San Francisco was our last stop on our California road trip. It’s such a magnificent destination and it’s probably the most European of all American cities. It’s very pedestrian friendly. You can walk everywhere like in Europe and there is so much to do. As Anthony Bourdain said: “ Anyone who doesn’t have a great time in San Francisco, is pretty much dead to me.” And I totally agree with this statement. Here are few ideas to help you plan your weekend trip to San Francisco. You'll surely fall in love with it the minute you arrive.
Where to Stay:
Best hotel in Fisherman’s Wharf:
A new boutique hotel, Hotel Zephyr is definitely my favorite in this part of the city. I would recommend it to anyone: solo travelers, couples or families. This hotel really embodies the spirit of a destination in a unique way. The hotel designer was very creative. He imagined a story built around a San Francisco merchant ship captain who traveled the world, then returned to his home port with items to repurpose. All of the art and the furniture are made by local artists.
Occupying a full block, the 361-room hotel is built around a large central courtyard with a funky and nautical design, making the property an all-age indoor and outdoor playground in the heart of Fisherman’s Wharf. The lobby space is anything but a standard lobby that could be anywhere in the world. Filled with nautical-themed accents, you can see features like fishnet-covered light fixtures, waterfront signs bent into chairs, porthole-style windows and stencilled canvas chairs that look like buoys. The lounge is eclectic and fun with bright, bold colors and with so many Instagram-worthy sculptures. You can easily notice that Hotel Zephyr is all about being in San Francisco.
There is also that cool playroom with a pool table, Ping Pong, photo booths and interactive art. The playroom opens up to a comfortable open-air lounge area where food and craft beers are served from a repurposed camper. That massive outdoor garden also has fire pits and more games. Given the appealing and unique setup, hotel guests as well as locals will come to take advantage of this awesome space where all ages can relax and laugh together anytime of the year.
Guest rooms incorporate the same fun nautical theme as the rest of the property. The design is trendy and comfortable. The old maps of San Francisco on the walls, and fishnet-wrapped globe lamps hanging from the ceiling just give more charm to the decor. Our room, in soothing shades of cream and grey, still had a sleek, modern feel, with plenty of power ports and a smart TV, as well as a Keurig coffee maker, a small fridge and microwave. There was also a special treat on the wall – a magnetised dartboard.
Our room was on the highest floor with an amazing waterfront view. From the window we were able to see Alcatraz Prison, the Golden Gate bridge and sea lions at the dock. Pretty awesome view, right?
The hotel has a small fitness centre, on-site parking and is pet-friendly too!
Best hotel in Union Square:
Here you are in the heart of the city and at the intersection of the glorious past and vibrant present of San Francisco. Definitely my favorite hotel in this area is Westin St. Francis. With its turn-of-the-20th-century European style, it blends the elegance of oak-paneled restaurants and the stately grandeur of the lobby. This hotel is 115 years old and it reminds me of the Garden Hotel in Guangzhou China where I used to work as a Sales Manager. Many celebrities and politicians, including Barack Obama, stayed at Westin St. Francis. It made me feel like I have great taste choosing hotels! The lobby display is stunning and the glass elevator ride to the top of the towers gives you one of the best views in the city. Our room was on the highest floor and we had a beautiful view. We were even able to see The Golden Gate bridge.
The Westin workout Fitness Studio is definitely one of the best I’ve ever seen in a hotel. It’s complimentary and open around-the-clock. It features Life Fitness machines and equipment, Cardio Theatre, TRX equipment, free weights, elliptical trainers, step machines, treadmills and bicycles. I was able to go for a ride on the Peloton bike with live and on-demand studio classes.
Top Things to do:
□ Golden Gate Bridge
It’s without a doubt an iconic sight in San Francisco. Walk, bike or drive across it to snap the prefect Instagram photo. Be aware there is a toll fee to drive on it. However it’s definitely worth it. From the other site you can see the beautiful San Francisco skyline.
□ Dolores Park
This beautiful park is located in The Mission district. It’s another place where you can see a beautiful city skyline. If you need a lazy day and love people watching, it’s a prefect spot for you.
□ Painted Ladies
Who hasn’t watched Full House? It’s one of my favorites shows from my childhood.
The show opening scene features this line of seven Victorian houses, which is a classic view in front of the SF skyline.
□ Palace of Fine Arts
The Roman rotunda from the 1915 Expo is one of the most beautiful and instagramed locations in San Francisco.
□ Cable cars
The iconic cable cars are rated as a top experience for visitors! The Powell-Hyde Line at Powell and Market streets is definitely worth to hop on.
□ Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39
This area has a number of waterfront restaurants, souvenir stores and activities. My favorite part was to watch the sunbathing sea lions on the docks.
□ Alcatraz island
In my opinion this is the most famous former prison in the world. You can get there by taking a boat tour or a ferry. The view of the city from the island is stunning and the audio tour is really, really good. Adventurous visitors can take a night tour of the eerie former prison, once host to the mobster Al Capone.
The oldest and largest Chinatown outside of Asia is nestled in San Francisco. I promise you it’s really authentic. Walking around I felt like I was back to China. The Dragon’s Gate entranceway is very beautiful and if you need to buy some souvenirs, you can do it over here!