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Sea Lions sunbath on the docks off Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, California

California

Urban Excitement in San Francisco, California

By: Marieve Herington

Arnaud Muller/Bogdan Zlatkov
1 of 2
Scenic view of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California

California

Urban Excitement in San Francisco, California

By: Marieve Herington

Arnaud Muller/Bogdan Zlatkov
2 of 2
  • States:
    California

Sometimes it takes me a minute to warm to a new destination, and sometimes, I just fall in love instantly.

I had a hunch that Northern California – San Francisco in particular – and I would get along great after stepping off the airplane in San Francisco and seeing the airport full of fabulous food options and unique shopping, and stepping out of my hotel room amidst the charming Victorian style homes, perched on those signature hills of the city.

Shopping at Union Square

I recommend packing an extra suitcase when visiting Union Square because it really is a shopper’s paradise. For a real American department store experience, you’ve got Nordstrom, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s all conveniently here in one place! If you’re looking for a really high-end shopping experience, walk around the square until you find the street named “Maiden Lane.” Not only is it a charming narrow, pedestrian-only road with little cafés in the middle, but you can visit Chanel, Marc Jacobs, Prada and Hermes.

Shopping in Union Square, San Francisco

Shopping in Union Square, San Francisco
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This Foodie Found Her Home

I had often heard that San Francisco was a “great food town” but I always thought – isn’t any big city really? Can’t you find something delicious everywhere? Well, the rumors are true. San Francisco did offer some next level dining – and not just formal options. One of my favorite food stops was the Ferry Building Marketplace on the Embarcadero. It is a beautiful space with various food vendors such as Cowgirl Creamery and their fabulous local artisan cheeses or Recchiuti Confections and their delicate chocolates. There is also an abundance of wine, coffee, fresh produce and more throughout the building.

Not far from the Ferry Building, I must say I had some of the best bread at Boudin at Fisherman’s Wharf. There were tons of seafood restaurants here too, serving up Dungeness crab sandwiches, shrimp cocktail and clam chowder in big sourdough bread bowls. It’s overall a really fun place to have a bite, walk around, enjoy the view of Golden Gate Bridge, hop on the ferry to Alcatraz, or go see the massive sea lion colony just feet from the docks – amazing!

The Ferry Building in San Francisco

The Ferry Building in San Francisco
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Not-to-Miss Nightlife

We were certainly not bored when the sun set. First, we went to Beach Blanket Babylon, the longest running musical revue in the states. I laughed until my sides hurt, watching the show comprised of spoofs of pop culture and politics. We also ventured outside San Francisco to Oakland, just across the Bay, where we found even more great dining and nightlife.

The San Francisco Bay Area is filled with so much character, and offers much to see, do and eat. It is refined, cultured, cosmopolitan and yet friendly in a way that’s difficult to describe. Come visit and you’ll see why it’s the ultimate urban playground in Northern California.

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