If it wasn’t for COVID, this time of the year in SF would usually be spent outside due to the mild weather and sunny skies. Despite the fact that the ‘norm’ has been turned upside down this year, we want to help you find ways to have a good time and be able to take advantage of activities that are still available. Just a reminder that the restrictions are constantly changing, so please keep that in mind and check before you do anything or go anywhere.
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Where to Stay
It’s always fun to vacation in a far and unfamiliar place, but COVID shouldn’t stop you from having just as relaxing of a time in your own city (it’s called a staycation). San Francisco is filled with vibrant hotels, delicious cuisines, and breathtaking sights.
San Francisco Proper
The San Francisco Proper is housed inside of a flatiron building at the intersection of three busy streets. The 1904 building originally only stood two stories high. Due to fires, a number of renovations have occurred over the years. Today, a variety of influences flow together at the San Francisco Proper. From French and European to premodernism to Cubism, the hotel is a wildly colorful feast for the eyes. A highlight of the 131 guest rooms is wallpaper inspired by vintage European graphics from a variety of countries. Complete with a rooftop terrace and stunning views of the city, the San Francisco Proper is conveniently located just minutes away from Union Square, SoMa, Hayes Valley and the Central Market-Civic Center.
This 1950s-era motor court hotel reflects the rock n’ roll spirit that took place here. It is located just a short distance from the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium and the Great American Music Hall. Its location and popularity with musicians made the Phoenix Hotel a second home to generations of traveling bands.
Best for Families
Between a roof deck for sunny days and heated floors for cold ones, this luxe loft is the perfect space for any time of the year. This beautiful, three-bedroom, light-filled loft is located in the heart of SoMa. It even comes with a parking spot in the garage, so you won’t have to brave the hazards of city parking.
Where to Eat
We can’t wait to dine at some of our favorite restaurants now that outdoor dining service is back in full swing in San Francisco. Don’t worry about the weather, either, as most places have heaters and blankets available to make the experience manageable. Here are some places where you can enjoy San Francisco’s popular cuisines. Delivery and takeout options are also still available.
Burmese food is not as well-known as the cuisines of its neighbors China, India, and Thailand, but Mandalay has been serving outstanding Burmese cuisine since 1984. SF foodies want exotic, unique and special, and Burmese cuisine is a mix of all of those adjectives. Mandalay claims that its food is a combination of Indian, Chinese, and Thai flavors, but with a different preparation (their own style, if you will). Diners will find a variety of flavors to please their palates, from zesty to spicy to tangy dishes. While Burmese restaurants are rare in the rest of the country, SF has embraced authentic Burmese cuisine.
Kokkari Estiatorio is named after a small fishing village on the island of Samos in the Aegean Sea. Legend has it that Kokkari is the site where Orion (the son of the Greek god Poseidon) fell in love with the daughter of the King of Chios. For her love, Orion hunted the island for wild game and seafood. Hence why the restaurant uses the phrase ‘cuisine fit for the gods’. Kokkari Estiatorio has modernized a number of Greek dishes, while staying true to the signature tastes of a Greek table. Their menu showcases some of the most sought-after traditional Aegean dishes as well as seafood and game.
Hinodeya Ramen Bar
Look no further for your go-to ramen joint. Hinodeya stands out from the rest as it uses dashi-based ramen broth, while most other ramen shops use a pork-based broth. The soup is clear and light with a lingering umami taste to stimulate your appetite. Hinodeya has expanded to two locations in the Bay Area and one in Dallas.
What to Do
San Francisco offers an endless list of activities and attractions, yes, even during COVID times. Whether you want to enjoy the outdoors, explore cultural attractions, or just take in a spectacular view, here are a few options to keep you busy and entertained.
Attend a Mad Tea Party
If you’ve been to Merchant Roots, you’ll know that it has amazing tasting menus that rotate quarterly. Their newest being a take on a mad hatter tea party. The two tables in the outdoor parking lot are decked out with lanterns, upside-down tea kettles, ticking clocks and heat (of course). As far as the food goes, think traditional English classics. This whimsical experience is about so much more than the food.
Hit the Slopes in Tahoe
You probably need a break from city life in SF, and what’s better than enjoying a weekend in the snowy mountains of Tahoe? Skiing and snowboarding definitely look a lot different this year as masks are required (they keep you warm anyway) and only sitting with your own party on chair lifts is allowed. But hey, it’s still a fun outdoor activity!
Listen to Music at The Wave Organ
The Wave Organ is a wave-shaped and activated acoustic sculpture located on a jetty in the San Francisco Bay. The concept was inspired by recordings made of sounds originating from a vent pipe that was part of a floating concrete dock in Australia. A prototype was built at this location as part of the New Music Festival in 1981. The ‘instrument’ generated so much enthusiasm that it was developed as a permanent piece. The jetty itself was constructed with an assortment of carved granite and marble, which was also used in the construction of the organ. The installation includes 25 organ pipes made of PVC and concrete at different elevations. The sound is created by the impact of waves against the pipe ends with the constant movement of the water in and out of the pipes. The Wave Organ sounds best at high tide.
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