Do This Not That Travel Guide: San Francisco

Welcome to my series of Do This Not That Travel Guides!

Today we visit San Franciscio, the capital of the north which quite arguably produces the best food in the world (yes I went there). Be on the lookout for a few of my Insider Tips below!


Don’t Go to Fisherman’s Warf

Instead, head to the Ferry Building not too far away. Enjoy a burger from Gott’s, and after an Affogato at Blue Bottle Coffee. This is a shot of espresso poured over their homemade ice cream (it has 0 calories, duh). Best on a sunny day! Walk around and enjoy the shops or sit outside along the pier.


Don’t Go to Chinatown (well not that Chinatown)

Most people enter Chinatown through the Dragon’s Gate on Grant Avenue. Save yourself from all the tourist traps along the main route. Instead enter Chinatown from the financial district, where Battery and Jackson meet. Try Garden Bakery for the best Chinese pastries that you didn’t know existed!

Insider Tip: Try the green onion roll or pineapple bun, or both!

Don’t Go to Dolores Park or Alamo Square

Instead, catch some fresh air by taking a hike up Bernal Heights Park. You can see so much more of the city from there. Plus it won’t be crowed with people or tourists. Watch the sunset and enjoy.


Don’t Go to Starbucks

Whatever you do, just don’t. Instead try Réveille Coffee Co on the Southeast corner of Pacific and Sansome before making your way in to Chinatown. They have multiple brew methods to chose from! An iced coffee here is my favorite.

Insider Tip: This is a coffee truck, so make sure not to miss it! 


Don’t Stay at a Chain

Instead, stay at a boutique hotel like The Marker. This old hotel has tons of old world charm with the luxury of its impressive chain rivals thanks to renovations. These boutiques usually come renovated and are slightly cheaper than the main chains. Get a bit of a history lesson and experience old SF while staying in one of these hotels.

Insider Tip: If you join their Destination Delivers program (free), you’ll get an upgraded room for free.


Don’t Stay in One Spot

A lot of people make the mistake of just staying downtown or only hitting the trendy areas. Venture out and enjoy the lesser seen districts like Inner Richmond. Here you’ll find an array of good Eastern European food. You’ll also find the weather a little more moist, so pack a jacket (as if you didn’t have one on already)! Head over to Golden Gate Park and explore the beautifully maintained grounds.

Don’t Go to a Club

Instead, hit up California Academy of Sciences on a Thursday night for Nightlife. Drinks, live music, and SCIENCE. They’ve made Thursday nights in to an all adult affair. I wouldn’t say SF is particularly known for having the most amazing clubs, and the Cal Academy is a staple of San Francisco so it’s a must!

Insider Tip: The show at the Planetarium is a must see!


Don’t Shop in Union Square

Okay, you might do a little shopping in Union Square (the Macy’s there is incredible). But do check out the row of shops along Fillmore street in Pacific Heights. A lot of these shops are unique and special to San Francisco designers, so you won’t be shopping for things you can get at almost anywhere. This area also offers a slower pace shopping experience and is perfect for getting some sunshine and lunch. Sure to be the luxury shopping day you need!

Insider Tip: Check out Pizzeria Delfina for lunch or dinner. Rated one of the best pizza places in SF!

Have you done any of these things? What do you love most about San Francisco? Leave me a comment below and let me know!


Blue Bottle Coffee

Reveille Coffee Company

The Marker

Tory Burch


  1. I love all of your tips, Emily! San Francisco has so many hidden gems that often go unnoticed because of all of the classic tourist spots. This list definitely hits on some of the more charming aspects of the city. I hope you had a great rest of your visit!
    Peace, Sarah

    1. Thanks Sarah! When I first moved there I hit all the tourist spots, but then quickly realized there were sooo many other better things to do if you’re visiting for the first time. 😉

  2. I love it! You really captured the spirit of SF in this 🙂 Although Dolores Park is a good place to check out if you wanna find any of the hardcore SF locals that are still going, even if just to prank the gentrifiers. 😀 And yes, the best food for sure. It’s probably the only thing I miss about living in the Bay.

    1. Dolores park is definitely a neat place to go still. Love a good picnic there. I think I miss the food most as well! There are a few places I still crave, and I miss Philz coffee like crazy!

    1. Thank you! Can’t wait to do more (must. travel. more. now. heh.). Chinese pastries are surprisingly so good. I had no idea they existed until I moved to the bay.

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