Best Dining Near San Francisco’s Landmarks

Best Dining Near San Francisco’s Landmarks

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You don’t have to sacrifice good food when visiting these attractions

Greens has a lovely view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Technically speaking, San Francisco has more than 260 designated landmarks. For our purposes, though, The Daily Meal has spotlighted some of the post popular destinations to visit in the city (or even the world). From the Golden Gate Bridge to the "Painted Ladies," we have paired each landmark with a delicious dining experience nearby each location. Be sure to check these out next time you’re doing some sight-seeing — you might find that these spots are worth a visit on their own!

Murray Circle Restaurant at the Golden Gate Bridge
Murray Circle restaurant offers a dramatic setting of the Golden Gate Bridge from Sausalito (near the city). Executive chef Justin Everett enables patrons to indulge in modern Northern Californian cuisine with house-cured charcuterie and an extensive raw bar — an experience worth sharing.

Greens Restaurant at Fort Mason
Greens is a vegetarian restaurant located in the iconic Fort Mason complex. "Greens and Fort Mason have grown up together in our beautiful city," explains Greens executive chef Annie Somerville. Some of their most popular items on the menu are yellowfin potato griddle cakes with romesco, as well as fresh spring rolls with peanut sauce. Somerville explains that you can enjoy the food while being surrounded by Golden Gate National Park and fantastic views of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay, and the Marin Headlands.

Sears Fine Foods at Union Square
While taking the cable car through Union Square, you will stop at Powell Street. Sears Fine Food is nearby and has been open since 1938. They are famous for many things, including the iconic cable cars rushing by the restaurant as well as their 18 Swedish pancakes served with warm maple syrup and whipped butter with bacon or link sausages.

Mama’s at Coit Tower
Coit Tower is considered a San Francisco landmark to locals and tourists alike. It's located near the neighborhood of North Beach, and so visiting Mama’s restaurant should be the next stop after seeing this historic tower. Mama's is a family-owned restaurant that's been around for more than 50 years and it serves breakfast and lunch. From their traditional breakfast items and lunch favorites to their seven different eggs Benedict options, all plates will be "just like Mama used to make," according to Mama’s staff. We suggest the B.L.T. served on a sourdough baguette.

The vast majority of San Francisco visitors never get out of a small part of the city, staying in an area that's about one-tenth of San Francisco's total size. Those areas include:

  • Union Square: One of San Francisco's oldest city parks and the center for shopping and old, elegant hotels. Here's how to tackle it in style.
  • Chinatown: A small area about two by three blocks, filled with souvenir shops, Chinese markets, and restaurants. You can see some interesting sights, but only if you know how to find them.
  • North Beach: It's known as Little Italy and was once the center of beatnik culture in San Francisco. Today, it's a good place for a meal and a stroll to the top of Telegraph Hill to see Coit Tower. Use this guide to find out what to do and where to go.
  • Waterfront, Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf: From the Bay Bridge to Fisherman's Wharf is about 3 miles if you walk it all. Along the way, you'll see the Ferry Building Marketplace, the Pier 39 shopping complex, sunning sea lions and Fisherman's Wharf. Everything you need to know is in this guide.
  • Golden Gate Bridge, Crissy Field, and Fort Point: At the foot of the famous bridge is a less-famous but interesting old Civil War-era fort — and the walk from the Marina to the bridge through Crissy Field is one of the state's best urban hikes.
  • The Presidio: Near the Golden Gate Bridge, this former military base is home to the Walt Disney Family Museum and the site of a summertime food truck festival called the Presidio Picnic.
  • Cliff House, Ocean Beach and Golden Gate Park: The most exciting things to see on the west side of San Francisco are a beach, an oceanfront restaurant, and the city's largest park. Go to Ocean Beach to watch the waves, see the surfers and maybe fly a kite, but don't expect to go swimming. Find out what you need to know about Ocean Beach. The Cliff House nearby has good views. Close to the beach is Golden Gate Park, a 1,000-acre park with dozens of things to see and do, which are all laid out for you in the Golden Gate Park Visitor Guide.
  • You may have heard of Haight-Ashbury from the days of the Summer of Love. Like most things dating from the 1960s, it's not what it used to be, but you may enjoy exploring its shops and thinking about those hippie days.
  • The Castro is San Francisco's best-known gay neighborhood, but it's fun for everyone, especially if you like going to the movies in beautiful old movie palaces like the Castro Theater. Here's a look at what you can see if you go.
  • San Francisco's Mission District draws lots of visitors, especially at night. You can explore the Dolores and Valencia area or check ou the "inner" Mission around 16th and Valencia Streets.
  • Fillmore Street and Japantown are right next to each other. Go to the Fillmore neighborhood to see a little of the San Francisco lifestyle. It's a fun neighborhood street lined with lots of local shops and restaurants. Japantown is so close that you should stop by there, too — at least for a few minutes. Here's what you can do in San Francisco's Japantown.
  • Other fun neighborhoods to explore include Noe Valley (which is adjacent to The Castro), The Marina (near the Golden Gate Bridge), Hayes Valley and Potrero Hill.

If you want to get directions, use the interactive version of the map instead.

Walk or Bike the Golden Gate Bridge

It's impossible to fully grasp the scale of the Golden Gate Bridge without seeing it on foot or two wheels. Even if you're afraid of heights, do your best to suck it up for this walk—because you'll be blown away by the views, the sensation of being atop this San Francisco icon and, on some blustery days, by the fickle clouds that will drift over you in a mist of advection fog.

For those afraid of heights, it may be disconcerting at first to be so high. But there are guard rails. And, the walk gets easier as you grow accustomed to the sensation.

This walking guide (from Crissy Field to the Golden Gate Bridge) will help give you a better idea about how to plan your walking tour of San Francisco's most iconic landmark, or if you'd rather bike, you can always take the ferry back to SF once reaching Sausalito.

Where to Eat and Drink in San Francisco’s Chinatown

The coronavirus crisis hasn’t spared any cuisine or any neighborhood in San Francisco, but the city’s Chinatown — and its Chinese restaurants in general — bore the brunt of the burden weeks before the region-wide fallout.

Even so, any reports of Chinatown’s demise are premature. Yes, many of the big dim sum houses were closed for a while, and the streets are much emptier without the usual tourist foot traffic. By now, however, most of the restaurants have reopened for takeout and/or delivery, including some of the neighborhood’s most beloved, long-enduring spots. Some are even featuring new offerings — like 3rd-party delivery or frozen to-go dim sum — for the very first time.

Here are 19 new and classic Chinatown spots that are open at the time of publication, perfect for satisfying your dim sum or barbecue rice plate cravings.

As of publication time, some of these restaurants offer seated, outdoor dining. However, their inclusion should not be taken as endorsement for sit-down dining, as there are still safety concerns. Studies indicate that COVID-19 infection rates are lower for outside activities, but the level of risk involved with outdoor dining is contingent on restaurants and their patrons following strict social distancing, face covering, and other safety guidelines.

Crack Crab at These 12 San Francisco Restaurants All Year Round

We are crazy for crab with a C. Every year, hordes of foodies mark the start of crab season and dash out to grab dishes of the succulent crustacean. We asked our Facebook and Twitter communities to share with us the names of their top crab restaurants. Here is a list of their top places to grab crab this season. You won't find crab with a K in any of these fine establishments.

Founded in 1849, Tadich Grill is a San Francisco classic to say the least. Serving fresh seafood along with an array of other options, Tadich is a no-nonsense type of restaurant. The spotless white uniforms are a dead giveaway. Come in to get the cioppino, stay for the history. You are in the oldest restaurant in California and in the city that invented the dish you are about to devour.

A staple in Fisherman's Wharf, Sabella & La Torre has been serving up crab since 1927. Why? You can't beat their crab sandwich for $6.

Not in the mood for crab in the traditional sense? Head over to Crustacean for their take on crab. Their menu of Euro-Vietnamese cuisine is imaginative and delicious. Drunken or roasted crab is what to get here along with a side of their famous garlic noodles. This isn't the only restaurant by the An Family on the list. Stay tuned.

Hidden away in Chinatown, R & G Lounge is the perfect spot to have your Chinatown experience and get your crab fix. Along with all the Chinese classics, they serve up crab eight different ways. For us, any combination of crab and garlic and we're in heaven.

Let's go through our mental checklist for this one. Fisherman's Wharf? Check. Restaurant with a view of Alcatraz? Check. Named "Best Food at Fisherman's Wharf" by Sunset Magazine? Check. Crab any way you want it? Check.

Simply put, Crab House is a must-dine restaurant for all seafood lovers. Famous for their secret garlic sauce coupled with spectacular views of the bay and a cozy fireplace, Crab House is truly a feast for the senses.

A place not short on accolades, Swan Oyster Depot comes in at number four on our list. Be prepared to wait 30 to 45 minutes for a seat that is elbow-to-elbow with complete strangers. This is the Swan Oyster Depot experience and it's worth it every time.

Another restaurant that has stood the test of time. Alioto's #8 has been around since 1925. You starting to see a trend? Alioto's recipes have been passed on for seven decades, so the only thing that has changed is the people making them. Once you've enjoyed the food and the view of the harbor, check out the wall of history. You'll not only learn a thing or two about the family bit also about Fisherman's Wharf.

Want a locals-only experience and a reason to go out to the Outer Sunset? Thanh Long is the place to dine like a local. Run by the An Family (the people behind Crustacean), the thing to get here: roasted crab and garlic noodles.

The undisputed people's champion of crab. There's a reason behind it: Scoma's menu is head to toe with crab. Two favorites: The crab cakes and the "lazy man's" cioppino.

Today’s the day to indulge in a seafood extravaganza! Cioppino’s signature dish consists of Dungeness crab legs, clams, mussels, snapper, calamari, and shrimp stewed in a savory tomato broth. Yes, their signature dish is so good they named their restaurant after it.

Locals and visitors alike come to Fog Harbor to enjoy their award winning seafood dishes and clam chowder, along with the picturesque views of the Golden Gate Bridge. They are proud to be the first restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf to serve 100% sustainable seafood

The best things to do in San Francisco

NOTE: Given current regional and national guidelines, certain businesses mentioned in this article are operating on different schedules and at limited capacity. We&rsquove indicated in the text which of our favorite restaurants, bars and museums are temporarily closed right now, but it&rsquos always best to check ahead since venues may be operating a little differently.

It's a weird year (there's no denying it), but there are still plenty of fun things to do in the City by the Bay in 2020. In fact, our list of the best things to do in San Francisco this year includes eating burritos, shopping dispensaries, sipping on craft beer and admiring every view of the Golden Gate Bridge. What more could you want? Get the skinny on which iconic San Francisco attractions are open and which of the best restaurants in San Francisco are offering take-out&mdashnot to mention which outdoor activities have us rushing into the fog. Then get out there and enjoy the city as safely as possible.

Done something on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDoList and tag @TimeOutEverywhere. You can also l earn more about how Time Out selects the very best things to do all over the world.

Top 20 Attractions in San Francisco

When a person thinks of San Francisco, a giant International Orange-colored bridge, a park spanning more than 1,000 acres or a city where contemporary art and culture collide often come to mind. While these mainstays never lose their luster, the reasons to visit San Francisco are even more numerous. Where most visitors go while here might surprise you.

Based on data collected from visitors, here are the top 20 things to do in San Francisco:

    : From amazing views and a sea of sea lions to chowder bread bowls and California wines, your visit to San Francisco starts at PIER 39. PIER 39—the most visited destination in San Francisco—offers two levels of dining, entertainment, shopping and attractions, all surrounded by unbeatable views of the city and the bay. Located along the historic San Francisco waterfront, PIER 39’s location provides the picture perfect backdrop for postcard views of the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, Alcatraz, Angel Island and the famous city skyline. Aquarium of the Bay* at the entrance of The PIER, offers an astonishing view of life teeming under the surface of San Francisco Bay. Be treated to an unforgettable San Francisco experience and discover why a visit to San Francisco starts at The PIER. PIER 39 is located in San Francisco’s Fisherman's Wharf, at Beach Street and The Embarcadero. Parking is conveniently available in the PIER 39 Garage located directly across from the Entrance Plaza.

: Located in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, the de Young showcases American art from the 17th through 21st centuries, modern and contemporary art, photography, international textiles and costumes, and art from Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. The ninth-floor Observation Level of the de Young's Hamon Tower offers breathtaking 360-degree views of San Francisco and the Pacific Ocean.

: Formerly a military post, the Presidio is now a national park site and recreational paradise featuring spectacular vistas, beautiful trails, and historic and architectural treasures. Come for a hike, a walking tour, a picnic, or to view an exhibit at the Walt Disney Family Museum, or take a stroll back in time.

: Oracle Park is the home of the 2010, 2012 and 2014 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants. Located on the city's scenic waterfront, this classic urban ballpark is a short walk from downtown San Francisco and Moscone Center and is accessible by every means of public transit. Take a behind-the-scenes tour of Oracle Park and go places only the players and staff go including the Field, dugout, batting cage, Press Box, Suite Level and View Level! Families and people of all ages will enjoy this 90-minute excursion where one of baseball’s most historic franchises plays.

: Built to commemorate Californian soldiers who died in World War I, the Legion of Honor displays a collection of more than 4,000 years of ancient and European art and houses the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts in a neoclassic building overlooking Lincoln Park and the Golden Gate Bridge. Multilingual tours available.

15 Best Places to Visit in the San Francisco Bay Area

The San Francisco Bay Area is home to a multitude of sights and attractions – the most difficult part is deciding what to fit in during a limited period of time, as it would truly take a lifetime to see and do it all. Not only does it include the Golden Gate City and Silicon Valley, but it’s also home to dramatic stretches of sand, some of the world’s finest wine country, redwoods, amusement parks and much more. So, where to begin? These places offer some of the best experiences for any vacation to the San Francisco Bay Area.


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Tilden Regional Park, Berkeley

If you want amazing views of the Bay Area, it’s hard to beat Berkeley’s Grizzly Peak in Tilden Regional Park. Spend the day in the park exploring the botanic garden, visiting the farm and environmental educational center, swimming in the lake or taking a ride on the steam train. Then, after dark, you can head to Grizzly Peak and be mesmerized by the dazzling city lights that seem to stretch forever. If you’re a fine food enthusiast, you may want to plan ahead by making a reservation to dine at Chez Panisse in downtown Berkeley too, renowned as one of the best restaurants in the entire nation.

The Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate Bridge, once referred to as the “bridge that couldn’t be built,” is San Francisco’s most iconic landmark, and one of the seven wonders of the modern world. Opened in 1937, visiting it is a must. If you want to get a picture-postcard shot of the bridge, head to Battery Spencer on the Marin County side. This former military installation once protected the bridge and the bay from invaders during World War II. Drive through the historic, crumbling buildings to land’s end and you can capture a spectacular photo with the bridge and the entire city as the backdrop. But don’t just view the bridge from afar, walk or bike the 1.7-mile span that stretches from San Francisco to the Marine headlands. The bridge’s sidewalks are open during the day to pedestrians as well as bicyclists.

Muir Woods, Mill Valley

Just 12 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge, you can get away from the city and walk among the giants at Muir Woods. It’s especially relaxing place that’s like entering a stunning church cathedral. It’s filled with scenic trails offering something for all levels of hikers and provides a fantastic opportunity to see some of the country’s oldest and tallest trees. Many of these giants are over 1,000 years old. A highlight is Cathedral Grove, where delegates from across the globe placed a plaque in memory of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Visitors can explore the one-half-mile paved main trail with educational exhibits along the way, and those who are more ambitious can follow the signs to longer, intermediate trails, watching out for black-tailed deer, butterflies, bats, jays and Northern spotted owls inside the spectacular canopy recreated by the magnificent trees.


Designation: Bib Gourmand

What Our Inspectors Say: "With a behemoth $14-million space in the Embarcadero Center to call its own, this restaurant and bar is no mom-and-pop Cantonese joint. In fact, its dining room showcases impressive views of the Ferry building and Bay Bridge from its sunny upper deck patio add to that a beautiful and polished interior space offering sun-drenched rooms as well as more intimately lit nooks. For lunch, you can order from the extensive dim sum selection, a separate kitchen menu or simply pick whatever strikes your fancy from the passing carts. From sesame balls to fried daikon and shrimp rolls, one really can't go wrong. For dinner though, go for the crispy, golden-brown Peking duck, served with crunchy cucumber and scallions, steamed buns and a decadent house-made sauce."

More Related Articles on PlanetWare.com

More on San Francisco: Plan out a free walking tour beginning in Chinatown with the help of our San Francisco Walking Tour. For families looking for activities to entertain children, see our article on San Francisco with Kids: Top Things to Do.

Exploring Northern California: San Francisco is the gateway to some of California's most amazing sites. In three or four hours you can be exploring the sites of Yosemite National Park or gazing out at Lake Tahoe. If you don't want to go that far, have a look at our top day trips from San Francisco to see where you can get to in even less time.

Watch the video: TOP 10 RESTAURANTS IN SF: Locals Guide to Best Spots from Ten Different Cuisines (May 2022).