San Francisco’s Sunset District doesn’t usually win the award for “Best Neighborhood.”
It’s pushed all the way over there on the left side, impossibly far by SF standards from just about anything except the beach and it spends much of the year covered completely and wholly in Karl the Fog.
For the past two weeks, I’ve been garden-sitting at a friend’s place in this under-recognized little gem of a ‘hood and it has been a seriously unexpected treat.
Compared to the Mission District (smack-dab in the middle of the action) where I usually live, the Sunset couldn’t have been a further stretch in pace of life.
Hearing the ocean roar at night, zero traffic or street noise in the morning, plenty of parking (acquired a temporary car during this stint also, woot woot) and still with easy access to shops, markets and public transit — wait just a minute here, Sunset — you’ve been holding out on us this whole time!
From an always-doing-twelve-things-at-once perspective, a break in the Sunset couldn’t have been a better timed or positioned change of pace.
And, I got to discover all sorts of new places to eat, grab coffee and treat my sweet tooth after all those little runs along the water (did I mention how much I love being so close to the water?).
Here are a few faves for when you find yourself venturing into this perfect little part of San Francisco:
- Java Beach Cafe – The Judah location has an excellent back bar that works well as a standing desk for other coffee-shop workers like me.
- Outerlands – I’ve come from the east side of the city for these Eggs in Jail. They’re that good.
- Izakaya Sozi – Traditional Japanese Ramen, comparable to Tokyo. I said it.
- Judahlicious – Smoothiesssss.
- Noriega Produce – The Bi-Rite of the Sunset, sans ice cream.
- Arizmendi Bakery – Worker-owned pizza dough bakery co-op. Nomz.
- Cafe la Flore – Amazing sandwiches and cappuccinos. Love the seats upstairs.
- Trouble Coffee – Cinnamon. toast.
- Andytown – If this place had more space to stick around, all of San Francisco would know it’s some of the best coffee in the city. The Snowy Plover could easily go on the next part of this list (get ready for that run).
- Tonight Soju Bar – Yes, it’s one of the only bars, but that Soju will turn you loose real quick. You’ve been warned.
- Devil’s Teeth Cafe – Breakfast Sandwiches, Sightglass coffee and $1 beignets on Sundays.
- The Riptide – Currently rebuilding after a two-alarm put them $1 million in the hole in August, this rustic lodge with an ocean view needs you to buy their well-priced drinks now more than ever. For history.
- Farmer’s Market – 9am-1pm Sundays on 9th at Irving.
- General Store – Eclectic books, housewares, clothing and general charm. The garden out back is a dream on a sunny day.
- Amazing Fantasy – Authentic old school comic book shop.
- Ambiance – A less picked over location of one of San Francisco’s better one-stop boutiques!
- Lake Merced
- Stern Grove
- Golden Gate Park
- Ocean Beach
And of course, a few of my favorite snaps from time spent calling the Sunset “home:”
Thanks to my friend Stephanie for heading out of town for a couple weeks and sharing her fresh perspective.
Have you explored San Francisco’s Sunset District? Where are some of your favorite spots?