Anne’s Expert Advice on San Francisco Street Exploring
What should you do when visiting The City By the Bay? Anne Sullivan, chief concierge at Grand Hyatt San Francisco, is proud to call the city home, and she’s here to help you out. San Francisco is renowned for its cool summers, steep rolling hills, iconic landmarks and architecture, and eclectic mix of citizens.
Anne says the perfect day’s itinerary for first-time visitors is spent exploring the historic center of San Francisco, anchored by Market Street – a major transit area in the city – and the waterfront. First, take a walk through Union Square, centered in the financial district and a principle shopping destination, and hop on a cable car up the steep incline to the summit of Nob Hill, one of the city’s original “Seven Hills” that was once home to the rich and famous business tycoons.
Then make your way to Chinatown, the oldest and one of the largest Chinatowns in North America, where you can find some of the best ethnic restaurants and city treasures.
Anne suggests continuing the journey onto North Beach, the neighborhood in San Francisco considered as Little Italy, a historic center of the beatnik subculture and the main red light and nightlife district in the city. Finally, if you head down to the waterfront you will find Fisherman’s Wharf, a historic center of the city known for its early days during the Gold Rush, and now a home base of San Francisco’s fishing fleet.
Staying for more than a day? Lucky you! Anne recommends making time to explore Golden Gate Park, which is 20 percent larger than New York City’s Central Park. Filled with a Music Concourse, De Young Museum, the Japanese Tea Garden, Conservatory of Flowers, San Francisco Botanical Garden, Stow Lake, Kezar Stadium, Chain of Lakes, and more, there’s more than enough for locals and tourists in the city.
No trip to San Francisco would be complete without a stop at the Golden Gate Bridge, the internationally recognized landmark declared as one of the Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Finally, head over to Muir Woods, an old-growth coastal redwood forest that is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area for an afternoon hike and picnic in the great outdoors, or even a winery tour!
If you are feeling up for an adventure, hop on the ferry and take a ride over to Alcatraz Island, home to the abandoned prison and oldest operating lighthouse on the West Coast of the US.
Rated “most walkable” city, San Francisco is a perfect place to explore by foot and check out all of the unique neighborhoods and popular streets. Anne recommends taking a stroll along the Filbert Street Steps, which descends through a public garden and through the plaza of The Embarcadero, the eastern waterfront and roadway of the Port of San Francisco. If you have time, stop by the San Francisco Zoo, or take a walk down Macondray Lane, a small wooden lane in the heart of the city with views of Alcatraz Island and the San Francisco Bay. If you are in the shopping mood, Anne suggest making your way to Fillmore Street, or Haight-Ashbury, home to expensive boutiques and bohemian culture.
Now for the most important part of your trip – food! For a truly one-of-a-kind San Fran experience, Anne suggests Off the Grid, the mobile food extravaganza that brings food to people on the streets in gourmet food trucks! Get a lick of BiRite Ice Cream, or Dynamo Donuts, some of the locals’ favorite treasures. For European dining, check out Belden Place. It’s dubbed the French Quarter of San Francisco for having some of the best French restaurants around. More favorites include Ike’s Sandwich Shop, La Taqueria, Hops & Hominy or First Crush.
For a trul local experience, hang out at Zeitgeist Motorcyle Bar, Tacolicious, or Bourbon & Branch.
Make sure to stop in and say hi to Anne on your next trip to San Francisco!