Exploring Old SF with Gavin Newsom
Lieutenant Governor of California
Sophisticated Bay Area Vet
My travel cravings are for beautiful scenery, deserted beaches and sophisticated locales. My favorite way to start the day is by waking up early and watching the fog roll off the city, revealing what I believe is the most spectacular setting in the country. Nothing beats the view from Crissy Field in the morning and then walking through the Presidio over to the Marina. When I'm taking a break from work I opt for more refined locales like the St. Regis San Francisco. There is a great open lounge in the lobby that is ideal for business and personal meetings. The rooms are great - understated, modern and comfortable. Oh, and the indoor pool is a must.
The places you should definitely see
- San Francisco City Hall: San Francisco is a birthplace of innovative ideas, and this is where many of them are generated. The building’s newly renovated dome is the second largest in the US, even bigger than the Capitol Dome in Washington. And if none of that wows you, it was where Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio were married.
- Marina Green: Wear a jacket to experience some of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets ever, accompanied by fog and the gulls.
- SFMOMA and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts: If you’re looking for contemporary art exhibitions, performances, and films, this where you’ll find them.
My favorite places to eat
- Michael Mina – the best restaurant in town. Every course arrives as a trio: three different renditions of the same theme. Michael is also on property a lot, so the personal touch makes it all the better.
- Balboa Café – one of the oldest saloons in San Francisco, still serving up comfort dishes like homemade pasta, roast chicken, and a killer burger. On a Wednesday night if you don’t order the Chicken Paillard special, you will be sorry.
- Ferry Building – one of the best SF spots on the map. It’s a mecca of great food, produce, specialty stores, people watching, and much more - all located under one roof, directly on the water, with a view that is unreal.
The activities not to be missed
- California Academy of Sciences – in the middle of Golden Gate Park it’s a breathtaking example of our citizens’ efforts to address climate change. (Don’t miss Claude, the albino alligator – my daughter Montana loves him.)
- Movie at the Castro Theater – this San Francisco landmark is almost one hundred years old! It’s where I saw the premiere of Milk, but whatever is playing, the atmosphere will ensure it’s memorable.
- AT&T Park for a Giants Game – a view of the Bay and the diamond. This is one of my favorite places to show San Francisco spirit. And who doesn’t love dogs, peanuts, and garlic fries.
My hidden gems
- Grant Avenue – skip the chain stores for some of the city’s most unique stores.
- Mint Café – is hidden in the basement of California State Court House, across from City Hall. It’s worth finding–they have the best made-to-order sandwiches and salads in the city.
- North Beach Restaurant – I have yet to find better pasta anywhere. Fact: I have spent more birthday dinners at this place than any other. The owner, Lorenzo, always takes great care of my family and me. It’s a very special celebration spot for all the Newsom’s.
- Tosca Cafe – The back pool room is a great place to hang out. And if it’s your thing, you might get lucky star-spotting at this old wood bar in North Beach. It’s been frequented by the likes of Sean Penn, Winona Ryder, Ashley Judd and Francis Ford Coppola.
The place I'm most excited to go next is the Bahamas. Sun, water and relaxation - what more could you want?