Kimberley Lovato

Correspondent

  • San Francisco, CA, USA

Kimberley Lovato is a correspondent who covers San Francisco for Forbes Travel Guide. The champagne-loving Francophile is also an award-winning author and journalist whose articles about travel, lifestyle and food have appeared in National Geographic Traveler, American Way, Executive Travel, AFAR, Delta Sky, Condè Nast Traveller (UK), Wine Enthusiast, Frommers.com, LeitesCulinaria.com and more. Her culinary travel book, Walnut Wine & Truffle Groves, won the 2012 Gold Lowell Thomas Award. Lovato snagged a 2012 Bronze Lowell Thomas Award for her essay Lost and Liberated, which also appears in Best Women’s Travel Writing. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and daughter and is always planning that next fabulous trip.

  • On April 20, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best art galleries in San Francisco?

    In San Francisco, art imitates life imitates art. You need only browse the city’s varied neighborhoods to find hundreds of galleries that reflect our city’s love of art and appreciation for the eclectic. Whether you’re looking to deck your walls with the works of local emerging artists or you’d rather appreciate from afar, San Francisco has a place to peruse.


    Fine art galleries began setting in around Union Square in the 1980s The Dolby Chadwick Gallery is a light and airy space at founded in 1997.  Here, you’ll find the works of established, mid-career, and emerging painters, photographers and sculptors, as well as museum quality prints. The Dolby Chadwick Gallery hosts ten exhibitions a year. Just down the street in the Crocker Galleria is the Art People Gallery (www.artpeople.net) Part exhibit space and part social networking tool, Art People brings clients and buyers together at several promotional events throughout the year. The onsite collection showcases a original paintings, sculptures, and photographs from local and international artists.


    In San Francisco’s buzzy Mission neighborhood, CITY ART is the place to go to support local creatives. This cooperative gallery, owned and operated by almost 200 artists, brings affordable art to the local community. Check out one of their open receptions, held the first Friday of every month.  Similarly Art Explosion Studios and Gallery  is San Francisco's largest collective with studio space for 300 local artists to work and exhibit.

    The SFMOMA Artists Gallery has an active exhibition calendar, eight per year, and represents Bay Area artists at all stages of their careers. Check out the ever-changing works at the Fort Mason location or the museum’s Caffé Museo.

    Not to be missed is the fabulous new Ian Ross Gallery in SoMa. This local “live” artist and muralist has developed quite a following in the Bay Area over the years, so much so that Facebook (you've heard of them, right?) asked Ross, in 2011, to move in and be the company’s resident artist. Stop by his gallery and check out the massive outdoor mural on the exterior parking lot wall.  A few of Ross's other murals can be found around the city too, decorating buildings and walls.
  • On April 20, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What is the best time to visit San Francisco?

    It's always a surprise to vistiors to learn that San Franciso during the summer (July-August) is foggy in the city proper. Head an hour North, South, or East and you'll be in full sunshine.  The best time to visit is late Spring---April/May  or better, the fall---September/October, when fog is less common and the sunshine sets our beautiful city aglow.
  • On April 20, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are quirky local customs in San Francisco?

    Hmmm---San Francisco, like any big city is quirky by way of the variety of people who flock here.  Expect great quirky people watching.  

     I'd say the one thing a traveler should know is that we don't call The City "Frisco" or "San Fran." Ever.  No seriously. Ever.  Call in San Francisco, or The City.

    And while we're on the topic of what not to call it---I know the song says, "Clang Clang Clang Went the Trolley" but we call them Cable Cars.  Never trolly. Uh, huh, it's true. Sorry.  

    Also, be warned, restaurants close early here, even on Saturday night. Don't count on getting a table after 10 at most places. Best to call ahead.

    The Bay to Breakers race is a San Francisco original and May 19, 2013 is the 102nd annual.  Expect a wild spectacle of clothed, painted, costumed, and nude runners and walkers. It's perhaps THE ICONIC quirkly San Francisco tradition.


  • On April 20, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What should I pack for a trip to San Francisco?

    One of the things tourists often miscalculate is the summer weather in San Francisco. I can't tell you how many times I've told people that July and August are cold and foggy only to hear---what? Really? And drive across the bridge on a misty July day and newly purchased "I Heart San Francisco" sweat shirts seem like the latest fashion trend.

    Basically, you never can tell in San Francisco so layering is a good idea.  Thin sweater over a t-shirt, with a wind and water proof jacket at the ready wouldn't hurt.  Evenings are almost always chilly year round, even when the day time temperatures stretch above 80 degrees (which is rare).

    If you're down near the water or on the water, count on wind and, there's lots of walking in San Francisco so bring comfortable walking shoes.

    San Francisco is pretty casual by day, unless you're working in an office. In certain parts of city, I'm pretty sure the only thin people where is yoga pants. But jeans are totally acceptable, even to dinner at night, but why not pack that little black dress, or dinner jacket---you won't look out of place.  San Francisco accepts it all!


    Sunscreen: check  Umbrella:  couldn't hurt   Camera:  Don't leave home with out it!

  • On April 17, 2013
    Mary Connelly is now following Kimberley Lovato
  • On March 29, 2013
  • On March 25, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

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

    Marin County is just across the Golden Gate and San Franciscans love to head there for (often) warmer weather and great natural escapes. There is a lot to do, and a car is recommened for some. Here are a few of my favorite Marin musings.

    The Town of Tiburon is accessible by ferry from downtown San Francisco, as well as by car from Highway 101. Here you'll find a waterfront town with a small main street, a waterfront promenade and stellar views of the bay. Have a bite to eat or drink on the back deck of Sam's Anchor Cafe, a popular sunny day destination for tourists and locals. The cute one room Railroad and Ferry Museum is free and fun to poke into, if only to learn about Tiburon's railroad history.

    From San Francisco or Tiburon, head to Angel Island a state park and wonderful day out, rich in California history. The Island offers miles of hiking and biking trails, including to the top of Mount Livermore, the Island's highest point. The spectacular panoramic views are worth it. There is also a paved Perimeter Road around the entire island. It's not well knowns that Angel Island was an immigrant processing facility for hundreds of thousands of immigrand between1910 to 1940. It is now the site of a museum, renovated and reopened to the public in February 2009.

    Hike Mount Tamalpais, or Mt. Tam as we call it. in Mount Tamalpais State Park. Within the park there 50 miles of hiking trails (that hook up to a network of over 200 miles of others), some easy and some not-so-much. Many offer sweeping views of the bay, the sea, or redwood groves. Or climb to the peak of Mt. Tam, only 2,571 feet!  A great place to start is Mountain Home Inn, a small B&B with large deck and trails that lead to and from the parking lot across the street. It's also a great place to meet and end with a nice cold drink.

    Drive over to West Marin County, home to the small and charming towns of Muir Woods, Stinson Beach, Bolinas, Olema, Inverness, Point Reyes Station, Marshall and Tomales, all on land that belongs to the Point Reyes National Seashore. Here you'll find undisturbed nature, magnificent views and hikes along the coast, and old California hospitality in the inns, shops, markets, and restaurants that populate the exquisite region.  
  • On March 25, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

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

    Marin County is just across the Golden Gate and San Franciscan's love to head there for (often) warmer weather and great escapes.  There is a lot to do but here are a few of my favorite Marin things.

    The Town of Tiburon is accessible by ferry from downtown San Francisco, as well as by car from Highway 101. Here you'll find a waterfront town with a small main street, a waterfront promenade and stellar views of the bay. Have a bite to eat or drink on the back deck of Sam's Anchor Cafe, a popular sunny day destination for tourists and locals. The cute one room Railroad and Ferry Museum is free and fun to poke into, if only to learn about Tiburon's railroad history.

    From San Francisco or Tiburon, head to Angel Island a state park and wonderful day out, rich in California history. The Island offers miles of hiking and biking trails, including to the top of Mount Livermore, the Island's highest point. The spectacular panoramic views are worth it. There is also a paved Perimeter Road around the entire island. It's not well knowns that Angel Island was an immigrant processing facility for hundreds of thousands of immigrand between1910 to 1940. It is now the site of a museum, renovated and reopened to the public in February 2009.

    Hike Mount Tamalpais, or Mt. Tam as we call it. in Mount Tamalpais State Park. Within the park there 50 miles of hiking trails (that hook up to a network of over 200 miles of others), some easy and some not-so-much. Many offer sweeping views of the bay, the sea, or redwood groves. Or climb to the peak of Mt. Tam, only 2,571 feet!  A great place to start is Mountain Home Inn, a small B&B with large deck and trails that lead to and from the parking lot across the street. It's also a great place to meet and end with a nice cold drink.

    Drive over to West Marin County, home to the small and charming towns of Muir Woods, Stinson Beach, Bolinas, Olema, Inverness, Point Reyes Station, Marshall and Tomales, all on land that belongs to the Point Reyes National Seashore. Here you'll find undisturbed nature, magnificent hikes along the coast and old California hospitality in the inns and restaurants that populate the region.  
  • On March 22, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best markets in San Francisco?

    To Market! To Market!  It's a popular thing to do in San Francisco, and with good reason! Local produce, farm fresh meat, and a lively communal atmosphere are just a few. Drop in and see for yourself.


    The Ferry Plaza Market celebrates 20 years this May and is run by CUESA – Center for Urban Education About Sustainable Agriculture. The Market is held on Tuesdays and Saturdays, from 8am- 2pm,  the weekend edition being much larger and more lively. The market is a top destination for visitors and locals.

    The Heart of the City Farmers' Market is held on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and begins at 7am. This farmer-run non-profit farmers market is located in San Francisco's United Nations Plaza and was created over thirty years ago to bring affordably priced produce from small local farms to the heart of the city.  

    The Alemany Farmers Market (100 Alemany Blvd.) is the oldest in the Bay Area, started in the 1940s by long time resident and John Brucato. It offers some of the lowest farmers' market prices in the Bay Area as well as specialty items specific to Asian cuisine. From 6am to 3pm Saturdays.

    The Noe Valley Farmers' Market (24th Street between Vicksburg and Sanchez) is held every Saturday, year round, and is run by members of the community to support the farmers, merchants and neighbors. A real sense of community is pervasive.
  • On March 20, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best rooftop bars in San Francisco?

    As much as we San Franciscans dream of balmy nights under the stars, sipping cocktails in our new sundress and strappy heels, baby, it's cold outside!  Most 'rooftop' bars we go to are inside, but there are a few open air ones too.  Here a few few places to enjoy a lofty libation.   

    The Top of the Mark at the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Hotel is perhaps the best known.  While you won't find a bargain, you will find the vision  of then owner George D. Smith who, in 1939, decided to convert his 19th-floor penthouse apartment into a cocktail lounge. These days visitors and locals ride the elevator up for the views and the 100 martini menu! 

    if you MUST be outside, and there are times when we must, head to Jones. Only three blocks from San Francisco’s historic Union Square, within walking distance to all downtown hotels, this bar/restaurant features a one-of-a-kind 8,000 square foot (heated) courtyard terrace.

    Bisdes the fantastic food at Bluestem Brasserie, and their clever American Road Trip menu, this stylish downtown eatery also has an outdoor patio on the second floor and a mean cocktail list---the perfect pairing for warm San Francisco days and nights.

    The Marriott Marquis hotel in downtown San Francisco has a spectacular view from the 39th floor lounge. 
  • On March 20, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best comedy clubs in San Francisco?

    They say laughter is the best medicine so here's your prescription for the best of San Francisco's funny spots. 

    Cobb's Comedy Club presents the finest comedy talent working today, and has for over 25 years. Located in San Francisco's famous North Beach (Little Italy), Cobb's is a 400 seat venue with a full dinner menu and full-service bar. Make a night of it!

    Punchline Comedy Club has been tickling our funny bones for over 25 years, and has welcomed some of the the nation's best comics including Robin Williams, Ellen Degeneres, Rosie O'Donnell, Drew Carey, Chris Rock and Dana Carvey, to name just a few who have graced this stage. 

    For something a little non-traditional-comedy-club, check out the Secret Improv Society. Their popular theatrical shows blend comedy, music and improvisational theater to create a unique and fun form of entertainment. 


  • On March 20, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What is the hottest nightclub in San Francisco?

    It's been a while since I went "clubbing" in San Francisco so I had to poll a few of my younger friends to find out what's happening.  Surprisingly, a lot of people still prefer the bar/restaurant scene to the nightclub frenzy. "Save it for Miami," one person told me.  But if you just have to get your dance on, Sloane can help you shake your thang.

    Sloane is tucked into an historic building with  20 foot high ceilings, exposed brick walls, and a suspended fireescape where the young DJs spin. Cocktail and bottle menus are displayed on 60inch plasma screens.

    VIP bottle service is also available and you can sign up online to get on the guest list. This is a dress to impress kind of plcae, and people line up early to get in on weekends.

    Or check out The Parlor, which feels like  a piece of old San Francisoc, with a speak easy vibe accented with modern edge.The bar serves top shelf liquors, whiskeys and offers an extensive bottle service menus. In The Club, DJs and live entertainment invite you to dance all weekend long.

    FYI:  Happy Hour at the Parlor is from 4pm-8pm 7 days a week.  We like good things in excess in San Francisco.
  • On March 20, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What is the hottest nightclub in San Francisco?

    It's been a while since I went "clubbing" in San Francisco so I had to poll a few of my younger friends to find out what's happening.  Surprisingly, a lot of people still prefer the bar/restaurant scene to the nightclub frenzy. "Save it for Miami," one person told me.  But if you just have to get your dance on, Sloane can help you shake your thang.

    Sloane is tucked into an historic building with  20 foot high ceilings, exposed brick walls, and a suspended fireescape where the young DJs spin. Cocktail and bottle menus are displayed on 60inch plasma screens.

    VIP bottle service is also available and you can sign up online to get on the guest list. This is a dress to impress kind of plcae, and people line up early to get in on weekends.

    Or check out The Parlor, oozing a speak easy vibe with modern touches like  hi-def TVs, private TVs in private booths, and  top shelf liquors along with bottle service menus. In The Club, DJs and live entertainment invite you to dance all weekend long.
  • On March 19, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best places to see a play in San Francisco?

    From large Broadway productions to inimate playhouses, theater lovers won't be disappointed in San Francisco. Check out these local gems.

    San Francisco Playhouse might be the city's newest, but it has quickly moved center stage when it comes to quality professional theater in an intimate setting on Union Square. The American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.) opened its doors in 1967 and is  recognized for iboth classical works and boldcontemporary performances.  A.C.T. has nearly 3,000 students in its coservatory. For big name musical productions, the Curran is where San Franciscans go. Located just off Union Square, many Broadway national tours have stopped at the Curran including The Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables. Much like the Curran, the Orpheum also hosts largescale musicals as well as other theatrical wonders.The Orpheum has been named a San Francisco Historical Landmark and was built in 1926. For an intimate theater experience, try the Custom Made Theater Co. whose home is the Gough Street Playhouse, a small stage where the audience sits on 3-sides and gets up close to the actors who perform an ecclectic lineup of shows each year.
  • On March 18, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best vegetarian restaurants in San Francisco?

    Eating vegetarian has come a long way since iceberg lettuce and dessing on the side.  Given San Francisco's love of a good meal, it's no surprsie that inventive chefs and restaurants are catering to the carrot crowd, offering varied menus with enough girth to please any type of diner.

    But, for a Vegetarian ONLY outing, I personally love Greens, located at Fort Mason Center.  Greens opened in 1979 and was a pioneer of fine vegetarian cooking in the United States.  The views from the dining room are amazing (boats and Golden Gate), and chef Annie Somerrville sources the best seasonal ingredients  to create magnificent dishes that will even prevent non-vegetarians from ever turning up their noses again.