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Sightseeing on one of San Francisco's iconic cable cars

California

San Francisco, California: Your 4-Day Feast of Food and Culture

By: Heather Lalley

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  • States:
    California

Experience the flavors of the city on this four-day feast.

Amid breathtaking waterfront scenes and diverse neighborhoods, the flavors of San Francisco, California stand out.

Day 1: Chinatown

Wake up with a steaming cup of Four Barrel coffee and an artisanal Dynamo Donut (fresh-picked flavors include rhubarb and blueberry cornmeal). Then jump on San Francisco’s iconic cable car for a trip to Chinatown and a dim sum brunch at Great Eastern Restaurant, a favorite of President Obama’s. While in Chinatown, tour the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Company (the treats were invented here, after all!). For an upscale dinner, opt for Mister Jiu's. The expertly-curated menu finds middle ground between luxurious dining and its Chinatown neighborhood roots.

Day 2: The Classics

Start the day with breakfast at the Ferry Building Farmers Market at the Embarcadero, where you’ll be treated to fresh produce, baked goods and Blue Bottle New Orleans iced coffee (plus gorgeous Bay views). Take a street car to the nearby Exploratorium, a hands-on science museum, before heading to Fisherman’s Wharf. Here, you can enjoy a lunch of clam chowder in a bread bowl and stroll Ghirardelli Square for chocolatey snacks. Do dinner at local-favorite Scoma’s for ultra-fresh seafood, including savory crab cakes. Close the night with a Mai Tai at the Tonga Room and Hurricane Bar at The Fairmont, long loved for its tiki vibe.

At the Ferry Building Farmers Market at the Embarcadero, shop for fresh produce or stay for a meal.

At the Ferry Building Farmers Market at the Embarcadero, shop for fresh produce or stay for a meal.
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Day 3: Picnics & Provisions

Begin the day with premium coffee and toast made from house-baked bread at The Mill, a beautifully designed cafe on Divisadero. Go down the street to Bi-Rite Market to stock up on local, sustainable picnic supplies to tote to the park at Alamo Square. (Don’t miss the views of San Francisco’s iconic Painted Ladies, a row of Victorian homes.) Later, take in a concert at the San Francisco Jazz Center or San Francisco Symphony. Or meander through the Asian Art Museum before enjoying small plates at State Bird Provisions (a James Beard Foundation awardee) or rustic fare at Rich Table.

Stock up on local, sustainable picnic supplies, then settle into a classic San Francisco view such as this one of the city's iconic Painted Ladies.

Stock up on local, sustainable picnic supplies, then settle into a classic San Francisco view such as this one of the city's iconic Painted Ladies.
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Bogdan Zlatkov

Day 4: Mission and Castro

Head to a brunch of oysters, caramel sticky buns and more at Foreign Cinema. Follow it up with a stroll to admire the neighborhood’s vibrant murals, stopping for a super-fresh taco at one of the area’s many taquerias. Move on to a walking tour of The Castro, the epicenter of American gay culture. Return to the Mission for carefully crafted cocktails at Trick Dog and Northern Italian “slow food” at Delfina.

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