You won't meet many people who have a bad thing to say about working in San Francisco, and, with one of the priciest real-estate markets in the world, getting the opportunity to be housed as an actor here will feel like gold. Take advantage of living in this stunning cultural center by neighborhood hopping (they're all so incredibly unique) and exploring on foot whenever possible. Use the days off to make the easy trek into the pristine wine country of Northern California.
Wandering around Fisherman's Wharf, this spot was an accidental find, but I would recommend it to absolutely everyone. They do it simple and right at Crab House on Pier 39- a bucket of fresh, local crabs and a buckets of their garlic fries that are out of this world. Take the 100 napkins that they offer you, order a lager or a white wine for the side and dig in to this messy, garlic salty meal that will take you the time and energy to consume right. Enjoy every second of it.
203 Pier 39 Concourse, San Francisco, CA 94133 HOURS: 11:30AM- 10PM DAILY crabhouse39.com
La Taqueria will be your stop for a burrito while enjoying your time in The Mission district. This local joint has been serving up perfect San Fran burritos for over 40 years, and these burritos will make you understand why West Coasters have trouble enjoying what we have to offer out East. It just doesn't compare...
Mission Chinese Food is a nationally renowned restaurant that is well worth a stop. Despite its New York spin off, this location is the original, and has been serving up hot, creative twists on classic Chinese dishes and ingredients for years. Treat yourself, bring friends and share as many items on the menu as much as possible.
2234 Mission St, San Fran, CA 94110 Hours: Thurs- Mon 11:30AM - 3PM, 5PM- 10:30PM Tues- Wed 5PM- 10:30PM missionchinesefood.com
Farm:Table is an adorable little hide-away in the Nob Hill neighborhood where the tiny space and even tinier menu adds significantly to its charm. Working with only fresh, seasonal ingredients and only open for breakfast and lunch, Farm:Table has been known to run out of menu items quickly, but, don't fear, everything here is good. Make sure to get a cup of coffee, roasted locally, and then snag a spot at their single, large communal table or their tiny bar area and order whatever sounds good on their chalkboard menu that day. Their Daily Toast Special is a particular favorite- lightly toasted fresh, local bread is topped with house made marscapone and then covered in whatever fresh, seasonal fruits and nuts are best that day. Expect a beautiful, flavorful creation that will pair well with whatever savory option you go for next.
754 Post St, San Francisco, CA 94109 HOURS: Mon 8AM- 12PM Tues- Fri 7:30AM- 1PM Sat- Sun 8AM- 2PM farmtablesf.com
Swan Oyster Depot
Swan Oyster Depot is a notorious favorite for all food lovers who visit San Francisco. Notorious only because this intimate spot only seats a handful of customers at a time at its long countertop, and there will be line out the door. Expect a line out the door. But the wait will be worth it once you are seated and treated to incredibly fresh seafood served up perfectly by this famous institution. So, once your spot has been grabbed, indulge in new and old seafood favorites alike- who knows how often your'll have the time and energy to come back.
1517 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109 HOURS: Mon- Sat 10:30AM- 5:30PM Sun CLOSED swanoysterdepot.us
Linea Caffee is a tiny espresso bar that makes exquisite concoctions that will counterbalance the burrito nap your body may be craving after a visit to The Mission.
3417 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110 Hours: Mon- Fri 7AM- 6PM Sat- Sun 8AM- 6PM lineacaffe.com
An ideal stop for coffee in the Haight-Ashbury district of San Fran, Coffee Cantana is a brightly decorated space that has been featured in a number of films over the years, but the thing you want here is the coffee. Expect a perfectly brewed cup of locally roasted fare from this fun, hip place, and enjoy your caffinated beverage in house or on a wander around this famous hood.
1708 Haight St, San Francisco, CA 94117 HOURS: 7:30AM- 7:30PM
Ok, you're in San Fransisco, the gay bars here are some of the best in the country, but Moby Dick gets a special shout out. Located in the famous Castro District, this lively joint has been around for over 30 years and the locals still flock. Decked out with a 250-gallon fish tank above the bar, daily drink specials, and a consistent special of two-for-one frozen drinks like frozen margaritas Monday through Friday and a Lemon Drops special on Sundays, this is a bar worthy of your time.
4049 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94114 HOURS: 12PM- 2AM DAILY mobydicksf.com
Hobson's Choice is a rum bar. And I love rum. This bar is a throwback to when rum punches were featured in every living room in Victorian England, and here they try to recreate that charm and sophisticated ambiance in this special little bar. With a menu of cocktails that will make your mouth water, stop by this unique bar for some rum, either mixed or straight- they have the largest selection in the country. Yep.
Located in the Basque Hotel, 15 Romolo in North Beach is a sexy, swanky bar that has prided itself for 15 years on its incredible cocktail makers. These specialists are the kind of bartenders thrilled to make something new for you, and, with a mission statement about cocktail creativity and innovation, chances are good you will have something to drink here that you have never had before. So- get creative, trust them, and chat away about what you're in the mood for.
The Basque Hotel 15 Romolo Pl, San Francisco, CA 94133 HOURS: Mon- Fri 5PM- 2AM Sat 3PM- 2AM Sun 11:30AM- 2AM 15romolo.com
San Francisco is filled with kitchy themed bars, but you must learn quickly to not write these watering holes off. Many of them are quite good, and Smuggler's Cove is one of them. Recently awarded a James Beard Award for Excellence, as well as many other accolades in the 9 years its been open, this spot specializes in, your guessed it- rum cocktails and tiki drinks. Decked out with authentic tiki artifacts as well as nautical themed decor, you must visit this incredibly good, incredibly fun bar for a cocktail or two while in town.
This very very famous themed bar joins its fellow San Francisco tiki joints as a go-to for excellent island cocktails. The Tonga Room even sports a water show in the center of the bar a number of times during the evening. This underground spot in The Fairmont Hotel is a silly, fun, absolutely delicious stop during an evening on the town.
The Fairmont San Francisco 950 Mason St, San Francisco, CA 94108 HOURS: Mon- Tues CLOSED Wed- Thurs 5PM- 11PM Fri- Sat 5PM- 12AM Sun 5PM- 11PM tongaroom.com
Li Po Cocktail Lounge
Welcome to a dive in Chinatown that has been a favorite with locals for a very very long time. Named after one of the greatest poets of the Ting Dynasty, Li Po's Cocktail Lounge serves up infamous mai tais that are sure to knock you flat. These generously liquor-heavy cocktails are cheap and brightly colored, the way all good cheap cocktails should be, and with a killer playlist and a nice energy of playful fun, this bar is well worth a trip.
916 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94108 HOURS: 2PM- 2AM DAILY lipolounge.com
Top of the Mark
Top of the Mark is a beautiful, classy bar located on the top floor of the InterContinental Mark Hopkins SF Hotel, and the views of the city from this special place have kept it very popular over the years. This is the kind of bar where you want to come on off-hours or nights or else expect a wait, but, once seated, a glass of bubbly or a martini is called for to soak in a sunset over the San Fransisco skyline or a nighttime view filled with sparkling city lights.
InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco Hotel 999 California St, San Francisco, CA 94108 HOURS: Mon- Thurs 4:30PM- 11:30PM Fri- Sat 4:30PM- 12:30AM Sun 10AM- 1PM, 5PM- 11:30PM topofthemark.com
San Fransisco has over 220 parks and open spaces scattered all over this major metropolis, and below are just a handful to visit, but look for a special place all your own during your wanderings, too.
Mission Doloras Park
Mission Doloras Park is a stunning gem of a park. In this hilly town, the views of the gorgeous downtown area are well worth a sit and stare. People watching will be a delight, too! So enjoy your latte and soak up the warm sun and cool air of this great city.
Dolores St & 19th St, San Francisco, CA 94114
Alamo Square Park
Alamo Square Park is another hilly park overlooking the downtown San Fransisco skyline. With a number of impressive and architecturally distinctive mansions along its perimeter, look for the famous "Painted Ladies", they are a frequently photographed postcard image. Steiner St & Hayes Street, San Francisco, CA 94117
Located on Nob Hill and surrounded by the Grace Cathedral, the Fairmont Hotel (Tonga Room), and the Mark Hopkins Hotel (Top of the Mark), San Fransisco's Huntington Park is a peaceful place that has a playground, benches, and even a dog park for your viewing pleasure. California St & Taylor St, San Francisco, CA 94108
The Marina Green
Images of this stunning city more often than not involve the picturesque Golden Gate Bridge either in the background or the foreground, and The Marina Green offers a perfect spot to gather with friends or on your own to kick back and enjoy a view of the bay and this spectacular manmade structure. A large, flat park, this is a popular place, but, don't worry, there will always be a pocket to find and call your own.
200 Marina Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94123
SWEETS & SOURDOUGH:
Sourdough was born in this great city, so, when working here, hunting down some killer sourdough is a must, and Tartine Bakery has consistently won awards for the best sourdough loaf in the city of San Franscisco. Made fresh daily using organic ingredients, I recommend just taking a loaf home with you, but, if you'd prefer just a snack, they offer great sandwiches to go as well.
600 Guerrero St, San Francisco, CA 94110 HOURS: Tues- Wed 7:30AM- 7PM Thurs- Fri 7:30AM- 8PM Sat- Sun 8AM- 8PM Mon 8AM- 7PM tartinebakery.com
Sweet Inspiration Bakery Cafe
Locally owned and operated since 1981, the housemade cakes and pastries at Sweet Inspiration Bakery and Cafe has been a favorite with locals since their inception. Stop in here to try something small and sweet for the road or something larger to share during tech- they've got an impressive selection of hand crafted goodness every day to suit your every need.
2239 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114 HOURS: Sun- Thurs 7:30AM- 10PM Fri- Sat 7:30AM- 12AM http://www.sweetinspirationbakery.com
Smitten Ice Cream
Now with a few locations in San Fransisco and LA, this San Fran based ice cream company is a wildly unique place. The first thing you'll notice when you walk into Smitten Ice Cream is that there's no ice cream at their counter. After you choose a flavor, an employee pours fresh cream (from a West Coast farmer partner) into a machine that then makes your ice cream to order. It only takes a minute or two, and the result is astounding and all natural.
432 Octavia St #1A, San Francisco, CA 94102 (Closest to ACT and San Fran Playhouse) HOURS: Sun- Thurs 12PM- 10:30PM Fri- Sat 12PM- 11PM smittenicecream.com
Argonaut Book Shop
Argonaut Booksellers is a specialty bookshop and rare bookseller that focuses on Western American antique literature. The Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America was founded in 1949 to promote interest in rare and antiquarian books and book collecting, and this bookstore is one of their flagships. Visit and peruse their antique maps and photographs as well. This is a special, local place worthy of your business.
786 Sutter St, San Francisco, CA 94109 HOURS: Mon- Fri 10AM- 5PM Sat 10:30AM- 4PM Sun CLOSED argonautbookshop.com
City Lights Books
The very famous City Lights Booksellers has been a local institution since 1953. Continually cultivating their exquisite selection of books, old and new, this month they are featuring a "Pedagogies of Resistance" section in response to recent political events. Come here for whatever book-buying needs you find yourself in, and keep special places like this afloat with your business while in town.
261 Columbus Ave, San Francisco, CA 94133 HOURS: 10AM- 12AM DAILY citylights.com
Palace of the Fine Arts
This recognizable San Fransisco landmark is a gorgeous getaway on an afternoon off for some relaxation and reflection. The Palace of Fine Arts was originally constructed for the 1915 Panama- Pacific Exposition as a place to exhibit works of art. It has since seen renovations and some reconstruction, including a massive renovation on the lagoon that was completed in 2009, but this gorgeous structure still hosts many an art exhibition as well.
3301 Lyon St, San Francisco, CA 94123 palaceoffinearts.org
Ferry Building Marketplace
The Ferry Building Marketplace is a artisan food hall based in San Fransisco's historic Ferry Building that gathers together local farmers, artisan producers, and independent, local businesses under one gorgeous roof. Inside the Ferry Building, constructed in 1898, an indoor street has been built called the Nave, along which local merchants will vie for your attention. You can find everything here from Biscuit Bender, to Acme Bread Company, to Blue Bottle Coffee, Book Passage (books), Stonhouse California Olive Oil to Golden Gate Meat Company. There are dozens and dozens of special spots crammed into this light-drenched setting and well worth a wander through or two.
One Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA 94111 HOURS: 9AM- 7PM DAILY http://ferry-building-marketplace.business.site
Patricia's Green in Hayes Valley
Founded in 1999, Patricia's Green in Hayes Valley was built along a former Central Freeway right-of-way. This small, well-manicured park is the direct result of Patricia Walkup and her fight to turn the damaged Central Freeway into a surface level boulevard with this park inhabiting the abandoned area. The result has actually been a rebirth of the entire Hayes Valley neighborhood, and this beautiful walk-through park should be visited in your time here. Fell St & Octavia Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94102
Fort Mason Center
The Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture is a repurposed military base that been turned into a nonprofit organization that houses in the compound an ever-evolving rotation of artistic programming (as well as a home to the Magic Theatre Company.) Also housed here are over two dozen nonprofit arts groups from dance companies to art installations to educational programming. Mason Center for Arts and Culture also provides $2.5 million in annual grants to local artists, helping to keep this thriving cultural bastion of a city still one of the most innovative arts scenes in the world. Pay this expansive center a visit one afternoon, even if The Magic is dark, there is still plenty to do.
Schofield Rd, San Francisco, CA 94109
It's a tourist trap, I know, but I have to put in a kind word for Ghirardelli Square. Located at the end of Fisherman's Wharf, this was the home of Ghiradelli's chocolate factory constructed in 1895. Purchased in the 1960's and repurposed as a collection of shops and dining, this complex was even granted National Historic Register status in 1982. So swing by, window shop, and take some chocolate for the road. You'll be glad you did.
900 North Point St, San Francisco, CA 94109 HOURS: Sun- Thurs 8:30AM- 10PM Fri- Sat 8:30AM- 12AM ghirardellisq.com
The Trolley Car
Part of the iconic image of San Fransisco is the famous Trolley Car, and, once you've spent some time trekking up and down the epic hills in this town, you will have an even greater appreciation for this handy mode of transportation. From Union Square up to the top of Nob Hill, you can take one of these famous cable cars and soak up some fresh air as you're moved effortlessly up to the top of this fair city. The fare is $7 and all fares are one way, but consider that a gift to the city of San Fransisco and for keeping these delightful old creatures alive.
If you're working in San Fransisco, a day trip up the coast is a must. I know that that may mean more driving than you'd like on the day off, but how often are you housed in this part of the world? Treat yourself to some of the most beautiful scenery and some of the best wine and food our country has to offer.
Napa and Sonoma have been impressing the Old World wineries of Europe for quite awhile now, and there's good reason. This region is ideal for growing many of the best grapes in the world, and visiting these picturesque vineyards and sampling what they have to offer is a glorious way to spend an afternoon.
Domaine Carneros has delicious pinot noirs, but what you want to come here for is their sparkling wines. Located on one of the most visually arresting vineyards in all of Napa, this extradorinaiy chateau boasts an outdoor terrace where reservations are required (but aren't too hard to come by online) for a tasting outside while you soak up the stunning landscape all around you. Take your time with this knowledgeable and friendly staff and sample a flight or two. Their tasting flights start at $30 for a sampling of 4 of their sparkling wines, 4 of their red wines (mainly pinot noir), or a sample of 2 bruts and 2 pinot noirs. With cheese pairings and a charcuterie plate to boot in addition to other snacks, you can make a whole day of this special place or just use it as a top-of-the-day spot where brut reigns supreme.
1240 Duhig Rd, Napa, CA 94559 HOURS: 10AM- 5:30PM domainecarneros.com
Oxbow Public Market
Oxbow Public Market is the type of food hall I've featured in many other cities, although more intimate in this case. Come here for regional vendors of the highest quality. Featuring merchants like Kara's Cupcakes, Fieldwork Brewing Company, C Casa, Live Fire Pizza, as well as money others. This is the perfect spot to swing by while touring vineyards to grab a snack and soak up all those tastings with some local fare.
What sold me on visiting Failla was a quote that said "it's somewhat surprising that this vineyard even offers tours and tastings." This small-batch, super high quality vineyard is your go-to spot for some of the finest pinot noirs that California wine country has to offer. This staff couldn't possibly be kinder or more competent- they are truly passionate about this vineyard and thrilled to share its history with you. I recommend the Cave Tour ($30) which begins with a walking tour of the property and their 15, 000 square foot cave where 5 wines are poured (2 white and 3 red) during over the course of this 75-90 minute tour.
3530 Silverado Trail N, St Helena, CA 94574 HOURS: 10AM- 5PM DAILY faillawines.com
Pride Mountain Vineyard
If Failla is your place for pinot noir, Pride Mountain Vineyard is where you come to sample cabernet sauvignon. The wines here are divine, and, during a tasting tour, you are given the opportunity to sampe younger and older expressions of the same varietal, helping you to better understand the nuances of these aged cab sauvs. I recommend the Estate Tasting ($30) which offers a progressive tasting of current release wines enjoyed while on a tour through through their extensive caves. Appointments are available from Wed- Mon 10AM to 3:30PM. In addition to the caves, the grounds here at Pride Mountain are simply stunning and the estate itself a wonder, so every aspect of this stop should be enjoyed to the fullest.
3000 Summit Trail, Santa Rosa, CA 95404 HOURS: Tues CLOSED Wed- Mon 10AM- 3:30PM pridewines.com
Chalkboard Restaurant in downtown Healdsburg is an ideal place to stop for a nice (won't break the bank) sit down dinner. Using ingredients from local farms of Napa and Sonoma valleys, this small plates menu is served up with all the care in the world. Wine flights are offered as well, featuring local vineyards of course, and everything here (including dessert!) is worthwhile.
29 North St, Healdsburg, CA 95448 HOURS: Mon- Fri 4:30PM- 9PM Sat- Sun 11:30AM- 9PM chalkboardhealdsburg.com
Gustafson Family Vineyard
Gustafson Family Vineyards is a bit of a trek north, but it will be well worth it when you get there. This wonderful vineyard boasts one of the best views in all of wine country. Located on a 247-acre estate, all wines that are bottled here are grown here, and the lean, rocky volcanic soil produces bright, jammy wines that are then aged 15-24 months in French and American oak. Their Estate Tasting Room is open on Saturdays from 10AM- 4PM with no appointment necessary, and you can take advantage of their picnic area during your tasting to soak up the gorgeous vistas.
Ravenswood is a name you'll recognize from your local, neighborhood wine shop, and their bottles usually run in the $8-$12 price point. So you may think this is a less than impressive vineyard, but, Ravenswood Winery is actually a lovely winery to visit and sample some of their absolutely delicious Zinfandels. This is an unassuming winery with a casual, friendly tasting room where you can do a walk-in tasting for $25 a person for a sample of 6 wines (also available on their terrace), or indulge in their Barrel Tasting with Winery and Vineyard Tour for $30 per person.
18701 Gehricke Rd, Sonoma, CA 95476 HOURS: 10AM- 4:30PM ravenswoodwinery.com
Inverness/ Point Reyes...
About an hour north of San Fransisco is an area of the country so rugged and beautiful, it was named Inverness due to its similarities with the Scottish coastline. Come here on a day trip for oysters, cheese, a hike up the spectacular coastline, and a real escape from the city.
Hog Island Oyster Company
Located along glorious Tomales Bay, Hog Island Oyster Company offers patrons a chance to breath deep and eat alongside the sun soaked waters of the bay while chowing down on fresh, sustainable shellfish. The Boat Oyster Bar there serves up raw and BBQ oysters at communal, outdoor seating with a small additional menu of cheese, charcuterie, and other seafood specials. Drinks are BYOB. Perfect for bringing along a local bottle of wine or craft brew. Make a reservation at The Boat if you don't want to risk the bar area, and take your time at this romantic, glorious place- it's incredibly special.
20215 Shoreline Hwy, Marshall, CA 94940 HOURS: 9AM- 5PM hogislandoysters.com
Point Reyes Lighthouse
A worthwhile trip on a day off, the walk down towards the coast and the Point Reyes Lighthouse is almost worth it in and of itself. Built in 1870, this historic lighthouse is just gorgeous. With a visitors' center and an observation deck ideal for whale watching, take a few hours to soak up the sea air and enjoy this stunning place.
Lighthouse Visitor Center, 27000 Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Inverness, CA 94937 HOURS: Tues- Thurs CLOSED Fri- Mon 10AM- 4:30PM https://www.nps.gov/pore/planyourvisit/lighthouse.htm
Tomales Point at Point Reyes National Seashore
Now here's a hike for you. 9.4 miles with heavy foot traffic both out and back, this stunning stretch of nature climaxes at Tomales Point where you will find stunning views on all sides. Elk can be found along the way as well as all kinds of unique and varied wildlife, so, get out your boots and water bottle and make this a trip for a day off. I promise it will be glorious.
Cowgirl Creamery has found its way to many a cheese shop elsewhere in America, but this is its home. On Fridays at 11AM (so, plan to visit once your show has opened) visit their original organic creamery for a 60-minute presentation on West Marin, Cowgirl's beginnings, and their cheese. There will be an up-close curd-making demonstration as well as a guided tasting of all of the Cowgirl Creamery cheeses. This organic, local business is well worth supporting, and these cheeses are absolutely extraordinary.
80 4th St, Point Reyes Station, CA 94956 HOURS: Mon- Tues CLOSED Wed- Sun 10AM- 5PM cowgirlcreamery.com