The cultural, financial and commercial center of Northern California, San Francisco, founded in 1776, saw the city’s population explode during the Gold Rush of 1849. Though nearly destroyed during the 1906 earthquake, San Francisco proved its resilience by rebuilding and becoming a beacon of progress in the decades to come. Given its inviting climate with mild winters and dry summers, the city is also perfect for enjoying the outdoors. Featuring over 220 parks, including Golden Gate Park, which extends from downtown to the Pacific Ocean, San Francisco is rich in natural attractions, such as the Conservatory of Flowers, the Japanese Tea Garden, and the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Also, Lake Merced, a fresh-water lake near the San Francisco Zoo, is surrounded by lush parkland. The city, a cultural mecca, is also a popular tourist destination given its frequent representation in films, music and popular culture.
La Taqueria, a James Beard Award-winning eatery in The Mission, Dogpatch, and Potrero Hill, specializes in authentic yet simple Mexican fare. Serving one of the most revered burritos in San Francisco, La Taqueria features a flour tortilla with grilled meat, slow-cooked beans and tomatillo or mesquite salsa, as well as spicy pickles and sour cream. Favorites include the carne asada burrito, which comes with beef, cheese, guacamole, pinto beans, fresh salsa, and homemade hot sauce. If you’d like your burrito or the meat crisped, order it dorado style. There is a vegetarian burrito option, which includes beans, fresh salsa tomatoes, onions, cilantro, cheese and hot sauce. La Taqueria also serves tacos and corn quesadillas. Meat options include chorizo, beef, chicken, pork, or carnitas. The restaurant is open Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and until 8 p.m. on Sunday.
Muir Woods and Wine Country
Though there’s plenty to discover in the city, you may want to take advantage of a trip to San Francisco to take a day trip to the Muir Woods and wine country. A stop at the Muir Woods National Monument, a breathtaking redwood sequoia forest, allows visitors an hour to explore the groves of giant sequoias, the oldest and tallest trees on Earth. A guide will highlight the region’s coastal flora and fauna, which includes ferns, laurel trees and deer. The next stops at Napa and Sonoma wineries are a chance to taste Northern California’s finest wines, as well as to purchase a couple of bottles as souvenirs. At the Sonoma Plaza, you’ll partake in lunch and also have time to shop at the boutiques or participate in additional wine tastings. As you return, you’ll be treated to spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay as you cross the Golden Gate Bridge.
Michelin-starred Rich Table in The Haight & Hayes Valley, which opened in 2012, features Californian cuisine created by co-chefs Sarah and Evan Rich. The restaurant itself, designed with a rustic farmhouse feel in reclaimed and raw wood, is a favorite among young professional and theatre-goers. While you wait for your table, enjoy an exquisite cocktail, such as a Raspberry Beret with rumi, passionfruit, raspberry, lemon and ginger, or a Mr. Miyagi with gentian amaro, sparkling and yuzu, at the bar. The food, which combines a variety of international influences, is simply delicious. Favorites include beer battered black cod with squash blossom tartar sauce, and campanelle with lobster roe, white corn and tempura. Desserts, such salted caramel panna cotta with whipped cream and coffee streusel, and pistachio coffee cake with roasted strawberries and buttermilk ice cream, are the perfect ending to a superb meal.
San Francisco has always been on the forefront when it comes to innovation and creativity. This translates to every aspect of life in the City by the Bay, whether its food, fashion or art, therefore, it’s hard to go wrong when selecting where to eat, shop or indulge your cultural curiosity. The above are just three suggestions, which can be enjoyed before or after visits to the Golden Gate Bridge, Alamo Square Park, home to the famous "Painted Ladies," Lombard Street, known for its beautiful views, and Pier 39, a prime dining, shopping and entertainment complex, as well as the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Contemporary Jewish Museum, the Morrison Planetarium and the Steinhart Aquarium. Sports fans can also catch a San Francisco Giants baseball game at AT&T Park, a San Francisco 49ers football game at at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, or a Golden State Warriors basketball game at Oracle Arena in Oakland. Let us know what you think of our suggestions or if you have any of your own.