Five plans for a perfect day in San Francisco
The route: begin your day with a very American breakfast, indulge yourself, tour a former airfield, learn about Asian culture and watch one of the city’s prettiest sunsets.
1 Breakfast at Hollywood Café
Eggs (with pancakes) are the star of the standard American breakfast. They come fried, poached or scrambled, with sides of bacon, salmon, ham, sausage or any other ingredient you can imagine. But that’s not all at Hollywood Café: stuff croissants, fruit bowls, fried bananas, burritos, French toasts, sandwiches... If you like a big breakfast, this is the place. Be hungry when you get there, and be sure to try the coffees, which are inspired by Hollywood stars –they’re some of the city’s best.
Breakfast is served until 11am and the restaurant does not accept bookings.
2 Shopping on Valencia Street
When the coolest cafés, fashion boutiques and fusion restaurants came to Valencia Street, it became the newest hot spot for trends. You’ll find almost anything as you stroll down the street – bookshops, art galleries, second-hand shops, writers’ schools that look like junk shops for pirates... and other peculiar places, including Paxton Gate, which sells carnivorous plants and the uber trendy air plants, among other curiosities. These streets – known as the Mission District – are a meeting place for the latest generation of hipsters.
On Clarion Alley, you’ll find Mural Project, an open-air gallery of the city’s street art.
3 A stroll through Crissy Field
After its restoration, this former airfield became part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. One of the locals’ favourite spots for walking, biking or enjoying picnics is the Crissy Field Center. The iconic views of San Francisco Bay, the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz are just a few of its attractions. In addition, it’s possible to enjoy other types of sport at the Planet Granite climbing gym, the La Petite Baleen swim school or the House of Air, perfect for those seeking an adrenaline rush.
To finish off your walk, take a ferry to Alcatraz and tour the infamous former prison.
4 A touch of culture at the Asian Art Museum, the Musée Mécanique and the SFMOMA
The Asian Art Museum in San Francisco conserves objects dating back more than 6,000 years brought from Asia. Until late July, it is hosting the Divine Bodies exhibition, which combines paintings and sculptures from the Hindu and Buddhist cultures, with contemporary photographic work. Among the more unusual options, don’t miss the Musée Mécanique, which houses an odd collection of penny arcade games and jukeboxes. And for more modern tastes, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) has just opened an exhibition based on Tilted Plane, by Jim Campbell: a light installation featuring a walk through hundreds of lightbulbs hanging in the air.
Until 27 May, you can explore the shifting landscape of design in California since the digital revolution with Designed in California at the SFMOMA.
5 Sunset at Ocean Beach
Between Golden Gate Park and the Richmond and Sunset districts is the perfect spot to watch the sun go down among bonfires and music. Its waves attract the best of the surfers, although the location is not recommended for swimming, due to the strong current and extreme water temperatures. However, besides watching the experts in action, people get together at Ocean Beach to barbecue and dance by the fire as the sun goes down.
Don’t forget to bring some marshmallows to toast over the fire. How do you like yours – toasted gold or almost charred?