Along the city’s northern shore lies the Marina District, an area that’s continually evolved throughout its history, from ocean dunes to exposition grounds to a fishing haven to a quaint residential neighborhood.
Enjoy a sunny afternoon stroll down Union St. past many boutiques, spas and restaurants housed in beautifully restored Victorian buildings. Marina Green, ringed by bobbing boats and serenaded by foghorns, is picturesque.
An Instagram favorite is the Palace of Fine Arts. Its arresting Greco-Roman-style rotunda and majestic colonnades never fail to impress visitors and the site is favored by many wedding photographers.
Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, a converted military base, is home to arts organizations and Off the Grid, a regular food truck gathering.
Excellent dining, from fast casual to three-course indulgences, can be found along Chestnut Street. Reserve a table at the Michelin-starred Atelier Crenn for a superb prix fixe menu that changes with the seasons.
For some of the city’s best views, climb the steps on Fillmore or Lyon streets to Pacific Heights, which rests atop a ridge to the south of the Marina. This tony neighborhood features exquisite homes, including the one that doubled as the Hillard residence in Mrs. Doubtfire. Fine boutiques and bars with sidewalk seating can be found along Fillmore Street, which gradually slopes down through the neighborhood before taking you to Japantown and other destinations.