Jan 15, 2012

Travel guide: Chic San Francisco

By: Jennifer Weatherhead

Justin Harrington Author: Elle Canada Credits: Justin Harrington

Jan 15, 2012

Travel guide: Chic San Francisco

By: Jennifer Weatherhead
Every city has its own sense of style, self and culture. And that could not be more true when it comes to San Francisco. Haven’t been? In the city is a cultural hub for artists, activists and stylists alike, it’s not hard to find chic and fashionable options.

Where to stay:

The St. Regis San Francisco

There’s nothing quite like a stay at a St. Regis Hotel. Booking a reservation at one of this elite hotels means you’ll be privy to the best in service, the comfiest rooms and beds and of course, delectable dining. The San Francisco location fills up on all of those elements. Though not centrally located in the heart of the shopping and dining scene, you won’t be a far taxi ride away from the action.

The Fairmont San Francisco

Of course the Fairmont is set atop of Nob Hill. It has to have the best and most stunning views of the colourful city streets and bay. And hello elegance … the Fairmont’s grandeur and regal rooms and lobby will make you feel like royalty. Book yourself a suite for the ultimate in space and comfort (and don’t forget to ask for a room with an impressive view).

Hotel Diva
Calling all fashionistas and shopping addicts. The Hotel Diva is the ideal spot for you. Located right in the bustle of the city, you’ll be steps away from Union Square (which means you’re seconds from shopping luxe brands like Gucci, Marc Jacobs, hitting up Macy’s and shopping for jewels at Tiffany). Each room is decked in rich colours with quotes form beauty and fashion icons (think Bette Davis and Marilyn Monroe), and at each turn you’ll find portraits of sky-high heels and other fashionably chic accessories.

Where to dine:

First Crush Wine Bar

You can’t really be in California and not take advantage of the amazing wines to come out of this state. Booking a table at First Crush Wine Bar means you’ll be not only sipping on crisp, cool California whites and robust reds, but you’ll also be noshing on truffle oil fries, freshly made pastas and, of course, what San Fran is known best for, delicious seafood.

Hands down one of our favourite restaurants we’ve visited in years, Credo’s cozy, comfy atmosphere means you won’t be bombarded with pretention. Instead you’ll get a great view of the chef’s cooking your meal while reading the inspirational famous quotes that cover every corner of the walls. Dig into their wild mushroom fondue, and their famed pasta bowl topped with pizza crust and baked (it’s huge, saucy, piping hot and one of the best pasta dishes you will ever taste, we promise). All that walking up the hills will help work it off, so don’t worry about this indulgence.

More places to dine and where to shop in San Francisco on the next page ... san-fran-car.jpg


For brunch you can’t beat a trip to Ella’s at Presidio Avenue and California Street. The cozy atmosphere fits the San Fran vibe completely and you can sip on multiple cups of Joe while you enjoy the scrambles, omelets and eggs in just about anyway you like (we would opt for the Chicken Hash or the daily special of fresh eggs, meat and veg). Everything is made fresh and from scratch, which means you’ll no doubt get one of the best breakfast meals in the city.

Where to shop:
Sure you can hit up Union Square, which will get you designer names and department stores. But truly get a San Francisco experience by hitting up some notable neighbourhoods. Here are two that we loved while strolling the streets.

Hayes Valley
This arty section of San Francisco is not to be missed. We explored the area through a Gourmet Food and Wine Tour, where our guide (who knows evry nook and cranny of the Hayes Valley streets) took into tucked away shops, restaurants, and more to experience the falvours of the neighbourhood and the shopping available. Just a few tastes we had: salted caramel ice cream from Smitten Ice Cream, crispy fries at Frjtz Gourmet Belgian Fries, delicately designed chocolates at Christopher Elbow, cured meats and cheeses at the Fatted Calf and light French macaroons at Miette. And in between all that you’ll find one-of-a-kind stores, boutiques, and vintage shops to scour for designer names.

Chestnut Street

If you’re not looking to hit the big shops and want a more cozy, relaxed vibe for shopping head over to Chestnut Street. You’ll find a delightful mix brand name shops and independent stores to tuck into. But even better are the cafes and restaurants that you can enjoy – our favourite? Delrosa for light Italian fare.

And don’t forget to really relish in a San Francisco standard – Levi’s. The denim brand originated in the cool city and just try and look around the streets and not spot someone wearing the classic jeans. There are Levi’s stores throughout the city, but if you’re a denim nut like we are, you’ll want to swing by the Levi’s head quarters, where you can shop for the latest trends (and test out the new Curve ID system) and take a stroll through the museum that houses some of the oldest pairs of denim in the world, and designer pieces (we spotted a glittery YSL trucker jacket).

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Travel guide: Chic San Francisco