So happy to have Grace here from the whati! Enjoy everyone!!
Name: Grace H.
Location: San Francisco, California
How long have you lived there?
I’ve been living in San Francisco for just over one year.
If you moved from somewhere else, where did you move from? Why?
I was living in Cambridge, Massachusettes, and though I loved that cute little city- I was ready to take a break with New England. I grew up in Connecticut and spent my college career in Massachusetts, so after 23 years I was ready to make a big change! I figured now or never, better take a chance when I’m young and free!
Oh, the weather. The weather is a very weird thing here. It never gets to be very cold, though my cold tolerance is high because of my New England blood. When it hits 65 degrees here I swear to you: down coats, knit hats and mittens come out! We had a horribly cold “summer” here with the average temperatures never really rising up above 65. However, now that its November it has been sunny and in the high 70’s – so who the heck knows! The weather also changes depending on where you are in the city so layering is a must!
Tell us what a typical weekend is like for you there?
My weekends here are the best. I try to keep them the right balance of active and indulgent. Yoga in the mornings, window shopping on my way home from the studio is unavoidable, and the afternoons usually lead to coffee/ wine with friends sitting in the sun at my favorite cafe, Nook. (With a name like that, what’s not to love!?) Funds permitting, nights are usually spent out on the town at favorite restaurants or new bars. However, that is a rather low-key version. Not a weekend goes by where there isn’t a food festival, free concert/movie in the park, street fair, or special event of some sort to wander into! Pair that with the variety of restaurants, neighborhoods, museums, parks, cafes, shops…. I’m not kidding you when I say that you could spend every single weekend here doing something new and exciting. Perfect example, read up on Bay to Breakers- its the most outrageous event I’ve seen in this city- it involves the entire city getting up at 6am, getting into costume, and spending the day running wild through the streets- I think there is an actual foot race involved too.
Where do you like to eat in your town?
San Francisco is a foodie city so making a list of my favorite restaurants would require not only an entire blog-post, but an entire blog! If money and/or sugar daddy’s grew on trees, I would eat out three times a day! I’ve found that the quality of food out here is just out of this world because we’re literally at the source. “Eating locally” is not a new trend in this city and much of what restaurants cook with comes from just miles outside of the city. That being said, I’ll just link you to a few of my favorite restaurants:
8. Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building where you can pick from tons of vendors with fresh produce.
Where do you like to shop?
Everywhere. There are SO many different shopping options in this city. Since every neighborhood had a really unique flavor, the shopping usually follows suit. There is no shopping itch you can’t scratch here.
A few of my favorite small privately owned boutiques (think, where would I go to find that special piece:) Seams, marmalade, and Picnic.
A few of the best shopping areas to spend an afternoon (think, where could i peruse with a cup of coffee and my girlfriends:) Filmore Street (Jonathan Adler, Marc Jacobs, a million cute shoe stores,) Haight Street (thrifting GALORE, wasteland, buffalo exchange, etc.) and Hayes Valley (totally hipster: innovate furniture stores, darling stationary stores and more!)
The most condensed shopping area (think, I just need to buy something cute and fast for my date tonight) is Union Square (H&M, F21, Urban, Macy’s, Nordstrom’s, J. Crew, Anthro.- all your basics)
All this talk of shopping… oh geez. Thats the crazy part is to get anywhere you have to walk by all of these money suckers!
Suggest some must see places for an out of town visitor.
The Golden Gate Bridge- (of course) but rent a bike and ride over it to look back on the city, you’ll really be able to see the insane-o layout of this place on all the of the hills. Take a hike on Angel Island for the same reasons… you can take the ferry and have a hike and a picnic lunch! Go to Boudin’s Bakery (and Museum) on the Wharf for a sourdough breadbowl with New England Clam Chowder. Though it’s in a super touristy area, the breadbowls are worth the headache… and a museum dedicated to bread? Um, yes. Have a cocktail at the Top of the Mark in the Mark Hopkins hotel- beautiful citywide views while you sip your favorite adult beverage! Visit Dolores Park (and grab an ice cream and the local favorite Bi-Rite Creamery worth the wait in line. I promise. Do it.) to experience some true San Francisco flavor… that park is a constant party! If the fog rolls in, and it will, go visit the Cal Academy of Science where you can take a walk through the Rainforest Bio-dome, listen to Woopie narrate in the Planetarium, or quietly watch the fist swim around the LIVING indoor Coral Reef. The best coffee you will ever drink in your life (ok, second only to a cappacino in Florence) is Blue Bottle Coffee. It is a caffeine infused experience you won’t regret. No matter what you do, take on the city in on foot or by cable car… there is so much to experience and see and really the best way is to wander around. Plus you’re favorite souvenir will be your toned booty… the hills really shape things up.
Tell us why you love your town:
Oh let me count the ways! First of all, I love this town because there is a place for everyone. There is literally nothing you could say, do, or wear that wouldn’t be accepted here. Example: on my way home from work on Halloween, I saw a totally “normal” looking businessman riding his bike home from work in his BIRTHDAY suit… and you know what I mean. (An extreme example- but I’ve seen more naked old men here than a young lady like myself EVER should!)
The architecture here is so interesting that it makes even a walk to the grocery store delightful. As a sharp contrast to the softness of the classic buildings is the technological forward thinking aspect of SF. Both Google and Apple have their headquarters here and the city is buzzing with innovation.
My absolute favorite thing about this wild city though, is it’s proximity to nature and all the activities nature allows. It’s not uncommon to see people walking down the busy city streets carrying surf boards, skis, camping gear, etc. If you drive outside of this city for an hour in any direction you can be completely submerged in nature. You can have an incredible hike on the pacific coast, hop back in your car, throw on a sassy outfit, and have a fancy romantic date night in a tiny Italian bistro… all in one day! I’ve never really experienced that in other cities and I think it really sets this place apart.
Anything else we should know about where you live?
Give yourself more than a weekend to visit! There is so much to see and do and eat and buy you couldn’t possibly do it all in 3 days! You can tailor a trip here to any personality type, so whether you’re here for the art, the crazy, the food, or just sightseeing, you can really make your time here unique and special. Also- email me for personal suggestions and I’d be happy to share more about my personal favorites! (Oh, and if you’re wondering where those Full House houses are- Almo Square!)
Thanks Grace for sharing!! I believe it is safe to say – You are the cutest thing on the blogosphere. I’m left scratching my head, wondering why i don’t live in San Fran!