For travelers looking to indulge a little, Northern California might just be the perfect match.
Driving from San Francisco up to the wine country of the Napa and Sonoma valleys, I discovered high-end and boutique shopping, some of the best food and wine California has to offer, luxury resorts and some amazing vineyards set in the absolutely picturesque countryside.
Union Square – Shop Till You Drop
The Union Square district is the heartbeat of San Francisco’s shopping district. Walking around, not only did I find an abundance of shopping options, but with the iconic cable cars rattling up and down the road, city bus tour touts vying for your business, and San Franciscans going about their daily business, there’s a real buzz about the place. So, if you’re like me and you find you need to take a break, head to Maiden Lane. It’s just off the square itself and is closed to cars between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. It’s home to an abundance of cafés serving delicious food and beverages. Plus, it’s where you’ll find San Francisco’s highest concentration of luxury retail stores, including Chanel, Marc Jacobs, Yves Saint Laurent and plenty more, which means more shopping.
The Ferry Building – A Foodie’s Delight
Next, I visited The Ferry Building, about a 15-minute walk from Union Square. It’s a public transport hub, a great starting point for exploring San Francisco, but before you go anywhere, make sure you visit the Ferry Building Marketplace, filled with cafes, restaurants, a farmers market and specialty food stores. When it came to indulging my own taste buds, I settled for some freshly shucked oysters and wine, but with so many quality options, I can guarantee you won’t leave disappointed. Once you are finished sampling all that’s on offer, how about jumping on a ferry to the seaside town of Sausalito?
Sausalito – Relax by the Seaside
If you don’t plan on taking the ferry trip, don’t worry, you can still get to Sausalito if you’re traveling by car; it’s just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Sausalito is a lovely, quaint town with art galleries, boutique stores, great dining options, bike hire and a great view of the bay. I also found the overall slower pace a good contrast to the hustle and bustle of downtown San Francisco. For an overnight stay here, there are plenty of hotel options available.
Napa and Sonoma Valleys – World Class Wine
The Napa and Sonoma Valleys are only about 100 kilometers north of San Francisco – an easy drive with wide-open highways all the way. Napa Valley, considered one of the premier wine regions in the world, has restaurants such as the French Laundry, Mustards Grill and Bottega to match. I found some vineyards required bookings in advance, and others are fine with walk-ins, so it’s best to always check beforehand. Once you’re there, enjoy the wine, enjoy the vineyards and enjoy the countryside; it’s all really spectacular.
With an abundance of fine food, fine wine, luxury shopping and spectacular countryside on offer, indulging yourself a little is easy – try it for yourself.
Where to Stay
Hilton San Francisco Union Square, 333 O’Farrell St., San Francisco, is within walking distance to San Francisco’s top attractions and charming neighborhoods. Relax in the heated outdoor pool and whirlpool spa. Foodies will enjoy the hotel’s five restaurants and lounges, including the family-friendly Cityscape Lounge with its 360-degree city views.
Parc 55 San Francisco – a Hilton Hotel, 55 Cyril Magnin St., San Francisco, is home to three restaurants and lounges, including Michelin-rated Kin Khao. The hotel near destinations such as Union Square, Fisherman’s Wharf and the SoMa district. Get in a workout in the on-site fitness center, equipped with the latest generation of cardio machines and strength-training gear.
Hilton San Francisco Financial District, 750 Kearny St., San Francisco, CA 94108, is centrally located near the heart of the city and downtown attractions. All guest rooms provide a view of the city or the bay, and the hotel boasts an on-site concierge, as well as dining options, a fitness center and an executive lounge.
Embassy Suites by Hilton San Rafael-Conference Center, 101 McInnis Parkway, San Rafael, offers guests cooked-to-order breakfast in addition to local cuisine and artisan cocktails at Grille 101. Relax in the hotel’s tropical atrium by a koi fish pond, swim in the heated indoor pool or kick back in the whirlpool. The hotel is near Napa and Sonoma Wine Country, Sausalito and Northgate Shopping Mall.
A story with Visit The USA: The Official USA Travel Website