The blog and weekly journal of South Australian artist, Elaine Cheng, as she travels through Adelaide, interviewing the local cafes and restaurants. Art, inspirations, and beloved products will be inserted here and there.

10 Things You must do in San Francisco


As part of the countdown to my SALA exhibition, Sentiments, I'm republishing an old entry on San Francisco. Looking back on how infatuated I was (and still am) with the city, it's plain to see why I'm featuring it in my exhibition alongside sketches of Shanghai and Adelaide.

I may be back home in Australia, but my heart is in San Francisco.

I have never been so infatuated with a city before... maybe it was the rolling hills traversing through the streets of the city, or the cozy little houses lined up in shades of pastel, or maybe it was the endless art galleries and coffee shops that popped up on every sidewalk, but I know this city breathed life into me. 

Some of you guys asked me to make a few suggestions on where to go in San Francisco, so I've made a little list of 'Must Do's'. Be warned I still had so many more places I wanted to go.

1. Ride the Cable Car - stand at the front


The classiest way to get a good look around the heart of the city. There may be a line, but that's America. It's worth the wait, so hop on, and rather than sitting on those seats, make sure you grab onto those handles and stand on the edge. 

Cost: $5 per ticket

Location (suggested): Take the Powell & Hyde Sts cable car. Line up at the Powell Turnaround


2. Grab some Clam Chowder at Fisherman's Wharf


Clam Chowder is a must when you're in the States, and you can't go wrong if it's at Fisherman's Wharf. Make sure to order it in a bread bowl, pour in those oyster crackers and as you scoop up that creamy goodness, dig into the sides of the bowel to get some of that sourdough on your spoon.


3. Spend some time at Golden Gate Park - don't rush


There's plenty to do, you can even spend a whole day there. From the observation deck at the museum to the conservatory to the Japanese Tea Garden, there is much to explore. You can take the paddle boat around the lake, and for the more adventurous, get a row boat.

Make sure to climb the bridge in the Japanese Tea Garden. When I say climb, I mean you literally have to climb


4. Line up for breakfast at Mama's


Food is definitely the highlight in San Francisco, especially brunch. Mama's is one of those places where you'll have to line up for an hour or more on weekends, but trust me, you can't miss it. It's a charming and cozy little cafe serving up the fluffiest and thickest pancakes. If you like savory, the Monte Christo is another highlight. For the sweet tooth, they have a wide range of French Toast on offer. 


5. Try the Beignets at Brenda's 


Brenda's French Soul Food was the place that I had to 'visit one last time before I left'.  The beignets are a must when you visit. This warm, fluffy pastry is served hot and fresh. Grab the plain ones for an original experience, but don't miss out on the Crawfish beignets. Filled with cheesy goodness and topped with a little bit of spice, I don't care if you don't like seafood. I'm not a huge fan myself but these beignets were heavenly.   


6. Take the trolley to The Castro


For $2 you can hop on the historic trolley cars and head to The Castro - one of the first gay neighborhoods in the States and the origin of the assless chaps (maybe you'll see them in action). Take a dive into those sidewalk cafes and quirky little shops, admire those rainbow crosswalks and flags draped outside the windows. You'll never find a more friendly place than this neighborhood. 


7. Climb up Coit Tower at sunset


Bloated from all that brunch? Take a hike up the street to Coit Tower. Painted inside the walls of the tower is a mural by 27 different artists. Up the top, you'll get a good view of The Bay Area, and trust me, everything looks more romantic with a sunset in the background.  


8. Stroll through the Palace of Fine Arts


Admire it from across the waters, approach it with awe, circle the pillars and walls, stare some more, and feel small.


9. Shop around Union Square


Everything you need. Stock up for your wardrobe, you won't find stuff like this anywhere else.


10. Most importantly,  just walk, explore, and get lost.


You can walk through the neighborhoods in the Sunset District or near The Castro and admire the colorful little houses that line the streets. Every one of them different and unique, yet they all fit together in perfect harmony. You can walk through the streets near Ghirardelli Square or The Mission. You can walk for hours and there will always be a shop, a cafe, a gallery just a little further down that will make you stop and peer with curiosity. It's like walking through poetry.


I hope this helped. Let me know if you want to see more blog entries like these! 

I was only there for a week, so there was a lot more I wanted to do but I know I will be back, San Francisco. Also a huge thankyou to my cousin and friends for showing me around and introducing me to local places, I had the time of my life. 


Much love,