san francisco travel guide
So last weekend (AKA best weekend of my life so far) Noah and I traveled to San Francisco and Napa Valley for a little couples get away! I have only been to San Fran as a little kid so I was dying to see the city as an adult. The whole vibe there just really attracted us to go and we were pleasantly surprised at how affordable it was to go from Denver. Brace yourselves as this post may be 100 pages long (kidding) but I’m going to do my best to condense and just share my favorite things!
If you saw from my Insta Stories we ate A LOT of really great food and I tried to hit up all the healthy/vegan places I could. This trip was completely planned by Noah so most of these places we just came across while walking around town or doing a quick "Veg Restaurants Near Me" search.
Nourish Cafe was a Noah find. He always find the best vegan places in new cities and this spot was 100% vegan! We went twice and they had all the healthy options than you could ever dream of! Sweet and savory bowls, toasts, juices, baked treats, PIZZA. What we got: Mocha latté, zucchini bread, coffee cake, donut holes, half baked bar, almond joy.
- Blue Bottle Coffee - Ok, I know these guys are everywhere BUT we had to get it...and I'm so glad we did because it was probably the best latte I have had in my life! Definitely a must if you're a coffee drinker and appreciate a good coffee besides your hotel brew. What we got: Almond Milk Latte & Oat Milk Latte
Farm Fresh To You - Can I just say, I LOVE that the Ferry Building has a little market inside?! This place had so many great healthy snacks as well as grocery items and fresh fruit and veggies. They even had a juice and smoothie bar! I was able to get an acai bowl in a boat terminal...YES! I wish i had gotten a photo, but I literally had to run to the ferry and spilled acai all over me... Very Tori. What I got: Cacao Acai Bowl.
Sausalito Bakery & Cafe – if you like Italian food this is the perfect little cafe to stop for lunch! It reminded me of all the local spots in Italy I would stop in. They had cute little tables outside where you could just watch the boats (and tourists) go by. If you don't have time for lunch at least grab a cookie, they were the size of my head! What we got: Vegetable Platter with a side of Smoked Salmon, Smoked Salmon Caesar, and wine (duh).
Swan's Oyster Depot - This place had a line out the door before they even opened! That's how you know a place is good. They are only open for lunch so we made sure to pop in at 10am for a bite before out flight. It is run by a group of men who have owned it for years and they give each and every customer the same amount of time and attention so everyone get's the same experience even though they have a line of people outside! What we got: Oysters, Clams, Octopus salad, Smoked trout, and Clam Chowder.
Dancing Yak Napali Cuisine. We ended up here after trying to go to Shizen Vegan Sushi Bar (The wait was so long they stopped taking seating requests!) We ended up not having the best service here but I was pretty hangry at this point. My dish (the eggplant) was great while Noah's was a little underwhelming. They gave us a little app to hold us over which is always nice. What we got: Baigan ko Tarkari (Vegan Roasted Eggplant) & Salmon Curry with steamed rice and naan.
Elephant Sushi – Okay TBH I think this spot is a chain in SF, but I wanted sushi so I didn't care and it really exceeded my expectation! The service was SO fast and they were very attentive to us even though it was packed. Everything was amazing and I wish we had one in Denver. They also added TRUFFLES to their rolls. Like, why isn't everyone doing this?! What we got: Himalayan Trout & White Out Roll (which was covered in truffle oil *drooling*)
Union Larder – We passed by this spot on the way to Nourish and I knew I wanted to go back because it had Denver vibes. (super industrial/minimalistic/vintage-y) They specialize in charcuterie, cheese, and wine but the wine was all I needed. It was so good! The service and ambiance were also spot on! What we got: Zinfandel, Red Blend, Malbec, Barbazzale, Tintilla (I know, it's a lot)
Cream Ice Cream Sandwiches – we stumbled on this place after the Dancing Yak and the concept sounded so fun! The interior was nothing special but Noah got a classic ice cream sandwich (vanilla ice cream with chocolate chip cookies) They also had vegan cookies and soy-based ice cream. Maybe next time I find a Cream, I'll try one!
Smitten Ice Cream - These are exclusive to CA and came across it because Salt & Straw's line was around the block. (No thanks!) But we were both super impressed with this spot! They churn to order, have organic ingredients and even vegan pop options (which was ahhhmazing) What we got: Organic Coffee with Brown Sugar Caramel for Noah & a Salted Caramel Pop for me.
La Méditeranée first opened in 1979 and it was basically like eating in the middle east. Everything from the decor to the food was super authentic! It was our last dinner and it did not disappoint. I loved how easily they can accommodate allergies without compromising flavor. What we got: Vegetarian Mediterranean Meza & Vegan Mediterranean Meza
things to do
One thing I love about San Fran is how much there is to do. At first I was surprised to see so many foreign tourists, but then I understood why! There is so much to see and do, you really need to stay for a week to get it all in. But here are a few places you can fit in for a couple of days!
- Fisherman's Warf & Pier 39 - It's basically a tourist trap so I recommend going here and getting it out of the way when you get there. It was nice to walk around and see all the seafood vendors and seals but there were just too many tourists getting in the way! We grabbed some calamari cocktail and just sat at a quiet spot to avoid all the people.
- The Crookedest Street - Our hotel was within walking distance of this street so it was a nice walk (hike) up the hills to get there. And boy, was it beautiful! There were thousands of hydrangeas along the street, sidewalk and homes. Great for a photo op and you can hop on the cable car there!
- Golden Gate Bike Rentals - We are all about our family owned spots while traveling and this one did not disappoint! We wanted to see as much of San Fran as possible so we figured biking would be the perfect way. They gave us a great bike route to see all the sites we wanted to see and help us avoid hills. Below are all the places we saw while biking:
- City Hall - Great place to stop for a photo op and watch all the married couples celebrate their love. It was so cute and there is just something about couples that get married at city hall instead of having a wedding. *swooooon*
- The Painted Ladies - This is for Full House fans only! Kidding, anyone will appreciate these beautiful homes that inspired us all to live in a house full of our closest family members and friends. Great place for picnic lunch!
- Golden Gate Park - There is an INSANE amount of things to do just in this park alone! There are buffalos, The Conservatory of Flowers, Windmills, an Aquarium, The California Academy of Science, and The Japanese Tea Garden. Due to time we opted for the Tea Garden!
- The Japanese Tea Garden - Have time to stop an meditate? Do it here! Or if anything, grab some authentic Japanese tea and miso soup to warm up from the cool weather. It's a great spot to find some peace and quiet in this busy city!
- Golden Gate Bridge - Saved the obvious for last! Hah! Yes, you have to cross the Golden Gate Bridge. It will be crowded and filled with people stopping to take pics but it's a must do. We biked across to Sausalito (which is also a must do) and then took the ferry back to San Fran and it was my favorite part! I got some really great photos and just took in the view.
- Some other spots worth checking out:
- Baker Beach
- Land's End
- Presidio (where all the reallyyyy rich people live)
- Immigration Point
Phew! Thanks for sicking with me on that one! I could go on and on with more things to do in San Fran that we didn't get to. I definitely want to go back and explore the rest of the city at some point. Have you been to SF? Share your favorite places too!