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 February 15, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best places for opera in San Francisco?

    The San Francisco Opera was was founded in 1923 and is the second largest opera company in North America. The Opening Night Gala at the War Memorial Opera House is one of the city's  most prominent social. If you've forgotten your ball gown, fear not. The Opera has an extensive season, with packages and individual tickets availabe.  
  • On February 15, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best free museums in San Francisco?

    No surprise, San Francisco is an expenisve city and museums are no exception, generally charging an admission price of $10 +, plus special exhibition fees. However they are not entirely budget savaging. A few worthwhile museums around the city are free, and, with some clever planning, many of the "big name" institutions can be friendlier to your pocketbook.

    The Cable Car Museum is one of the freebies and a wonderful way get a look behind the scenes at San Francisco's moving monuments. The museum houses a few ancient cable cars as well as various mechanical tools to teach you how the system works. Head downstairs to see a the cable line running under the building.

    In the center of the Financial District, the Wells Fargo History Museum could be mistaken for a bank if you don't know where to look. On the site where Henry Wells and William G. Fargo first offered banking and express services to Gold Rush pioneers, this free museum is an immersion in California's 49er past, with an old Concord Coach used in the 1860s and a display of gold dust and ore from California's gold country. A free audio tour is also offered.

    The Legion of Honor and  de Young Museum  make up San Franciosco's Fine Arts Museums and are the city's premiere art destinations,welcoming high caliber international exhibitions. Normal admission price is $10 but come on the first Tuesday of the month, admission is free at both venues.

    San Francisco's modern art Mecca, MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) is a must for lovers of the genre, but entry is $18 dollors a pop for adult entry. However, entry on the first Tuesday of the month is free. Also, kids under 12 are always free as are active U.S. Military members. If Tuesday can't work, try Thursday nigth after 6pm when entry is half-price.

     

     


  • On February 15, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best free museums in San Francisco?

    No surprise, San Francisco is an expenisve city and museums are no exception, generally charging an admission price of $10 +, plus special exhibition fees. However they are not entirely budget savaging. A few worthwhile museums around the city are free, and, with some clever planning, many of the "big name" institutions can be a little friendlier to your pocketbook too.

    The Cable Car Museum is one of the freebies and a wonderful way to see the history behind San Francisco's moving monuments. The museum houses a few ancient cable cars as well as various mechanical tools to teach you how the system works. Head downstairs to see a the cable line running under the building.

    In the center of the Financial District, the Wells Fargo History Museum could be mistaken for a bank if you don't know where to look. On the site where Henry Wells and William G. Fargo first offered banking and express services to Gold Rush pioneers, this free museum is an immersion in California's 49er past, with an old Concord Coach used in the 1860s and a display of gold dust and ore from California's gold country. A free audio tour is also offered.

    The Legion of Honor and  de Young Museum  make up San Franciosco's Fine Arts Museums and are the city's premiere art destinations,welcoming high caliber international exhibitions. Normal admission price is $10 but come on the first Tuesday of the month, admission is free at both venues.

    San Francisco's modern art Mecca, MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) is a must for lovers of the genre, but entry is $18 dollors a pop for adult entry. However, entry on the first Tuesday of the month is free. Also, kids under 12 are always free as are active U.S. Military members. If Tuesday can't work, try Thursday nigth after 6pm when entry is half-price.

     

     


  • On February 12, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best beaches near San Francisco?

    San Francisco's not exactly a place you bring your bikini  (remember that famous "the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco" quote?).  But that shouldn't stop you from visiting the city's beaches---great places for walks, picnics, kite flying, and on very rare occasions---sunbathing. 

    Ocean Beach is a 3.5 mile stretch sand with wide open spaces and no highrises on the westernmost flank of San Francisco. Great for running, walking, and flying kites since there's always wind. No surprise, the water is frigid and the currents extremely strong so swim at your own risk.

    While it's also known as the “nude beach," Baker Beach is perfectly suitable for the clothed of all ages too. It is located on the southwestern side of the Golden Gate Bridge, adjacent to the Presidio (hike down from here in good shoes), and offers stellar views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Baker Beach is also the most crowded of the city's beaches, and there's always something going on---volleyball, surfing, sandcastle building, and of course photograph taking in front of San Francisco's famous landmark. 

    If you're up for a drive, cross the Golden Gate Bridge to Marin County and head out to another popular landing pad--- Stinson Beach. It's part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and is reached by a peaceful westard drive through Muir Woods. The quaint seaside town has a few cafés and restaurants, and access to state park hiking, picnic facilites, and swimming makes this a great day trip for families and active travelers.

    East Beach is the sandy shoreline along Crissy Field in the Marina neighborhood of San Francisco, and is a popular spot for families and dogs (unleashed so watch your step). The views are amazing---Golden Gate, Alcatraz, Marin--- and on warm days families set up early and camp out all day. A paved path runs along the beach and there is access to restrooms, BBQs, and a large parking lot.

    More of an urban beach on the bay (not the ocean), Aquatic Park sits next to Fisherman’s Wharf and Ghirardelli Square and makes a nice respite from crowds. There’s a stretch of sand and a protected swimming area where die-hards are often seen doing laps in the frigid water. Make sure to visit the Hyde Street Pier and the Maritime Museum.
  • On February 6, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best day trips near San Francisco?

    Day trippin' is one of the best reasons to come to San Francisco. As fun as the city is, there are myriad reasons to get out for a day. The trick is picking which direction you want to go!

    Wine country visits are easy. Of course everyone knows the Napa Valley, which is a popular choice and at only an hour north of the Golden Gate Bridge, it's an easy option.  But don't forget Sonoma, a historical town and home to the last of California's missions, founded in 1823. There are hundreds of small wineries in the area too. Healdsburg is the upscale sister to Sonoma, with chic eateries, hotels, shops and wine tasting cellars on the main square.

    Santa Cruz has the laid back vibe expected of a California surf town and the Beach Boardwalk with roller coasters, arcade games and carousel make it ideal for families too.

    Monterey is about two and a half from San Francisco, and is perched on the mighty Pacific.  Here visitors can visit the world-renowned acquarium and take 17-mile Drive, a posh stretch of gorgeous road that winds past Pebble Beach and into the tony enclave of Carmel-By-The-Sea, a gorgeous town filled with cafes, galleries and shops.


  • On February 6, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

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

    For photo worthy and unobstructed views of the bridge,there's really no better place than Crissy Field.  From here you can walk along the water toward the Golden Gate with sweeping views of the entire span.  I suppose you might not see the bridge if you 're on the bridge, but it does make for some epic pictures.  You can walk across the Golden Gate, or if you're feeling really adventurous, rent a bike at several agencies like Blazing Saddles. You'll be armed with a map of the national park bike path that will guide you from Fisherman's Wharf over the bridge to Sausalito.  A long but worthy ride.  
  • On February 4, 2013
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  • On February 1, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What new hotels are in San Francisco?

    The fabulous thing about San Francisco is that there's always something new, and hot off the presses is the news that  Hotel Zetta, managed by the Viceroy Hotel Group, is a posh new addition to the group’s Urban Retreat Collection, and set to open mid February at 55 5th Street. Not far from Union Square shopping, the Museum of Modern Art, and South of Market galleries and night spots, guest will get a good dose of all that San Francisco has to offer. The rooms will be super teched out too (See the posting on startle's blog about several other of hotels for tech lovers) and the hotel's "playroom" for adults is sure to win you over, with gaming consoles, a pool table, and a London style telephone booth for video chats.


  • On January 31, 2013
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  • On January 25, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

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

    It's hard to pick just ONE thing in San Francisco but if I had to (which apparently I do says the question) I'm going to say ride the Cabel Cars.  Why?  Because it's something you can only do in San Francisco. Ours is last manually operated cable car system in the world. It's also a great way to catch some stellar views over the bay, and see a few other sites along the way.  
  • On January 25, 2013
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  • On January 25, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best wine bars in San Francisco?

    Being in close proximity to Napa Valley, the Central Coast, and Livermore Valley, San Franciscans are spoilt for choice when it comes to wine, and wine bars offer plenty of opportunityt to sip the local elixirs as well as those from around the world.  

    Here are a few worth a toast.

    Bacchus may be small but it's big on charm and friendly service, with a good selection of West Coast wines by the bottle, with per glass prices among the lowest in the city. Sip a little California red and watch the cable car roll by for the ultimate San Francisco experience.

    Hotel Biron Wine Bar & Gallery is reminiscent of a neighborhood find you stumble upon in some country whose name you can't pronounce and have the time of your life. This narrow space, with comfy couches and warm-colored walls, is inviting and lingering a long time over a good French or Californian wine is easy. Good thing Hotel Biron stays open until 2am.

    Amelie has a wine list the size of a small phonebook with a selection that crosses a dozen regions and borders. Loyal locals flirt with the French bartenders and cram into the trendy space during happy hour, 5pm - 7pm, when a flight of three wines is only $10. 

    Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant is popular with the after work crowd waiting for the ferry home, or lucky tourists who stumble into the inviting ferry building. Located in the main hall, the wine bar invites guests to the world's wines including those found in our beautiful back yard. Bar closes at 8pm.
  • On January 25, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    Where can you get the best view of San Francisco?

    There are numerous photo opp locations around the city, whether you're dangling off the side of a cable car or posing below Lombard Street. But for a real WOW power, head to Crissy Field, a 100-acre shoreline park along the water between Fort Mason and the Golden Gate Bridge. A sandy beach and walking path lead straight to the iconic symbol and postcard perfect, unobstructed views abound. 

    To capture the city skyline nothing beats the view from the water. A ferry across to neighboring Sausalito or Tiburon will provide gorgeous views, and if you're feeling really active, catch a ferry to Angel Island, full of California history and miles of hiking trails. Here you'll find spectacular panoramas of the entire Bay.

    If something more relaxing is your style, reserve a sunset cruise on the Red and White Fleet or a dinner cruise on Hornblower.

    Or grab your camera and take a cab to the Marin Headlands. Just north of the Golden Gate, this crown jewel of the Golden Gate National Parks offers unparalleled views that take in the bay, two bridges, the entire city, and the pacific ocean. In a word---breathtaking.