Katie Sweeney

Correspondent

  • San Francisco, CA, USA

Katie Sweeney is a correspondent based in San Francisco who covers the city for Forbes Travel Guide. A Bay Area native, she was one of the founding editors of PopSugar’s online food destination, YumSugar. An adventurous eater with a flair for parties, Sweeney is constantly tracking down the city’s newest pizza places, cocktail hot spots and neighborhood dive bars. She chronicles her escapades as a San Francisco girl-about-town on her website, Six Twists. She also writes for Eater, Grub Street and CitySearch.

  • On March 26, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What are the best places for brunch in San Francisco?

    When it comes to the best (fill-in-the-blank) food, San Franciscans are incredibly opinionated. Everyone has a favorite place for the best pizza, fried chicken, and burger. That being said, here are my reccomendations for the best places for brunch in San Francisco.

    Presidio Social Club. Quality cuisine and a down home atmosphere make this restaurant a family favorite for brunch. They have an assortment of morning cocktails that pair wonderfully with everything from the scrambled egg chilequiles to the brioche beignets.

    Zazie. On a sunny weekend morning, the charming back patio at this cafe is an excellent spot for brunch. There are an assortment of Benedicts on the menu; the crab Benedict with extra runny eggs is a personal obsession. The gingerbread pancake with lemon curd is a must order.

    The Grove. For a quick weekday brunch, The Grove is an ideal restaurant. There's several locations of this casual eatery around the city and all offer indoor and outdoor seating and a delicious menu of items ranging from huevos rancheros to eggs Florentine.

    Foreign Cinema. Looking for an upscale somewhat fancy pants brunch? You can't beat the Mission's Foreign Cinema. It's been serving brunch to San Franciscans for twenty years, so grab a group of friends, make a reservation, and enjoy everything from the menu that includes a selction of eggs, muffins, and homemade jam.

    Boulette's Larder. Located in the Ferry Building, Boulette's Larder is hyper local, super seasonal California cuisine at its best. The juice is fresh squeezed, the eggs slow poached, and the kitchen stunningly decorated.
  • On March 22, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What are the best golf courses in San Francisco?

    There are six golf courses in San Francisco: Presidio Golf Course, San Francisco Golf Club, Lincoln Park, Golden Gate Park, the Olympic Club, and Harding Park. The most famous and prestigious course is the Olympic Club; in June 2012, the club hosted the US Open. However, the Olympic Club is private, so the general public and tourists can not play on the course unless they know a member of the club.

    After the Olympic Club, the next best course is Harding Park. Opened in 1925, Harding Park covers 163-acres along the shores of Lake Merced. Owned by the city of San Francisco, the course, which has a history of hosting both local amateur and national professional championships, was remodeled in 2002. The layout of the 18 holes was created by the same team who designed the Olympic Club.

    Take note that conditions for golf in San Francisco are difficult. Chilly afternoons plagued with fog and wind make it hard for players to spot the ball and execute long drives.
  • On March 22, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What are the best golf courses in San Francisco?

    There are five golf courses in San Francisco: Presidio Golf Course, Lincoln Park, Golden Gate Park, the Olympic Club, and Harding Park. The most famous and prestigious course is the Olympic Club; in June 2012, the club hosted the US Open. However, the Olympic Club is private, so the general public and tourists can not play on the course unless they know a member of the club.

    After the Olympic Club, the next best course is Harding Park. Opened in 1925, Harding Park covers 163-acres along the shores of Lake Merced. Owned by the city of San Francisco, the course, which has a history of hosting both local amateur and national professional championships, was remodeled in 2002. The layout of the 18 holes was created by the same team who designed the Olympic Club.

    Take note that conditions for golf in San Francisco are difficult. Chilly afternoons plagued with fog and wind make it hard for players to spot the ball and execute long drives.
  • On March 21, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What are the best stores for designer clothes in San Francisco?

    While San Francisco is home to many international brands and department stores, like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Neiman Marcus, and Sak's Fifth Avenue, there are three boutiques that offer the best selection of designer clothes around.

    Wilkes Bashford. Located on Sutter Street, this 7-story shop has been dressing San Francisco's elite since 1966. In November of 2012, the store was completely renovated with a townhouse-inspired design. Wilkes Bashford hosts weekly trunk shows featuring both mens and womenswear. Designer collections include Carven, J Mendel, Pucci, Loro Piana, Lanvin Men's, and Ermenegildo.

    Carrots. Owned by two sisters and located on Montgomery Street in the charming Jackson Square, Carrots is the boutique for cutting edge womenswear. The store has a perfectly curated collection of contemporary classics from Proenza Schouler, Yigal Azrouël, and Kaufman Franco.

    Jeremys. Found in South Beach on the corner of Second and South Park, Jeremys is a department store that's filled with designer clothes at discounted prices. Browsing the racks is sort of like hunting for treasure, as some of the items are damaged, but the majority of clothes are pieces that were used in advertisements and on displays.
  • On March 15, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What is the San Francisco Giants’ AT&T Park like?

    The San Francisco Giants' AT&T Park is a home of champions. As winners of both the 2012 and 2010 World Series, the SF Giants are a team that is truly loved by the city and it's crazy, loyal, orange-and-black wearing fans.

    Located in San Francisco's South Beach and positioned directly on the Bay, AT&T Park is a relatively new stadium — it opened its doors in 2000. The ballpark has beautiful views of the Bay and McCovey Cove, a nearby area in the water where boats camp out during games waiting to catch fly balls. Although the majority of seats are somewhat sheltered, during the cool summer months it can be quite chilly at games, especially when seated in the bleachers.

    From bacon-wrapped hot dogs to garlic fries to Irish coffees to crab sandwiches, there are plenty of quintessential San Francisco food and beverage options. If you have the chance to attend a game, I highly recommend it!
  • On March 15, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What is the one must-do activity when visiting San Francisco?

    I love San Francisco with all my heart and any time someone is visiting, I make sure they do one very important thing: cross the Golden Gate Bridge! It's on the top of the must-do activity list. The Golden Gate Bridge is the San Francisco landmark and gateway to the Pacific Ocean. It's one thing to snap a few photos from Crissy Field, but it's another thing entirely to cross the bridge. There's something almost magical about it. You get a stunning view of the city, Alcatraz, East Bay, and ocean. Crossing underneath the arches and taking a photo while looking up is mandatory! Once you've crossed the bridge, head up to the Marin Headlands for a beautiful bird's eye view of the bridge and bay or pull into the parking lot at the bridge's end and pose for photos below the arches with the city as a backdrop.
  • On March 14, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What are the best ways to see San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge?

    Photo Courtesy of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide No trip to San Francisco is complete without seeing the Golden Gate Bridge. The city's most recognizable monument is visible from many places, but the best spot for taking in its majestic beauty is Crissy Field. Located underneath and to the right of the bridge, Crissy Field has a lovely walking path that stretches from the Embarcadero to the bottom of the bridge. With a small beach that's crowded on sunny days, the path leads visitors beside the Bay and is an ideal spot for snapping photos of the Golden Gate.

    If you have time and the transportation, another great way to check out the Golden Gate Bridge is to cross it by car. You'll get an up close and personal look of the red towers and long cables. When you've crossed the bridge, take the exit toward the Marin Headlands. The drive is steep and windy, but once you get to the top, you'll be rewarded with a stunning view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the entire city in the background. Hopefully, there will be no fog obstructing your view!
  • On March 14, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What are the best things to do in Marin County near San Francisco?

    Marin County, which is located directly north of San Francisco, is a quick 10 minutes away from the Golden Gate Bridge. Celebrated for its wealth, liberal politics, and natural beauty, Marin County's most well known cities are Mill Valley, Sausalito, Tiburon, and San Rafael. The county is home to Skywalker Ranch, the headquarters of George Lucas' motion picture empire, and San Quentin Prison, one of California's highest security penitentiaries. From shopping to hiking to fine dining, Marin offers plenty of things to do.

    If you want to purchase local goods, head to downtown Mill Valley. The cute square is filled with unique boutiques. Margaret O'Leary is a beloved local shop dedicated to interesting womenswear pieces. Celebrity chef Tyler Florence's flagship store is a great place to pick up cookbooks, culinary tools, and innovative spices. Around the corner is his wife Tolan Florence's neighborhood boutique, Moss & Daughters. It offers an eclectic mix of home goods and gifts.

    Want to get active? Marin County has countless trails for walking, hiking, and biking. Check out the beauty of the redwoods in Muir Woods or climb Mount Tamalpias for a bird's eye view of the area. The region surrounding Stinson Beach is worth visiting, too. Hike 7.5 miles up the Palomarian Trailhead and you'll arrive at the stunning Alamere Falls.

    For dining with a view, you can't go wrong with one of Sausalito's waterfront restaurants. Cavollo Point's large deck is the perfect place for a leisurely lunch on a sunny day. Tomales Bay is a seafood lover's paradise. Enjoy fresh shucked oysters at Hog Island's local farm or savor a bowl of clam chowder at Nick's Cove.
  • On March 13, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What are the best tours of Alcatraz in San Francisco?

    If you're thinking of skipping Alcatraz island on your trip to San Francisco, think again. Taking the short ferry ride to the Rock and exploring the old jail really is worth it.

    The best way to see Alcatraz is to book a tour as fair in advance as possible. Purchasing a same day ticket is virtually impossible, so once you decide to go, order a ticket online from Alcatraz Cruises. With tickets ranging from $18-91, the company has the lowest tour prices on the internet. Select either a day or night tour. Younger kids might be too scared for the night tour, as it can be quite spooky to check out the former prison in the dark.

    Ferries for day tours leave from Pier 33 at 10 minutes and 30 minutes after each hour, from 9 am until 3 pm. There are only two night ferries: one at 5:55 pm and another at 6:30 pm. Plan for 2.5 to 3 hours for your trip.  

    I highly recommend doing the audio tour — it's absolutely fascinating. Upon arrival at the island, you'll be given a set of headphones and a remote control that allows you to pause the narrative at any time. The incredibly informative audio tour is brought to life by a group of men who lived on the island. It includes stories told by inmates and prison guards.
  • On March 12, 2013
    Shannan Finke is now following Katie Sweeney
  • On February 21, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What are the best hotels in San Francisco’s East Bay?

    The best hotel in San Francisco's East Bay has to be the Claremont Hotel Club and Spa, which has been serving guests in the area for the past 98 years. It has 279 rooms and no two are exactly alike — many of the rooms offer spectacular views of the sparkling bay, San Francisco, and the Golden Gate Bridge.

    The Claremont was originally a private residence built by a Kansas farmer who struck it rich during Calirfornia's Gold Rush era. Today, the majestic hotel is a quiet escape from the bustling UC Berkeley campus and crowded Piedmont Avenue. The full-service spa and salon provides guests with the utmost in luxury services.
  • On February 21, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What are the best historic hotels in San Francisco?

    When it comes to historic San Francisco hotels, there are three that instantly come to mind: The Fairmont Hotel, the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, and the Palace Hotel.

    The Fairmont Hotel sits on top of San Francisco's Nob Hill. It has 591 guest rooms and the famed Tonga Room tiki bar. The hotel was named after a mining magnate and U.S. Senator, James Graham Fair. The Fairmont was almost done being built when the 1906 earthquake shook the city. While the exterior shell remained, its interior had to be remodeled by beloved local architect Julia Morgan. Thus, its doors first opened in 1907.

    The Sir Francis Drake Hotel, on the Powell and Post corner of Union Square, opened in 1928 as a sleek, modern, and dynamic new style of hotel. Rooms had icy cold water on tap, radios, and special glass panes that allowed guests to suntan indoors. Similar to it's present day counterpart, the Starlight Room, the rooftop bar was an instant sensation that both locals and tourists enjoyed.

    The Palace Hotel was built in 1875 and at the time, was one of the largest most costly hotels in the world. Today's Garden Court was originally the hotel's carriage entrance. The hotel withstood the 1906 earthquake, but was devasted by the resulting fire and it was closed for three years for renovations. Known as the Grand Dame of San Francisco's hotels, the Palace offers many treasures from the famed Pied Piper of Hamelin mural to the original recipe for green goddess dressing.
  • On February 21, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    Where is the best architecture in San Francisco?

    Known for its incredibly hilly landscape, San Francisco also offers visitors spectacular urban architecture throughout the city. With it's rusty red color and sweeping towers, the Golden Gate Bridge is a one-of-a-kind architectural structure known all over the world. The Palace of Fine Arts is a gorgeously lit Beaux-Arts dome that was originally constructed for the 1915 Panana-Pacific Exposition. The Transamerica Pyramid is the tallest building in the city; it defines San Francisco's iconic skyline. The Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, is a white greenhouse that is home to a collection of rare plants. Grace Cathedral is the city's beautiful European-style episcopal church that has two medieval-style labyrinths. Another Beaux-Arts monument is the City Hall. At 308 feet high, it's slightly taller than the building it's modeled after: Washington D.C's Capital Building. The Painted Ladies, a row of colorful Victorian and Edwardian houses on the border of Alamo Square Park, were made famous by their appearance in the popular 90's television show Full House.
  • On February 21, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What are the best luxury hotels in San Francisco?

    Like any major metropolitan city, San Francisco has its fair share of luxurious lodgings. Here's a round up of the best high end hotels in the city by the bay.

    The Fairmont. As a city landmark, a stay at the famed Fairmont will take you back in time to old San Francisco. Located on the top of Nob Hill, the hotel is central to many of SF's top attractions and home to breathtaking bay views. The hotel's bar, the Tonga Room, is a local institution and known for it's indoor rain showers, floating stage, and tiki cocktails.

    The St. Regis. A relaxing and blissful time is guaranteed at the St. Regis in San Francisco. The 3rd Street hotel offers guests plush, contemporary-designed rooms, exceptional city views, and a variety of self-indulgent spa treatments.

    Four Seasons. An oasis in the middle of downtown Market Street, the Four Seasons is synonymous with luxury. Guests can enjoy a perfectly cooked steak at the restaurant, a leisurely dip in the indoor pool, sample local wines at the wine bar, and receive a variety of rejuvenating treatments at the spa.
  • On February 21, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What are the best wedding venues in San Francisco?

    With it's rolling hills, beautiful architecture, and stunning monuments like the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco is great location for the city wedding of your dreams. Here are my top four favorite wedding venues:

    The De Young Museum. Located in the middle of Golden Gate Park, the De Young offers brides plenty of contemporary location choices. Host the ceremony in the gardens, the cocktail hour at the 9th floor Hamon Observation Tower, and the reception in the museum's main lobby. Special events are allowed to take place daily from 6:30 pm to 1 am and amplified music is okay both indoors and outdoors.

    City Hall. San Francisco's City Hall is a gorgeous historic building and classic location for urban nuptials. Although booking a ceremony at City Hall requires far-in-advance planning, the setting, especially the Rotunda, is worth the extra effort.

    The Ferry Building. With sweeping views of the Bay Area, this landmark is an excellent place for an intimate wedding. The Grand Hall is the best spot for a larger party and the Port Commission is perfect for a smaller reception. The only downside of a Ferry Building wedding is that the caterers are provided and you can not select your own.

    Asian Art Museum. Similar to City Hall, the Asian Art Museum is housed in a building that's filled with history: it was once San Francisco's main public library. Weddings are contracted from 5:15 pm - 1:30 am year round and amplified music is allowed.