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Vacation Like a Rock Star in San Francisco

Updated on July 24, 2018
Dana J Sartell profile image

Dana is a blogger, freelance author, and content-creator extraordinaire blasting for over two decades. She lives in a suburb of Sacramento.

The phrase "City by the Bay" was immortalized in lyrics from the song Lights released by the classic pop/rock band Journey back in the late seventies, 1978 to be exact. While the exact origins of this familiar nickname for San Francisco are unclear, it's background is obvious when crossing the iconic Golden Gate Bridge or by simply enjoying spectacular views when "the sun sets by the bay."

When the Lights go down in the City ...
When the Lights go down in the City ...

You don't have to be a rock legend to experience stellar celebrity sites found in this memorable city. Check out these current classic destinations found in the city where Tony Bennett left his heart decades before front-man Steve Perry of Journey shared his love of his favorite, famously lit city.

Some of these destinations are very well-known while others are often overlooked. So let's rock these SF places where regular folks will be treated like royalty and casual visitors soak in all the sensational sites located here.

A breathtaking view of the SF Hyatt Regency Hotel
A breathtaking view of the SF Hyatt Regency Hotel

Hierarchy At The Hyatt Regency

The lobby of the Hyatt Regency Hotel on Market Street in the Embarcadero area of San Francisco is truly a remarkable sight to be seen. So picturesque, it has been featured in numerous films including the seventies classic Mel Brooks, Hitchcock-inspired comedy spoof High Anxiety.

With an exquisite atrium setting, the interior of this grand hotel is home to the world's largest indoor lobby on the planet. Be sure to take a ride up to your room inside one of the signature glass elevators while taking in amazing interior views.

There's also a pair of acclaimed restaurants offering breathtaking views of the scenic Streets of San Francisco from their location on the ground floor of this iconic and historic hotel.

Night lights added to the recently reconstructed Bay Bridge
Night lights added to the recently reconstructed Bay Bridge

Tripping The Light Fantastic

When you're ready to rock in San Fran, hitting up nightclubs and enjoying the party scene after hours is a must. With hundreds of different bars to choose from, check out these most-popular, well-rocked, highly recommended locations for you to let loose to get your groove on:

  • If you're getting vertigo from your stay at the Hyatt, be sure to check out this nightclub in the Tenderloin district. With a tagline of "dancing, drinking, and debauchery, you'll surely (and don't call me Shirley) find all three here.
  • At The Monarch, you'll also find a bi-level experience of drinking upstairs and dancing down below. Grab a drink on the upper level and then get down with your bad self, literally downstairs.
  • With an upstairs VIP room, The Grand is an excellent place for the pricier "bottle service" type who are looking for individual attention. Dancing downstairs and celebrity status upstairs are common at this hopping spot.
  • The Tiki room at Disneyland is still a featured favorite at the happiest place on earth. If you're a fan of this oceanic atmosphere, be sure to check out the tiny Tiki Haven bar. With plenty of splashy signature drinks and a tropical atmosphere, this is definitely a spot for beach-friendly, surf-loving travelers.

Vibrant visions of Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco
Vibrant visions of Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco

Fantastic Food At Fisherman's Wharf

One of the perks of visiting a city so close to the ocean is dining on super-fresh seafood. Fisherman's Wharf is home to many spectacular restaurants serving up this culinary classic.

Here are some of the best-reviewed, five-star eateries available for delectable dining in the immediate area and not necessarily seafood-related:

  • Eight Am is very well-received as a popular coffee house, a cozy morning cafe with a superb breakfast menu.
  • Restaurant Gary Danko is obviously named after its award-winning chef offering seafood fare from their tasting menu, cheese, and wine samplers.
  • The Hollywood Cafe is another morning favorite with locals and tourists alike.
  • For lovers of oriental cuisine outside of famed Chinatown, the Korean classics served at the Surisan restaurant are simply stunning.
  • Pardon the obvious pun, but The Codmother's classic fish and chips platters make diners an offer you can't refuse.
  • The Fog Harbor Fish House is a seafood favorite on popular Pier 39 using the famously "foggy" shoreline of the SF Bay area as part of its namesake.

If Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf are already a part of your San Francisco travel itinerary, be sure to stop by and experience some of these stunning spots for memorable and fantastic food adventures.

Corner of Chinatown where ancient tradition meets McDonald's
Corner of Chinatown where ancient tradition meets McDonald's

Dim Sum Is Yum Yum Gimme Sum

Chinatown is a popular viewing, shopping and food-related destination to visit while vacationing in San Francisco Still many tourists aren't aware of delectable Dim Sum in this Asian destination. The Din Sum delicacy is addictive and must be experienced in all its wonder, especially in Chinatown.

By definition, Dim Sum is "traditional Chinese food consisting of a variety of ingredients," including fried dumplings, pieces of cooked chicken, pork, noodles and other tasty samplers.

Similar to a Sushi type of a dining experience, these eateries serve up small samples of delicious little treats to hungry patrons. As a rule, these presentations are often much cheaper compared to more expensive seafood counterparts.

These delights must be experienced at some of these classic and highly-recommended locations in Chinatown:

  • City View Restaurant's vision is found in the artwork proudly displayed indoors to be enjoyed by diners.
  • Good Mong Kok Bakery is one of those "hole-in the-wall" locations that usually only locals know about their existence. There is no seating available so it's take-out only but it's worth carrying out the door.
  • Hang Ah DimSum Teahouse is a charming location to experience a relaxing sampling of treats while enjoying a relaxing cup of this warm beverage.

One taste of Dim Sum in downtown Chinatown you'll be instantly hooked. As a Bay Area brat and native to this area, I hope you'll enjoy these "hot-spots." Whether you're driving around, dining, shopping or just stopping by any of these locations, enjoy these spots like a celebrity!

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