San Francisco Through an iPhone Lens.
If you’ve just moved to San Francisco, you should know about Karl. He will have a big impact on your life, and he’s tons of fun to follow on Twitter and Instagram.
4) Darya Rose of Summer Tomato
Darya Rose is a neuroscience PhD, food and health writer, creator of Summer Tomato, which offers healthy eating tips for those who believe life should be awesome, and a proud San Francisco foodist. She keeps a list of her favorite restaurants in San Francisco here: Darya’s Favorite SF Restaurants.
I completely agree with Bar Jules and Bar Crudo. Now I need to visit St. Vincent and Hog & Rocks.
5) Tim Ferris, Experiments in Lifestyle Design
Tim Ferris is many, many things — a New York Times bestselling author of the 4-Hour Work Week, the 4-Hour Body, and the 4-Hour Chef, and an angel investor in startups like Facebook, Twitter, Evernote, Uber, and Lift. Any list of favorites that Tim would put together is sure to include some unique and unexpected items. This list doesn’t disappoint: An Ideal Day (or Weekend) in San Francisco – 16 Fun and Weird Activities.
I love that the first item on the list is the wellness lab he uses for health analysis. From his list, I’m definitely going to check out Hawk Hill, the Street Art Tour, and Big Sur Roadhouse. And, yet another vote for St. Vincent.
6) Aida Mollenkamp of Pairs Well With Food
Aida is the host and co-creator of FoodCrafters and Ask Aida television shows on the Food Network and a regular blogger. She grew up in California and splits her time between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Here are two great San Francisco posts from Aida: Local Adventure: My Mission and Field Trip: Anchor Brewing Company.
I’ve done the Anchor Brewing Company tour, and I recommend it too. I had lots of fun touring and tasting. I’m still exploring the Mission so I’m going to have to check out – La Victoria Bakery and her specific taco and burrito options.
BONUS: Aida Mollenkamp’s Top 11 Spots for Bay Area Foodies for Bay Area Bites. While the list was published in 2011, it’s still current and includes lots of great spots. // Cheese Plus, the City Beer Store, and the Marshall Store (in Point Reyes) are favorites of mine too.
7) Joanne Weir of KQED
Joanne isn’t exactly a blogger (at least, not a very regular one), but she’s a well-known cookbook author, cooking teacher with a regular show on public television in the Bay Area, and recently, a restauranteur opening Copita Tequileria y Comida, a seasonal Mexican restaurant and tequila bar in Sausalito. Here’s a list of Joanne’s Favorite Restaurants (substantial SF and Bay Area list, but also includes L.A., NYC, and more) and her Favorite Markets, Artisan Producers, and Wineries.
8) Erin Gleeson of The Forest Feast
Erin moved to the Bay Area a few years ago from New York City where she did photography for cookbooks, magazines, top chefs and restaurants, The New York Times, and The James Beard Foundation. She shares beautifully illustrated and photographed recipes and only occasionally writes about San Francisco. One such post is A Manhattan in San Francisco at the Cliff House, which is in my opinion too, an experience worth having!
9) Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks
101 Cookbooks is an innovative and beautiful vegetarian recipe blog. In addition to her popular blog, Heidi writes award winning cookbooks and runs an online boutique called QuitoKeeto. She also always seems to be just getting back from somewhere great! Here’s here full list of San Francisco favorites: San Francisco: Places I Love.
Thanks to Heidi I learned about Primavera at the Ferry Building on Saturday mornings. I agree that the chilaquiles are delicious. I also love Green Apple Books, Rainbow Grocery, and Piccino in the Dogpatch. Still to try: Udupi Palace, Terroir.
10) Leo Babauta of Zen Habits
Leo’s writes at Zen Habits about “finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives.” When he started the blog, he and his family of 8 lived on Guam, but they moved to San Francisco a couple of years ago looking for a change and a more walkable lifestyle. Every once in a while, Leo writes something about San Francisco. Here’s his Vegan Guide to San Francisco and The Art of Tasting Chocolate Mindfully about Dandelion’s chocolate tasting class.
Millenium and Gracias Madre are on my list to try. Dandelion chocolate won’t let you down either.
11) Victoria Smith of SF Girl By Bay
SF Girl By Bay is one of the West Coast’s leading design blogs, featuring shopping tips, art, photography and design resources, as well as home entertaining and lifestyle stories. Victoria recently released an app with all her favorite vintage, furniture, home decor and accessories shops. You can check it out here: SFgirlbybay’s Bohemian Modern San Francisco
I just started playing with the app, but in my neck of the woods, it recommends Picnic (a great boutique) on Polk street and Leftovers (for consignment furniture), and I definitely recommend them too.
12) Maggie Mason of Mighty Girl
Maggie has written at Mighty Girl since 2000. She’s also the the co-founder of Go Mighty, which helps people connect and collaborate on their Life List goals. They also host Camp Mighty, an annual retreat for bloggers, online content creators, and life list enthusiasts. A couple of Maggie’s posts about San Francisco are: San Francisco Picnics, listing her favorite parks in the city, and You Left Your Heart Here. We’re Not Giving it Back., which lists 10 experiences worth having in the city.
Alamo Square Park is a favorite, and Café Jacqueline has been on my list for soufflés in North Beach. To do for sure.
13) Tracy Benjamin of Shutterbean
Shutterbean features recipes and snippets of Tracy’s everyday life, along with her love of photography and making lists. There are lots of great posts on Shutterbean about places all over the Bay Area – i.e. Tomales Bay Oyster Company and Dillion Beach near Point Reyes, Boot & Shoe Service and Homeroom in Oakland. But, since this post is about San Francisco, here are Tracy’s posts about Delarosa in the Marina and the Raisin Focaccia at Liguria Bakery in North Beach.
Somehow I’ve never made it over to Liguria Bakery, but now I want to go and make the Raisin Focaccia at home too.
14) Jenna Francisco of This is My Happiness
This Is My Happiness reflects Jenna’s passion for culture, art, and travel. Jenna and her family live in Sacramento, and her site is a wealth of information on Northern California in general. This post about Visiting San Francisco with Kids is a great resource if you’re coming to SF with your own kids, but it also includes some great things to do for adults too. Also, check out 5 Reasons to Love the Ferry Building.
Andy Goldsworthy’s Wood Line in the Presidio is beautiful, and I’m a huge fan of the view from the tower de Young museum too.
15) Ashley Muir Bruhn of Hither & Thither
Hither & Thither is a lifestyle and travel blog featuring design, food, family, style, New York and California. I’ve used Ashley’s blog in the past to plan trips to NYC, and now that she and her family live in Davis, California, her picks are much, much closer! Check out their Weekend in San Francisco (without the baby!), How to Ride a Cable Car in San Francisco (with the toddler), and Vintage Shopping in San Francisco (which is actually a guest post, but great nonetheless).
Foreign Cinema is a favorite of mine. Brunch at Plow = to do. Somehow, I lived here for about 8 month before I rode a cable car. Do it. It’s touristy, but tons of fun.
16) Anita Chu of Dessert First
Anita is a food writer, stylist, and photographer and has written two cookbooks, “The Field Guide to Cookies” and “The Field Guide to Candy.” With a name like Dessert First, not surprisingly the focus of her San Francisco posts is mostly on sweet spots in San Francisco. Check out Baker + Banker: Dessert All Day Long, Sweet Alchemy: Michael Recchiuti’s Chocolate Lab, and My Favorite Ice Cream Shops in San Francisco.
So far my favorite ice cream is at Bi-Rite — brown sugar, caramel and ginger.
17) Kristin Zibell of Take Your Big Trip
Take Your Big Trip is a travel blog dedicated to “living your travel dreams.” Kristin has taken three major trips for months at a time, and her site is a great resource to inspire you to get out and travel. After returning from her last big trip, she settled in San Francisco. Check out Six Ways to See the World in San Francisco and Top 5 San Francisco Spots to Feel Like a Local.
There are some great spots listed in theses two posts! Must go Google Glen Park Canyon…
+1) Jodi Ettenberg of Legal Nomads
Jodi isn’t a resident of San Francisco. She’s not actually a resident anywhere, but she spent about a month here in the city and has put together some great information about SF. Check out: San Francisco in Photos, Words, and A Bonus Cheap Eats Spreadsheet!
The spreadsheet is massive! Having eaten with Jodi a couple of times while she was here, I can attest to her picks. Gluten free places are marked in the spreadsheet.
+2) Jonathan Fields of The Good Life Project
Jonathan lives in NYC, but a couple of years ago, he wrote a post about Northern California’s microclimates after a trip up the coast called Blinded By Your Own Microclimates.
I’ve thought about this post at least a couple of times since I read it in 2011. I love the idea of applying this analogy to our lives and moods. It often feels like a revelation when you’re in the middle of a bad mood or a challenging time and you discover that everyone else isn’t.
+3) David Lebovitz of Living the Sweet Life in Paris
David Lebovitz is a former Bay Area resident and graduate of the kitchen at Zuni Cafe and Chez Panisse. He now lives in Paris, which is why I follow him. Well, that and all his amazing dessert recipes.
Occasionally he posts about San Francisco, which is how I first learned about Dandelion Chocolate, Cotogna, and Smitten Ice Cream. UPDATE: New posts from December 2013. San Francisco Favorites & Dining, Sweet San Francisco, and more.
There are so many interesting people and bloggers based in the Bay Area. These are only the ones that I know who’ve actually posted about their San Francisco favorites. If you know of someone I should include let me know in the comments, and feel free to add your favorite spots in the city too!