California Dreamin'

California Dreamin’

Golden gate bridge

Golden gate bridge
Photo by Phil Coblentz, courtesy of the SFCVB

Slip on your walking shoes and get ready for some fun in San Francisco. There are few cities I love more, so here are some of my favourite picks from my recent stay in the city by the Bay.

Tracy Finkelstein
Director, Business Development and Promotions






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The Clift, Part of the Morgans Hotel Group
Ian Shrager hotel groupies and the chic set stay at this uber-stylish spot. We can only hope the rooms are well equipped with CDs from Ian’s Studio 54 days.

Fairmont San Francisco, on Nob Hill
Classic elegance and refinement meet from the moment guests walk into the grand lobby.

InterContinental San Francisco

InterContinental San Francisco
InterContinental San Francisco

InterContinental San Francisco
Ask for a corner suite and you’ll be awestruck by the floor to ceiling wall of windows – even in the bathroom. The view of Bay Bridge downtown SF and Bloomies are priceless! Unwind in the well-equipped health club and I-Spa where you’ll find foot reflexology and pick-me-up shoulder massages, not to mention the genius 20-minute treatments. The hotel’s resto, Luce, also makes for an exquisite dining experience.

The El Dorado Hotel, Sonoma
Completely cool and simply beautiful, this wine country hotel is definitely where the hipsterati hang out.





Dries Van Noten

Dries Van Noten
Dries Van Noten

Union Square
With department stores like Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom’s, and Barneys all nearby, it’s no wonder this corner of the world is affectionately called ‘shopping heaven’.

Gimme Shoes, Fillmore Street in Pacific Heights
Accessories addicts adore their massive selection of designer footwear including – my personal faves! – Chie Mahara’s scarlet t-strap sandals and Dries Van Noten’s exquisite floral print pumps.

Jeremy’s, South of Market district.
Housing two floors of discount designer gems, the store also stocks everything from formal gowns to must-have denim, as well as shoes, bags and baubles a-plenty.

Optical Underground
The haute spot for sunnies and eyewear. Tracy’s tip – if you find something you love, grab it because it may be the only one in the entire store. I practically had to fight a fellow shopper for my 75% off Lafont frames!

Levi’s flagship store, Post Street
Tricked out with DJ booths, flat screens tvs and CD listening stations, there’s also a digital scanner for the ultimate in jean therapy. Watch as it maps out your body to help you select the perfect fit every time. Bespoke bonus – A custom embroidery station in the basement lets you work with a designer to create the Levi’s you want.

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Fiona's Sweetshoppe

Fiona’s Sweetshoppe
Fiona’s Sweetshoppe

Fiona’s Sweetshoppe
This closet-sized candy shop is filled with loads of delicious sweets including an incredible array of licorice. Tracy’s tip – go for Marshamallow flavor.

Serving deliciously uncomplicated California cuisine, this foodie-favourite also boasts a spectacular 3-storey, glass front wine cellar that greets you when you enter. That’s wow-factor!

Blowfish Sushi
Tracy’s tip – the Crunchy California Rolls in panko breadcrumbs are to die for. If you are craving delicious and unique sushi, then head to

Slanted Door, located in the ferry building on the Embarcadero
Considered the pick for pan-Asian cuisine, the view of the Bay is priceless.

The Plumpjack Café
Complement the sumptuous French and Italian dishes with their award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon (direct from their very own Napa Valley vineyard’s, ‘natch).

Foreign Cinema
Mediterranean inspired-meal + independent film screenings in the covered outdoor courtyard = fabulous.

Universal Café
Anything but average, this local hotspot uses only organic ingredients to produce exceptionally yummy food, at a completely reasonable price. There’s good reason why people line up for the brunch.

Caffe Centro, on South Park.
Hang out and people watch while refueling with their vanilla lattes.

Ghiradelli Chocolate, at Fisherman’s Wharf.
There is no better way to enjoy San Francisco’s famous chocolate, then when it’s mixed with ice cream!

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San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Offering up a sensational collection of abstract expressionist art.

The Contemporary Jewish Museum

The Contemporary Jewish Museum
The Contemporary Jewish Museum

The Contemporary Jewish Museum, Mission Street.
The Daniel Libeskind-designed museum (the architect responsible for the renovated Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto) is a terrific way to spend an afternoon.

The de Young Museum, in Golden Gate Park.
Housing extensive collections of American painting, decorative art and sculpture, this breathtaking place is easily worth the price of admission.

Lombard Steet

Lombard Steet
Lombard Steet

Lombard Street
Leave the stilettos at home and challenge yourself to a walk down the world’s most crooked street.

No trip to the Bay is complete without a ferry ride to the rock.

Golden Gate Bridge
Take a leisurely stroll and enjoy the view of a lifetime

Cable Cars A charming San Fran staple.



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