Postcard from San Francisco, California.
The northern Cali cloudy morning weather tried hard to upgrade into a sunny day before unavoidably giving up right after Richardson Bay when the San Francisco-friendly usual misty-morning-tick-as-fuck-fog took over.
One of the shortest leg of this road trip. 50 quick miles to get to the “The City” plus an additional 30 miles spent driving around San Francisco, ‘cause navigating through its fascinating neighborhoods is like being a supporting act in a 70s movie. Since parking on these steep streets ain’t an easy job if I don’t get an Oscar nomination this year, well, the system is rigged.
Call it serendipity. I took a wrong turn while walking back from the office. And Harlan Records happened: a cocktails bar that looks like a records store that looks like a jazz music venue, that looks like a cocktail bar. And it is all of those things. But better.
I had 2 old fashioned, before texting my doctor in Chicago: “there is no 2 without 3” he said (quote).
The dude abides. I had 4 just to be on the safe side…
Golden Gate Bridge
Driving from Napa to San Francisco Cheat Sheet
Accommodation in San Francisco:
- Grant Plaza Hotel, 465 Grant Ave, San Francisco, CA 94108. Not a luxury hotel but nice, clean and right in the middle between Chinatown and the Financial District. Lots of attractions are within walking distance but be careful cause San Francisco hills are really steep
Where to eat and what to see between Napa and San Francisco
- Battery Spencer, Conzelman Rd, Sausalito, CA 94965 One of the best viewpoint you can get before entering San Francisco. If you are lucky and there is no fog (good luck if you get there in the morning!) the view is fantastic.
- Golden Gate Overlook, Langdon Ct, San Francisco, CA 94129 Same view as before but 1) from the other side of the bay, from below the Golden Gate Bridge.
- Painted Ladies, San Francisco, CA 94117 A series of colorful houses overlooking a park with one of the best view of San Francisco
- Lombard Street It doesn’t really need an introduction: one of the most famous street in America if not in the world. You might want to drive it twice (or more). Smile, cause you’ll end up on a hundred pictures at very least.
- House of Nanking, 919 Kearny St, San Francisco, CA 94133 One of the most famous Chinese restaurant in town especially cause of the endorsement of a few celebrities.. Now: good it is good. But not probably worth queuing for an hour or so.
- Iron Horse Cocktails, 25 Maiden Ln, San Francisco, CA 94108 a very elegant cocktail bar. I went there after work and it was very quiet and classy.
- Sam’s Grill & Seafood Restaurant, 374 Bush St, San Francisco, CA 94104 the fifth-oldest restaurant in the US. A bit on the pricy side but the oysters are exceptional and the octopus delicious
- Harlan Records, 18 Harlan Pl, San Francisco, CA 94108. if I was living in San Francisco I would go there every week or so: great music, great vibes some of the best old fashioned I’ve ever had
- Swan Oyster Depot, 1517 Polk St, San Francisco, CA 94109. An institution with some of the best seafood in San Francisco. It’s very, very small, you’ll eat seating at the bar but boy: amazing. Prepare to queue.
- Sotto Mare Oysteria & Seafood Restaurant, 552 Green St, San Francisco, CA 94133 another favorite. Going there I wouldn’t even look at the menu and I’d order a Cioppino, a massive, delicious seafood stew. Pro tip: If you do so, do not wear a white shirt!
Driving from Napa to San Francisco FAQ
Between Napa and San Francisco there are about 50 miles no matter what route you take
Driving from Napa to San Francisco takes a bit more than one hour depending on the time of the day: the traffic entering or leaving San francisco can be awful.
You get to drive on one of the most iconic bridges in the world, the Golden Gate Bridge. And, once you are in town, driving within San Francisco feels like being in a movie.
Coming from Napa you’ll drive between amazing wine estates, approaching San Francisco you’ll be welcomed by the Golden Gate Bridge. Take a mini detour and stop at Battery Spencer viewpoint.
Really depends on the weather. I was driving a midsize and, given the misty weather I met when entering San Francisco, that was probably the best choice.