Chief Concierge Antonio Barrios offers his top recommendations for enjoying summer in San Francisco.
By Regina Merkey
Antonio Barrios and The St. Regis San Francisco concierge team know all the best places to play, shop and dine in San Francisco. Here, he offers insider advice for making the most of summer in the city.
When in Rome … or North Beach
When you think Italian food, places like the Bronx or even Chicago probably come to mind. On the West Coast though, the North Beach neighborhood—San Francisco’s own Little Italy—has been historically home to a large Italian american population and some of the best ravioli, cannoli, gnocchi and finest pizza pie. “Highlights of the area include San Francisco’s quintessential Italian-american restaurant, Original Joe’s, which opened its doors in 1937, and Park Tavern, an upscale eatery just steps away,” Barrios says. (Original Joe’s, 144 taylor St.; 415-775-4877; originaljoessf.com. Park tavern 1652 Stockton St.; 415- 989-7300; parktavernsf.com)
“Also in North Beach is Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, a standing-room-only pizzeria home to 10-time World Pizza Champion Tony Gemignani,” Barrios adds. (Tony’s Pizza Napolotana, 1570 Stockton St.; 415-835-9888; tonyspizzanapoletana.com).
In addition to dining, North Beach delivers when it comes to nightlife. this high-traffic spot offers countless places to enjoy a nightcap or keep the evening going at one of its many nightclubs that stay open late.
A Fresh Air Affair
Step outside, close your eyes and take a deep breath where the city’s natural wealth awaits you. “Golden Gate Park is a wonderful place to spend summer days, and certainly The Marina District and Chesnut Street are charming destinations within the city—with a range of trendy restaurants and bars to visit within walking distance,” Barrios says. (golden gate Park; 415-750-5105; golden-gate-park.com)
“Crissy Field is also an excellent location for a stroll, as it borders the waterfront and offers views of the Golden Gate Bridge,” he adds. (crissy Field; 415-561-3000; parksconservancy.org)
The Presidio is also packed with unique pleasures, such as stunning architecture, a national cemetery, historic airfield, forests and beaches, like the bucolic Baker Beach, perfect for making memories. (Presidio Park; 415-561-4323; nps.gov)
Sausalito, like Napa, is also worth the trip, just a short ferry ride away. you can take the ferry from both Fisherman’s Wharf and the Ferry Building, enjoying the bay breeze along the way before you arrive to explore the town’s open air cafés, art galleries, quaint shops and scenery complete with sailboats and seals. (sausalito; 415-289-4100; ci.sausalito.ca.us)
“Last but not least, the Embarcadero will take your breath away with its views of the massive Bay Bridge, not
to mention lead you to the Saturday Morning Farmers Market,” Barrios says. (embarcadero center; 415-772-0700; embarcaderocenter.com. Farmers market at the Ferry Building; 415-291-3276; ferrybuildingmarketplace.com)
A Festive Occasion
Take to the streets and celebrate at one of the summer festivals, like the time-honored North Beach Festival (June 16 – 17), now in its 58th year. (North Beach Festival, Washington square Park; 800-310- 6563; sresproductions.com)
Other festivals such as the Fillmore Jazz Festival (July 7 – 8), Outside Lands (Aug. 10 – 12) and the Haight Ashbury Street Fair (June 10) all offer summer fair favorites—live music, local artists and fantastic feasts. (Fillmore Jazz Festival, Fillmore street; 800-310-6563; fillmorejazzfestival.com. Outside Lands, Golden
Gate Park; 415-751-2766; sfoutsidelands.com. Haight Ashbury Street Fair, haight street; 415-751-2766; haightashburystreetfair.org)
With all the city has to celebrate, you might wonder why anyone would go anywhere else, but wine and wonder await in Napa, too. Once in the midst of the breathtaking drive, its views will prove this trip is well worth taking. “Without a doubt, Napa valley is the place to venture to during summertime. guests can escape the San Francisco fog and spend the day wine tasting in Napa’s significantly warmer climate,” Antonio says. (napavalley.com)
Without a doubt, chinatown is a wonderland of hidden treasures— from the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory and the Chinatown Kite Shop (the city’s oldest kite store) to the oldest Buddhist temple in the U.S.—the Tien Hau Temple, built in 1852. “Guests will encounter history throughout every corner of this beloved San Francisco destination, which happens to be the oldest chinatown in the country,” Barrios says. (Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory, 56 ross Alley; 415- 781-3956; sanfranciscochinatown.com. Chinatown Kite Shop, 717 grant Ave.; 415-989-5182; chinatownkite.com. Tien Hau Temple, 125 Waverly Place; discoverchinatownsf.com/religious)