Stephen Simpson

Take a Trip to the Best Coast

Nature gifted this state with miles of picturesque coastline, crashing waves, windswept beaches, the works! Not to mention the dramatic mountain peaks, swaths of redwood forests, expanses of desert and some of America's most exciting and innovative cities.

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Closeup Shot of Burrito
Grab a Burrito Nightcap

Grab a Burrito Nightcap

El Farolito is the unofficial post-bar nightcap in the Mission District. This burrito joint is popular local hangout on Saturday through Wednesday until 2:30 a.m., and on Thursdays and Fridays until 3:30 a.m. 960 1280
Go Bowling

Go Bowling

Knock down some early-morning pins at Presidio Bowling Center, which is open until 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, or try Lucky Strike, which closes at 1 a.m. on Thursdays and 2 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Both bowling alleys serve alcohol, but Presidio Bowling Center serves beer and wine; whereas Lucky Strike is the place to go for an after midnight cocktail. 960 1280
Witness the City’s Midnight Glow

Witness the City’s Midnight Glow

Drive up to the top of Twin Peaks and park to see San Francisco’s bold skyline light up the sky, including, including the Bay Lights art installation on the Bay Bridge. 960 1280
Play Miniture Golf

Play Miniture Golf

Mini golf offers a different kind of late-night clubbing. Open on Fridays and Saturdays until 1 a.m., Urban Putt combines beer, wine and gourmet bar bites with a high-tech, 14-hole course for the ultimate mini-golf experiencing. 960 1280

Kristen Loken  

Keep the Party Going

Keep the Party Going

Head to Mighty or Public Works to dance until 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. (respectively) on Fridays and Saturdays. In San Francisco, these are 2 of the most popular spots to hear the best live acts and DJs, spinning hip-hop and electronic music.   960 1280
Eat Tasty Korean Food

Eat Tasty Korean Food

Korean “grill-it-yourself” havens are open longer than most restaurants in town. Every day, patrons at Korean Village Wooden Charcoal Barbecue House can get a meaty protein fix until 3 a.m. Cocobang is another option that serves hungry night owls on Sundays through Wednesday until 2 a.m. and on Thursdays and Fridays until 4 a.m. 960 1280

Missy Buchanan  

Catch a Midnight Flick

Catch a Midnight Flick

Consult the Clay Theatre’s calendar to find out what the movie theme is for Midnight Madness on Saturdays. The theme changes each week. 960 1280
Order Pizza at the Window

Order Pizza at the Window

After the bars close on Friday and Saturday in North Beach, the action migrates to the Golden Boy Pizza window, which serves up enticingly thick square slices until 2:30 a.m. For some, it’s the perfect place to stop after a long night of drinking beer, wine or cocktails.   960 1280
Devour Fresh Donuts

Devour Fresh Donuts

Prepare for the lines at the 24-hour Bob’s Donuts after midnight on weekends. It’s well worth the wait to sample these tasty fried treats, including the raised sugar donut, French cruller, cinnamon roll and apple pandowdy. 960 1280
Laugh Until You Cry

Laugh Until You Cry

Tickle your funny bone! Stay up and laugh into the wee hours of the morning at PianoFight, where locals and out-of-towners can enjoy Night Moves, San Francisco’s only weekly midnight comedy show. The laughs begin on Saturday at 1:30 a.m. 960 1280

Pianofight  

Parrots on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco
Search For Wild Parrots

Search For Wild Parrots

The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill is both a book and a movie set in San Francisco, but you don’t actually have to go all the way to Telegraph Hill to spot these beautiful birds. Head over to Sue Bierman Park near the Embarcadero in the evenings to find a flock. 960 1280

Justin Ormont/Wikimedia Commons  

Attend the Church of John Coltrane

Attend the Church of John Coltrane

The late great jazz player inspired the long-running Saint John Coltrane African Orthodox Church in San Francisco. All are welcome to attend the musical mass on Sundays at noon. Attendees are encouraged to bring an instrument. 960 1280
See the City from Grand View Park

See the City from Grand View Park

This adventure will require a leg-testing hike to the top of the diminutive Grand View Park, which is nicknamed “Turtle Hill.” Spectacular views of the ocean and the bay are the real reward from this amazing vantage point. 960 1280
Listen to the Wave Organ

Listen to the Wave Organ

This wave-activated, acoustic sculpture has been located on a jetty in the bay for nearly 30 years. Bundle up and go to the Marina Green to hear what liquid music sounds like when played on the Wave Organ. 960 1280

Wikimedia Commons  

Take a Stroll Down Balmy Alley

Take a Stroll Down Balmy Alley

The block-long Balmy Alley in the Mission District is home to the colorful and ever-changing Precita Eyes murals. Here you’ll find expressions of love, life and strife; and some touch on hard-hitting issues such as local gentrification. 960 1280

Oren Rozen/Wikimedia Commons  

Stretch Out With Grace

Stretch Out With Grace

The most unusual place in town to do yoga is at the world-famous Grace Cathedral. Drop in on Tuesday nights for a gentle practice session for a suggested $10-20 donation. 960 1280

Daniel Ramirez/Wikimedia Commons  

Paddle or Row on Stow Lake

Paddle or Row on Stow Lake

Visiting Golden Gate Park is a must, but not everyone knows they can float there. Rent a little electric boat, pedal boat or rowboat from the Stow Lake Boathouse in Golden Gate Park for a relaxing afternoon.   960 1280
Go for a Slide in Seward Mini Park

Go for a Slide in Seward Mini Park

A tiny park in Eureka Valley – located near the Castro – has slides for people of all ages. Plan ahead and were thick pants and bring cardboard for a smoother ride in Seward Mini Park. 960 1280
Enjoy an Afternoon KitTea

Enjoy an Afternoon KitTea

Cat cafes – that find homes for animals – are a new and thriving trend in the Bay Area. Call to reserve time at KitTea (or walk in and pay more) to have a cup of tea and a snack while hanging out and playing with felines that need a home. 960 1280
Explore the City With a Clipper Card

Explore the City With a Clipper Card

Pre-order a Clipper Card online before visiting the Golden Gate City. The card functions as a debit card that works on all public transportation options in San Francisco and most of the Bay Area. 960 1280

Mia5793/Wikimedia Commons  

Unwrap a Burrito

Unwrap a Burrito

Locals are addicted to bulging burritos stuffed with endless ingredients. Splurge on Papalote’s massive Triple Threat burrito, which packs in nearly two pounds of shrimp, chicken and steak  — a perfect share for a pair of ambitious eaters. Smaller appetites can check out the one exceptional exception to the rice inside the burrito standard at La Taqueria 960 1280

Tamara Palmer  

Graze at a Farmers Market

Graze at a Farmers Market

San Francisco is full of farmers markets big and small where locals go to sample and score a wide variety of produce  -- for the kitchen or even a quick bite. The most bountiful of the year-round weekly affairs takes place at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Saturdays, but don’t overlook the smaller neighborhood farmer’s markets like the Castro Farmers’ Market 960 1280

Tamara Palmer  

Patronize Old-School Taco Trucks

Patronize Old-School Taco Trucks

Stalwart Mexican taco trucks like El Gallo Giro and Tacos San Buena pre-dated the current proliferation of trucks that serve every type of food imaginable. At $2 or less apiece, they also offer one of the last remaining bastions of extreme food value in the area. 960 1280

Tamara Palmer  

Try New School Food Trucks

Try New School Food Trucks

If you can dream up a meal, it’s probably available on wheels. Off The Grid offers a vast number of weekly truck gatherings with an ever-growing array of international vendors, while converted parking lots like SoMa StrEat Food Park and G Food Truck Lounge provide permanent places for trucks to rotate through. 960 1280

Tamara Palmer  

Seek Ice Cream in All Weather Conditions

Seek Ice Cream in All Weather Conditions

San Franciscans are not fair-weather friends to ice cream; we devour both classic and experimental flavors with passion no matter the temperature. A tin roof sundae at Humphry Slocombe or an avocado milkshake at Mitchell’s Ice Cream warms our hearts all year long.  960 1280

Tamara Palmer  

Bloody Sunday

Bloody Sunday

Let’s face it: San Francisco is a food town and Sunday brunch is not a spectator sport. Expect crowds and long lines. We’ve found that Bluestem Brasserie and Foreign Cinema are solid go-tos. They accept reservations and are generally accommodating to larger groups.  960 1280

Tamara Palmer  

Top Ramen

Top Ramen

San Francisco’s obscure Japanese noodle soup shops were once the speakeasies of the food world, but now one can’t sling a lucky cat without hitting one. Try homeland exports like Men Oh Tokushima Ramen and Yamadaya (which has locations all over California) for a true taste of different styles. 960 1280

Tamara Palmer  

Two for Me

Two for Me

Afternoon tea isn’t just for old ladies anymore. Fancy it up on a Saturday at the Fairmont or take the guys along on a Sunday picnic on the patio for a hearty tea at Charles Chocolates. 960 1280

Tamara Palmer  

Be Animal Free

Be Animal Free

Vegan restaurants remind us that food can be made without cruelty and still satisfy. Most popular are Asian spots like Golden Era and Cha-Ya, which have achieved cult-like status without using animal products. 960 1280

Tamara Palmer  

Go Off Menu

Go Off Menu

If you grill it, they will come. Secret items are a fun way to keep locals feeling connected to a restaurant. Some, like the off-menu burger served on Tuesdays at Rosamunde Sausage Grill’s Haight Street location, keep insiders wanting more.  960 1280
Dip in a Hot Pot

Dip in a Hot Pot

The best all-you-can-eat action around can be found at the rapidly rising number of hot pot purveyors. Japanese places like Nabe and Shabuway present polite sets of vegetables and thinly sliced raw meat to swish-cook in hot broth, while Chinese spots like i-Pot and Dragon Beaux add dumplings into the mix. 960 1280

Tamara Palmer  

Get Toasted

Get Toasted

The once humble slice of toast has been elevated to a meal requiring a knife and fork at joints like The Mill and Outerlands, where breads are baked on site and then covered in decadent smears or served as the base for open faced sandwiches. 960 1280

Tamara Palmer  

Try a Pop-Up Meal

Try a Pop-Up Meal

A pop-up meal in a temporary location is a wonderful way for a chef to experiment with new ideas. Visit the Michael Mina Test Kitchen for the latest beta project from the popular restaurateur or consult the Feastly calendar and sample meals made by master chefs or tender novices.  960 1280

Kevin McCullough  

Room Service

Room Service

Gone are the days of waiting forever for lousy pizza. Services like Caviar, Seamless and Postmates deliver serious gourmet meals from anywhere in San Francisco to your mouth, typically within the hour.  960 1280

Tamara Palmer  

Egg Topper

Egg Topper

Whether it’s a burger or a bowl of ramen, just about everything is better with an egg. Deviled eggs, a star on bar menus across town, might be at their most heavenly when topped with bacon and fried oysters at Hog & Rocks. 960 1280

Tamara Palmer  

Dim Sum on the Fly

Dim Sum on the Fly

Locals love to nibble on the various bite-sized Chinese dumplings, noodle rolls and buns that make up the dim sum category. Delight in the delicious danger of impulse ordering off a roaming cart at City View or from a checklist at Dim Sum Club 960 1280

Tamara Palmer  

Experience an Exotic Plate

Experience an Exotic Plate

A local in San Francisco has a palate for global cuisine. Travel to exotic destinations without leaving the city limits. Try Laotian and Thai food at Champa Garden; sample Iranian delights at Anar; or sail away to Sri Lanka via 1601 Bar & Kitchen. 960 1280

Tamara Palmer  

Worth the Wait

Worth the Wait

Waiting in line is a necessary evil at Tartine Bakery, where the queue starts forming daily around 4:30 p.m. to catch a baguette or specialty loaf hot and fresh out of the oven.  960 1280
Roll Play With Sushi

Roll Play With Sushi

Just about everyone in San Francisco eats sushi and its prices vary just as the clientele. Visit Ichi Sushi for a high-end experience at still-affordable prices or break the bank at Kusakabe, where a blowtorch provides endless visual entertainment to accompany the fresh fish. 960 1280

Tamara Palmer  

I Scream

I Scream

Sunny skies and happy lives breed a love for sweet treats in San Francisco. The granddaddy of all desserts here is the It’s-It, a chocolate covered ice cream sandwich that has been made since 1928. 960 1280

Tamara Palmer  

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