Last week, we had the opportunity to travel to San Francisco for a quick weekend getaway with some of our fellow bloggers and friends at Shopstyle. As someone who used to call northern California home, albeit for only a few months, I was excited at getting to return to downtown San Francisco. I had not been back in the city for almost 8 years, and it was exciting getting to come back and explore certain parts of the city I had yet to visit.
HOW WE GOT THERE
Tor and I flew first class on Alaska Airlines out of LAX to SFO. Alaska is quickly becoming an airline powerhouse in the sky, flying to many cities along the west coast of the US as well as to New York, Nashville, Hawaii, Costa Rica, Mexico, and of course Alaska (Tor and I are eyeing this flight route next!). Alaska operates multiple flights per day between Los Angeles and San Francisco, making it a quick, affordable, and easy way to get from one city to the other in under an hour. Since Tor and I are used to such lengthy transcontinental or transatlantic flights, hearing the captain say our flight time would be 53 minutes was exciting! It felt like we were on our own private jet, especially with all the fabulous legroom that made it easy to spread out and relax.
WHERE WE STAYED
Our hotel, San Francisco Proper, was located right in the heart of the city. I had never stayed at a Proper hotel before and immediately fell in love at first sight. The artwork in the lobby came from many different places around the world, giving the space a very homey, comfortable, and worldly vibe. The multi-colored and non-matching sofas, chairs, and rugs made me want to reconsider our plans for our own simple grey and white living room back home.
Our room was very cozy, offering a view of Market Street below. The real standout of our room was the different patterns of wallpaper on each wall. No two walls had the same wallpaper, and the addition of 1950’s French style furniture gave the room a very modern, comfortable vibe.
Plus we need to talk about Proper’s bar Villon, located just off the lobby. It has a “Beauty and the Beast” style library on one wall, complete with the ladder and everything, but the shelves aren’t stocked with books – they’re stocked with what looked like 100 different bottles of gin, whisky, and tequila! Since we landed early in the morning, Tor and I were able to grab breakfast at Villon before heading up to our room. Tor argued that his breakfast burrito was probably the best breakfast burrito he has eaten anywhere in the world.
WHERE WE ATE
There was one thing our itinerary wasn’t short of, and that was food. Our first activity upon our arrival involved food which happens to be the key to my heart in any city we visit. Our first night’s dinner was a food tour around the Mission District. Our tour guide brought us to some of the most historical, famous, and even haunted restaurants in the district. Our first stop was Curio, a restaurant housed in a former funeral home. Rumor has it there is a ghost of a little girl who still haunts and lingers around the restaurant, and I wouldn’t blame her because the deviled eggs and macaroni n’ cheese balls are quite delicious. Our second stop was Bar San Pancho, where Tor devoured tacos and I enjoyed watching everyone shake their own margaritas. There’s an art to making the perfect margarita, including the best way to position the cups when you shake it. Our third stop was a pizzeria called Mozzeria, where they served us slices large, cheesy, and delicious that we had to fold them to eat them. A fun fact about Mozzeria is that every member of staff there is hearing impaired, so you’ll see guests communicating with them using basic sign language. Our final stop was West of Pecos for their famous churros. As soon as my plate was put in front of me, my two churros were quickly in my belly. The owner of West of Pecos won The Amazing Race Season 9, which I thought was an interesting fun fact.
On our second day, Tor and I spent our afternoon having a coffee date at Cafe Réveille (the one on Long Bridge Street). When I looked up cafés in San Francisco with really good coffee, this one kept making every list. I am not a coffee drinker (I’m severely allergic), but Tor is and so I was determined to find a good cup of joe for him. The café itself is very cute and quirky, with its giant roaster sitting in the middle of the shop which reminded us of our favorite coffee shop in Reykjavik, Iceland. Since I am a hot chocolate fanatic, I of course indulged in a big cup of it which made my heart and taste buds happy.
On our final night in the city, we all gathered at Charmaine’s, which is the rooftop bar on top of the Proper hotel offering incredible views of downtown (and a delicious Grenache wine that I couldn’t stop ordering more of!). We couldn’t decide which part we liked more – the modernist styled living room by the fireplace or the gorgeous terrace!
After our happy hour at Charmaine’s, we all trekked the short distance to Monsieur Benjamin for a big family style dinner. Here we munched on potato and leek croquettes with sour cream and onion dip, heirloom tomato salad with goat cheese, arctic char (I was SO STOKED to see this on the menu), steak frites, and incredible homemade ice cream. We also may or may not have downed a few bottles of red wine…. When in San Fran, right?!
Our last dining stop of our trip was located just outside of San Francisco in the marina town of Sausalito, on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge. Tor had not been on the bridge since he was 9, so of course he was all giddy getting to cross over it twice in one morning. For our final morning, we all gathered at Bar Bocceright on the water. When we arrived there were pitchers of different kinds of sangria just waiting to be devoured, followed by what felt like endless rounds of breadsticks, BLTs, salads, trays of custom pizzas, and bottles of champagne. It was the perfect place to spend a Saturday brunch with new friends before we all had to hop on our Alaska flights home.
GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE PHOTO TIP
Looking to get that perfect IG shot of the Golden Gate Bridge behind you? Our tip is to avoid the bridge’s visitor center or the vista point on the other side. Order a Lyft or drive to a place called Warming Hut Cafe near the bridge, and there’s a fenceless seawall overlooking the entire bridge. It’s less crowded with people, doesn’t have a fence blocking your view, and is closer to the water. I’d come in the early morning or late afternoon/early evening hours for the best lighting.
Battery Spencer is another spot to get a great shot of the bridge AND downtown San Francisco. Again, come in the early morning hours or late evening for the best light. The sun is too harsh at other times.
Even though our trip was only 2 days, we are very anxious to hop on another Alaska Airlines flight and explore more of the city. We thoroughly enjoyed the 48 hours that we had in San Francisco and were both sad when the trip came to end. This just means we will have to go back!
Have you been to San Francisco? What are some of your recommendations? Comment below!
Photos by Torrance Coombs.