A Design Lover's Guide to San Francisco

A Design Lover's Guide to San Francisco

Lindsay Tella
Jul 23, 2012

The city by the bay is a truly unique place and holds a special place in my heart. Her funky charm, natural beauty, and delicious cuisine are just a few of the reasons people love it here. As a design lover (and foodie), I've made this destination guide about experiencing San Francisco with all of your senses…


Ben Eine Murals: These grand works of art pop up in the most unexpected locations throughout the city. The top image is one of his typographic murals, located in Hayes Valley.

Golden Gate Bridge: The bridge itself is a no-brainer if you're visiting SF, but your vantage point for enjoying the view is something to consider. My two favorite angles for checking out the 'International Orange' beauty are Fort Point, where you can see the bridge from its underside, and Baker Beach, which offers views of Golden Gate set against the picturesque landscape of the Marin Hills.

Lyon Street Steps: Need some exercise? Work up a sweat at the Lyon Street Steps, while enjoying views over the Marina and across the bay. Cruise around the surrounding neighborhood of Pacific Heights and take in some of the most stunning homes in the city. Afterward, head straight down Lyon Street to Chestnut Street and reward yourself with a Strawberry Fields cocktail on the back deck of the Tipsy Pig.


Heath Ceramics in Sausalito: Hop on the Ferry at Pier One (the Ferry Building) and take the short boat ride to Sausalito. Enjoy the awesome cityscape from afar. In Sausalito you'll find the home base of Heath Ceramics. Tour the studio and shop the discounted dinnerware and coveted overstock tile (only available in store.)

Ferry Building Farmer's Market: Stop by the Ferry Building on a Saturday morning for the farmer's market, and eat your way through the delicious food tents in the back. Under the historic exposed trusses you'll find artisan food shops and specialty cookware stores. If you're a cheese lover, don't leave without tasting a few of the cheeses at Cowgirl Creamery, a local favorite.

Academy of Sciences: Tour the Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, designed by architect Renzo Piano. With an aquarium, planetarium, natural history museum and 2.5 acre green roof, this uber sustainable building is an architectural wonder. Stop in on a Thursday evening for Nightlife and enjoy a few cocktails before perusing the rainforest.

SFMOMA: Browse the galleries at the Museum of Modern Art, and don't forget to check out the sculpture garden roof deck. Coming soon(ish) is a spectacular new addition to the museum.


Public Bikes: SF has a great selection of parks mixed throughout the urban landscape, and South Park is just one of these great little respites. The park is full of little cafes and places to sit outside, it's also home to the famous Public Bikes store and design studio.

Room Service: Take a stroll down Hayes street in Hayes Valley, where you'll find a collection of design stores. Room Service offers some great visual stimulation and unique furniture and accessories for the home. Don't leave the area without grabbing a scoop at Smitten Ice cream. This ice cream will leave you coming back for more (trust me I crave it all the time.) Each serving is made to order with liquid nitrogen — you can't go wrong with the TCHO chocolate.

Zinc Details: Take a walk down Fillmore street in Pacific Heights for design and fashion inspiration. Don't miss Zinc Details, a carefully curated shop of modern furniture, accessories and art, much of which is locally sourced.

Room 4 : Located in the Mission, this store is full of cool and unusual pieces, not to be missed if you're looking to browse vintage goods. David, the store owner, is a good reflection of the items he collects — fun and a little bit funky.


Bar Tartine: Brunch at Bar Tartine will blow your mind. The ambiance makes you want to lounge in the booth all morning, leisurely sipping coffee. The hungarian inspired menu and homemade breads are truly divine, and their french toast is perfection. The Tartine Bakery is another option for those looking to taste the Tartine breads and goodies.

Foreign Cinema: From the entry, you would never guess that this restaurant opens up into a super romantic haven with utterly delicious food. Sit out on the grand patio and enjoy the cuisine at Foreign Cinema as an old movie is projected on the wall beyond.

Bar Jules: Their menu changes daily, embracing local produce and sustainable fish and meats. You'll appreciate the thoughtful and satisfying food offered inside the chic atmosphere of this Hayes Valley hot spot. (If the Chocolate Nemesis Cake is on the menu — get it!)

Delfina: Thin crust pizza that melts in your mouth. You can always order to go and eat it at Dolores Park across the street. Summer film night is currently happening on certain Saturday evenings at dusk. Catch a flick on the lawn while enjoying a slice of pizza.


Inn at the Presidio: The building was originally a US Army Post and has recently been restored into a gorgeous hotel. For those interested in retreating to the more rural side of SF, the location in the Presidio is quite serene and not far from the Golden Gate Bridge.

Airbnb SF: If you're looking for a bargain, airbnb is the way to go. Make your stay a bit more like local living by renting an apartment or just a room in one of the most popular neighborhoods in SF.

Hotel Vitale: Looking for luxury? Hotel Vitale is located right on the water by the Ferry Building. The plush interiors and impressive views provide a restful space at the end of a long day.

Got a favorite San Francisco Spot? We'd love to hear your advice in the comments section below!

(Images:1. & 2. Lindsay Tella, 3. Heath Ceramics 4. Public 5. Tartine Bakery 6. Inn at the Presidio)

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