San Francisco is a beautiful city, full of new tech modernity with old-school architecture and history, but if you want to enjoy the San Francisco Like a Local does, stay away from Powell Street and Union Sq. It is a city brimming with diversity and culture and life. Not to mention some of the best food in the country.
San Francisco Like a Local
1. Dolores Park
Located in the Mission District, Dolores Park has been newly renovated and is a fun way to spend a weekend afternoon. It is packed with young 20-30-somethings drinking craft beer and playing beer pong. You can also catch live music, performance art, and the oddly and exotically dressed. You can also try a selection of edibles being sold by wandering vendors and catch the weirdness that San Francisco has to offer while enjoying the sun and a picnic. Once I saw a man with a menagerie of ducks, lizards, and small animals, once it was a naked man dancing through the park with everyone, and yet another time it was a performance of acrobatic clowns.
2. Go to a Giants game
Okay, okay, this might be on the tourist list, but it is a must. San Francisco is orange and black and it is important to rep the Giants while you are there. Baseball is also America’s favorite pastime. AT&T Park is right in downtown in the SOMA neighborhood. Make sure to grab a beer with the locals at 21st Amendment Brewery a few blocks from the stadium. It’s where everyone pre-games in Giants gear before the game, and they have excellent home brewed beers like watermelon and grapefruit beer.
3. Visit the real Chinatown
There are two Chinatowns. The tourist one on Grant St. and the lesser known Stockton tunnel Chinatown just a few blocks away. This is where actual Chinese people shop and where you will find some of the best and most authentic dim sum.
4. Gay club in the Castro
San Francisco is the gay capital of the country, it’s where Pride originated, and no matter your preferences a night of dancing in this rainbow spackled neighborhood never disappoints.
5. Eat a Mission burrito
Mexican food is holy in California, and the best neighborhood for it in the Bay is the Mission. El Taquieria on 24th St. is my pick. There is an option for a crispy tortilla layer, take this option. You may have to weight in line, but it is well worth it.
6. Spend a day in the East Bay
Despite what you may have heard, Oakland and Berkeley are very up and coming. Check out the hippie telegraph avenue in Berkeley, take in a live show at the Fox Theatre in downtown Oakland, or peruse the boutiques and restaurants in Rockridge. East Bay as a lot to offer in terms of food and entertainment.
7. Try vegetarian
I know, meat is amazing. But SF has perfected the vegetarian dining experience and you won’t feel like you’re missing out when you go to one of these delicious veggie only eateries. My favorites, Loving Hut , Gracias Madre , or Ch-Ya.
8. Take in a show at the Castro Theatre
This is a beautiful old theater that has been renovated and maintained and is actually historically registered. They play mostly film noir and classics with a few current movies thrown in.
9. Eat your heart out at Off the Grid
Every Friday night and Sunday during the warmer months, Fort Mason, along the waterfront, hosts Off the Grid. Food trucks with everything from hotdogs to Cajun, to Thai, to Southern, park around the field. There are also bar food trucks and desert food trucks. You can try as many as you like while listening to some tunes on a blanket. Make sure to bring layers, as it tends to get chilly by the bay.
10. Go to a flea market
There are two big ones, the Treasure Island flea market and the Alemany flea market. You can literally spend an entire day at these at not see everything. Be prepared to sift through lots before you find your treasure, but I guarantee you will find something!
No doubt San Francisco has a lot to offer, we have seen some of the most authentic things, we encourage you to check it out for yourself!