From Amoeba Music to Zazie: 26 of Our Team’s Favorite Bay Area Spots

Gap Inc.

One of the many perks of working at Gap Inc. headquarters is the chance to explore the one of the cities we call home (the other being New York): From great food to amazing sights to arts and culture, San Francisco is where it’s at. Our HQ employees share some of their favorite spots in the city and nearby, and offer these tips for visitors and newcomers: always wear layers, never call it “Frisco” and know that there’s an app for EVERYTHING from mailing packages to getting your laundry done to having the best bites delivered to your door.

  • Amoeba Music, the world’s largest independent record store, is staffed by ridiculously knowledgeable music nerds and hosts tons of live performances. Neighborhoods: Haight-Ashbury and Berkeley
  • Botanical Garden in Golden Gate Park, 55 acres of blissful green space, was named one of the nation’s best botanical gardens by USA Today. The magnolias are in bloom through March. Neighborhood: Golden Gate Park
  • Comstock Saloon is a romantic stop for craft cocktails and one of Parachute magazine’s “Five Spots to Drink an Amazing Cocktail and Pretend You’re a Real San Franciscan.” Neighborhood: Downtown
  • de Young Museum’s breathtaking Herzog & de Meuron building showcases its collection of American art from the 17th–20th centuries, textile arts, and art from Africa, Oceania and the Americas. Neighborhood: Golden Gate Park
  • Embarcadero at the eastern waterfront of the city is where you’ll find the famous Fisherman’s Wharf, the Exploratorium, the Ferry Building, AT&T Park and much more. Neighborhood: North Beach
  • Foreign Cinema offers one of the city’s best brunches (brunch is officially A Thing in San Francisco), lovely outdoor space and a unique take on dinner and a movie: they project films on the restaurant walls. Neighborhood: The Mission
  • Green Chile Kitchen features New Mexican cuisine — including hearty traditional stews — packed with red and green chiles. Neighborhood: NoPa
  • Hideout is a tiny craft-cocktail bar nestled into the back room of its sister bar Dalva. Neighborhood: The Mission
  • Independent is where the coolest of the cool kids see hot indie bands and musicians poised to break out. Neighborhood: NoPa
  • Jane has some of the city’s best coffee, baked goods and healthy breakfasts and lunches (the vegan granola is to die for). Neighborhood: Pacific Heights
  • Kezar Stadium used to be the home of the San Francisco 49ers; today, joggers flock to its running track, and you can catch SF Bay Bombers roller derby matches at the adjacent pavilion. Neighborhood: Golden Gate Park
  • Legion of Honor, part of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, has an astonishing collection of ancient and European art — and an equally stunning view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Neighborhood: Sea Cliff
  • M & Mrs. Miscellaneous has some of SF’s best ice cream, featuring housemade creations like Grapefruit + Campari, Sloe Gin and Candied Lavender. Neighborhood: Potrero Hill
  • Nopalito serves traditional regional Mexican dishes (don’t miss the molé sauces made from scratch) crafted from organic, local ingredients. Neighborhood: Haight-Ashbury
  • Ocean Beach on the city’s western border is where hardcore surfers gather; strong rip currents mean that it’s not for swimming or wading, but its 3.5 miles of white-sand beach are ideal for walking. Neighborhood: Golden Gate Park
  • Palace of Fine Arts, a popular spot for weddings, has been one of the city’s most-visited sites since it was built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exhibition. Neighborhood: The Presidio
  • Berkeley aQuatic Park (forgive us for the cheat, but come on, it’s a Q), across the bay from SF, has one of the coolest playgrounds around and is a hotspot for birders and hikers. Neighborhood: Berkeley
  • Rickshaw Stop is a TV studio turned music venue that hosts live shows and club nights, as well as some pretty fierce foosball matches. Neighborhood: Civic Center
  • Sightglass Coffee is named after the viewing window on its vintage coffee roaster, and the two brothers who own the shop eat, sleep and breathe the pursuit of the perfect cup. Neighborhood: The Mission
  • Tony’s Pizza Napoletana cranks out 12 different styles of pies from its sweet spot on the ground floor of a fine old Victorian house. Neighborhood: North Beach
  • Urban Putt is definitely the only place in the city where you can enjoy eats and drinks while playing 14 mini-golf holes designed to resemble San Francisco landmarks. “A steampunk-meets-Rube-Goldberg experience,” says SFist.com. Neighborhood: The Mission
  • Vertigo Tours take fans of Alfred Hitchcock to locations featured in one of his best-known films, named the best film of all time by the “Sight & Sound” poll of the British Film Institute. Neighborhoods: Various, including Nob Hill and the Presidio
  • Walt Disney Family Museum tells Walt Disney’s story through interactive exhibits and artifacts; you can see Disney classics in the lower-level digital theater. Neighborhood: The Presidio
  • The roXie Theater (yes, we cheated again, give us a break), a nonprofit movie house that includes the world’s second-oldest cinema in continuous operation, shows indie films and restored classics. Neighborhood: The Mission
  • Yoshi’s Oakland, across the bay, is both a highly rated sushi restaurant and an acclaimed jazz club that welcomes local and national acts. Neighborhood: Oakland
  • Zazie, a neighborhood bistro, is famous not only for its French-inflected fare but also for its philosophy of providing employees a living wage, revenue share, paid family leave, health insurance, paid time off, and a 401(k) with employer match. Neighborhood: Cole Valley

Want to call the bay your home? Check out our San Francisco-based jobs.

Categories

Related Articles