How I Researched San Francisco

12 Sep

The Trench Coat is back! This time in front of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Confession: I am a research junkie. If I go on a trip, I take every guidebook I can find–in this case, Frommer’s Cheap and Free San Francisco guide– and look up updates online as well as tap into friends, bloggers, twitter when I go. If I have the time to read a book that’s in the region I will (but I admit this is rare unless it’s for an article). I also like to go off the beaten path and find information from fashion or food blogs. This is also where I find some of the best information.

Me trying to find my inner Jack Kerouac at City Lights Bookstore (an AMAZING bookstore!).

When researching my trip to San Francisco, I wanted to look at it through locals who had similar interests to me (so mainly women who liked food –and lots of it– to fashion to exploring some great sights).  Here are my picks. I used most of the guides minus the Glamour one. I didn’t have enough time! That said, I think they did a good job of capturing the beauty and culture of lovely San Francisco. I used Holly’s guide the most and met Kirsten in person. Jordan’s food tips were top notch and some of her picks are echoed in the guide by GOOP.

One of the coolest things I did was go to a Travelocity party and met my newfound love, The Roaming Gnome. He is affectionately known as "Gnomie." We found a very cool map store in North Beach.

Holly Burns, a San Francisco based blogger of  Nothing But Bonfires and travel writer for Travelocity’s blog, The Window Seat,  has a very detailed guide of each neighbourhood as well as tips that I wouldn’t have known of (i.e. Take the BART from the Airport for $8 instead of a $35 to $40 Cab Fare).  She also has a gorgeous home, inspired by her global jaunts, as featured in Apartment Therapy. I think I may have a girl crush! The girl crush was confirmed at a Travelocity party I attended (found on Twitter). We both gushed over the gnome and I think she was pleased that I was actually using her guide.  The woman knows her travel (and food)!

The lovely Kristin Luna and I with shimmering hair and twinsie aviators outside Coit Tower

Kristin Luna of the infamous Webby Award winning blog, Camels and Chocolatewill be my tour guide for a day (or two, ahem). She is an infinite source of wisdom on all things San Francisco. Who better to tour me around than the one that wrote the Frommer’s Guide book on the subject? I’m very excited to meet her as I’ve been following her blog for a few years now. Her touchdown of getting off the beaten path is in this post, I Heart My City, that she compiled for National Geographic. I met Kristin, who was AWESOME! We met Spud Hilton, Travel Editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, for lunch at Chez Papa and for a tour of the Chronicle (how nice of him!). We then got some good shots mid afternoon of the city from Coit Tower (a MUST if it’s your first time to San Francisco). She bravely drove us down Lombard Street and down (and up) the roller coaster of hills via different neighbourhoods. She also took us to some epic San Franciscan spots in Chinatown/North Beach, House Of NanKing and a former Sean Penn hangout, Tosca.  Both made for an unforgettable night.

Miette Crumbs (I'm a dork and styled this shot...)

Jordan Ferney, a party planner and blogger of Oh Happy Day! -who just moved to Paris from her home base of San Francisco- posted her Top 10 All Time Favorite Eats prior to her departure to L’Etoile.  Her pictures have instigated a visit to Tartine Bakery (and those morning buns were everything I dreamed of!).  Her picks in The Ferry Building were also top notch. No time for The Sentinel! Sniff.

Burratta and prosciutto salad from Cowgirl Creamery by the Bay Bridge. Wonderful Lunch!

Joanna Goddard, who formerly blogged for Glamour’s Smitten column, did a great series on City Guides talking to local experts. This her interview with local Melissa Davis of Ruby Press, who gave out some great shopping tips in the city. I didn’t use this guide on this trip but because of this, I now feel like I have so many more things to see in San Francisco (including a shopping spree if I can save up the money!).

Pot De Creme (a.k.a. Pot de miracle) on picnic lunch outside of the Painted Ladies. Living the Full House fantasy. Check!

As an update to this research, I would recommend GOOP.  I find her hotel recommendations on the Luxe side, but Gwenyth Paltrow has really good restaurant recommendations. This time she asked native Christy Turlington where she goes when home.  I had no idea Christy Turlington was from San Francisco and that she was friends with Gwenyth. Regardless, there are a lot of great local spots that I had heard of that will definitely be trying next time I’m back in SF.

One of the best views I discovered was from the Coit Tower. I recommend getting a drive up or if you want to shed some pounds, walk up those hills. The view is worth it!

My heart will be back in San Francisco.  Only time will tell.

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6 Responses to “How I Researched San Francisco”

  1. F. September 12, 2011 at 8:47 pm #

    I spent a few days in San Francisco in 2007. I left my heart behind.

    • nearafar September 12, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

      I’m kind of wishing I stayed a little longer in SF but I was so close to LA that I couldn’t NOT go! San Francisco is lovely, isn’t it? 🙂

  2. Cathie Maud September 12, 2011 at 9:05 pm #

    I have (almost) the exact same picture of that row of colourful houses!! Sans hand, and pot! 😉 lol

    ARE those buildings called The Painted Ladies?? I was trying so hard to find out what that place was called, but never could!

    Wish I’d read this post before I went on my San Fran trip last year! 😉

    • nearafar September 12, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

      Hi Cathie,

      Yes, those ARE the Painted Ladies. They are located in Alamo Square Park and they were the houses featured on the show, Full House in America (for those that don’t know Full House, the Olsen Twins worked on since they were babies). Thanks for the lovely comment! OMG. Pot de Creme is my thing and I’d probably have it everyday if I was in San Francisco. I don’t find it in Toronto as often. Le YUM.

  3. Corbin Fraser (@ibackpackcanada) September 17, 2011 at 3:16 pm #

    Can’t say I’ve done San Fran yet, but hopefully soon. Have a friend moving out to California that I’d like to visit, so maybe fit it into that leg! Looks like a blast though!

    PS: Can’t wait for Algonquin Park!

  4. nearafar September 17, 2011 at 11:11 pm #

    San Fran is great but I got mixed emotions about living there and went back to those emotions during #TNI on Thursday. I’d love to do more of California though. There’s always more than one excuse to go back to SF, but I’d love to get to San Diego and the smaller cities like Laguna (a friend of mine just went there and said it was gorgeous). Excited for Algonquin!

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