San Francisco is a city of exquisite contrasts – a unique amalgamation of Victorian-designed homes and maritime trade origins, contrasted with the proliferation of high-tech, high-powered lifestyles. What was once the Gold Rush Capital, rooted in history and tradition, is now the global tech powerhouse, fueled by innovation and propelled by futuristic ingenuity. This bustling metropolis co-exists next to a 1,500-acre national park, filled with hiking and biking trails.
San Francisco continues to evolve and thrive as the dominant tech epicenter and financial hub on the West Coast. It is a magnetic city filled with captivating charm, ethnic diversity, and myriad micro-neighborhoods. New worlds await around every corner, and a weekend getaway here feels like an adventurous journey to a “faraway land” filled with vibrant cultures, world-class museums, Michelin-star restaurants, cable car-lined streets, and hilled neighborhoods – all within easy reach of the Pacific coastline. The colorful Victorian edifices and architectural wonders set against a skyscraper-dotted skyline create the perfect backdrop for an urban “Uber-powered” adventure.
So join the ride as we explore the vibrant microcosms via the celebrated cable car and then call up an Uber at the tap of an app.
The neighborhoods of San Francisco are as captivating as they are diverse. The unique blend of cultures, ethnicities, and lifestyles creates an ideal destination for all palates. Streets are bustling with a plethora of handcrafted boutiques, farm-to-table restaurants, and internationally recognized galleries. While maintaining its artisan allure, the tech-powered wealth has begun to touch most neighborhoods, creating a gentrification that impacts the city in dynamic ways.
The Mission, a traditionally Latino community, is also a haven for locally sourced boutiques and chocolatiers, artisan bakeries, and trendy restaurants. Primarily situated near Valencia and 16th Street, the Mission is known as the unofficial “Foodie Central” of SF. Long-known for its Latino dishes, the neighborhood is currently experiencing an influx of some of the hottest new restaurants in the area. Foreign Cinema (not a theatre, but they do screen films on the outdoor patio) serves Mediterranean-inspired dishes, and the highly acclaimed
Flour + Water and Chef Thomas McNaughton, “the pasta artisan,” is all about authentic Italian pasta sourced from the freshest ingredients. You can also experience an array of other hidden gems including the Craftsman and Wolves, Tartine Bakery, Chocolatier BLUE exquisitely crafted by Chris Blue, and Dandelion Chocolate Café and Factory featuring artisan bean-to-bar chocolates made on the spot in the factory kitchen.
Pacific Heights, an exclusive, highly groomed neighborhood, is adorned with breathtaking views of the bay. Considered the most expensive real estate in the city, median home prices are nearly $6mm. This well-manicured hood features local gems such as Pizzeria Delfina with some of the best Neapolitan-inspired pizzas in town and chic boutiques with everything from modern home design to Parisian-sourced accessories to antiques from around the globe.
Presidio, now an extension of San Francisco, is a former military base turned national park. It’s located at the northern tip of San Francisco, adjacent to the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge and just a 10-minute Uber ride from San Francisco’s city center. The Presidio, an urban forest with scenic views of the city and the Golden Gate Bridge, is home to a Disney museum, an 18-hole golf course, a historic inn, and Lucasfilm. The park, featuring over 1,500 acres of hiking and biking, also boasts the renowned Presidio Golf Course known for its spectacular forest setting and challenging play (once restricted to military officers and private club members, it opened to the public in 1995). For a rare culinary experience, visit award-winning chef Traci Des Jardins’ Mexican-inspired Arguello, housed in the Presidio Officers’ Club (one of the city’s oldest buildings). For a more hip vibe, try the Presidio Social Club, where you will enjoy a locally sourced, seasonal menu as well as handcrafted cocktails.
The Presidio also features an urban oasis for many SF businesses including the headquarters of Lucasfilm, and Industrial Light & Magic, housed on the 23-acre Letterman Digital Arts Center and Complex.
The Marina, long attractive to the sophisticated urbanite, is also just 10 minutes from the city center via Uber. This micro-neighborhood feels more like a destination for locals but is a mecca for bons vivants. It’s home to Michelin-starred State Bird Provisions restaurant envisioned by the illustrious chefs Stuart Brioza and Nicole Krasinski. Their unique philosophy on dining always keeps the food interesting and the environment unexpected. The same team channeled their success and opened The Progress right next door serving inventive, where you choose your own adventure, family-style.
Ferry Building at the Embarcadero
Two blocks from where the California Street Cable Car line drops you off lies the historic Beaux-Arts architectural Ferry Building. The Ferry Building, located at the Embarcadero, underwent a $70mm renovation in 2003 and is now home to a marketplace featuring a food hall with a plethora of cafes and restaurants offering locally-sourced cheese, olive oils, and other delicacies. For an awe-inspiring breakfast experience, visit Boulette’s Larder for a farm-to-table dining communal table culinary journey or indulge in sustainably raised oysters at Hog Island Oyster Co. Catch a Giants game at AT&T Park, a short walk from the Ferry Building, then indulge in a flight of Napa Valley wines paired with artisan cheeses at The Wine Merchant.
SoMa (South of Market)
SoMa, situated south of Market Street and northeast of the Mission District, further exemplifies San Francisco’s striking contrasts. The once-dilapidated warehouses are now fashionable loft-spaces and tech-incubators. It’s become the heartbeat of this thriving city. Redefining industrial, SoMa’s warehouses are now tricked out with the most innovative enterprises and home to Google, Twitter, biotech firm Medivation, and social-gaming company Zynga. SoMa is also ground zero for the world-renowned San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Designed by famed Swiss architect Mario Botta, SFMOMA is currently undergoing a $295mm expansion and will re-open in early 2016. SFMOMA, an iconic presence within the SF cityscape, helped drive the transformation of the South of Market neighborhood into a vibrant cultural district that includes the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Contemporary Jewish Museum, Museum of Craft and Folk Art, and many others.
The de Young Museum, another favorite cultural institution of locals and visitors alike, is in the heart of Golden Gate Park.
For maximum efficiency, charter a jet to San Francisco via Santa Monica–based Surf Air. Their swiss-made Pilatus PC-12 seats 8 and comes equipped with a concierge staff, anxiously awaiting your arrival at the airport.
Surf Air is an exclusive private air travel club with exceptional service, where you pay a monthly fee for access to limitless flights anywhere they fly, including many California markets and Las Vegas. In Los Angeles, you can depart from either Burbank or Hawthorne, and arrive in NorCal via Oakland (closer to San Francisco’s downtown) or San Carlos airports.
Surf Air’s innovative and highly efficient means to flying has attracted more than 1,300 members, comprised of mostly entrepreneurs and business executives who fly for both business and leisure. Their high-powered network of business travelers has created a unique community where oftentimes the networking happens in-flight.
Surf Air is also constantly growing and just added new Northern California destinations, including Santa Rosa and Sacramento. So whether you have a board meeting in San Francisco or feel like a wine tasting adventure in Sonoma, Surf Air’s redefined approach to air travel makes it the undisputed choice. surfair.com
Where to Stay
Inn at the Presidio
Celebrate the historic side of San Francisco at the Inn at the Presidio. Developed and owned by the Presidio Trust, this urban oasis in Presidio Park was awarded the “Award of Excellence for Best Small Historic Inn/Hotel” in 2014. Built in 1903, the elegant Georgian-Revival style architecture embraces the grace of the old world yet incorporates modern amenities and contemporary furnishings. This 22-room boutique hotel has 17 suites featuring sweeping views of the Golden Gate Bridge and surrounding forestland, which are equipped with quaint fireplaces and all the technology to keep you connected should you so desire (WiFi, flat screens, etc.).
LEED Gold certified, this quaint inn is just steps away from Crissy Field, the birthplace of West Coast aviation. The Presidio grounds feature British environmental sculptor Andy Goldsworthy’s natural architectural wonders. At sunset, retreat to the lobby to lounge on the natural leather-worn couches and indulge in locally produced wines and cheeses from Napa and Sonoma, all while enjoying the faint aroma of the wood-burning fire in the background.
For high-powered meetings and tech retreats, The Inn at the Presidio provides the perfect park backdrop for meetings. Two 425-square-foot meeting spaces can accommodate up to 20 guests and for larger conferences, The Presidio also has an array of other unique locations for larger groups, including The Officers’ Club featuring a stunning ballroom where history was made. CSQ contact: Terry Haney, [email protected] innatthepresidio.com
Hotel Zetta San Francisco
For the more tech-inspired traveler, Hotel Zetta San Francisco, located in the heart of SoMa, is an innovative urban hotel. Part of the Viceroy Hotel Group, Hotel Zetta is sophisticated yet understated, where one can power up or completely unplug. Combining high-tech accommodations with creative touches, Hotel Zetta is a cutting-edge hideaway inspired by its surroundings—locally sourced cuisine, unique street art by San Francisco artisans, and all the latest tech gadgets one could ever need. The cool lobby bar attracts start-up magnates and jetsetters alike. Modern amenities are game on at this 116-room and suite retreat. Rooms are decked out with smartphone docks, streaming-to-TV capabilities, smart TV with access to the Internet, and apps like Netflix and complemented by Illy espresso machines and locally sourced snacks. viceroyhotelgroup.com/en/zetta