It Ain't Bad, But It Ain't San Francisco
There's a saying that sums up how I feel about San Francisco: "If one day I die and go to heaven, I'll look around and say 'it ain't bad, but it ain't San Francisco.'" I loved San Francisco long before I moved here seven years ago, in fact, it's a love affair that I've maintained most of my life. It's truly a magical city that offers something for everyone, we have beaches, hiking, incredible food at every price point, culture and arts, but most importantly, beauty. With so much to offer, it can be overwhelming trying to see and do everything (regardless of whether you're visiting or live here). In an effort to debunk all that there is to do here, I thought I'd share one of my favorite ways to spend an afternoon that includes hitting some of the major sights.
First up, a cable car ride (think DJ hanging off the side of the moving trolley in the opening of Full House). San Francisco has 3 major cable car lines and I'm lucky enough to live right next to one. If you're visiting, simply hop on at the cable car turnaround where Powell St meets Market St.
Get off at Hyde and Lombard, the top of the city's most famous street. If you're unfamiliar with Lombard St, it's known for one steep block that has eight hairpin turns. While everyone knows it for its iconic curves, I love Lombard St mostly because of the views at the top. If you're lucky you'll be there before the fog (affectionately called Karl) rolls in.
Take the narrow stairs to the bottom of Lombard and continue until you hit Powell St. Hang a right and you'll find yourself in North Beach, San Francisco's Italian District. Home to St. Peter and Paul's Cathedral and some of the best restaurants in the city. Stop for happy hour at Tacolicious, I recommend the cucumber fresca margarita, or Acquolina, where glasses of prosecco are $7 until 6pm.
Continue up the block toward Columbus St. and grab a bite at Tony's, best pizza in the city, or head around the corner to Caffe Sport for classic family style Italian. Or if you're in the mood for a true taste of San Francisco, continue past Caffe Sport and stop at Sotto Mare for a bowl of their crab cioppino (tomato sauce with seafood, step aside Rice-A-Roni, this is the real San Francisco treat). Top your evening off with a stroll to any of the tiny cafes in North Beach for a coffee or pastry.
This is undeniably one of my favorite things to do with anyone visiting. You hit 3 major tourist sights (none of which are too crowded late afternoon), it involves physical activity, drinks, and good food. What else could you want, amirite?