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Exploring San Francisco

A view of Aquatic Cove, Coit Tower, downtown San Francisco, Ghirardelli Square and Fisherman's Wharf from Municipal Pier.

I recently returned from my first trip to San Francisco, which quickly became one of my favorite cities. While it is charming and unique in its own right, every step around the city felt like a mini Chicago or Manhattan, bustling from morning until the last cable car stopped. The California sun and the bay breeze were welcome changes from the rainy Minneapolis weather I left.

The initial purpose of the trip was to see the Minnesota Twins play the San Francisco Giants. That’s what happens when you date a baseball fanatic. Our first night in town was spent at AT&T Park—to my delight, the same place Lauren Graham and Parenthood co-star Peter Krause spent their evening. If you haven’t been to the ballpark, it sits on the waterfront south of downtown, a location that makes it especially chilly come nightfall. The layers I brought for the following afternoon’s game proved to be too many as the sunshine reflecting off the bay created the California temperatures I was expecting. From sweatshirts to sunburn in less than 24 hours—next time I’ll be better prepared.

It was a beautiful day at AT&T Park.

Our base camp was Parc 55, a hotel in the heart of Union Square that had a happening Cityhouse Bar on a Friday night. Situated about a block from Market Street, it was an easy walk to the ballpark, Chinatown and historic cable cars.

We hopped a cable car north to North Beach, then walked to Municipal Pier (for views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz), Ghirardelli Square and the rest of Fisherman’s Wharf, what I consider the Times Square of San Francisco. It’s certainly as popular for tourists and equally essential for a first visit. I loved the sourdough bread at Boudin Bakery and the novelty shops at Pier 39. The stunning view of San Francisco Bay at the Franciscan Crab Restaurant is reason enough for me to return. The idea of going to Fisherman’s Wharf is to try the local fish, crab and other seafood, right? Well, if you’re not keen on seafood like me, opt for the chicken fettuccine with olives and cherry tomatoes in olive oil. Braver souls should try the roasted crab, served in a secret garlic sauce.

Riding my first cable car on the Powell-Mason line. It was fun but a
bit nerve-wracking as we traveled up and down San Francisco's
steep hills.

Other meals sprinkled into the four-day trip included burritos at Andale Mexican Restaurant (the Westfield San Francisco Centre location), a Local Tastes of the City Tour through North Beach (Little Italy) and dinner at the soulful Farmerbrown. Try the grilled country pork chop served with baby carrots, asparagus and sweet mashed potatoes, topped with a whole grain dijon mustard while sipping one of the farm-fresh cocktails. I had the Strawberry Sour, a mix of gin, aperol liquor, lemon, housemade strawberry jam, ginger beer and soda. Cheers!

As a first-timer, I know there is much more to explore. Another trip is a must!

Photos by Amanda Hoffstrom. Click to see a slideshow of more photos from San Francisco.


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About Sarah Elbert

Sarah Elbert

As executive editor of Delta Sky, Sarah Elbert lassos the best writers she can find to cover the world—as well as contributing some prose of her own. Before coming to Sky, Sarah was editorial director of magazines including Northwest WorldTraveler and Carlson Wagonlit Travel's Postcards. She has been a newspaper editor, a freelance writer and an Associated Press reporter, riding with the White House travel pool (back in the Clinton days) and covering everything from natural disasters to a cat kidney transplant. Sarah has written for The New York Times, the New York Post, the New York Sun—but not the NY Daily News. She now lives in Minneapolis, which she finds lovely and underrated, but does occasionally miss Manhattan and the Staten Island Ferry. Sarah would like to think she could again go backpacking across Europe, and she still loves to travel, but she knows that train has left the station. It's just so much quicker to fly.

About Deborah Caulfield Rybak

Deborah Caulfield Rybak

Senior editor Deborah Caulfield Rybak interviewed the Who’s Who of Hollywood during her years as an entertainment industry reporter at the Los Angeles Times. She still prefers writing about the arts to almost any other journalistic activity, so it’s a good thing we’ve got her on that beat at Sky. She’s pocketed numerous journalism awards and co-written three books.

But that’s just her journalistic cred: she’s also worked as an FM deejay in Aspen, a speechwriter in Washington and an environmental film festival director in Colorado. She considers herself happiest when she’s out of town—and out of cellphone range. She’s hitchhiked across Kenya, spent the night atop a pyramid in Central America, hovered face-to-mandible with giant manta rays during a night dive in Hawaii and hiked the High Atlas mountains in Morocco. Still left on her to do list: Bhutan and marlin fishing.

About Liz Doyle

Liz Doyle

After a few years navigating the trenches of New York's fashion scene as a stylist assistant at Harpers Bazaar, fashion editor Liz Doyle is excited to be back in her childhood hometown of Minneapolis. When she isn't scouting the latest trends in fashion and travel, she moonlights at a local Parisian brasserie where she says "welcome" and "enjoy" a lot and occasionally tries to improve her French. Though her foray to the editorial side of the magazine industry is a new one, she welcomes the challenge and can't wait to see what this new adventure holds.

About Amanda Welshons

Amanda Hoffstrom

Associate online editor Amanda Welshons maintains the web and social media presence of Delta Sky. She enjoys using new media and exploring how different platforms enhance the reader experience. Based in Minneapolis, Amanda has several destinations on her bucket list including London, Paris and Sydney. She just spent a blissful week in St. Lucia for her honeymoon, and can't wait for upcoming trips to Chicago, Seattle, Vancouver and New York. When she’s not in the office, she's a pop culture junkie, soaking up as many movies, television shows and magazines as possible.