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    Nov 29, 2015

    Your Ultimate Guide To Enjoying San Francisco

    Whether you are a first time visitor or a city native, read through this guide to enjoy San Francisco at its fullest!

    San Francisco Travel

    One of the most iconic cities in the world, San Francisco is home to numerous postcard destinations, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, and Lombard Street. In addition to being the host city to famous films and television shows like Mrs. Doubtfire, Full House, and Forrest Gump, this hilly city along the bay - which only stretches across 7 miles - is packed with delicious restaurants, outdoor activities, and cultural sightings. Whether you are a first time visitor or a city native, read through this guide to enjoy San Francisco at its fullest!


    W San Francisco

    W San Francisco

    Known for its cosmopolitan vibe with an upscale, post-modern ambiance, the trendy W San Francisco offers comfort with an added layer of "coolness" factor. Upon arrival, the hotel welcomes every guest with fresh Granny Smith and fruit-infused water in the lobby, but that's only the beginning of its service. The W San Francisco promises to take care of the guests with its Whatever/Whenever service - if you forgot something, simply reach out to the hotel for whatever, whenever!

    W San Francisco

    Away from the hotel lobby where you can hear electronic music flowing in from the hip Living Room Bar, the dynamic guest room flaunts a sunny nook overlooking the San Francisco bay, colorful pillows, and dangerously comfortable beds that will tempt you to stay in bed all day.

    Palace Hotel

    Palace Hotel

    Originally built in 1875, the newly renovated Palace Hotel has preserved its original, authentic elegance of the old world while presenting classic, modern decor. The stylish Garden Court is a designer's dream - this sun-lit, warm open space located on the hotel lobby is the perfect place where guests can relax, dine, and lounge.

    Palace Hotel

    Just like the lobby, the guest rooms have seamlessly combined the design of its historic architecture with luxurious modern amenities. Enter the spacious guest room by turning the brass doorknob, and bask in the high ceiling, leather headboards, and marble bath. Throughout the stay at the Palace Hotel, you will certainly feel like a royalty.

    Four Seasons

    Four Seasons

    From the moment you walk in to the Four Seasons, you will enjoy a personalized experience where everyone on-site addresses you by your name, your requests are fulfilled within minutes, and every staff goes over and beyond to make your stay as comfortable as possible. Indeed, Four Seasons is the epitome of luxury.

    Four Seasons

    The guest room captures the essence of a chic, private residence. From the comfort of your room, enjoy a panoramic view of San Francisco through the floor-to-ceiling window, and indulge in a relaxing bath in its marble bathroom that includes both shower and a bath tub. You can request multiple types of pillows (the full body pillow is my personal favorite!), slippers, and other amenities prior to your arrival using the Four Seasons app.

    Grand Hyatt

    Grand Hyatt

    Located in the heart of Union Square, the 36-story tall Grand Hyatt presents a classic, contemporary accommodation with a spectacular views of the San Francisco Bay and illuminating city skyline. The hotel combines the sophistication of contemporary design with upscale, classic flair.

    Grand Hyatt

    The modern guest rooms are designed for guests who seek the comfort and convenience of being at home. Pamper yourself on the luxurious Grand Bed that will cure all your aches, and wake up with the warmth of natural sunlight shining into the room by opening up the shade that you can control from the comfort of the bed.


    Roka Akor

    If the word "Roka Akor" were to be in the dictionary, it would be defined as "a one-of-a-kind Japanese dining experience offering mouthwatering sushi, sashimi, prime cuts of steaks, and seafood with unique Japanese-inspired marinades and sauces." While its menu changes regularly to reflect seasonal offerings, some perennial staples - such as the melt-in-your-mouth Escolar Tataki with white asparagus and yuzu, flavorful Alaskan King Crab Rice Hot Pot with wasabi tobiko and meyer lemon, and juicy Wagyu Beef served with fresh wasabi - remain on the menu to delight diners' appetite.

    Every piece of sushi is crafted with care by the master sushi chefs, and its flavors are often enhanced by the likes of caviar, uni, or black truffle. If you are indecisive like me, opt in for the Chef's Omakase and let the chef serve you the finest hand-selected ingredients of the day.

    Finish the amazing experience with both traditional and Japanese-influenced dessert, such as the oozing Warm Valhrona Chocolate Cake with almond caramel and vanilla ice cream, Sightglass Coffee Creme Caramel with roasted almond, dates, and condensed milk granite, or Azuki Bean Oshiruko with kabocha pumpkin, julienne pear, and walnut mochi.

    TRACE Restaurant

    TRACE Restaurant

    Whether you want to start your day with hearty, healthy breakfast or end the night with delectable dinner featuring local ingredients, TRACE is the perfect destination to explore an enriching culinary experience that fuses the vibrancy of California cuisine with locally sourced and sustainable ingredients. For example, TRACE produces its own honey from the roof of W San Francisco after rescuing two wild honey bee colonies in 2011, and features this high quality honey in many of its dishes.

    For breakfast, try the chia seed parfait topped with crunchy house made pecan and almond granola and fresh berries, or the scrambled egg whites with melted leeks and beech mushrooms atop a layer of whole grain mustard. Don't forget to order a side of extra crispy bacon!

    For dinner, make sure to order something that features TRACE honey, such as the Roasted Beet Salad with creamy burrata, pistachio, and ecopia farms lettuces drizzled with honey. For main, the juicy Seared Hokkaido Scallops with honey, and served atop barley risotto of roasted baby carrots, cumin, merguez sausage, summer squash, and shishito peppers, will satisfy all your sensory cravings.

    Fog Harbor Fish House

    Dine with a view at Fog Harbor Fish House, a San Francisco dining landmark located in the heart of Pier 39. Created by the original developers of Pier 39, this family-owned and operated restaurant is one of the most beloved by locals and tourists alike. You will feel at one with the ocean as you enjoy the spectacular views of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge, while tasting fresh, 100% sustainable seafood and best cuts of meats.

    Upon being seated, you will be treated to warm, fresh sourdough that is baked in-house every hour. Start the meal with appetizers like crispy Dungeness Crab Cakes, which are packed with fresh lump crab meats and served with slightly spicy and creamy cajun remoulade. I'd also recommend the Ahi Poke made with marinated raw tuna, avocado, mango, and sesame soy sauce with a drizzle of chili sauce and wasabi aioli. For entree, you can't go wrong with any of its expansive selection of seafood, such as the steamed Whole Dungeness Crab served with vegetables and roasted fingerling potatoes.

    MKT Restaurant and Bar

    MKT Restaurant and Bar

    You would have never thought to pronounce this restaurant M-K-T unless you visited. And you would have never experienced the magic of MKT Restaurant Chef Chris Aguirre unless you visited. Located in the lobby of the Four Seasons in the SoMa District, MKT Restaurant specializes in California-inspired cuisine featuring shareable small plates and quality meats from local California ranches.

    The beautifully plated Lobster Ceviche includes big lumps of lobster meat with heart of palm, onions, jalapeno, a puree of sweet potato, and roasted peanut for the crunchy, creamy textures. MKT's pasta dishes satisfy the much-needed carb craving. The Rigatoni, made with lamb ragout, toybox tomato, and manchego, is cooked perfectly al dante, while the fluffy Potato Gnocchi with foraged mushrooms in Parmesan broth has pieces of padron pepper for a slight kick of spiciness. If you are a red meat lover, you must try the 8 oz filet from Five Dot Ranch - cut a piece of that lean, tender filet and smother it with the hazelnut romesco and trumpet mushroom on the side. Your mouth and stomach will thank you!

    No matter how full, you must save room for the dessert at MKT. In addition to the traditional dessert options like chocolate cake, MKT has amazing Brown Butter Polenta Cake topped with port wine apples and cranberry sorbet. Don't think of donuts as plebeian - the dense Brioche Donuts served with sweet potato puree, Yuzu pudding, and espresso ice cream will awake all your sweet senses.

    The Garden Court

    Palace Hotel

    Upon entering The Garden Court in San Francisco's Palace Hotel, you will feel as though you have been transported to an exquisite European palace during the Victorian Era. The Garden Court, with its high ceiling, glass atrium, crystal chandeliers, and detailed ornaments, is breathtakingly beautiful, and the food you enjoy will be equally as fabulous. You can enjoy breakfast, lunch, or signature tea on most days, as well as Sunday City Brunch. Given its efficient and friendly service and elegant ambiance, the lunch at The Garden Court is perfect for either power business lunch or relaxing romantic meal.

    Take advantage of the city's proximity to the ocean by ordering the Palace Signature Crab Salad - this healthy salad includes fist-sized lump of crab meat piled up like a mountain atop thinly sliced cucumber. The salad also includes toy box tomatoes, pepper, and greens on the side.

    If you are looking for something heartier, I'd recommend the Maine Lobster Pot Pie. This American comfort food has a unique twist with Thai influence. Fresh lobster, baby carrots, Chinese long beans, and maitake mushrooms are all tossed in Thai curry lobster essence, and topped with flaky pastry dough. Don't even think about skipping dessert because the Souffle Cheesecake with red berry compote is out of this world. With each bite of this fluffy cheesecake, you will feel like floating on the softest cloud in the sky.


    Aubrie Pick Photography

    The word "dim sum" conjures up images of crowded restaurant packed with dim sum carts maneuvering through the tables. At Hakkasan, the experience is far from this hectic image. The trendy Hakkasan specializes in delectable Cantonese fusion cuisine with relaxing yet hip ambiance.

    While the dim sum selection is somewhat limited for dinner, you can get the Hakka Steamed Dim Sum Platter or the Vegetarian Dim Sum Platter for a sampling of Hakkasan's best dim sum selection. The Hakka Platter includes scallop shumai, har gau, Chinese chive dumpling, and black pepper duck dumpling, while the Vegetarian Platter includes morel crystal dumpling, bamboo dumpling, beancurd lotus roll, and chive flower dumpling. Each dim sum is so beautifully crafted that you almost don't want to eat it...until you have that amazing first bite!

    Hakkasan also whips up amazing entrees that are easily shareable. The whole Peking Duck is served with a side of thin Mo-Mo pancakes, black bean sauce, and crunchy cucumber. The Seared Wagyu beef wrapped with enoki mushroom in light sesame sauce is a true melt-in-your-mouth dish. Order a side of Fried Mee-Pok Noodle. This tasty stir-fried wide noodles includes generous amount of clam in rich XO sauce.

    OneUP Restaurant & Lounge

    Grand Hyatt

    At the intimate yet dynamic OneUp Restaurant & Lounge, you will enjoy delicious American bistro classics made with fresh, local ingredients. Chef Kevin Villalovos highlights each menu item with seasonal ingredients with authentic California flavor. The open kitchen flames up everything from braised beef short ribs to seafood cioppino for lunch and dinner, as well as classic American breakfast buffet.

    OneUp Restaurant also specializes in Holiday dining, including mouthwatering meals for Thanksgiving and Christmas. This year's Thanksgiving brunch buffet spread featured Sage Roasted Winter Squash Salad with refreshing apple cider vinaigrette, creamy Buttermilk Whipped Mashed Potatoes with chives, and - of course - carved turkey with giblet gravy.

    The dinner service featured a four course pre-fixe menu that started with a bowl of rich, creamy Butternut Squash Bisque with sage brown butter, Frisee Salad topped with pomogranate seeds, toasted hazelnut, and tender vanilla duck confit, juicy Roast Turkey with traditional stuffing, giblet gravy, orange cranberry sauce, and sauteed green beans, and finally Caramelized Pear Cobbler topped with crunchy granola and raspberry.

    John's Grill

    Chris Tann

    Upon entering John's Grill, you will be greeted by oak-paneled walls with portraits of all the famous people who have dined at this historic restaurant since it opened in 1908. With over 100 years of experience delivering delicious food, John's Grill continues to impress the diners with its signature steak and seafood dishes.

    Share a platter of Fried Combination Seafood, which includes fresh sea scallops, jumbo prawns, oysters, and fish battered in herbed bread crumbs and fried to crispy perfection. The platter is served with creamy tartar sauce and tangy cocktail sauce. For main, order the Lamp Lighter, a filet of sole stuffed with lumps of dungeness crab and baby shrimp, and then bake in lemon butter sauce. The steak cuts range from well-seasoned filet mignon to porterhouse, and served with seasonal vegetables and baked Idaho potato.

    Hope you saved room for dessert - John's Grill serves rich, dense New York Cheesecake with raspberry coulis, fresh berries, and a side of sweet cream. What a sweet way to cap off your meal!


    From custom tour in a vintage Volkswagen to a luxury spa treatment, there is no shortage of activities in San Francisco. Pro tip: when getting around San Francisco to visit the city's numerous sights and attractions, I would recommend traveling by foot or renting a bicycle - both are not only cost efficient, but also a great way to exercise! You can also hop on the iconic cable cars, although expect to wait a long time. If you are driving, understand that parking spots are rare and expensive - if circling city blocks is not your thing, you can use apps like Parking Panda to book in advance or RideScout to see which commuting options are best based on the destination of your choice.

    Painted Ladies Tour Company

    Embark on a memorable journey through San Francisco's top attractions and neighborhoods with Painted Ladies Tour Company. You will get to meet Pearl, a restored, vintage 1968 Volkswagen Type 2 with beautiful, long eyelashes, and Josh, the owner and operator with an insider's knowledge of the city. Painted Ladies Tour Company offers truly unique 3 to 3.5-hour tours, hitting up destinations like the Alamo Square, Lombard Street, and Coit Tower that larger tour buses cannot access.

    Whereas the original San Francisco City and Sausalito Tours are more traditional tours with stops in places like the Golden Gate Bridge, Twin Peaks, and the Mission, Painted Ladies recently launched the new Bite Seeing Tour, which explores the culinary scene of San Francisco via tasty, unique bites in the city's different neighborhoods. You will get to taste everything from freshly shucked Tomales Bay Miyagi Oysters with an amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge to the authentic tacos from La Taqueria to mouthwatering ice cream treat from Bi Rite Creamery.

    Adventure Cat Sailing

    Erik Simonson

    Come aboard the Adventure Cat and enjoy an amazing view of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge...right from the water! The spacious catamaran leaves from the iconic Pier 39 and takes you around Alcatraz and under the Golden Gate Bridge. Experience the exhilaration of fresh air, wind, and waves while riding on this stable, safe boat. You have the option of hanging out on the deck or staying in the covered cabin.

    The sailing experience can be enjoyed as a family activity or as a romantic date. Adventure Cat offers both a Bay Sail during the day or a Sunset Sail in the evening. I'd personally recommend the Sunset Sail, during which you can watch the city glows as the sun sets behind the Golden Gate Bridge.

    Beach Blanket Babylon

    Beach Blanket Babylon

    What do you get when you combine extravagant costumes, talented singers, and over-the-top hats? A delightful 90-minutes of nonstop laughter at Beach Blanket Babylon! As the world's longest running musical show that has celebrated over 15,000 performances, Beach Blanket Babylon - a high-energy pop-culture satire musical - has made nearly six million people from around the world laugh out of their seats.

    Beach Blanket Babylon

    The show follows Snow White in her quest to find her true love. As she journeys around the world, Snow White encounters a changing line-up of pop culture characters, including President Barack and Michelle Obama, cast of The Glee, Beyonce, Elvis Presley, and Oprah...just to name a few! This internationally acclaimed musical at Club Fugazi in San Francisco's North Beach District is a must.

    Electric Tour Company

    Electric Tour Company

    Explore the hilly streets and alleyways of San Francisco via one of the most unique and eco-friendly motorized vehicles - Segway! The family-owned and operated San Francisco Electric Tour Company provides multiple tours for adventure-seeking visitors. Each 2.5 hour tour includes a thorough training session where you will learn how to operate the Segway (safety first!), followed by a guided tour led by a charismatic and entertaining tour guide.

    The most popular Wharf and Waterfront tour visits destinations like Little Italy in North Beach (with a stop at the house where Mrs. Doubtfire was filmed), Fisherman's Wharf, and Washington Square Park. The Advanced Tour takes you up and down the hilly, crooked streets of San Francisco, as well as up to the historic Coit Tower, where you can enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of the city.



    With so much to do in San Francisco, it's necessary to rejuvenate...and that's where Bliss comes into play! Located on the fourth floor of W Hotel, Bliss San Francisco - the first west coast outpost that boasts numerous accolades, including the 2008 Allure Readers' Choice Awards for Best Day Spa in SF - is the perfect place to get pampered and relax.


    Treat yourself to expansive services like facials, massage, or nail care, while rewinding in its beautiful treatment rooms and lounges. The signature Blissage, whose service duration ranges from 49 to 105 minutes, includes relaxing full body massage and rubdown from head to toe. All the tension in your body will dissipate after this ultimate treatment.

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