Your 2019 Insider’s Guide to San Francisco
Walk, Taste & Shop the Best of the City with Sidewalk
Secret menus, clandestine boutiques, must-see places - San Francisco boasts an embarrassment of riches when it comes to not-so-obvious things to see, taste, shop and wander within its 36 neighborhoods.
Whether you have lived in the Bay Area your entire life, fancy yourself living here or are just visiting, it helps to have a local with the inside scoop on . . .
How to get the password for the secret speakeasy Bourbon & Branch
Who makes the best pork buns on Clement Street
When is the best time to walk into Michelin-starred State Bird Provisions
Where to see a mural by street artist-provocateur Banksy
What to order when visiting the Ferry Building
(Want to know? Don’t worry - we included all the answers below)
We receive requests like these all the time and we’re happy to answer them, but we realized that it might be helpful to compile all these suggestions together.
So we curated and assembled our recommendations into a downloadable booklet. Launching today: The Insider’s Neighborhood Guide to San Francisco, spring 2019 edition.
This volume features five neighborhoods in San Francisco: The Mission, The Castro, The Marina, The Haight, and North Beach. For each neighborhood, there are bite-size insights and tips for why we love it, where to wander and what to eat, shop and drink.
Expect to find our favorite spots for legendary meatball focaccia sandwiches, where to drink Pliny the Elder on an outdoor patio, where to shop for hip home decor, and who makes the best Millionaire’s Bacon (thick cut slabs tossed in brown sugar, black pepper, cayenne pepper and ginger).
We also include our favorite Sidewalk (free city walks and all-inclusive food tours guided entirely by app) in each neighborhood for those who would prefer the app to lead them point-to-point while providing local stories, insights and recommendations.
5 San Francisco Requests, 5 Insider Recommendations
As promised, here are our recommendations for the requests above:
How to get the password for the secret speakeasy Bourbon & Branch?
First, see what reservations are available on their website or Yelp. Alternatively, take your chances in person. Hit the buzzer on the door on Jones St, and ask to be added to the waitlist. You’ll get a text when a spot is available. While you wait, head to Rye for craft cocktails just a block away at 688 Geary.
A third alternative is to go to The Library Bar within Bourbon & Branch. Just find the buzzer on the unmarked door on O’Farrell Street and speak the password: “books”
Who makes the best pork buns on Clement Street?
The tastiest baked pork buns in San Francisco can be found at Cherry Blossom Bakery (844 Clement St). They have the best ratio: a generous serving of quality pork, a not-too-sweet, not-too-thick sauce, and a golden, doughy bread. No one comes close to competing with Cherry Blossom.
When is the best time to walk into Michelin-starred State Bird Provisions?
No matter how good the food is, no one wants to stand in line for three hours to get a table. First, look to see if there are any reservations through their website or on OpenTable. Second, show up on Monday - Wednesday at 8:30pm and you will likely be able to walk right in. If all else fails, go when the city makes an exodus for Burning Man.
Where to see a mural by street artist-provocateur Banksy?
Banksy left his mark in San Francisco during a visit in 2010. Unfortunately, most of the works have painted over or gone missing. However, one of the best Banksys is still on view from the northwest corner of Broadway and Columbus in North Beach near the “Language of the Birds” art installation. Look above the É Tutto Qua restaurant to find “If at First You Don’t Succeed, Call an Airstrike.”
What to order when visiting the Ferry Building?
- If you have lots of time, get in line for Hog Island Oysters. Place an order for Kumamoto oysters and the grilled cheese sandwich.
- If you have a little time, head to the Golden Gate Meat Company to get an egg, ham, cheese & hash brown sandwich.
- If you have no time, go to El Porteño and order one of their twelve types of sweet and savory handmade empanadas.
- If you want something desserty, order a scoop of Secret Breakfast ice cream at Humphry Slocombe, made from Bourbon ice cream with cornflakes.