At the beginning of this month, I made my way to San Francisco for the first annual Pinterest conference. San Fran (I know locals hate that!) has always been on my bucket list, so when Pinterest extended the invitation to attend I jumped at it. San Francisco did not disappoint with it’s beautiful rolling hills and great food. It actually exceeded my expectations! Here’s what I did while I was there:
Whenever I travel, it’s usually either an airbnb or a boutique hotel. This trip was no different. I chose to stay at the Axiom Hotel thanks to a last minute deal on Hotel Tonight (they always have such great choices!). Upon arrival, a cool-looking doorman escorts you down a long hallway into a chic library lobby that opens up to a pretty, minimal café. The somewhat dark hallways of the room floors are ladled with urban art, and stepping into my room felt like stepping into someplace chic but stern enough to get lots of work done in. And that I did.
My bed was perfectly comfortable, the bathroom was spotless, and the illy coffee machine in the room weas perfect for my early conference mornings. I also loved the amount of space I had to work and lounge. It was also within a 15-minute drive of everywhere I visited.
What I found most interesting about Axiom was it’s juxtaposition in the city. The entrance is facing Tenderloin, known to house the city’s homeless population, and the exit faces the very expensive Westfield mall. Being at Axiom made the imbalance of San Francisco’s economic climate very obvious to me.
Mr. Holmes Bakehouse
Mr. Holmes Bakehouse is a tiny bakery packed a big punch! The gourmet pastries were delectable (they were so good I got a box to take on the plane back to NYC!). On top of that, its instagram-worthy neon sign is worth the trip. I recommend getting there around 10 AM; within 10 minutes of being there the place was full!
Apparently, Hard Water is somewhere only tourists go here (every SF local I mentioned the place to laughed at me, haha) but I really enjoyed it. The back wall full of whiskey is impressive, and the place is just cozy enough. It’s perfect for the start of a date night (or a night cap). I wasn’t a huge fan of the food, but the negroni I ordered was the best I’ve ever had. The oysters were a close second.
San Francisco’s Chinatown is one of the most famous, if not the most famous, Chinatown in the US. And once you step into it, it’s clear why. The ornate buildings are true to the culture, as are the people. Make sure to stop into Eastern Bakery for some steamed buns, they were amazing. Eastern Bakery is also cash-only, so come prepared.
I stumbled into Marlowe during an impromptu walk through Mission Bay after my visit to Old Navy’s headquarters. I’m a sucker for subway tile so I was immediately drawn in by the decor alone. The sultry r&b playlist didn’t hurt either. I loved the fries I had with my lunch, and the pretty baroque mirror in the bathroom and the cheeky beef wallpaper were lots of fun. This place was chill enough to bring a casual business meeting or a date to.
Vintage Shopping in Haight-Asbury
I came into this trip knowing I’d be spending some money on vintage clothing. I mean, NastyGal was built on SF vintage! Haight-Asbury lived up to its reputation – there were so many vintage shops within walking distance. Wasteland was my first stop, Decades of Fashion was my second. I then made my way to Buffalo Exchange, but only after picking up a $28 YSL dress from Static. If you’re into vintage purses you’re in luck, almost every store had a healthy selection of designer. If you’re serious about vintage, expect to drop some major coin in Haight-Ashbury.
The Ferry Building
New Yorkers, The Ferry Building is the equivalent of Chelsea Market! There’s lots and lots and lots of food here. I had an incredible brunch at Hog Island Oyster Co. I recommend getting there about half an hour before they open – seating is limited and there’s always a long line. We were lucky enough to score seats outside with a perfect view of the Bay Bridge. If you get there early enough, order the fried anchovies. They only make about 20 orders of them a day and they sell out pretty quickly. They were the best anchovies I’ve ever had. Everything else was comparable as well.
If you’re ready to realize your Tanner dreams, make your way to Painted Ladies for this iconic SF shot. Made famous by Full House in the 90’s, the Painted Ladies is a prime spot to get all of the glory of San Francisco. I recommend getting there well after 12 PM – when we got there the sun was directly behind the houses!
A Pier, Any Pier
After brunch at Hog, my friend and I walked over to a pier and had a lovely time. You can catch a sight of the Bay Bridge and see people enjoying the weather. There were lots of people walking dogs, going for a run, and fishing!
I am a soul food aficionado (self-claimed, of course haha) so it was one of the first things I looked for in SF. Especially since lots of foodie lists were filled with Asian foods. farmerbrown was actually two blocks from my hotel, so with NBA finals happening I figured I’d go to a soul food spot because I’d obviously be able to watch the game while I enjoyed my food. Turns out farmerbrown didn’t have a TV but the manager was awesome and sat me near him so he could play the game on his phone! The service was so great (the chef came out to me when I’d asked the manager a question about something on my plate), and the portions were huge. I’d definitely recommend coming here if you’re into chicken and waffles, mac and cheese, and collard greens!
What are some of your favorite things to do and see in San Francisco? I’m dying to go back and to visit Oakland. Leave your faves in the comments below.