It's official - on June 9th, the girl and I are to be married. From June 11th until the 14th, we plan to explore San Francisco to kick off our honeymoon.

We've each been to San Francisco individually, but only long enough to know we liked the place. At this point, we're scouring reviews and resources to get some idea of an itinerary.

So, I have this favor to ask of you, dear readers: If you were to have a honeymoon in San Francisco, what would be the absolute not-to-miss necessities? We're looking for great eats, nifty fun, and stuff not found in the AAA guide. Give us the local scoop. Think about the things you'd do, if you had a chance to really splurge.

I'd be really grateful for any and all suggestions you might have!

Archived Comments

  • Congratulations!

    Definite places not to miss: Golden Gate park (deYoung Museum, various gardens), sailing on the bay, a walk in the marin headlands, a walk on the beach.

  • Congrats! I'm also getting married this year (December), so have a little more time to plan the honeymoon. :)

    As for San Francisco - it's probably in the AAA guide, but definitely check out the Japanese Gardens (gorgeous and peaceful), the Science Museum (very "please-touch") and the World's Fair 'Ancient Architecture' outside the Science Museum.

  • I lived in S.F. and parts just south of it for a couple of years, and still try to go back at least once a year to visit friends and just soak up the city. Getting around can be a bit tough unless you bike or cab everywhere -- parking is impossible in the most enjoyable parts of town, and the buses are horribly unrelaible -- but there are plenty of neighborhoods where you could easily spend the whole day.

    +1 for the Marin headlands and Japanese Gardens; I also had a great time biking over the Golden Gate brigde and into Marin and Mendecino counties, though it's a pretty athletic ride. Doing at least one quick trip through Upper Haight is more or less de rigour, but there are some good, cheap eats (the Citrus Club) and the deservedly-famous Amoeba Records nearer Golden Gate Park that make the trip worthwhile. Of course, the park itself is gorgeous, and has enough museums, gardens, and other sights to keep you occupied for at least an afternoon.

    The Mission district can also be very nice, if you're interested in checking out a more "funky" side of S.F. There is a string of bars, restaurants, and offbeat shops stretching north-to-south along Valencia from Duboce down to 20th or so, and if you stop at one of the little neighborhood grocers along the way, you can head just a couple of blocks west to Dolores Park for a picnic. (This is the area I used to live in, and I basically never used my kitchen, since there was so much good food in the area: at one point, my roommate and I counted over 100 restaurant listings within a 1 mile radius.)

    Also, if you're willing to hop on the BART and cross the bay, Telegraph Ave. just off UC Berkeley campus is a lot of fun. Again, less glitzy and more indie, but some great shopping, food, and people-watching to be had. The Claremont Canyon Preserve, a 200+ acre park just east of Telegraph, has some awesome hikes and views, too.

    Generally, I'd recommend staying away from the Pier 47/Fisherman's Wharf area and the Golden Gate Bridge during the weekend -- the traffic (both vehicular and pedestrian) makes the whole scene far too claustrophobic for my tastes. Union Square is somewhat impressive, in a generically-urban sort of way, but I never had the budget to shop there, (think Prada/Diesel/cotoure) so it's not a place I visit any more.

  • Oh man--the restaurants alone could keep you pretty busy! Delfina in the Mission is one of my personal favorites--it's very hip yet unpretentious, and has fantastic high-end Italian food. The staff is great. Just get reservations early (that's actually a good rule of thumb for most good SF restaurants).

    I haven't been there yet, but I have friends who absolutely rave about Range, which is also in the Mission. My friends also say good things about Myth.

    I really love Zazie for brunch. It's a cute neighborhood French restaurant in Cole Valley that has some incredible breakfast stuff (gingerbread pancakes, Tahitian French toast). They've got a patio that's lovely on a sunny morning.

    No trip to SF would be complete without a Mission burrito. People are very, very partisan about taquerias, but my personal favorite is Taqueria Pancho Villa at 16th and Mission. They roll the tightest burritos in town--they're like cigars :-).

    For sushi, my personal favorite off-the-beaten path place is Amasia Hide's in the Castro. The only thing about them is they have this bizarro alternate staff that works early in the week, so make sure to Thursday through Saturday.

    I also recommend checking out the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero, which has been turned into a sort of gourmet food mall. It has tons of good restaurants, and an awesome weekend farmer's market where you can sample a lot of local food.

    I'm sure I'll think of more--I love playing tour guide for SF :-)...

  • The bike tour on the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito, with the return with the ferry is really nice.

    There are more than one company providing the same service (rent a bike and a map); Blazing Saddles is one of them:

  • Being a Bay Area native myself, I heartily second the comments made about the restaurants alone keeping you busy the entire time. Due to population density, and fierce competition with other restaurants, the odds are that within a 3 block radius, there will be an average of 6 highly recommended eateries.

    Some highlights include: Oxygen (Oxygen and Sushi bar) for some of the best deviant CA-style sushi available.

    Mifune: Freshly made Japanese noodles (Soba, udon, etc) 2 people can get a very filling tasty lunch for under $14.

    Haight St. Thai place: (Don't remember the name) Upstairs, overlooking Haight street, for some of the best Thai food you'll find in CA.

    On the subject of things to do: Exploratorium in the Palace of Fine Arts: The original please touch museum. Great fun for all-ages. The PoFA is a beautiful setting to begin with, so this is definitely worth the trip.

    Japantown: Generally well-marked, but not as much of a tourist destination as Chinatown. Mifune is located in the Kinokuniya mall there, and worth the trip in and of itself. I also highly recommend the Kinokuniya bookstore, the TV/Electronics/Media shop, and the little coffeeshop that sells Taiyaki around the side. (Fish-shaped pastries filled with chocolate or sweetened red beans. Best fresh off the griddle, but good nonetheless) Across the street from the main plaza of Jtown, (look for the Denny's) there's Post Hardware. Don't let the name fool you; it contains a veritable wealth of housewares, Japanese cookware, Japanese electronic cookware, Japanese knives, and gorgeous Japanese laquerware and ceramic serving platters. VERY worth stopping in. At the end of this open-air mall on the left, (Facing away from the main Jtown plaza) there's a nifty little Japanese pastry shop specializing in "Manju". If you like that sort of thing, theirs is the best, and it's made that day.

    Haight St.: Always an enjoyable destination if your tastes are off-of-center. Regardless of your political leanings, the record stores generally have an excellent selection.

    The Sony Metreon: Not quite up to the hype it exudes, but fun all the same. Lots of nifty non-Sony stuff to be found in this Mall. If you're at all fond of Sony products, this is a good chance to see them in their "Natural" habitat.

    Alcatraz: Definitely mentioned in tourbooks, but well worth the trip.

  • Get out of town for a day.

    Seriously, pick a nice day, rent a convertable, drive across the Golden Gate to Sausalito, pick up a lunch to go, then up to the top of Mt. Tam. There's a parking lot near the top, from there hike about a quarter mile further up to the top, and enjoy the view.

    You're on a grassy mountaintop, with the world at your feet. On one side, the huuuge Pacific, on the other, the Bay & across it San Francisco. You can see forever, fog banks rolling in, long rows of waves piling up, boats large & small moving around the harbor.

    The two of you, some good food, the fresh air, and a view that will live on in your soul.

    Afterwards off to Muir Woods. From big open sea & sky to forested grottos. Giant Redwoods in the musty piney forest. The contrast is profound.

    On the way back go via the Marin Headlands, assuming one of you isn't too discomfitted by driving a windy narrow road with no rail and a coupla hundred foot drop to the boiling surf... You've never been so alive.

    A day out of the city, the two of you together, with scenery you'll not forget: It's what a honeymoon is about.

  • Just had a good week's vacation in SF, which included as some highlights:

    • Visiting the Marin Headlands:
    • Walking the Golden Gate bridge early in the morning and watching the sun burn off the fog
    • visiting Japantown and Japan Video for anime and other Japanese delights

    Enjoy, and congratulations!

  • If either of you are into knitting, Artfibers downtown.

    I'll second Japantown - there's great stationery store that I visit whenever I get a chance.

    There's both Tibetan and Burmese food to be had, which I have fond memories of.

    I want to visit the Prelinger Library - - open by appointment.

    The Prelinger Library is an appropriation-friendly, browsable collection of approximately 40,000 books, periodicals, printed ephemera and government documents located in San Francisco, California, USA.

    Though libraries live on (and are among the least-corrupted democratic institutions), the freedom to browse serendipitously is becoming rarer. Now that many research libraries are economizing on space and converting print collections to microfilm and digital formats, it's becoming harder to wander and let the shelves themselves suggest new directions and ideas. Key academic and research libraries are often closed to unaffiliated users, and many keep the bulk of their collections in closed stacks, inhibiting the rewarding pleasures of browsing. Despite its virtues, query-based online cataloging often prevents unanticipated yet productive results from turning up on the user's screen. And finally, much of the material in our collection is difficult to find in most libraries readily accessible to the general public.

  • The Haight Street Thai place is called Ploy 2. It's right next to my place :-).

    It's definitely good, though I tend to be a slightly bigger fan of the various Osha Thai locations or Thep Phenom in the Lower Haight personally.

  • A few other offbeat things that come to mind: the 826 Valencia pirate store, Buena Vista Park (basically like Fangorn Forest right off Haight Street with great views from the higher points--photo here), the observation tower at the DeYoung in Golden Gate Park (pic here), the beer garden at Zeitgeist.

    It's a bit out of town, but I also highly recommend checking out the Point Reyes seashore for a very dramatic seascape (pics here.

  • Congratulations and all the best.

  • Congratulations!

    Not exactly wallet-breaking, but the Audium is definitely only-in-SF.

  • A place to stay: The Archbishop's Mansion

    My wife and I have stayed there a number of times (I stumbled on to the place in '98 when all the standard JavaOne hotels were booked) It is not only a nice/comfortable place to stay with good service... it really has charm. I've stayed in a few fine hotels, but none have featured a bedroom with a stocked library or a working fireplace.

  • My wife and I had part of our honeymoon in SF as well. It's a great choice. We took a harbor tour around Alcatraz that was fun, tons of good photo ops. The Exploratorium is great (I spent the whole time explaining the science behind most of the exhibits because they were short on people and signs to do it). Being a comic book geek I had to visit the Isotope comic shop (now in a new location in the middle of the city). SF is a great place just to go walk around. There's also some great bus tours of the city you can take.

  • Cynthia and I would be happy to play native guides if you want to explore Silicon Valley, you know, Fry, Stanford, and the Mothership.

    In the City I second Ed's recommendations of the Exploratorium, the Haight, and Japantown.


    1. Cocktails at the bar on the top floor of the Sir Francis Drake.
    2. I wish you were getting into town on the 10th, then you could see Charlie Anders' monthly literary salon,, which is great fun.
    3. The Mission, the Castro, and the Haight (sorta) are co-joined so you can spend a day on foot exploring.
    4. Joy de Vrie runs a chain of boutique hotels throughout the City, so consider an upgrade for a night or two (most of them also provide free wifi.)
    5. Ritual Roasters on Valencia (around 22nd) makes really good coffee.
  • I second Michael's suggestion to go to Sausalito...but you can also rent some bikes and cross the bridge that way. On the way back, take the ferry and have a few drinks.

    You may also enjoy going over to SF's large Chinatown to explore that area for a day.

  • Definently go to Forbes Island, a romantic fake floating island that is pure kitch + pure romance. It's great:


  • I second 'Exploratorium in the Palace of Fine Arts'

    For food, definately check out Fina Estampa ( Peruvian Cuisine, it's top notch. If you are in to garlic, check out The Stinking Rose ( and get to Gilroy south of the city for more garlic goodness.

    Get to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Beautiful hikes and scenery.

    Congrats and Good Luck!

    • John
  • Do keep me (us?) posted about your trip. I, too, may be San Francisco-honeymoon-bound in October '06.

  • Hey - I just stumbled across this blog - I am marrying the man of my dreams in a few weeks (June 3rd) and we are splitting our honeymoon between San Francisco and Napa Valley. Some of these suggestions have been great - I'd love to hear more!! Neither of us have ever been to San Fransisco before - we both love to eat, drink lotsa wine and stay very active!

    I'll keep monitoring for more great ideas. Congratulations to all those who have written about their engagements and recent/upcoming marriages - it's an exciting time!!

  • I highly recommend the Palace of Fine Arts at midnight.

    "Come Natasha, let us dance like creatures of the night!"

  • Favorite fancy restaurants of mine include Enrico's, Sauce, Boulevard, and Blowfish.

    At the opposite end of the spectrum, The Pork Store has the best hash browns I have ever tasted, and better service than anybody has a right to expect in a little dive. The Haight location is better than the one on Valencia, but expect a wait. I'm salivating just thinking about it.

    In the middle, I'm fond of Il Borgo, Walzwerk, Osha Thai, and City View (for dim sum), Henry's Hunan, and Powell's Soul Food. OK, so that's a pretty wide middle.

    Late at night, options include Sparky's and Grubstake. The daily specials at Grubstake are especially good.

    If you make it to the East Bay, look into Kirala, The New Zealander, and Le Cheval. Oh, and don't forget the famous Chez Panisse. Don't bother with the more expensive prix fixe downstairs. Go for the upstairs. It is less expensive, every bit as good (a point corroborated by one of their former chefs), and easier to get into.

    There is an abundance of great restaurants in and around San Francisco, so check the reviews and don't settle for average.

  • My fiance and I are also honeymooning in San Francisco (coming up - July 15th is the big day!). These suggestions were great!