San Francisco – City by the Bay – Part II

5. What kind of nightlife opportunities exist in the city?

 

San Francisco offers a bustling nightlife and a variety of nightclubs, lounges, and bars.

 

Here are just some recommendations: Top of the Mark in Nob Hill has been a San Francisco landmark since 1939, it is known for breathtaking, 360-degree views of San Francisco and the Bay Area. Cocktails are served starting at 5 pm; Yoshi’s Jazz Club & Japanese Restaurant at East Bay is a world-class jazz house and “the” place for jazz in the Bay Area; Bin 55 in Yerba Buena is a Northern California wine bar featuring 55 wines by the glass with every varietal coming from the Bay Area, Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Monterey. Harlot, located in SOMA is an upscale VIP lounge featuring modern Goth décor, world-renowned DJs, performances and special events, catering to an after work and late night crowd. Infusion Lounge at Union Square is San Francisco’s new premier restaurant/lounge. It features refined Asian influenced design, 6,000 square feet, VIP room, and a dance floor. Find more information on onlyinsanfrancisco.com.

Exotic entertainment at Asia SF

 

6. San Francisco also offers great opportunities for shopping. Please tell us more.

 

In Union Square, all things fashionable and hip can be gazed upon, tried on and purchased. Big-name retail, posh hotels and superb theater are the name of the game. But take a moment to step out of the riptide of people walking through the square, and you’ll see San Francisco in all its melting-pot glory.

 

San Francisco Centre — Westfield Mall opened in November 2006.
Union Square, home to Nordstrom and the West Coast flagship Bloomingdale’s, is home to more than 170 exclusive boutiques and specialty stores. The Restaurant Collection under the Dome features Straits, LarkCreekSteak, Zazil Mexican Cuisine and Cocola Bakery, Out The Door, witchcraft. You can also find here nine-screen Century Theatres, The Food Emporium featuring Bristol Farms and Valet Lounge on Mission Street. It is located on Fifth and Market Streets, adjacent to Union Square and across from the Powell Street cable car turnaround.

Interesting bread creations at the Boudin Bakery

 

You can shop for one-of-a-kind items at Hayes Valley. The area, bordered by the Van Ness performing-arts district and the Western Addition around Laguna Street, has developed into a haven for haute couture. For trendy fashion boutiques, SoHo-style funky art galleries, high-end interior-decorating shops, top-notch restaurants and hip nightspots, Hayes is perhaps the more independent side of Union Square.

The success of Hayes Valley’s current commercial district was boosted in part by the destruction caused by the 1989 earthquake to the Central Freeway, which had destroyed entrance ramps on Franklin and Gough streets. The freeway was an eyesore and created noise pollution that kept businesses and foot traffic away. Not long after that part of the freeway came down, the community began to transform, and commerce moved in.

Walking up toward the Coit Tower

 

Unlike some other parts of San Francisco, Hayes Valley has managed to retain a sense of community and a nonexclusive feel despite the fast build-up and high price tags. Some of the businesses that braved the less-than-savory days are still around, such as the Hayes Street Grill, now twice its original size. But many of the shops sprouted up in the ’90s, making Hayes Valley a real destination spot. The combination results in a wide diversity in clientele. While high-end San Franciscans sip $7 cocktails at Absinthe, down the street many are powering down an entire meal for around the same price at Flipper’s. Now, tourists also head here specifically for the shopping, for one-of-a-kinds like a buffalo-leather chair or an exclusive Sue Wong Art Deco gown.

One of the many galleries in San Francisco

 

Since shopping and gallery hopping are two highlights of Hayes Valley, it’s best to go when the full lot are open. Many galleries are closed Mondays, and some don’t open Tuesdays, either. Shops tend to open around the 11 am mark, though some are open earlier. Reservations are needed at most restaurants generally from 6 pm to about 7:30 pm, when operagoers and symphony audiences head off to performances. Seating is easier to find later in the evening.

 

7. Please tell us about the accommodation options in San Francisco.

Lodging options are plentiful and range from boutique to majestic. The best place to book a hotel is again www.onlyinsanfrancisco.com.

Upscale lodging at The Handlery

 

8. What opportunities for sports and physical recreation are there in and around the city?

 

There are plenty of opportunities for sports and physical recreation in San Francisco such as walking, jogging, biking, or golfing. Strolling around the streets of San Francisco is often enough to get your heart racing, the City is brimming with scenic routes just waiting to be discovered. Walk down Hyde Street to find Lombard, “the crookedest street in the world,” or head to Fisherman’s Wharf where jugglers, artists and magicians entertain visitors for hours.

A view towards the Golden Gate Bridge from Fort Mason

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