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 February 20, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What is public transportation like in San Francisco?

    The city of San Francisco offers locals and tourists several public transportation options. The MUNI is a bus and underground service that runs 24 hours, 7 days a week. MUNI operates 80 routes that cover the entire city. Tickets are $2 each.

    The Bay Area Rapid Transit, or BART, runs under the streets of San Francisco. It extends to parts of the East and South Bays, making it an ideal transportation choice for people who need to leave the city. The Caltran is a train service with daily routes from South San Francisco to Silicon Valley and San Jose. Fares for both the BART and Caltran depend on how far one is traveling.

    For a fun, old-fashioned ride through downtown San Francisco, Chinatown, or North Beach, hop on the Cable Car. The outdoor trolley costs $6 per ride.

    Cabs can sometimes be hard to find, but with a little luck, you can hail a YellowCab or Desoto Taxi. Ordering an Uber car is another easy option. Simply download the app on your smartphone and go from there.
  • On February 20, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What are quirky local customs in San Francisco?

    First things first, San Franciscans are particular about what non-natives call their hometown. If you refer to the city as San Fran or Frisco, you'll stick out like a sore thumb. Locals simply refer to San Francisco as SF or The City.

    If you attend a baseball game at AT&T park and the 2012 World Series Champions the Giants win, take note of the music that plays on the loudspeaker: I Left My Heart in San Francisco by Tony Bennet.

    Fernet Branca is a bitter Italian spirit that is beloved by many a San Francisco bar goer. Revelers enjoy the herbaceous drink as a shot or sipped slowly from a small glass.

    Locals aren't afraid to brave the elements for food. They'll wait in long lines if it means scoring the most talked about cup of coffee, scoop of ice cream, or out-there doughnut flavor. They are also known to withstand windy, foggy, and cold conditions during summer's food festivals.
  • On February 20, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What are the best souvenirs to buy in San Francisco?

    Although tchotchkes, magnets, sweatshirts, and mugs can be found at any of San Francisco's most trafficked tourist areas like Fisherman's Wharf or Pier 39, with a little digging, one can easily walk away with a more memorable souvenir of the city by the bay.

    If you're in the mood for something edible, you can't go wrong with San Francsico's signature bread, sourdough. The bread was first created by the Boudin family in 1849 when wild yeasts native to the area gave a significant flavor to their homemade French bread. Boudin still makes its famous loaves today, so grab a couple of baguettes before you head to the airport. Tartine, in the Mission District, is another bakery that's renowned for its amazing sourdough.

    Sports fans should head to the Giants' Dugout where they can score plenty of orange and black gear from the 2012 World Series Baseball champions. From zip-up jackets to socks, there's something for everyone at the store which is located at AT&T park.

    Want to remember your stay with a piece of art? Local artist Michael Schwab has created a variety of prints that feature the city's most loved landmarks, from Alcatraz to Crissy Field.     
  • On February 11, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What new hotels are in San Francisco?

    Not many new large hotels have opened up in San Francisco recently, but come mid-February, the first new hotel to open its doors in the city since 2008 is the Hotel Zetta. Located on 5th Street near the Westfield Shopping Centre in downtown, this innovative hotel is technology driven and pet friendly. Much of the modern decor is made from recycled items like old wine bottles and sunglass lenses.

    A new bed and breakfast, the Inn at the Presidio, opened last spring at the historic Pershing Hall in the Presidio. What used to house the US Army back in the day is now home to the lodge's 22 charming rooms. Many of the rooms, which are decorated in a casual masculine style, have porches with rocking chairs.
  • On February 2, 2013
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  • On January 29, 2013
    Katie Sweeney is now following Rebecca Reynolds
  • On January 29, 2013
    Katie Sweeney is now following Jordan Lawson
  • On January 29, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What are the best Union Square hotels in San Francisco?

    Union Square, which is ground zero for tourists, is located in the heart of San Francisco. There's countless hotels surrounding the square but these are the best places to stay.

    Located directly on the square and first opened in 1904, The Westin St. Francis is the 'grand dame' of the city's historic hotels. However, the hotels amenities are hardly old school, it offers modern ground-breaking luxuries in an elegant landmark setting.

    Another of San Francisco's historic hotels is the Sir Francis Drake, which is just off the square on Powell Street. It's contemporary regal style is inviting and the hotel's restaurant, Scala's, is a beloved local institution run by a former Top Chef contestant.

    A little further up on Powell Street, is the Mystic Hotel, chef Charlie Palmer's culinary boutique destination. The hotel was recently remodeled and has a sleek minimalist look with food-centric amenities.

    On the other side of Union Square is the Palomar Hotel, a luxury artful hotel with exceptional hospitality. The accommodations are sophisticated and although the hotel is on a bustling street, the rooms are quiet and cozy.
  • On January 29, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What are the best food gifts to buy in San Francisco?

    San Francisco is definitely a food lover's town and a trip to the city is the perfect time to pick up some local artisan food gifts. Here are the best places to shop for food gifts.  

    Boudin Bakery. Known as the original San Francisco sourdough bakery, Boudin has been making its signature loaves since 1849. On the day you plan on leaving, swing by the flagship store at Fisherman's Wharf and pick up a couple of baguettes or rounds to enjoy when you arrive home.

    Ghiraredelli Chocolate. Like Boudin, the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company is one of San Francisco's oldest food producers — it's been around since 1852! With classic flavors like dark chocolate caramel, milk chocolate, and white chocolate, chocolate lovers will devour their assortment of gourmet chocolate squares. Don't forget about Ghirardelli's excellent baking chocolate: the baking bars, chocolate chips, and ground cocoa are great gifts for the baker in your life.   

    Green Apple Books. Many of the city's best restaurants have published cookbooks sharing the secrets to their memorable cuisine. These cookbooks are a great gift for someone who loves to experiment in the kitchen. Browse the selection of cookbooks at the city's preferred independent book store, Green Apple Books. Our picks for local cookbooks? The SPQR cookbook celebrates the Fillmore Street restaurant's regional and traditional Italian cuisine. Recipes include chestnut pasta with broccoli and burnt orange sauce and fluke crudo with sausage-stuffed olives. The Tartine Bread cookbook features recipes from the Mission District's most beloved bakery, Tartine. It also provides the sercrets to making the bakery and sandwich shop's sourdough bread, which has a cult-like following. The Bi-Rite Creamy always has lines around the block, but you'll be able to savor their ice cream in the comforts of your home with the cookbook Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones, which has recipes for our favorite flavors: salted caramel and balsamic strawberry.

    The Ferry Building. If you're feeling creative, head to the Ferry Building and browse the shops to put together your own one of a kind food gift basket. Select an award-winning cheese at Cowgirl Creamery, then pick up bread from Acme Bread Company and salumi from Boccalone to pair with the cheese. Miette offers amazing desserts like macaroons and gingersnaps, while Blue Bottle Coffee serves up the city's best beans.  
  • On January 25, 2013
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  • On January 24, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    Where is Napa Valley in relation to San Francisco?

    The gorgeous Napa Valley is located roughly 60 miles north of San Francisco. Home to some of California's most sought after wineries, the Napa Valley, and its neighboring county, Sonoma, are the state's oldest wine making regions.

    Wine aficionados should definitely make a trip to the valley where one can taste small production wines, take cave tours, and barrel sample young wine. Napa's also known for its food scene and world-renowned restaurants such as Thomas Keller's The French Laundry. Notable wineries include Chateau Montelena, Stag's Leap, Opus One, Domaine Carneros, and Trinchero Estates.

    There's no direct public transportation route to Napa, but many bus and limo tours make the hour-long trip north. If you're renting a car and driving to the Napa Valley, your starting location is important. When closer to the Golden Gate Bridge, it's quickest to drive through Marin and Sonoma. When closer to the Bay Bridge, it's best to drive through Berkeley and Vallejo.  
  • On January 24, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What are some things to know before visiting San Francisco?

    Before planning any trip, it's good to get to know your destination a little in advance. Here's the 411 on San Francisco. Although San Francisco is the most well known city in Northern California, it's weather does not mimic the rest of the state. The city is relatively cool year round, with average temperatures the same in January and July. Rarely do the temps rise above 75°F and the chilly fog generally rolls in daily. Since the weather can change from neighborhood to neighborhood, it's best to pack an assortment of clothing and plenty of layers.

    Cabs in San Francisco are far and few between. It's difficult to hail one on the street, especially during peak hours and in off the beaten track areas. Plan in advance for travel arrangements to and from the airport and be sure to program the number of a reliable cab company, like Uber or Yellow, into your cell phone.

    San Francisco is a city filled with food lovers and tech geeks, so be prepared to enjoy everything they have to offer. There's wonderful restaurants in every neighborhood and almost everyone is trying out a new phone application or has an idea for a startup.
  • On January 24, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    Where is the best shopping in San Francisco?

    Although San Francisco is not known for being a fashion city, there are plenty of wonderful spots to get carried away with your credit card. Downtown's Union Square is the home to Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Macy's and designer boutiques like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Bulgari. Just up the street on Market, is the Westfield Centre, a dome-like indoor shopping mecca where high (Bloomingdales, Tory Burch, Michael Kors) meets low (Zara, Madewell, H&M).

    On the other side of Union Square is the legendary Wilkes Bashford, which has been a shopping instittution for over 50 years and was recently remodeled. At this impeccable 7-story townhouse, you'll find a vast assortment of clothing, jewelry, and accessories by international names such as Pucci, Christian Louboutin, Loro Piana, and Ermenegildo Zegna.

    Many other streets are worth paying a visit to, as they offer locally made goods and a wide selection of items. On Fillmore Street in Pacific Heights, you'll find beloved nationals Marc by Marc Jacobs and Jonathan Adler and neighborhood favorites Heidi Says and Margaret O'Leary. Union Street is another place where there's a variety of shops, from the dress-filled Ambiance to the reader's heaven Chronicle Books. Hayes Street has a sprinkling of wonderful home stores along with the popular mens and women's fashion boutique, Azalea.
  • On January 19, 2013
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  • On January 17, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What are the best bars in San Francisco?

    San Francisco is a cocktail lovers dream come true. There's the perfect bar for everyone, from the Caribbean-obsessed rum drinker (Smuggler's Cove) to the beer aficionado (Toronado). The best bars, however, are the ones that offer hand-crafted libations in a festive and welcoming atmosphere. New and old, here are five watering holes locals and tourists will love.

    Rye is an establishment that's credited with bringing the herb-infused cocktail movement to the forefront. The refreshing basil gimlet is a must drink.

    Inventive modern drinks and classic cocktails, like the Pimm's Cup, can be found at 15 Romolo. The circus fare food menu delivers delectable bar snacks to hungry patrons.

    Just up the street is Comstock Saloon, the ideal spot for homey Southern-inspired cuisine like shrimp po'boys and pig in a biscuit. Old-school cocktails, think Manhattans and Southsides, are their speciality. The nightly musical performance and slowed down feel of the bar will take you back to a lost era.

    Part sports bar, part cocktail haven, Jasper's Corner Tap has an extensive beer list and awesome cocktail selection. The food options are stellar bar staples: salt and pepper fried calamari, deviled eggs, and smoky macaroni and cheese.

    Tradition, the newest bar from the owners of Bourbon and Branch and Rickhouse, is by far their best yet. It's a speakeasy with a warm and cozy feel. From the frozen margarita to the potent negroni, the menu highlights the best drinks of the traditional American bar.