Streets of San Francisco Insider Tips

alcatraz, alcatraz island, streets of san francisco insider tips
There’s more to San Francisco than a trip to Alcatraz, visit the less crowded Angel Island in Northern California. Photo © Nancy D. Brown

Welcome to the Neighborhood, A Series About San Francisco Neighborhoods


"A16 Burratta"
Try A16’s Burratta in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood

About the author. Dianne Admire was the co-owner of San Francisco company Carried Away.

If you’re visiting San Francisco, you may find that many of the “must-see” places are packed with people. Are you looking for streets of San Francisco insider tips? Summer is usually a very busy season here, but to us, it feels like this year is even more crowded. As such, we offer up alternatives to the usual tourist spots. We love getting off the beaten track, and hope you will too:


"Filmore Street Shopping"
Shopping in San Francisco’s Union Square is great, but have you tried Filmore Street?

Shopping, beyond Union Square

For many visitors to San Francisco shopping means heading to Union Square. IF you’re looking for an alternative to the well-known stores of that area, we suggest exploring Fillmore Street in Pacific Heights where you’ll find 6-8 blocks of boutique shopping for homewares, fashion, books, art and more. Also lots of great places to stop for a bite to eat (check out the newly-opened Troya a fab Turkish restaurant)
We also love Grant Avenue in North Beach – a super local neighborhood vibe, with unique shops. One of our favorites is Park & Pond, a perfect place to pick up a souvenir. If you still have more shopping in you, head over to  Hayes Valley where – we kid you not – every single store is good. Kids stuff, fashion, food, shoes, homewares. Stop for a glass of wine and a nibble at Two Sisters Bar and Books, and say YES to the deviled eggs!


Grant Avenue North Beach
Grant Avenue in North Beach, San Francisco has a super local neighborhood vibe

A day on the bay, without escaping to Alcatraz

One of the bet things to do in San Francisco is to get on a Ferry and explore around the Bay. For a lot of people this means going to Alcatraz. But there’s another, lesser-trafficed, beautiful island out there called Angel Island. Pack a picnic or plan to eat lunch at the cafe or cantina, put on your walking shoes and board the boat for Angel Island. A natural world awaits you out there, and the 360 degree views all around the bay are stunning.


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Flour + Water
Dine at Flour + Water in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood

Mangia, Mangia!

Really, really delicious italian cuisine is one of the things that San Francisco is known for. Most visitors head to North Beach – our Italian neighborhood – to get their Italian on. If  you don’t feel like following the crowds – and can plan in advance – you must try Flour + Water and/or A16. Two of our best Italian restaurants in the entire city (it is so hard to pick our faves, there are so many!). Both require reservations. And not a red & white checkered tablecloth in sight.
Pleased to meet you, Sam
Everyone’s read about Muir Woods and some days it seems like everyone is there. All at once. If you want a majestic and serene redwoods experience, drive a little further and check out Samuel P. Taylor State Park. The redwoods there are actually taller than the trees in Muir Woods, and it would not be unusual for you have the place to yourself, except for a few deer and foxes.
"Samuel P. Taylor Park"
Marin’s Samuel P. Taylor State Park, just outside of San Francisco, has taller redwood trees than Muir Woods and is less crowded

San Francisco Insider Tips

Where are your favorite places to visit in San Francisco? We’d love to hear you’re insider tips to San Francisco. What a trip!

Top photo courtesy Nancy D. Brown. Zinc and Grant Avenue photos courtesy of Carried Away. All other photos pulled from websites.

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6 thoughts on “Streets of San Francisco Insider Tips”

  1. Jess @ travel 2 where

    Thanks for sharing this. I do love to visit California, but find it far too busy particularly for someone who is from the British countryside. These alternatives will be useful for my next upcoming visit.

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