San Francisco

San Francisco Travel Guide

Since undergoing a recent $10 million renovation, Lafayette Park has become the go-to oasis for young families and couples with off-leash dogs to chill out in chichi Pacific Heights.

This vast swath of sand borders the Great Highway on the western stretch of San Francisco. Watch local surfers catch gnarly (and freezing) waves, stroll the succulent-strewn bluffs, or just kick back for a picnic.

The Holy Grail of parkland in San Francisco—it’s by far the most popular and most iconic, known for turning into a daytime party every weekend. It recently finished some major renovations, including new bathrooms, tennis courts, and five acres of fresh Bermuda grass.

In any city, bike rentals are often one of the biggest tourist traps. But Streets of San Francisco Bike Tours sources local experts to lead rides through non-touristy routes around the city.

Learn about the history of San Francisco’s lesser-visited west side at the new LEED Platinum Lands End Lookout center. The thoroughly modern building offers refuge from the coastal fog and has picture windows for unobstructed views of ancient shipwrecks and the Sutro Bath ruins.

The best way to see the Bay Area’s bounty of heirloom produce and flowers and meet the farmers who grow them (and also supply the city’s top restaurants) is at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Saturday mornings.

A stunning view of the San Francisco skyline can be seen from the indoor pool at the thoughtfully designed Nob Hill Spa.

Every Friday from 5–10 p.m., a caravan of the city’s best food trucks takes over the parking lot at Fort Mason, for its own boisterous moveable feast. Expect crispy Mexican tacos, spicy Indian curries, French sausages, and even crème brulee.

Veer from the crowded city sidewalks and take a carefree charter on a boat for a different perspective of San Francisco. A fleet of first-rate catamarans slice across the San Francisco bay at day and around sunset, for Instagram-worthy views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz.

People expect many things in the Mission: trendy restaurants and handmade jewelry to name two. But a miniature golf course? Such is the case at Urban Putt, the city’s first indoor golf course.

SFJAZZ brings the intimate soulfulness of America’s best jazz singers and musicians into a glossy 35,000-square-foot venue, which opened in 2013. Well-heeled urbanites fill the ultra modern $64 million center designed by starchitect Mark Cavagnero nearly every night.

The Masonic auditorium is the pinnacle of Nob Hill.

Working out might not be at the top of your list while on vacation, but consider this: Few people know the city’s hills, parks, and secret verdant stairways as well as the workout mavens at Basic Training.

The old world European meeting space now has a new life as a music venue with a modern lineup curated by Noise Pop (which runs the uber-popular Treasure Island Music Festival).

A Japanese-style teahouse and cat adoption lounge. A sleek trendy cafe that seamlessly blends into swanky Hayes Valley, with a well-appointed lounge boasting pale wood tables, soft globe lighting, and picture windows in a bright white space.