What is the best time to visit San Francisco?

You may be thinking that since San Francisco is in California, any time of year is a great time to visit — not so in this bayside city. Although San Francisco’s climate is mild year-round, the weather does vary seasonally. Winters are cool and rainy, but low temperatures rarely dip below the mid-40s. Summer in this city is a relative term; it’s not unusual to see people wearing knit hats to ward off the chill in overcast June and July. Time your visit between September and November, and you’ll be rewarded with glorious sunny days more typical of the Californian ideal. Bottom line is: No matter what time of year you are visiting, your suitcase better have a couple of sweaters in it.

  • On July 5, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best places for tea in San Francisco?

    It's amazing how big tea is getting in SF.  One of my favorite things to do is hit the tea tasting rooms, especially in Chinatown. Here you'll belly up to the tea bar and taste a selection of whte, green, herbal, black (and probably others I can't recall) while chatting it up with knowledgable staff who tell you about the health benefits of each tea. Vital Leaf is one of my favorites. The tea is great and carefully prepared before your eyes, but Uncle Gee and Ming make the experience fun. "You come in strangers, and you leave like family," said Uncle Gee. How could I not buy a pound of tea after that!  Red Blossom Tea Company is nearby and boasts being the first tea shop in Chinatown. Knowledgable, with a vast assortment of outstanding, abd gorgeous tea serving sets, this place is definitely for the tea savvy sippers.


  • On July 1, 2013
    Maria Hunt answered the question: Maria Hunt

    What restaurants have the best views in San Francisco?

    San Francisco is a city that’s blessed with many scenic vistas, but some of the most stunning views are of the bay. For impressive views of the water and the Bay Bridge’s fantastic new light installation, I’d head over to the Embarcadero area. Epic Roasthouse is a popular locale, both for chef Jan Birnbaum’s meaty New American cuisine and the unobstructed views of the water and the Bridge. Seafood lovers will want to explore Water Bar next door, which has a very well-trafficked happy hour with freshly shucked oysters and other delicacies from the deep. A bit further down the Embarcadero, The Slanted Door is a great choice if you want to enjoy Charles Phan’s creative Vietnamese-inspired cuisine and Asian cocktails while gazing out at the water.
  • On July 1, 2013
    Maria Hunt answered the question: Maria Hunt

    Where is the best ice cream in San Francisco?

    For a city that’s in cold and fog much of the year, San Francisco has a a stellar selection of ice cream. I think that’s because the Bay Area has so many talented chefs and great ingredients so ice cream makes a fun way for them to express their individuality. Whether you love vanilla or Rocky Road, there are several ice cream shops in San Francisco and Oakland that you won’t want to miss.

    Bi-Rite Creamery is the undisputed king of salted caramel ice cream; theirs is deeply flavored with just the right notes of burnt caramel and salt.  If caramel’s not your thing, the lavander and the roasted banana are delicious too.  Since Bi-Rite can have queues — especially for soft serve — that rival those outside your city’s hottest nightclub, I suggest picking up a pint at the market across the street and taking it back to your hotel.

    For novelty flavors like Secret Breakfast (corn flakes and bourbon), beet or Vietnamese coffee,  head to the quirky Humphry Slocombe in the Mission District. But my favorite place for an ice cream indulgence is Tara’s Organic Ice Cream, which offers creative seasonal and organic ice cream in Berkeley and Oakland’s Rockridge. While I love her nutmeg ice cream, and the black sesame in a handmade sesame cone, the most heart-stopping flavor is the summery sweet corn – trust me.
  • On June 25, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    Where is the best ice cream in San Francisco?

    San Francisco is an ice cream lover's city and there is something for everyone from the old school ice cream purist to the modern flavor evangelist to the the gelato aficionado.

    If you're after a classic ice cream experience, stop by Swenson's Ice Cream on Hyde Street. Opened in 1948, this is the original Swenson's store. Traditional flavors like cookies 'n cream, rocky road, and strawberry are on the menu.

    For an unusual ice cream adventure, head to Humphry Slocombe in the Mission District. This avant grade ice cream shop is known for its outlandish flavors like Secret Breakfast (bourbon and toasted cornflakes) and Elvis The Fat Years (banana and brown sugar).

    Looking to savor a scoop or two of gelato? Ciao Bella at the Ferry Building offers creamy, smooth, and delicious gelato in flavors like hazelnut and mango.

    Other popular ice cream shops include Bi-Rite Creamery, which introduced the world to the salted caramel flavor, and Smitten Ice Cream, which makes ice cream to order using liquid nitrogen.
  • On June 25, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What are the best makeup stores in San Francisco?

    Big name makeup brands like Mac, Nars, and Khiel's all have stand alone stores in San Francisco. There are also two locations of Sephora — one downtown directly in front of the start to the cable car line at Market and Powell Streets and another in Cow Hollow on Union Street.

    If you're looking for locally made lipstick or lipgloss, check out Elizabeth Street Cosmetics. This boutique collection of lip products are named after the streets of San Francisco and were hand crafted by Kelly Crispen, a makeup stylist with over fourteen years of experience. All of her products are free of parabens and infused with antioxidants and hints of vanilla. My personal favorite is the Indiana lipgloss; it's a brilliant berry hue that saturates the lips in vibrant color.

    Although it's a nationally known brand, Benefit Cosmetics was founded in San Francisco over thirty years ago. They produce everything from powders to shadows to signature products like the Benetint cheek stain and package everything in inspired designs with irreverent names. There are three stand alone Benefit boutiques throughout the city.
  • On June 25, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    Where is the best outlet shopping in San Francisco?

    There are not too many well known outlet shops in San Francisco. Nordstrom Rack is located on Ninth Street, but the store is often messy, understaffed, and picked over. If you're searching for designer deals, head out of the city to Petaluma, Livermore, or Gilroy. Forty minutes north of the city, up highway 101, you'll find the Petaluma Village Premium Outlets. There are lots of shops to peruse: Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th, Levi's, BCBG Max Azria, Banana Republic, and Brooks Brother to name a few. About forty minutes east of the city, you'll come to the recently opened Livermore Premium Outlets. The highlight here is the Bloomingdale's Outlet Store. There is also 7 for All Mankind, Burberry, J. Crew, Prada, and Lucky Brand. About two hours south of San Francisco are the Gilroy Premium Outlets. This massive outlet has Juicy Couture, Lacoste, Nike, Coach, and French ceramics maker Le Creuset.
  • On June 25, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What are the best yoga studios in San Francisco?

    There are countless yoga studios in San Francisco. However, in my opinion, the top three are Urban Flow, Yoga Tree, and Aha Yoga. Urban Flow, which is located on Mission Street near South Van Ness, offers vinyasa-based classes that are generally in a heated room with a state of the art sound system. Urban Flow was founded by Rusty Wells, a yoga guru with a massive cult following in San Francisco.

    There are seven Yoga Tree studios throughout San Francisco along with a teacher training center and retreat in Sonoma. There are plenty of classes in a wide variety of styles, from acroyoga to hatha to yin, and even yoga for kids. Classes are offered all day for $18 each.

    Aha Yoga promotes itself as a center for health and healing and is located on Union Street at Laguna in San Francisco's Cow Hollow district. Instructor Jennifer Jarrett is a favorite — her classes move at a fast pace and feature vinyasa flow yoga. The rooms are filled with light and have sustainable bamboo floors.
  • On June 25, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What are the best places to buy shoes in San Francisco?

    San Francisco has its fair share of shoe stores. There are high end destinations like Jimmy Choo and Salvatore Ferragamo as well as low end stores like Nine West and DSW. Most of these stores, however, are not unique specifically to San Francisco and their shoes can be found all over the world. If you're truly looking for a distinctive shoe experience head to Freda Salvador's flagship store on Union Street. The footwear company features a line of cutting edge wearable contemporary shoes and boots that are produced in family factories in Spain and Central America. All shoes are made with the best leather and highest quality products.

    Another great store with an excellently curated offering of shoes is Heidi Says Shoes in Pacific Heights. This Fillmore Street boutique is a part of the local chain of shops all under the HeidiSays name. The shoe salon has designs by a variety of American and International designers like Tory Burch, Michael Kors, Missoni, and Pura Lopez.
  • On June 25, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What new dance shows are in San Francisco?

    From modern dance to classical ballet, San Francisco has plenty of options for enjoying a dance performance. The ODC Company is presenting a Summer Sampler the weekend of August 2-3, 2013. This show of the internationally acclaimed contemporary dance company will feature choreography by Kimi Okada, Kate Weare, and Brenda Way. The Joe Goode Performance Group will be debuting a new modern piece, Hush, on September 26, 2013. The show will run through October 5th and uses dance to explore the ways humans are hushed by society.

    The San Francisco Ballet has finished its 2013 season. The company is currently on tour and will not take to the stage again in San Francisco until early December with their annual production of The Nutcracker. Performances of the beloved Christmas ballet run from December 11 through December 29th. The company's 2014 season is January 25 to May 11, 2014 and ballets like Giselle, Firebird, and Cinderella are on the schedule.
  • On June 25, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What are the best scenic drives in San Francisco?

    At just seven by seven square miles, San Francisco is a relatively small city. However, it's somewhat difficult to navigate by car — there are countless one way streets and many formidable-looking hills. If you do find yourself in a car and want to take a scenic drive around the city, start by following the 49-mile scenic drive. The route is marked by blue and white signs and leads you all over San Francisco past landmarks like the Civic Center, Japantown, Union Square, Chinatown, the Transamerica Pyramid, North Beach, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Legion of Honor, and the Presidio. It's an incredibly comprehensive tour of the city and will probably take about two hours to complete.

    Another drive, that's not quite as scenic, but is certainly worth doing, is down San Francisco's most famous street, Lombard Street. Known as the 'crookedest street in the world,' it's fun to slowly make the winding drive down this steep hill.
  • On June 20, 2013
    DeMarco Williams answered the question: DeMarco Williams

    What should I pack for a trip to San Francisco?

    If you look at a weather report for the Bay Area this very second, we can almost bet that the temperature falls somewhere between 60 and 70 degrees. Though the fog and sunshine roll in and out whenever they like, most days are roughly the same--and your luggage should reflect the mildness (think: light sweater, jeans and sneakers). When prepping for a long day of sightseeing along Fisherman's Wharf or walking across the Golden Gate Bridge, you'll need to have on a pair of comfortable shoes and a couple of layers atop the upper body. By midday though, you should be able to remove the jacket. But do yourself a favor and keep it handy because it'll be down to a breezy 50-something when it's time for dinner.
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