GQ (Australia) - - TASTE + TRAVEL -

Like any great city, San Fran­cisco is a patch­work of dis­tinctly di­verse neigh­bour­hoods. There’s the Lati­no­hip­ster com­mu­nity in The Mis­sion, the thriv­ing gay scene of The Cas­tro and the cool kids of Dog­patch – all within a stone’s throw of one another. If you have plenty of time, walk­ing or bik­ing is the best way to get a feel for the city, though the his­toric ca­ble cars will let you sit back and soak up the vis­tas. The BART (Bay Area Rapid Tran­sit) is the most re­li­able op­tion for get­ting around quickly – as well as to and from Oak­land In­ter­na­tional Air­port. Here, where not to miss.

The Mis­sion

This Latino area has man­aged the im­pos­si­ble – gen­tri­fi­ca­tion with­out los­ing its cool fac­tor. Known for its vi­brant mu­rals (be­low), The Mis­sion is also home to some of San Fran’s best food. Mis­sion Cheese is a fan­tas­tic shop that breaks rules (Amer­i­canonly va­ri­eties, matched with beer), or there’s Ta­co­l­i­cious for a Mex­i­can fix. Or­der the mar­garita pi­cante, a spicy twist on the classic, and can­cel the rest of the day’s plans.


A huge neigh­bour­hood tak­ing its name from its lo­ca­tion, South of Mar­ket Street, the city’s main thor­ough­fare. Its once-shady past is be­ing re­de­fined, thanks to the ar­rival of some of the Bay Area’s hottest tech start-ups. Drop into San Fran­cisco Mu­seum of Modern Art for some cul­ture, and then head to Mar­lowe for su­per­stylish com­fort food, or Sai­son for up­scale French-amer­i­can tast­ing menus. For a more re­laxed vibe, head to Red’s Java House – a quaint ’30s din­er­cum-shack serv­ing Bloody Marys and great views of the bay.


North of the Pan­han­dle (the nar­row park that forms a ‘pan­han­dle’ with Golden Gate Park), this has be­come one of the city’s coolest emerg­ing ar­eas. It has a great Sun­day farmer’s mar­ket, but the main draw­card is Alamo Square, which has just un­der­gone a ren­o­va­tion and is home to the iconic ‘Painted Ladies’ row of colour­ful town­houses (above). The epony­mous Nopa restau­rant of­fers de­li­cious wood-fired sea­sonal dishes and is one of the hottest culi­nary tick­ets in town. Book now.


Once an in­dus­trial neigh­bour­hood, Dog­patch has since trans­formed into a hip­ster mag­net – with­out los­ing its charm. De­spite the shiny new cafes, bars and restau­rants, the district’s older places are still some of the best. Book a tour of the An­chor Steam Brew­ery, which dates back to 1896, or visit Dog­patch Sa­loon, founded in 1912. Also, check out the ex­hi­bi­tion sched­ule at the fas­ci­nat­ing Mu­seum of Craft and De­sign.

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