Arguably the dominant force of the West Coast art scene, dive into what makes San Francisco such a draw.
Bookstore – City Lights Booksellers & Publishers
Specializing in world literature, arts and progressive politics, this Columbus Avenue institution remains fiercely independent. As well as boasting a considerable collection for visitors to browse, the nonprofit City Lights Booksellers & Publishers also publishes its own titles about San Franciscan culture.
Live Venue – The Chapel
This converted ex-chapel is one of the city’s most beautiful and intimate venues. Showcasing a diverse array of the latest and most exciting independent music, The Chapel will surely to show you a great time whatever night you drop in. (Seen: John Paul White, previously of The Civil Wars, performing in 2019. Long live live music).
Festival – Yerba Buena Gardens Festival
Currently postponed until Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are eased, the admissions-free, six-month Yerba Buena Gardens Festival takes place in the gorgeous Yerba Buena Gardens every summer. The finest, most vibrant theatre, dance and music from artists and performers in the Bay Area is showcased.
Museum – California Academy of Sciences
On the east side of the massive Golden Gate Park, right by the gorgeous Botanical Garden, the California Academy of Sciences is an enriching, dynamic day out for curious minds of all ages. Its NightLife late-opening parties every Thursday are worth checking out for a fine cocktail amid the natural world’s finest specimens.
Bar – Trick Dog
Trick Dog, in the Mission District, is one of the numerous hipster hangouts that any traveler should be sure to drop into on their requisite bar crawl. A sprawling converted warehouse, the space is a great place to kick the night off right – or see off one last tipple before bed.
Restaurant – Chowder Hut Grill
Sure, it’s a cliché to say must grab the clam chowder in San Fran, but it’s a cliché for a reason. Chowder Hut Grill sits on Fisherman’s Wharf and serves some of the finest of the city’s signature dishes – straight out of the bay and onto your plate.
Cinema – Roxie Cinema
Another of San Fran’s great nonprofit institutions, the Roxie Cinema shows the greatest contemporary, classic and art cinema all year round. Unmissable in the Mission District, thanks to its neon signage, there’s always an intriguing screening or two to appeal to both the cinephiles and the curious.
Music – 1-2-3-4 Go! Records
With frequent live performances and one of the most extensive collections of killer vinyl (old and new), 1-2-3-4 Go! Records is an essential visit for any visiting music fan. Tapping into the area’s legacy with grunge and hardcore, it’s a great piece of modern history.
Food – La Taqueria
Pretty much every Mexican joint in the Mission District claims it serves the world’s best burrito. But with its no-frills, inexpensive-yet-expansive traditional menu, the simply-named La Taqueria may take the top prize.