Gentleman's Travel Guide: San Francisco
A gentleman should always be well-traveled. He should see the world through his own eyes and not the eyes of others. He should take in the sights, sounds, and culture wherever he goes. And in a quote from a Moorish proverb: “He who does not travel does not know the value of men.”
Therefore, to assist you in striving to live by those words, Man Of The Hour is introducing our new regular feature: the Gentleman’s Travel Guide. In this informative piece, we’ll provide you with the need-to-know when visiting some of the best cities around the world.
As our first inductee, prepare to be guided through the “City by the Bay,” better known as San Francisco.
First thing’s first! Before you arrive in San Francisco, you are going to need to know where you will reside during your tenure in the city. And like any metropolis, San Francisco has a bevy of hotel accommodations for you to choose from. However, here are four hotel selections that are at the top of MH comfort lists.
Andrew’s Hotel (Top, Left): This European-style hotel located near the Union Square shopping district (the 5th Avenue of SF) feels like a jaunt to Paris, London and Brussels all in one, with moderately priced rooms.
Hotel Adagio (Top, Right): This centrally located Spanish-style hotel takes design and color schemes to a whole new level and provides an urban-remote-like lap of luxury for a moderate price.
Mandarin Oriental (Bottom, Left): This world-renowned luxury hotel chain’s San Francisco location is just a short walk east of Union Square in the financial district, and is simply the best of accommodations for a man with unlimited access to vacationing in comfort and style. Rooms are the platinum standard for the high-end spender.
W San Francisco (Bottom, Right): The infamous W hotel chain’s San Francisco location is right at the heart of the South of Market Distinct, and has a distinct larger than life feel to it. It is edged just in between the moderate and high-end price rage.
Whether you are traveling alone, with friends, with that special someone, or for professional purposes, fulfilling nourishment is a necessity for life. San Francisco, like New York, is laced with restaurants from every nook and cranny of the world. Yet sorting through such a vast selection can be overwhelming. So MH’s Publisher will share with you his selection of the top places to dine in the city.
1300 Fillmore (Top, Left): Take a trip to the Western Addition neighborhood better known as the Lower Filmore, and get ready to chow down on some southern-inspired vittles at 1300 Fillmore with 5-star tastes and 5-star presentations.
Otoro Sushi (Top, Right): Nestled in the Hayes Valley area, get some of the best in Japanese flair in town from the top rated sushi bar that warrants a return visit before you make your way out of town.
Nopalito (Bottom, Left): This Upper Height sustainable, organic, traditional Mexican restaurant serves a great selection of Mexican treats while taking an environmentally sound approach.
Original Joe's (Bottom, Right): With a modern take on the classic American and Italian entrees, Original Joe's—located in the heart of North Beach —is a truly traditional restaurant, providing the feel of a true neighborhood watering hole.
Reading is fundamental, they say. And despite the vast tech label carried by San Francisco, it is a city where a gentleman is well-read and literary sound. However, whether you are looking for a classic Henry Thoreau tale or the latest men’s magazine, here are our suggested booksellers to meet your literary needs.
Books Inc (Left): With a diverse selection of literature to choose from, this independent book seller is the Bay Area’s equivalent to Barnes & Noble.
Fog City New: (Center) Periodical aficionados will find thousands of magazines from every corner of the earth, as well as national print news journals, a variety of chocolates and more.
William Stout Architectural Books (Right): The name says it all; it is one of the best architectural bookstores in the country.
Union Square & South of Market (SOMA) Districts: The Union Square District is the premiere shopping district in San Francisco and is home to some of the world’s top luxury- and moderately-priced retailers.
Adjacent to Union Square is the South of Market District, better known by locals as SOMA. It houses the Bay Area’s premier shopping mall and other moderately-priced retailers.
Mall: When shopping, every gentleman visiting SF needs to check out the Westfield San Francisco Center. It is the Bay Area’s largest shopping complex, features 5 levels and over 200 shops/restaurants; including two major department stores: Bloomingdales and Nordstrom.
Department Stores: On the fast track to your shopping endeavors, a gentleman often needs to have a one-stop shopping experience in a department store that can handle all of his needs. With that said, San Francisco boasts over 6 major department stores to fit into your price range.
If you are traveling on a budget and need some moderate- to high-priced garments, then head over to Macy’s in Union Square, which has its own entire 6-story men’s store. Or stop at Nordstrom in the Westfield Center and hit the men’s floor.
Now, for you platinum, gold, and black card members—or anyone who just wants to splurge—the city has you covered as well. You can start by hitting the men’s floor of Bloomingdale’s at the Westfield Center and then head on over to Union Square where you can shop the men’s floors of Barney’s New York and Neiman Marcus. As a special treat, you can hit the 5-story Sax Fifth Avenue (Men’s Store) and take in the luxurious design and dapper looks all fit for a gentleman.
Specialty Retailers/Boutiques: You can shop within the bounds of Union Square and SOMA. Or, if you want to expand your garment search, there are other dandies throughout the city which will suffice. Take a look at some of the top shops, from the known to the unknown.
Acrimony (Top, Left): With a unique array of moderately-priced garments, this Hayes Valley neighborhood boutique carries an array of styles that represent the best in San Francisco’s modern, classic, urban style.
Louis Vuitton (Top, Right): Union Square is home to many high-end retailers including Burberry, Gucci, Hermes, Prada, Ralph Lauren, Ted Baker London just to name a few. Yet it is the LV boutique which takes the cake. From the in-store design to the merchandise layout, LV provides a visually appealing experience for the discerning customer.
Thomas Pink London (Bottom, Left): Whether you need ready-to-wear or made-to-measure custom shirts for formal, casual or evening wear, Thomas Pink’s got you covered. The label’s SF Union Square boutique of the London-based fashion retailer also carries ties, cufflinks and other accessories to compliment your style.
Welcome Stranger (Bottom, Right): This retail gem is also located in the Hayes Valley; just south of city hall is home to some of the best rustic-meets-urban garments, with a twist.
Accessories: Considering the many choices a gentleman may have between Union Square and SOMA when looking for shoes and accessories, Ferragamo (for the big spender) and Aldo (for moderately-priced luxe-seeker) are the shops to visit.
Toiletries: Since every gentleman wants to stay fresh and so clean while in city, you have a bevy of choices; department store counters and retailers. But Sephora on the infamous and popularly visited Powell Street at the edge of Union Square is your one-stop-shop for skincare and fragrances.
When the night falls and you want to partake in the extracurricular activities that only a club can offer, San Francisco has still got you covered. It might not be on the scale of, say, NYC, Los Angeles, Miami, or Chicago. But SF has a unique club culture of its own, and here some spots that represent the best of what it has to offer.
Infusion Lounge (Right): Defining itself as the best 5 star nightclub in the city, Infusion Lounge is luxurious place to dance in style to some of world's most popular DJ's.
Red Devil Lounge (Center): Looking for live acts? Then the Red Devil is for you. The club features weekly Indie Rock, Hip-Hop artists and obscure artists that will quell that independent streak.
Ruby Skye (Left): This posh two-level premiere dance club features some of the best DJs from around the world with a focus on international dance music. Be prepared for a high-energy night.
Gentlemen wanting to taking in the diverse artistic culture of San Francisco can go on an interesting journey and, in a city like no other, the artistic diversity is well on display. For those arts-minded people, here are some of the sights you will want to take in.
Visual Arts: You can start your journey down in the SOMA district with the recently completed Contemporary Jewish Museum. Next, if you head just a few blocks down, take in an element of America history at the Museum of African Diaspora. Then continue along the same path and you can take in the current pieces on display at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Finally, take a jaunt near city hall and visit the Asian Art Museum for visual cultural experiences from the East.
Gems: One cannot visit San Francisco without taking a walk across the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge and taking in the view of the Bay. Then, head up to Golden Gate Park and visit the captivating vegetation at the San Francisco Botanical Gardens. You’ll want to finish off with a trip to Coit Tower in the Telegraph Hill neighborhood, which is a monument to firefighters in the City by the Bay.