10 Cool Things to Do in San Francisco Now
There are plenty of iconic attractions that draw crowds to the Bay Area, from climbing Coit Tower to scooting up winding hills on SF's famous trolleys. But if you've been there, done that, check out these new restaurants, bars, museums, shops (and ice cream stops!).
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
After three solid years of revamping by lauded Norway-based design firm Snøhetta, the Museum of Modern Art reopened as the SFMOMA. Its 45,000 square feet of public art is free to enter, and there's an entire floor devoted to the Pritzger Center for Photography, with 17,800 images (including some as old as photography itself). An exhibit on pop, minimal, and figurative art starring Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein is ongoing.
San Francisco Proper Hotel
Interior designer Kelly Wearstler's bold, bohemian aesthetic is all over this Mid-Market newcomer, and it's become one of the hottest new spots in town to stay and socialize. Villon, the property's salon-style lobby restaurant, is loved for its seasonal American plates, while the rooftop cocktail lounge Charmaine's is a year-round meeting place thanks to its fire pits, city views, and stiff, creative cocktails like the Mister Bigglesworth (Lot 40 rye, mezcal, apple molé, and orange bitters).
Salt & Straw
Portlandia’s most delicious edible export now has a Bay Area location in Pacific Heights. Among the many locavore ice cream flavors, we love the Chocolate Gooey Brownie, Mt. Tam Cheese with Toasted Acme Bread, and Feve's Chocolate Cinnamon Toast Crunch. If you don't want to wait in line for a fresh scoop, grab a pint from the freezer and proceed straight to checkout.
The Chinese answer to Eataly, China Live is a 30,000-square-foot foodie emporium that houses multiple restaurants including Eight Tables by James Beard Award-winning executive chef George Chen; inventive bars like Bar Central, where locals flock for Marin Kombucha; and a clean-lined marketplace that’s full of edible Chinese imports (look no further for the most interesting soy sauce selection in the city).
Founded by former Vogue fashion news editor Emily Holt, Hero Shop has clothing racks worthy of the pages of, well, Vogue. The brands on offer include both the usual stylish suspects (Jonathan Adler; Le Labo) and lesser-known names like Bella Freud, a London-based clothing designer who is the great-granddaughter of that Freud. Keep an eye on their website for upcoming events such as DIY Tie-Dye day.
When Hawaiian Erin Lang moved to SF, she became obsessed with making frozen treats. It turned into a calling: she now serves up highly 'grammable popsicles and ice cream sandwiches (like the raspberry mousse dipped in white chocolate and topped with rainbow sprinkles) from both the Garden Creamery food truck and her first brick-and-mortar on 20th Street.
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The female-owned champagne bar The Riddler has made sipping bubbly even more glamorous and fun, with tufted black leather booths and a gilded gold ceiling that gives everyone a fresh-from-a-facial glow. We love that the menu is both high (Veuve Clicquot rosé from Reims, France) and low (the popcorn is serve yourself, and on the house).
Finn Town Tavern
One of the hottest spaces for rent in San Francisco: Finn Town, on Market Street, where all-American comfort food is the order du jour for whatever you're celebrating. Expect crowdpleasers like Dungeness crab “tots,” short rib sloppy joe’s, and even a “Friendsgiving” plate complete with herbed turkey in Grand Marnier cranberry sauce and leg confit stuffing.
The Castro Fountain
Deco-inspired bakeshop Castro Fountain looks straight out of a Wes Anderson movie set—and has waiters in bow ties to boot. Our favorite throwback ice cream flavor is hands down the huckleberry and brown sugar buttermilk, but even the vegan offerings are spot on (try the guava sorbet).
Who doesn't love a rooftop cocktail bar? Everdene is the cherry on top of Richard Branson's hipper-than-thou Virgin Hotels San Francisco, a 12th-story aerie with lots of spaces to sit or stand—the bar is where to see and be seen—and enjoy concoctions like Atomic Blonde (gin, sweet vermouth, lillet blanc, and bitters) and snacks including tuna tostadas, pumpkin hummus, and fish tacos. It can get breezy at night, but that's what heat lamps and rocking DJs are for, right?