From the Golden Gate Bridge to Alcatraz, San Francisco is home to plenty of iconic attractions. But the City by the Bay offers more than just Fisherman’s Wharf. Expect anything but the stereotypical when it comes to the birthplace of the United Nations and the Summer of Love.


Palace Hotel’s Garden Court, courtesy of Palace Hotel.

If you’re a waterfront explorer: Harbor Court

With many rooms and suites blessed with amazing views of San Francisco Bay, the multi-million-dollar revamped Harbor Court offers contemporary comfort near the iconic 1898 Ferry Building. In addition to a daily happy hour for guests, the lobby doubles as a flexible work space, complete with a cozy fireplace.

If you’re a culture maven: Palace Hotel

A luxurious landmark, the Palace Hotel is where old-school glamour and stunning architecture meets serene guest rooms clad in modern furnishings. Take advantage of the state-of-the-art fitness centre and enjoy afternoon tea or Sunday brunch under The Garden Court’s glistening Austrian-crystal chandeliers.

If you’re a tech buff: Hotel VIA

Enhanced with cutting-edge technologies throughout the property, Hotel VIA even personalizes service in its open, minimalist-designed guestrooms through its mobile app and in-room tablets. Guests will enjoy the chic indoor-outdoor rooftop lounge that offers captivating views of downtown and the Bay Bridge.

If you’re a food fanatic: Hotel Kabuki

Hotel Kabuki blends Eastern and Western influences in its function-focused rooms. (Bonus: most are outfitted with private balconies.) Along with a sophisticated exercise facility, with state-of-the-art equipment and fitness classes, there’s a stunning lobby bar serving cocktails, sake and beers.

Things to Do

The Museum of Craft and Design, photograph by Henrik Kam.

If you’re a waterfront explorer: Ferry Building Marketplace

Stock up on gourmet goods and pristine produce from the Ferry Building Marketplace’s buzzing farmers’ market and fine-food purveyors. Satisfy your curiosity at the Exploratorium, an all-ages indoor-outdoor museum with more than 650 interactive and informative science exhibits and art installations.

If you’re a culture maven: SFJazz Center

Attend a performance by classic and experimental artists at SFJazz Center, the world’s first stand-alone venue built exclusively for jazz.

If you’re a tech buff: Museum of Craft and Design

Spend your day admiring the contemporary and modern installations at the Museum of Craft and Design. Then, head to the city’s Dogpatch neighbourhood to see the Minnesota Street Project, a collection of converted warehouses where you will now find galleries, exhibit spaces and non-profit organizations.

If you’re a food fanatic: Japantown

Stroll through the malls at the oldest Japantown in America, where a mix of noodle houses, cafés and sushi restaurants reside. Enjoy the tofu soft-serve from Uji Time before browsing the inventory at Sanko Kitchen Essentials. Pick up a mochi from family-owned Benkyodo. It’s been making these rice cakes since 1906.

Places to Eat

Hotel Kabuki’s lobby bar, photograph by Kip Dawkins Photography.

If you’re a waterfront explorer: Angler

Acclaimed chef Joshua Skenes’ sustainable seafood-focused restaurant, Angler, takes the live-fire cooking celebrated at Michelin-lauded Saison to rustic new heights. Immaculate and sweet sea scallops are served raw and are almost creamy, while beets roasted over embers for three days are rich and transcendent.

If you’re a culture maven: The Riddler

Enjoy a champagne flight and caviar-capped potato waffle at The Riddler, before sliding into a bar seat at Rich Table. Its tasting menu is a thoughtful parade of Californian takes on global cuisine that could feature porcini-dusted doughnuts and balsamic jus-slicked lamb, all paired with wonderful, unconventional wines.

If you’re a tech buff: Recchiuti Confections

Stop by Recchiuti Confections at The Lab for famed chocolatier Michael Recchiuti’s latest innovative confections. In the evening, head to School Night, open weeknights only, to sip from Enrique Sanchez’s library of pisco, agave and whisky cocktails, and snack on the duck-fat-fried potatoes or roasted Achiote Chicken Thighs.

If you’re a food fanatic: Clement Street

Taste the world on Clement Street where Asian and European flavours mingle. Don’t miss the croissants at Arsicault Bakery or the “not ube!” purple potato and salted egg yolk tart at Asian-American Breadbelly. At Noosh, dabble in Eastern Mediterranean-inspired fare and enjoy an inventive cocktail.

[This story appears in the July 2019 edition of WestJet Magazine.]