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San Francisco Travel Guide: Where to Stay, What to Eat, and More

If it wasn’t for COVID, this time of the year in San Francisco, California, would usually be spent outside due to the sunny regional weather. 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 take advantage of activities that are still available. Read on — we listed the best places to stay, eat, and have fun in the Golden City.

Just a reminder that 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

Best Design: 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 and 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.

  • Nearest Airport: San Francisco International Airport
  • Time: 30 minutes by car
  • Distance: 13 miles


Best Location: Phoenix Hotel

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.

  • Nearest Airport: San Francisco International Airport
  • Time: 22 minutes by car
  • Distance: 11 miles


Best for Families: Luxe Loft Apartment with Private Roof Deck

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.

  • Nearest Airport: San Francisco International Airport
  • Time: 14 minutes by car
  • Distance: 9 miles


Best for Art Lovers: Hotel Des Arts

Featuring uniquely designed guest rooms made by local artists, this hotel offers a lot of various amenities and is situated in the heart of San Francisco. Hotel Des Arts is just a short distance from Union Square, Chinatown, and the Financial District. They also provide free continental breakfast and a free cup of coffee 24 hours a day. If you have time, you can also check out the artwork of local artists in the hotel’s lobby gallery. You can also browse the internet with their free wireless access.

  • Nearest Airport: San Francisco International Airport
  • Time: 20 minutes by car
  • Distance: 14.4 miles

Best Luxury: Fairmont San Francisco

Experience world-class service and celebrity treatment at the Fairmont San Francisco, which is situated atop centrally-located Nob Hill and offers a full-service gym and spa. There are also three unique dining experiences on-site. This high-ceilinged hotel also provides panoramic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Coit Tower, and the Financial District from its unique rooms. You can also enjoy a variety of shops available in the hotel, as well as free access to equipment, saunas, and exercise classes at the on-site health club.

  • Nearest Airport: San Francisco International Airport
  • Time: 21 minutes by car
  • Distance: 15.2 miles

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. San Francisco foodies want exotic, unique, and special options, and Burmese cuisine is the perfect mix. Mandalay claims that its food is a combination of Indian, Chinese, and Thai flavors, but with different preparations (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, San Francisco has embraced authentic Burmese cuisine.

  • Best for Lunch and Dinner
  • $$

Browse the Menu

Kokkari Estiatorio

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 — which is 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.

  • Best for Lunch and Dinner
  • $$$

Browse the Menu

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.

  • Best for Brunch, Lunch, and Dinner
  • $$

Browse the Menu

What to Do

SF offers an endless list of activities and attractions. 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 during your time in San Francisco.

Attend a Mad Tea Party

If you’ve been to Merchant Roots, you’ll know that it has amazing menus that rotate quarterly, and their newest is 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, and ticking clocks. As far as the food goes, think traditional English classics. This whimsical experience is about so much more than the food, though.

Hit the Slopes in Tahoe

You probably need a break from city life in San Francisco, 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.

Looking for a place to buy in San Francisco? Consider taking a look on Nicolas Cage’s former mansion here.

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