San Francisco: THE City Guide

Hi besties! San Francisco Bay Area native here, and I’m ready to spill the beans on all the BEST places in San Francisco! I could go on and on about the Bay Area, but I’m going to keep this blog dedicated just to the 7’7 city of all our dreams.

I have kept a basic spreadsheet for friends + family for a while now, and I decided it was time to drop this into a blog (something more permanent, ya know?). This is going to be a rougher guide than I usually do, but I figured that my readers would want the real + raw SF experience. Here we go!

Where to Stay:

  • Hayes Valley (very trendy and expensive, my personal fave. Cute boutiques, wonderful restaurants and wine bars)
  • Marina (trendy/ young neighborhood close to the water. Gorgeous, expensive, great boutiques)
  • Castro (the gay neighborhood. Fun to stay at or just visit for a fun night out)
  • The Mission (the hipster neighborhood. Think vintage/ thrift stores, lots of taco trucks, amazing restaurants and bars. Also Dolores Park is here which is a fun park to hang out at, gets very busy)
  • Nob Hill (more residential, but close to everything. Best street in the area is Polk St for bars and restaurants)
  • The Sunset/ Richmond (A ways out from the city center, so you’ll definitely need a car. Lots of good asian food, close to the beach, more residential)
  • The Haight (hippie central!)
  • North Beach (Italian + Chinese district, can be fun or semi-dangerous vibe depending on the area. Good food doe)
  • The Tenderloin (SKIP AT ALL COSTS. Dangerous area)
  • The Financial/ Union Square (also skip, it’s just not the vibe)


  • The Dorian (Marina, great for brunch, V trendy)
  • Foreign Cinema (Mission, fancy, trendy, delish, iconic SF)
  • Palette Tea House (Dim Sum, by Ghirardelli Square, pricey but exceptional)
Palette’s famous flavored XLB
  • China Live (Chinatown, pricey but exceptional )
  • Che Fico (expensive, but amazing italian. Hard to get a res)
  • Farmhouse Thai (Soo good, get the blue rice and fun cocktails- in the Mission, also pricey but exceptional)
  • Pizzeria Delfina (yummy pizza, several locations, only one location in the Mission does pasta as well as pizza)
  • Credo (italian, so good, one of the only ‘worth it’ spots in the Financial District)
  • Frances (fancy spot in the castro, delish, good for occasions, need a reservation)
Celebrating a birthday at Frances
  • Restaurante Milano (Italian, yum)
  • Fiorella (Insanely good italian, trendy, any location excellent, Sunset location has a rooftop)
Burrata Pizza at Fiorella
  • Osha Thai (unpretentious, yummy thai food)
  • 54 Mint (downtown, delish italian, reservation recommended)
  • Burma Love (sister restaurant to Burma Superstar, both very good)
  • Tataki (amazing sushi)
  • Italian Homemade Company (solid italian, very casual)
  • Chisme Cantina (yummy tacos, cute murals, quick stop for tacos)

  • Royal Indian Cuisine on Fillmore
  • Tony’s Pizza (classic SF pizza, there’s usually a line)
  • Dumpling Time (a fave for dumplings)
  • Chambers SF (best for brunch or drinks, trendy and fun, in a sketchy area but don’t be alarmed)
Chambers SF’s famous souffle pancake
Chambers SF
  • Home (Instagrammable coffee shop, great toasts)
  • The Mill (best bread ever, coffee shop, bring your laptop and get work done, pizza nights)
  • Le Maison (french cafe, trendy)
  • Marufuku Ramen (the best ramen. Hard to get in in SF, use yelp waitlist in Oakland)
  • San Tung (Richmond area, very authentic chinese)
  • House of Nanking (Chinatown classic)
  • Bob’s Donuts (great for a drunken donut after the bars on Polk Street, home of the giant donut)

  • Swan Oyster Depot (Iconic SF, oysters and seafood, usually busy, counter seating only)
  • Brenda’s French Soul Food (Best southern restaurant in SF, also iconic)
  • Dragon Beaux (If you’re new to hot pot, start here, Richmond area)
  • Salt and Straw (best ice cream. Ever. Iconic flavors)

Photo Spots:

  • Baker Beach (views of the GG Bridge)
  • Fort Funston (gorgeous views of the coast, need a car to get here)
  • Ocean Beach (massive beach, fire pits, dog friendly, beautiful views)

  • Crissy Field (good view of GG bridge, good picnic spot, dog friendly)
  • Palace of Fine Arts (Can’t miss)
  • Golden Gate Park (I love Lloyd Lake/ and stow lake)
  • Great Meadow Park at Fort Funston

  • Ina Coolbrith Park (not as good for pics but great view of sf)
  • Pier 7
  • Anthony Goldber’s Woodline, Presidio
  • Legion of Honor
  • Lands End/ Sutro Baths

  • Moraga Steps (tiled steps)
  • Coit Tower
  • The Painted Ladies at Alamo Square
  • Fort Point (closest view of bridge, amazing for pics, when you get to the first parking lot, keep going! You aren’t there yet)
  • Powell St cable car turnaround
  • Embarcadero

  • Chinatown
  • Dutch Windmills by Ocean Beach (GG park)
  • Twin Peaks (Iconic view of SF, used in many car commercials)
  • Clarion Alley (street art in the mission)
  • Lincoln Park tiled steps
  • Legion of Honor

Tag me on Instagram @hannahleelifestyle if you visit any of these spots! Follow me on Instagram for more travel inspo.