It had been a minute since Hunky Hubbie and I had an incredible week at Half Moon Bay outside of San Francisco. So last Christmas we spent a long weekend in this most romantic of great American cities before meeting up with our kids in Bug Sur.
The dining, strolling, sight seeing, hotels, bars and shopping make San Francisco one of my favorite cities to visit.
Fall in love with this romantic city…again.
Where to Stay:
Proper Hotel– Voted Number 1 by Travel & Leisure- this Hipster choice is favored by Goop Travel Guides as well.
Mansion on Sutter– If this 5 star 130 year old Victorian beauty doesn’t bring back the romance, there’s no hope for you. Filled with an art collection, a private wine vault, this bed and breakfast is an intimate place to park your bags for a few days.
The ultimate stay- The Battery. Want to be a member of a private club for a night or two? Incredible luxury, hidden away, The Battery is the perfect spot to name drop when you get back home.
1 Hotel San Francisco– described as a Unicorn, this posh retreat has insane views of the Ferry building and the bay. If you can’t stay, just grab a bite from Terrene, the in-house restaurant.
The Palace Hotel– This Gilded Age Grande Dame doesn’t disappoint. A Marriott property, the rooms are small, but the grand lobby with bar and live piano makes this a special spot for romantics. You can always find a room at a great price. Pro- tip– If you go during the holidays, book the Christmas Brunch and any breakfast reservations well in advance. The lines are long.
A walk along the Embarcadero is the perfect way to spend an afternoon. Cupid’s Span is a romantic cornerstone of the walk.
What to Do in San Francisco:
- Ferry Building– Over 50 food vendors. Go hungry. Grab an espresso at Blue Bottle, a treat from Yes, Pudding and fresh oysters from Hog Island Oyster Company. Don’t forget a loaf of sourdough at Acme Bread Company.
- Shopping along Union St. in Pacific Heights. I found a gorgeous cashmere sweater at a local boutique, buy a picnic lunch from Luke’s Local, take a pilates class at Mighty Pilates and grab a gourmet treat for your fur baby at Le Marcel.
- Take a walking tour with the Victorian Home Walk to see the beautiful architecture up close.
- Visit a park:Muir Wood National Monument– largest old growth Redwood forest in the world. Some of the trees are 1200 years old. Visit the tulips and the windmills spring at Golden Gate Park . Or take a gondola ride up the the 5 acre living oasis rooftop ( yes- roof top!) SalesForce Park.
- Enjoy a romantic stroll through the Legion of Honor Museum. With sweeping views- it’ll definetly get your heart pumping.
- Chinatown- take cash. Most vendors do not accept credit cards. Enjoy incredible fresh produce, exotic fish, flowers and pastries as you stroll through the streets of Chinatown. I love just looking at the architecture and beautiful clothing in the shops.
The Gilded ballroom at The Palace hotel is a hot spot during after cocktail hour.
Our favorite Restaurants in San Francisco:
- Abrazo- A warm and cozy Spanish restaurant tucked inside an old house In Russian Hill
- Sweet Maple– a neighborhood spot for Millionaire Bacon and fantastic coffee Lower Pacific Heights
- Water Bar– Views of Bay Bridge and frantic fresh fish- great spot for lunch
- Harris’– Old School Steakhouse doing it right since 1984
- Penny Roma– a fresh take on old school Italian
- Senor Sisig– Ferry Building. Peruvian Street food at its best. there’s a line fore a reason.
- Scoma’s– Fisherman’s Wharf. it’s been around forever. Nothing fancy- where to take a crowd
- Craftsman’s and Wolves– decadent treats like Japanese Milk bread, Kouign Amnan and oat raisin cookies. Order online so you’re not disappointed if your favorite is sold out.
A beautiful Panettone I picked up from Luke’s Local will become our Christmas desert.
But what about the Crime and Homeless problem?
I have been to San Francisco several times in recent history. I have only seen homeless gathered near a mission area far from where the hotels and dining. On our first visit 10 years ago, we actually saw many more homeless than our recent trip in December of 2022.
We attended midnight Christmas Eve service at Grace Cathedral and walked several blocks that evening and saw only one or two unhoused folks at the foot of the steps of the Cathedral. Never did we feel unsafe or uneasy visiting this beautiful city.
Charlotte, Denver and Houston rank higher in violent crimes than San Francisco which does not even crack the top 10 most dangerous cities in the US. See this statistics here.
Consider a gift to Grace Cathedral to support one of their many outreach ministries.