When I was planning content for this year, one of the things that got me most excited was the idea of creating content more focused around San Francisco. This gets me excited for two reasons: 1. San Francisco is an incredible city that has a ton to offer both to visitors and locals and 2. Most bloggers live in either LA, NYC, or London, leaving San Francisco out of much of the blogging world. Since I’ve lived here my entire life, I think I know a thing or two about the city and all that it has to offer. I’m going to introduce a series on this space for the next year at least called “The Neighborhood Diaries”, wherein I talk about a small neighborhood and all of my favorite spots within it, from restaurants, to shops, to outdoor spaces. First up: NoPA (North of the Panhandle), otherwise known as Western Addition.
The highlight of NoPA is, without a doubt, the southern end of Divisadero Street. Nestled in between the Lower Haight, the Castro, and Hayes Valley, NoPA isn’t the most expansive neighborhood in terms of restaurants, bars, shops, etc., but it does have a handful of absolute gems. Combined with the fact that the neighborhood is also home to some of the most quintessentially San Francisco architecture, it makes for a great place to wander around on a Sunday.
Eat ~ There are so many good places to eat in NoPA, and of course the most obvious restaurant pick in the neighborhood is NoPA, however I thought I’d stray a bit from the obvious and talk about a few restaurants that aren’t talked about quite as much. Brenda’s Meat & Three is one of the best places to get southern food in the city and it’s located right in the thick of NoPA on Divisadero. The whole concept is centered around picking one meat option and three sides, so to say you get a lot of food is an understatement. The fried chicken is definitely my favorite thing from the menu! Although it’s not the only location, the Souvla on Divisadero is one of my favorite restaurants in the area. All of the things on the menu are super affordable, and incredibly delicious. If you love Greek food and don’t want to be stuck in line at the other Souvla locations, this one is definitely worth checking out. There are lots of bars on Divisadero, especially dive bars, but Horse Feather is without a doubt the most innovative when it comes to mixed drinks. The whole vibe of the bar is super cool and very San Francisco, and while I haven’t ever eaten at the restaurant, I’ve heard nothing but good things.
Shop ~ While Divisadero isn’t a huge shopping street, there are a few gems that are definitely worth a visit. Rare Device is one of the most well-known boutiques along Divisadero. They have everything from homewares, to prints, to stationary, and it is my go-to spot for getting fun cards for people. BiRite is a grocery store and creamery and while I normally wouldn’t include a grocery store in a “shopping category”, BiRite definitely deserves a mention in this category. I don’t go shopping at BiRite for my everyday groceries (because it’s pretty expensive) but they are easily the best store in the city for specialty foods or if you are planning a really nice dinner party. Also, make sure you get some flowers from BiRite because they have some of the best seasonal arrangements! The Perish Trust is a store in a similar vein to Rare Device, in that it’s a super cute boutique, that is great for gift giving. However, the Perish Trust errs much more on the rustic side in terms of aesthetics and they are my go-to place for buying unique cookbooks and ceramics.
Wander & Relax ~ There is nothing more quintessentially San Francisco than Alamo Square Park, which is probably most famous because of the opening scene of Full House. While it is a tourist destination (which I usually avoid like the plague), it is one of the prettiest parks and because it is so big you can go to another end to be out of the way of all the tourists. Of course the view doesn’t hurt either. Sightglass Coffee is one of the best local coffee roasters and they have the dreamiest cafes right on Divisadero and Haight Street. It’s on of my favorite places to go and do work on my free days. There is nothing more I love than a Sunday Farmers Market. There are tons of farmers markets around the city during the weekends, but the one on Divisadero is one of the quaintest and most relaxing ones. There aren’t tons of vendors but the ones that are there are great and are very reasonably priced, which isn’t always easy to find in this city.