TRAVEL JOURNAL: SAN FRANCISCO | HOW TO LIVE LIKE A LOCAL WHILE TRAVELING
If the heart of my business wasn’t currently pumping solely out of Los Angeles, I think I’d possibly have to get myself up to San Francisco permanently. The big city vibe on a smaller scale (the whole city is only 7 miles x 7 miles), the amount of diverse people owning themselves, and the perfect balance between the gray weather and sunshine-y days — speaks to me.
I did live up there for a bit as a kid and I have family in The Bay, too, which likely adds to my love for it. Luckily, I get up there pretty often! I’ve been visiting more recently than ever lately and now that I’m beginning to know the different neighborhoods well; I feel semi-local.
Are you a tourist or a traveller?
There are ways to make a new environment feel like the comfort of home. Here’s what I rely on when I want to feel like a local and homey when I’m not in LA:
- SPECIFIC SEARCH: I love a good stalk of Yelp and other forums to specifically search for terms “locals” or “not touristy.” For many cities, Eater always know what’s up too! You can search hashtags/locations of places on Instagram also, and see where people are hanging out and what the scene is like before you decide to head there.
- BRING A PIECE OF HOME: I’m always carrying the travel-sized version of my favorite products when I’m not at home. Seriously– spend a day collecting what YOU love most from your go-to shops instead of just grabbing whatever travel-sized option CVS has available in one swoop. By doing this, I feel like me — from my toothpaste to my lotion to my hairspray to everything involved in my nightly face-routine (if you’re 28+ and female reading, you know what I’m talking about) — even if I’m a million miles away from home. A favorite mini candle or memento can also be a cute way to make a hotel feel like you.
- TALK TO LOCALS: Once you find a spot that you enjoy — like a coffee shop — ask the people working there about similar spots. You can do that with your hotel concierge if there is one, but often they recommend tourist traps… Speak up to barista or waiter that you feel may have a similar vibe to your lifestyle and 9 times out of 10 they’re going to share a suggestion with you that you most likely wouldn’t have found otherwise!
If you’re heading to San Francisco soon, here are places/areas I visited and LOVED:
HAYES VALLEY // THE HAIGHT
This is where the hippie revolution took place in the 60s so there’s a TON of life here! It’s definitely a good piece of SF history and culture, plus the architecture is beautiful. The streets are lined with artsy shops + restaurants, and colorful, old Victorian homes. My take in comparison to LA: Fairfax, one hundred! Hipster meets streetwear.
LUNCH: Souvla — OBSESSED! I WISH THIS WERE IN LA — and I hear this may be coming true?! In addition to the chicken which you can turn into a sandwich or salad, they’ve made my TOP5TOP5TOP5 for best fries + white wine — one of my fave indulgences for those that don’t know!
SHOPPING: Azalea — kind of like American Rag meets Reformation meets Urban Outfitters meets Barney’s Co-Op. Amazing.
This area was great because it had a bit of everything. Good shopping, eats, very walkable, very cute.
RUNNING: Alamo Square Park — remember the houses from Full House? This is where they live! And they are just as cute in real life. There’s a park to run around or enjoy a picnic in, too. P.S. The line of homes are called “The Painted Ladies.” Love!
ON-THE-RUN FOOD + SWEETS: Before that picnic and run, Bi-Rite Market is amazing. Quick, healthy, to-go options, plus delicious and fun-flavored ice cream. OK, maybe the ice cream is for after the run?!
UNION SQUARE // LOWER NOB HILL
This can be somewhat touristy — especially Union Square —but the shopping here is stellar and you get the big city feel in this particular area. Lower Nob Hill is the notch just below the ‘Upper East Side’ or ‘Beverly Hills’ — actual Nob Hill.
STAY: Hotel G — I stayed here and wanted all the decor and feels. I’m all about a good boutique hotel with a heart poured into it’s design. It’s minimal but in an inviting way. Highly rec this place!
SWEETS: Mr. Holmes Bakehouse — I obviously had to feed my sweets obsession, and this place was ahhhmazing! So, so delicious, and they have the coveted Instagram-worthy sign “I got baked in San Francisco.” Good news is they just opened one in LA! The lines are sometimes long, but actually worth it — as a sweets connoisseur, let me tell you: I took a whole box home to my family to try, and some of these things were hitting tastebuds I didn’t realize existed!
It’s not a part of SF, but it’s right across the bay and worth the quick trip! The views of the city are incredible from Oakland, too. I’m thinking of spending a little more time here during my next few visits to The Bay…
DINNER + DRINKS: Parlour — HI, I’M REALLY CUTE. Really chill. I feel like this is a great date night spot or to grab a pizza + artisan crafted drinks or my fave (wine) with friends. The Sugo De Arbol pizza reminded me of my favorite pizza IN. THE. WORLD. from Roberta’s in Brooklyn…… if you can’t get there, get here, and devour this! Trust!
COFFEE: Philz — I’m not recommending this one based on my usual design bias; the coffee is actually insane and their mint tea is heaven.
RUNNING: Lake Merritt — download my latest favorite app: Skyfit, throw on a pair of Boosts, and get a real feel for embracing a new atmosphere around this lake on the trail goes all the way around it; b e a u t i f u l.
Someone recently expressed to me this theory on the
difference between a tourist and a traveller…
I am absolutely a traveller.
Any time I visit a city, whether near or far, I unpack my things and fully embrace the culture, lifestyle, and complete environment I take myself to. Perhaps the primary reason I feel so at home is because I am always sure to bring a piece of home with me… Or perhaps it’s a combination of all of these tips above… Whatever it may be, whatever is within me and whatever is outside of me in these cities I visit, I’ve figured out the formula for an equal exchange; to make home wherever my heart may be at the moment. And that’s living like a local…!
Black Leather Jacket: IRO
Gray Hooded/Denim Jacket: Free People
Ripped Denim: Elle A.
Black Suede OTK Boots: Bebe
Brown Leather Jacket: Veda
Layered Gray L/S Top: Madison + Berkeley
Layered Black Eyelash Tank Top: Diane Von Furstenberg
Black Rainboots: Hunter Boots
Green Bomber: Elle A.
Black Thermal Crop + Leggings Set: Elle A.
Black Plaid Button Down: Rails