Siezing the morning(s) in SF
January 26, 2014 3:14 PM   Subscribe

I've got three mornings to kill in San Francisco. What should I do?

I'm coming to work in my company's office for most of this week. I'm staying at the Palomar at 4th and Market. I'm coming from the central time zone, so I'll already be getting up early... and nobody shows up to my office until 10:00 AM or later.

My plan is to keep myself on central time and do cool city stuff Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings if I can. I won't have a car, but I can afford an Uber or two. I'm a coffee nerd, and I'd like to swing by the Muji store at some point, if that helps. What would you recommend? Thanks in advance!
posted by cebailey to Travel & Transportation around San Francisco, CA (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
One of my favorite things to do in SF is to go walk through Chinatown very, very early, and watch the people and the neighborhood waking up. And, then go to Washington Square Park on Columbus & Union to (sometimes) find a park full of older folks doing early morning tai chi. A great way to see this incredible area at a time of day where Chinatown and North Beach are still Chinatown and North Beach. And it puts you in a good spot to get some coffee and italian baked goods for breakfast. (corrected, I had written Little Italy instead of North Beach b/c I was just in Little Italy here in NYC)
posted by jardinier at 3:40 PM on January 26, 2014 [3 favorites]

Muni to the original alleyway Blue Bottle coffee in Hayes Valley
Jook at B&M Mei Sing on 2nd bet. Market & Mission
posted by rhizome at 3:50 PM on January 26, 2014

There's also a Blue Bottle at the main ferry terminal, along with lots of other delicious things (including pastry with local orchard fruit).

The Chinatown/North Beach idea is good.

Walk through GG Park or the Presidio and beach, the latter may offer views of the GG Bridge. You can also walk or bike across the Golden Gate, which would be especially nice early in the morning.
posted by jrobin276 at 4:07 PM on January 26, 2014

The Muji store, alas, is not one of their best, and there's not much near there to see. There is good coffee near there (Sightglass), so that might be worth combining. Near your hotel is the Mint Plaza outpost of Bluebottle Coffee, which is definitely worth checking out. Tuesday and Thursdays are market days at Ferry Plaza, so you could have a nice morning stroll there.
posted by judith at 4:09 PM on January 26, 2014

The Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park has free entry from 9-10 AM MWF, next to the DeYoung, which has a nice observation tower, also free.
posted by alexei at 4:39 PM on January 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm from the East Coast and go to SOMA for work pretty often, so I'm frequently in this exact same situation. All my suggestions are walking distance from your hotel:

Mint Plaza Blue Bottle for breakfast, definitely.

Ferry Plaza on market day, also definitely. It'll be a nice 20 minute walk down Market.

Sightglass Coffee is pretty epic and has a very "only in SF" feel (and pricing structure).

(I like Muji too, but it may not be open that early.)
posted by nev at 4:52 PM on January 26, 2014

Walk along one of the beaches and watch people surf dawn patrol.
posted by fshgrl at 5:52 PM on January 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

I love the Ferry Terminal, market or no market. Get a salumi cone and a good cup of coffee and sit out on the benches watching the boats come in and out. Nothing better.
posted by escabeche at 6:19 PM on January 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Day 1: Ferry building, walk up to North Beach and Washington Square Park (all the way to Chinatown if you are so inclined). You can do this in reverse.

Day 2: Tartine Bakery in the Mission, then take your pastries up to the hill at the top of Dolores Park for a really interesting view of the city.

Day 3: Walk across the Golden Gate bridge (or at least about 1/2 way out).
posted by amaire at 7:47 PM on January 26, 2014 [4 favorites]

Coffee is definitely A Thing here. Try to get to some subset of Blue Bottle, Sightglass, Fourbarrel, Ritual, and Phillz.
posted by outlaw of averages at 11:28 PM on January 26, 2014 [1 favorite]

Walk up to Union Square and have breakfast at Sears Fine Food. Sourdough French toast is a thing.

The place has been there since forever.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:03 AM on January 27, 2014

YMMV, but I found Philz to be head and shoulders about Blue Bottle. Damn, that was a great cup of coffee!

The Ferry Building is nice and worth a look, but can also be a bit shopping mall-y? For me, it's ideal to balance out the sanitized Ferry Building with a walking tour of a neighborhood.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:56 AM on January 27, 2014

Yeah, I pretty much never go to the Ferry Building. It's got a lot of neat stuff, but it's way cramped.
posted by rhizome at 10:04 AM on January 27, 2014

Follow amaire's advice and you'll be set!
posted by beepbeepboopboop at 1:57 PM on January 27, 2014

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