I lived south of the city for many years, but when bringing someone there for the first time, you want to make sure you find a nice balance between must-sees and hidden secrets.
To be honest, there is no way to properly sum up all of the amazing places that can be found in San Francisco, but here is an attempt to bring all of my best finds (so far) into one place. If you are staying for a while, my recommendation would be to break it up by neighborhoods so that you can truly get a feel for what the area is all about. Don't skip the drive over the Golden Gate bridge because it is deemed as "touristy," it is a sight worth seeing.
E A T
STRAW Carnival Fare
An outstanding breakfast and brunch place, where all of your wildest pancake dreams can come true. No, I am not exaggerating, it was that good.
In the heart of Mission, this place delivers unique tacos and delicious tequilas.
Never Too Latte
Granted, this place is actually in San Bruno but its only 20 minutes out from the city. It doesn't look like much from the outside, but their lattes and waffles are to die for. Stick with the sweet over the savory and thank me later. Hint: Try the red velvet waffles, the Oreo crumble makes the extra calories worth it.
This is located outside of the city but well worth the trip- the view combined with the deco and ambiance left me stunned. Excellent ceviche and even better dessert...
An excellent outside area to view the lights of the bridge while you dine. Located in Hotel Vitale, with excellent pizza and even better wine.
N I G H T L I F E
SWIG A nice change from the current pop takeover, Swig plays nice hip hop, rock and RnB throwbacks that will have you dancing well into the night.
Burritt Room and Tavern
A cute find right a hop and skip away from Union Square, this restaurant and bar gives a dark rustic vibe with creative drinks.
An excellent place for those who are dying to get a glimpse of the city on a larger scale, this rooftop covered bar gives a stunning view of San Francisco's skyline.
Speaking of rooftop bars, this cute little find is nestled in the heart of Mission. There may be a 5 minute line, but the unique margaritas and excellent views make up for the wait.
A C T I V I T I E S
City Lights Bookstore
My favorite place in all of the city, this bookstore features unique and foreign finds from all over the world. Get lost for an hour or two in this heavenly escape.
A delightful pop up located just around Union Square, this place delivers fun photo ops and colorful (obviously) exhibitions. Definitely insta-worthy.
Always busy and bustling, Union Square is at its best during the holidays. A giant ice skating rink graces the center of the square, surrounded by music and christmas trees. The city itself lights up with christmas spirit every year, and is a sight worth seeing.
The hotel by itself is cool enough, but in the basement of it is a kick-ass arcade consisting of basketball, pool and more. In between games, grab one of the bar's Cosmopolitans to keep the night going. Bonus: Art Deco Ceilings.
A stunning theatre nestled into the heart of the city, this theatre gives special productions that leave you speechless. The set up itself is enough to keep you entertained throughout the night.
BONUS! Anyone in the greater area must see the Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay. Stop by for lunch, stay for the night, or plan your wedding! It's windy, but no need to pack a jacket; the hotel supplies green blankets and you can purchase a s'mores kit in the shop.