Gaze at the Golden Gate or groove at the Stern Grove Festival with your honey next time you’re in San Francisco. ( Daniel Kim Photography / Stocksy)
San Francisco is where it’s at, now more than ever. There’s a lot of buzz about these seven not-exactly-square miles, not to mention stunning natural beauty, wildly diverse neighborhoods and nightlife, world-class dining and museums, and a booming arts scene. There’s no shortage of things for you and your boo to do, making the City by the Bay the perfect place for your long weekend for two.
Start Your Day With a Bay Area Brew
There’s no better spot to start your day than the waterfront. And no matter whether you’re exploring by trolley or on foot, all roads lead to and from the Ferry Building. Grab a coffee at Blue Bottle, where bespoke espressos are handcrafted by expert baristas. Into the idea of a picnic lunch? Do what San Franciscans do: Buy a baguette at Acme Bread and some local Mt. Tam cheese from Cowgirl Creamery. On Saturdays, one of the nation’s best farmers’ markets sprawls outside; meander through and pick up tantalizing goodies, like some of Tout Sweet Patisserie’s colorful macarons.
Be Charmed in Chinatown
Stroll the waterfront Embarcadero, then head about a mile west into Chinatown. Stop to share the delectable dim sum dumplings at City View, one of the best restaurants in Chinatown. Then hike a few blocks over to the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory in Ross Alley and watch the namesake creations come off the hot presses with the paper- strip fortunes expertly folded and tucked inside.
Check Out the Couture Character of Hayes Valley
Next stop: Hayes Valley, where you’ll share the sidewalks with tech workers toting tres- chic bags made by the city’s hip messenger bag company, Timbuk2. Follow the locals to the flagship store, then browse the one-of-a-kind boutiques nearby. If you’ve shopped up an appetite, check out the amazing array of food and drink in the neighborhood. Stop by Biergarten for locally made bratwurst and European beer, then follow it up with some ice cream at Smitten, where they pile high your order right in front of you.
Love the Nightlife?
Hop aboard one of Market Street Railway’s historic F-line streetcars and make your way to the gorgeous Art Deco Castro Theatre, home to film festivals, sing-alongs and classic movies. (Extra cool: A live organist plays rousing music before each screening.) From there, it’s a quick Uber or Lyft ride to the Mission, ground zero for pulsating nightclubs where you can dance the night away. At Trick Dog, righteous craft cocktails are served up in a converted warehouse. Step outside and you’re in the thick of the Mission’s hip arts, dining and bar scene. The eats are especially hot along Valencia Street, where you can hit Tacolicious for amazing Mexican nibbles and DOSA for tasty Indian crepes.
Groove in the Grove
If it’s a summer Sunday (between June and August), layer up for San Francisco’s famous summer chill and check out Stern Grove, a lush park filled with tall pines on the city’s west side. It’s home to the city’s annual Stern Grove Festival, which features class acts such as Los Lobos, Mavis Staples and the San Francisco Symphony all summer long. The music will leave you wanting an encore — and, as you’ll undoubtedly discover, the city itself will have the same effect.
For a romantic stay in the heart of the city, check in to the neoclassical landmark Ritz-Carlton.