Things to Do
SFMoMA — Gobsmacking contemporary collection, including a room full of Anselm Kiefer works that I make a point to visit every time I’m here. Open ‘till 8pm on Thursdays—and there’s rarely anyone in there!
SF Ballet — The SF Ballet is the most-impressive corps I’ve seen in the US. If you can see one of their performances, do; they’re always doing something cutting-edge and fresh. (Caveat: The cost of tickets is downright extortionate, imo.)
Kabuki Springs & Spa — This place is a dreammmmm: A basic, serviceable onsen with a mix of healing waters & massage services in a setting unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in America. Great jetlag antidote & open ‘till 9.30pm most nights. ☞ There are men-only, women-only, and co-ed nights; def call ahead or check their website to make sure you can actually go on the day you want to.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema — Arthouse cinema showing new releases & repertory works with a full bar and good food. Order a cocktail and bites to take it to your seat, complete with a tray table; it’s sorta like business class.
Shops & Markets
Ferry Building Marketplace — Anchored by fantastic restaurants (see: Hog Island Oyster Co and Slanted Door under Food & Drinks), this indoor market also hosts dozens of kiosks with San Francisco–origin goods, including Heath Ceramics, Blue Bottle Coffee, Book Passage, and Donut Farm.
City Lights — Legendary indie bookstore with a strong Beat legacy. Outstanding selection of books, even a praxis section downstairs which just delights me no end. Need a book for the plane? Go here.
Cris Consignment — Well-established Nob Hill consignment shop with strong designer chops, with jewelry, shoes and clothing by Dior, Gucci, Hermès & more.
Heath Ceramics — Beloved San Francisco–made tableware and homegoods. Flagship carries the suite of products and can source & ship. The Ferry Building outpost carries a smaller selection.
Mrs. Dalloway’s Literary and Garden Arts — Indie bookstore worth a side-trip to Berkeley. Bought a book of Leonard Cohen poems and a slim volume about how art can make you happy—and would have bought everything on the architecture table if I didn’t have to lug it back to NY. Amazon’s algorithm has never recommended any of these titles to me.