“Poetry readings at the City Lights Bookstore, organic vegetables at the Ferry Building Marketplace, and daily technological advances by new startup companies are just a few things that come to mind when I think of San Francisco—the heart of America’s west coast.” – says our Japan correspondent Ted Grinewich-Yonashiro who gathered these exciting city secrets on his recent trip there. 

Here’s a list of fantastic recommendations from him on places to visit, food to taste, and experiences that are unique to this culturally rich city by the bay.

The Warming Hut: A cute little cafe in Crissy Field, a public park in the northern part of the city that offer freshly made warm soups, sandwiches, and great coffee. Also, enjoy a picture perfect view of the Golden Gate Bridge while you sip your cuppa.

Image: insidescoopsf.sfgate.com
Image: insidescoopsf.sfgate.com

Blue Bottle Coffee: Located in the Ferry Building just down the road from Fisherman’s Wharf, this famous cafe serves up drip coffee made from organic coffee beans that are ground, portioned, and brewed to order. Try the spicy snicker-doodle cookie that comes wrapped in a brown coffee filter too.

Image: www.tripadvisor.com
Image: http://www.tripadvisor.com

Chowder Hut Fresh Grill: Just outside Boudin’s Sourdough Bakery experience two of the Bay Area’s delicacies for lunch – the crab chowder in a sour dough bread bowl costs less than $10. The simple but filling meal will give you a chance to sample the Bay’s fine crab along with Boudin’s famous sour dough. Try to get a table outside on the patio, even if it is cold— space heaters make the air not so chilly. Here you can enjoy a great view of the bay, as well as Alcatraz. Also do some people watching as tourists and locals mill around Fisherman’s Wharf.

Image: http://www.fishermanswharf.org/
Image: http://www.fishermanswharf.org/

Muir Woods: Located over the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin County, it takes a while to get here by car and might take one day to visit if you are staying in the city limits of San Francisco. But if you love nature, the trip is well worth the time. The park is maintained beautifully and is full of history, both natural and cultural—plaques can be found along the paths that wind throughout the woods. The deep quiet, even with the number of people visiting the park, is breathtaking. The redwoods of the park tower over you as you walk through the cathedral-like forest. If the weather is chilly, be sure to bundle up—Muir Woods can get quite cold even on a sunny day. Though the Park might be a beautiful place for a picnic, food is not allowed to be brought in. On the
day you visit, plan on having a hearty breakfast and an early dinner.

Image: http://www.sftodo.com/
Image: http://www.sftodo.com/

Hook & Ladder Winery: In the Northern Bay Area, Sonoma County is known for fantastic wineries and beautiful scenery. We chose Hook & Ladder for a complimentary wine tasting. We went through at least six different wines with an easy-going staff who explained the different flavours of the wine. If you are not experienced wine connoisseurs, the staff will help you with the wine-tasting vocabulary. The Hook & Ladder Port is a sweet red dessert wine, great sipped after dinner with steak or tomatoes. It also complements a cup of hot cocoa if a bit is poured into the mug.

Image: www.tripadvisor.com
Image: http://www.tripadvisor.com
This review was first published in the March-April 2014 issue of Travel Secrets Magazine.
Digital copies available online at Magzter.com

Want more local secrets from San Francisco? Check these out:

http://www.san-francisco-travel-secrets.com/san-francisco-things-to-do-off-the-beaten-path.html

Infographic: Travel Like a Local: San Francisco’s Best-Kept Secrets

http://sf.eater.com/archives/2013/09/24/san_franciscos_most_underrated_restaurants_mapped.php

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