Pedal Inn's Essential San Francisco Guide
to Awesome Local Things to Do, See + Eat



Getting around before and after you bike

Bonus:  Follow this link for $50 in free Lyft (which is a lot). Say what?  Lyft is SF’s best car service and ethical Uber alternative founded in the Mission District :).
 

Mission District


See Pedal Inn's guide to the Heart of the Mission for things to do off 24th St. right by our shop.

GO

  • Valencia Street - possibly the hippest business district of the city, full of shops, restaurants and bars.  The most walkable stretch of the Mission from 14th to 26th St!

  • 18th Street (between Guerrero and Dolores) - home to some of the city’s best restaurants and markets.  See Tartine Bakery, Delfina (pizza), and Bi-rite grocery for treats to take to Dolores park.

EAT

Market

  • Bi-rite Market -($$) the original location of SF's best grocery store!  An oasis of awesome food, including the finest fruits and veggies in the city.  Buy a sandwich/beer/delicacies and take to Dolores Park on a nice day.   Classic and essential SF experience.

  • Lucca Ravioli Co.  - ($$) the best Italian market on this side of the city (on Valencia).  Legendary ravioli made right next door in their tiny flour covered factory.

  • Rainbow Grocery - ($$) - The largest co-op market in SF and legendary for it’s more-than-epic bulk and organic food selection.  Another Classic and essential spot if you care about food and cooking.

Restaurant

  • Pauline’s Pizza - ($$) Local favorite pizza spot on Valencia featuring ingredients grown on their own farm.  Try the daily specials and their house made wine.

  • St. Francis - ($) Classic soda fountain/diner operating since 1918.  Solid food and perfect Americana atmosphere.  Plus check out their candy counter for vintage treats and trading cards.

  • Californios ($$$$) - one of the best restaurants in SF.   Michelin Star.  And did we mention, it’s a mexican restaurant?

  • Mission Beach Cafe - ($$) there is no better brunch in SF (though Piccino’s comes close).  Not to be taken lightly (as brunch/breakfast spots in SF are generally really overrated!).   Come on a weekday.

  • Tartine Bakery - ($$) - Famous hipster bakery; it's the real deal.  Great sandwiches, bread, everything. Worth it if the line isn’t too long (which it isn’t around 1:30-5 on weekdays).  

  • Blue Plate - ($$$) - A Mission classic in a cozy, yet elegant space.  Excellent service and an interesting menu that is consistently excellent.  Our go-to favorite.

  • Heirloom - ($$$) - A farm-to-table spot with French country flair, the understated exterior gives way to a cozy interior with excellent food and and an exceedingly good wine list.

  • Al's Place ($$$-$$$$) - Our favorite restaurant and home to the best meals we've ever had.  Cozy, friendly, and brilliant food for vegetarians and omnivores alike. Do the prix fixe menu. Make reservations now as this place is hard to get in at (and don't be afraid of taking a 9:45 rez-- so worth it!). 

DRINK

Coffee + Tea

  • Four Barrel - ($) hipster favorite on Valencia, but also makes the best coffee in the city.  Roasted right there. No wonder it’s big in Japan!

  • Blue Bottle @ Heath - ($) the original 3rd-wave coffee roaster, famous for pour over coffee.  Try the New Orleans ice coffee, it's sublime.

  • Samovar - Arthouse tea and some of the best chai we've ever had.  If you like tea, make a pilgrimage to this hip oasis.  Free samples too! 

Booze

  • Latin American Club - ($) original neighborhood bar with a festive atmosphere and famously strong, large margaritas.  Perfect outdoor seating for people watching an a twilight drink.

  • the Homestead - ($) classic bar with peanuts you shell on the floor.  Great cocktails and beer selection.  Personal favorite bar is SF.  45rpm soul night on Mondays.

  • Rite Spot - ($) True to it’s name, this is the best dive bar in the city (for dive bar fans and Mission-as-it-was sentimentalists).  White table cloths, Italian food, table service, and live music every night adds to the mystique.  Don’t let the exterior fool you. Best to go by car or bike.

  • Lone Palm ($) - A self-proclaimed "noir bar," this place is about as Casablanca as you can get.  A classy dive with white tablecloths and great classic cocktails.

  • Royal Cuckoo - ($) - Our new favorite dive with a seemingly always playing organ, stiff drinks, and a cozy red-light atmosphere.  Just go there.

SHOP

  • Community Thrift - ($) great thrift store with an eclectic selection and awesome charity mission.

  • Paxton’s Gate - ($$) Victorian curiosity shop featuring plants, taxidermy, and cool ephemera.

  • Thrift Town - ($) SF’s biggest and best thrift store, if you’re into that sort of thing!

ENTERTAIN

  • Alamo Drafthouse - ($$) Sweet smallish theater that has the best new releases, along with some great arthouse and classic films. Serves food and booze to your seat all movie long.  Located in the renovated New Mission Theater, the grandest and only operating theater on Mission St (once home to the greatest collection of cinemas in all of SF).

  • Balmy Alley - mural art alley right off 24th Street.

  • Clarion Alley - mural art alley right off Valencia street.  Probably the single greatest collection of mural art in SF.

  • Dolores Park- one of the most beautiful parks in the city and a local favorite.  Wonderful views of downtown and the surrounding area.

  • Mission Dolores - SF’s oldest building (circa 1776).  Makes a great stop.  If you have time take the self-guided tour to see inside the Mission and the attached cemetery.

  • The Chapel - ($$) the Mission’s best music venue.  Intimate setting in an old church.  Established by Preservation Hall, New Orlean’s most legendary jazz club.


Potrero Hill


  • Skool - ($$$) one of the most exciting menus we’ve seen and eaten in a long time.  Inventive seafood dishes, cozy atmosphere, sweet outdoor patio on nice days, great happy hour, surprisingly affordable.

  • Umi -($$) - cozy sushi place with authentic atmosphere and passionate owners.

  • Chez Maman ($$) - Great French bistro, warm atmosphere, classic dishes done right.  A beloved local spot.

  • Market & Rye - ($)  breakfast and lunch spot, serving up classic Americana in sandwich form, in the best possible way.

  • Thee Parkside - ($)  - Classic dive bar, with great beer, lots of seating, and pretty decent bar food.  The only good bar in Potrero, though it kinda feels like you're in Portland.  Live music most nights.

  • Bottom of the Hill  - ($$) - Classic Potrero Hill music venue. Intimate, with a variety of good bands passing through.

 

Dogpatch


  • Piccino ($$$) - one of SF’s best restaurants and our favorite weekend brunch.  Fresh Italian meets seasonal California with almost everything made in house.  A legend.

  • Piccino’s to go ($) - cafe next to the big P. Perfect coffee and pastries from the restaurant.

  • Serpentine ($$$)- fresh, local cuisine, great cocktails, modern atmosphere

  • Magnolia Brewery and BBQ ($$) - Lots of beer brewed in house, recreation of a classic SF bar and attached to a BBQ place.  Beer is better than BBQ.

  • Longbridge Pizza - ($) Sourdough crust, thin, and great specialty pies.  The best around there.

  • Moshi Moshi - ($$) Classic Japanese place.  Great cocktails, classic Japanese dishes, and pretty good sushi in a warm and cozy atmosphere.  

  • Hard Knox Cafe - ($)-  Real, authentic SF BBQ joint.  Go here if you’re at Magnolia and catch the BBQ bug.

  • Rickshaw Bagworks ($$) - local bag designer with everything made in SF, right there.

  • Neighbor Bakehouse ($) - our favorite bakery!  Everything is good. Fun staff and never a line.

  • Poco Dolce - ($$$) some of the best chocolate in SF.  Try their legendary olive oil/sea salt bar.

  • the Workshop - ($$$) artisan craft workshop that sells items created by artists in residence.

 

Castro


  • Castro Theater - ($) SF’s classic movie palace.  Peek your head in (just ask) or better yet catch a classic film there (like Vertigo— the quintessential Hitchcock film set in San Francisco).

  • Hi Tops - ($) - a local favorite.  A sports bar with Castro flair.  Great food (classic Americana) and beer selection.  A really fun place.

  • Moby Dick - nautical-themed bar that’s a true Castro classic.  Sprawling place with dancing, aquariums, and two bars. 

  • the Lookout - ($$) prime Market St. views with a fun and crowded atmosphere.  Probably the best people watching spot ever.

  • Q Bar - ($) - Dancing every night generally with awesome drink specials.

  • Brewcade - ($$)  Bar with classic arcade games and some quirky drinks.

  • Hortica- ($$) - One of the city’s best plant stores

  • Frances - ($$$) - amazing food and wine, one of the best restaurants in the city.  Walk up for no reservation seating (limited but well worth a try).

  • Anchor Oyster Bar - ($$$)  an SF institution serving some of the best seafood and oysters in the city.  A true classic.  Show up early or in the afternoon to avoid a long wait (no reservations).

  • La Mediterranee - ($$)  cozy Mediterranean restaurant serving consistently great food.  

  • Kasa Indian Eatery - ($)casual place that serves awesome Indian food burritos (in roti bread).  

  • Café Flore - ($) -great spot to grab a drink and a bite outside on a nice day.

Bernal Heights


  • Bernal Heights Park - walk up folsom street to the top of Bernal for some of the most fantastic views of San Francisco anywhere, especially the Mission, Castro, Potrero Hill, the Bay and south of the city.

  • Cortland Ave - the main business street of Bernal with lots of cool bars and restaurant.  What follows is a brief selection of the best.

  • Vega - ($$) Exemplary, intimate Italian sport serving Puglian specialities (S. Italy).  Try the pizza and house-made orecchiette with broccoli rabe!

  • Succulence  - ($$) - awesome plan shop specializing in succulents

  • Wild Side West - ($) - the oldest bar in Bernal featuring a huge outdoor patio area full of curiosities and amazing views.

NoPa


  • Bi-Rite Market and Creamery - ($$) - yes they have a bi-rite on divis and it’s great.  Same sweet ice cream and usually no line!

  • The Independent- ($$)  probably the best concert venue in the city.  Intimate setting and great music

  • Madrone Art Bar -($)  Great bar with music every night and cool decor.  One of our favs

  • 4505 BBQ - ($$) Open Air BBQ with great food

  • Alamo Square Park- famous views of the Painted ladies and downtown.  1 block up from Divis.

 

Lower Haight


  • Rooky Ricardos - ($$) Awesome record store on Haight Street that lets you listen to everything before you buy.

  • Toronado- ($$) the internationally-renowned king of beer bars in SF .  Also make sure you grab a sausage next door at Rosamundes
     

Upper Haight


  • Magnolia - ($$)  an original brewery with a classic SF vibe

  • Ameoba Music - ($) epic record store at the end of Haight near GG park.  Music lovers paradise.

  • Free Gold Watch - ($) awesome pinball arcade attached to a punk rock print shop.  A block off Haight

  • Club Deluxe - ($$) Haight original featuring live jazz + great pizza, not fancy, mostly no cover = love.

  • Zam Zam - ($) Classic and cozy haight dive, with a Casablanca meets Star Wars cantina vibe (at least after you’ve had a few!)

Golden Gate Park


  • Nightlife at the Academy of Science - ($$) - 21+ Thursday nights, great way to see the museum without kids or lines!  

  • DeYoung Museum- ($$) awesome architecture and visiting exhibits.  Also make sure you go up to the tower for a 360° view of the park and city!  And the tower is completely free— no museum ticket required.  

  • 1894  Midwinter Festival -  World's Fair held on the site of the DeYoung and Academy.  Now a grand music concourse with fountains and stunning, classic landscape architecture.

  • SF Botanical Gardens ($) -  Probably the most tranquil, beautiful place in SF.  A world of 50,000 plant types, a redwood forest, and some of the best picnic spots in all of SF.  A personal favorite.  Extra points for a visit during the spring bloom.

 

Nob Hill / Tendernob


  • Top of the Mark - ($$$) famous martini lounge at the top of the Mark Hopkins Hotel.  Worth it for the view and the 100 martini menu-- extra points for making it at sunset.

  • Bourbon and Branch - ($$$) storied speakeasy bar that does classic cocktails.  Make sure to visit their website for the password to get in-- and keep quiet, it’s a secret!

  • Grace Cathedral - an epic gothic cathedral with tons of stain glass celebrating secular scientists, artists, and thinkers.  Extra points for catching their weekly yoga classes. 

Downtown / Hayes Valley


  • Smugglers Cove ($$$)- tiki oasis, complete with waterfall, and a historically inspired, epic rum drink menu-- Trader Vic would be proud.   Get there early.

  • Suppenkuche - ($$) - cozy German restaurant with authentic food… the best of the German restaurants in SF.

  • Zuni Cafe - ($$$) a pre-show classic, with always right season cuisine, a raw bar, and great wine selection.  Extra points for a window seat overlooking bustling Market St.

  • SFJazz Center - ($$$) the country’s only dedicated jazz center, home to world class performances year round.

 

Sausalito


Not SF, but worth a visit by Ferry or bike

  • Caldonia St. - get off Bridgeway (the main tourist street) and go one block down to this locals street.  

  • Cibo ($) - Great bakery and coffee-- the best!  The next three spots are on Caledonia St.

  • Above Category ($$$$) - Robin William’s bike shop.  Like a fine art gallery, but the bike is the art.

  • Sartaj ($) - One of our favorite Indian restaurants!

  • Drivers market - ($$) cool little organic market with great sandwiches, snacks, and drinks.

  • Marin Bike Path- ride along the waterfront and see some of the last bay area wetlands and also the largest houseboat community in the Bay Area.

 

Other Sweet SF Fascinations in film + history flavors


  • Vertigo - the quintessential classic SF film directed by Alfred Hitchcock (recently voted #1 movie of all time)

  • Oldsf.org - Awesome google maps mashup with a historical photo archive of SF

  • Openhistory.org - Another sweet historical photo archive of SF