For My 3 European Buddies, THIS Is How You Should Do San Francisco

Hipster cafes, vintage shops and home of the Golden State Warriors!

To Thibault, Francesco, and “ami”. 

For three guys living in Paris, visiting San Francisco is a thrilling lifetime adventure. After all, the City by the Bay is a fan favorite among most Europeans who appreciate Victorian architecture, hipster cafes, vintage shops and home of the Golden State Warriors! Instead of sending recommendations in an email, this breakdown will make it easier to navigate through a city that has tons to offer!

SEE ALSO: The 6 Best Hidden Sandwich Shops In San Francisco

Stay in These Neighborhoods:

Russian Hill: Great central area to stay if you want the real San Franciscan vibe! You’re close to North Beach (Little Italy) where you can find cool cafes, and awesome Italian restaurants. You’ll also be steps away from Chinatown, where lots of tourists go because it’s the most authentic Chinatown in America. The main street in Russian Hill is Polk Street, where you’ll also find tons of one-of-a-kind boutiques, cafes and restaurants too. Try Swans Oysters, it’s a local favorite for fresh seafood. Nick’s Crispy Tacos has the most delicious, well, tacos you can find! There are cool mixology drinks and crafted beers at Hi-Lo Club with an industrial vibe. Amelie is a local favorite for a French-style wine bar, not that you’d be looking for Paris in San Francisco. There are tons of sports bars on Polk Street where you can watch a great game of basketball.

Mission District (The Mission): This is one of the most gentrified areas in SF, where dodgey streets have recently turned into hipster hangouts. If you want really good Mexican food, you’ll find lots of taquerias open late at night on Mission Street. My favorite is La Taqueria, it’s the best burritos and tacos in town! During the day, you can chill on Dolores Park or hang out at cafes nearby. Get a banana cream pie at Tartine Bakery, grab a cup of coffee at the famous Philz Coffee, it’s everyone’s favorite way to start the day! Flour + Water serves up tasty pizzas and pastas, even the New York Times loves it!

Cool Cafes: 

There are several location of Blue Bottle Coffee in SF, the best one to check out is the one inside the Ferry Building along the waterfront. As you get that cup of joe, you can also browse through various artisanal vendors selling Californian homegrown cheese and wines, Gott’s Roadside Cheeseburger, oyster bars…and much more!

Caffe Roma Coffee Roasting Co. in North Beach is a fantastic place to sit and chill out with a good book. The vibe is European, not that you’ll be craving for European vibes. But this is a San Francisco institution since the Azzollini established this coffee shop since 1977.

Again…don’t forget PHILZ!! It’s a must.

Where to Shop:

Hayes Street: For truly unique local brands, walk along Hayes Street between Laguna and Gough. Up and down Hayes, you’ll find authentic boutiques including Rand + Statler (a bit more high-end), Cary Lane (discounted clothing), and Cotton Sheep (my personal favorite clothing store for both men and women.)

Haight & Ashbury: This iconic neighborhood was the birthplace of hippie-dom back in the 60’s. Walk up and down Haight Street between Staynon/Masonic, you’ll find the BEST VINTAGE stores in all of America. Wasteland (vintage clothing – and one of my favorites!), Goorin Brothers (vintage hats), and Held Over (another retro favorite of mine!) are just a few of many that I still love!

Marina: Hit up Chestnut Street, between Scott and Fillmore. Stroll on Chestnut Street, and you’ll find many posh local brands and some bigger international labels too. Check out: Taylor Stitch (my friend Mike’s store that carries tons of stylish shirts), Marine Layer (great for cotton materials), and Jack’s (a local boutique making casual menswear).

Restaurant Recs:

This is the hardest list to come up with, because San Francisco has such a dynamic food scene. Here are some local hotspots and my personal favorites: Burma Superstar ($$) has AMAZING Burmese food, Foreign Cinema ($$) is a great place for brunch and make sure to get outdoor seating, I’ve always loved Spruce ($$$) for New American cuisine, The Slanted Door ($$$) has fantastic Vietnamese dishes, Mission Chinese ($$) has outstanding Chinese food with a hip crowd.

Look again at the restaurants I mentioned in the top of this article in the neighborhood section, those are big ones not to be missed.

Last but not least…In-N-Out Burgers is a complete MUST!

Chill Bars:

Cocktail Bars: Bourbon and Branch is a speakeasy that requires a password to get in. Check out the website. If you can’t get in to B&B, then close by is Rye which is nice too. 15 Romolo is another one of my favorites in North Beach. On the other side of the town near Castro District is Blackbird, which is also a cool spot.

Breweries: Check out Hopwater Distribution, the taproom has a great selection of Californian crafted beers. The Monk’s Kettle also is a local favorite with gastropub dishes. Zeitgeist is a popular bar that San Franciscans often go to.

Where to go out:

San Francisco is not known for its nightlife scene, but go to Monarch’s downstairs there will be a fun dance floor. DNA Lounge has been around for a long time, always featuring a wide variety of DJs. Audio has a funky vibe with a dancing crowd, and if you’re craving for some jazz & blues late into the night, head to Boom Boom Room.


[shopify embed_type=”collection” shop=”” product_handle=”kruk-garage”]

Wendy Hung


As the founder of Jetset Times, Wendy is an avid traveler and fluent in five languages. When she's not traveling, Wendy calls Paris and Taipei home. Her favorite countries so far from her travels have been: Bhutan, Iran, and Russia because they were all so different! St. Bart's was pretty amazing too (wink)!

Jetset Times in your inbox

Sign-up for our newsletter

By signing up, you agree to our Privacy Policy and European users agree to the data transfer policy.