Our staff knows just where to go!
Getting off the beaten path and discovering hidden gems is one of the wonders of travel. But how do you find those special places? Ask a local. The Harbor Court Hotel helps you make the most of your San Francisco stay by sharing our staff's favorite picks and insider tips.
We asked our intrepid staff: If you had only two days in San Francisco, what would you do? Take a peek, have some fun and live like a local.
Hang Gliding (Fort Funston)
If you're up for a little thrill, Fort Funston provides one of the best "hang three" intermediate level hang-gliding spots in the US. If hang gliding isn't your thing, you can always watch them from the observation deck. Also be sure to check out the former military buildings and artillery battery in the protected area.
Green Apple Books (Inner Richmond)
Remember paperback books before you got your Kindle? If you're still a bookworm without the tech, Green Apple Books is the place for you. Peruse thousands of new and used books, or attend one of their many weekly in-store events. These include poetry nights, readings and more! And if you're into a fun treat, join the Apple-A-Month Club, a subscription club where Green Apple sends a new fiction pick to your doorstep every month.
-- Aubria, Housekeeping Supervisor
CandyBar (Western Addition)
If you've got a sweet tooth, Candy Bar is the place for you. Serving up a dessert-only menu, prepare for a night of decadence. All desserts are made in-house, and frequently change on the whim of the chef, so there's always something new to try. And if you can't choose, order the dessert sampler so you can try a little bit of everything! Drinks and dessert -- I'm in!
-- Jessica, Front Desk Agent
Bourbon and Branch (Tenderloin)
A modern speakeasy in the heart of San Francisco, this hot spot gives you the chance to imbibe with a generous cocktail and spirit list. Grab a reservation and don't forget your password (it's how you get in!). Enjoy Prohibition-inspired cocktails at the bar or the library room, or grab one of the many whiskys on their extensive list and soak up the view. Either way, you'll find something to take pleasure in, whether you're a bourbon aficionado or novice.
-- Chris, Assistant Front Desk Manager
Glen Canyon Park (Glen Park)
Grab BART to Glen Park Station and take a short jaunt to the end of Chenery Street -- just beyond there you'll find one of the best hiking spots in San Francisco. Deep canyons and natural beauty surrounds you, making the perfect backdrop for a hike or jog. The sight is even better at sunset when the lights hit the rocks.
-- Brad, Front Desk Supervisor
San Francisco City Guides (Citywide)
SF City Guides provides free walking tours around the city, every day of the week. Choose between dozens of different themed tours, ranging from Downtown Deco to Land's End: Sutro Heights. You'll be sure to find something that will pique your interest!
-- Michael, Engineering
Keith Haring: The Political Line (Golden Gate Park)
Head over to the De Young for one of the most exciting exhibits in San Francisco at the moment.
Over 130 of Haring's graffiti-inspired pieces have made their debut in the US, making a splash with their influences based in political activism and social justice.
-- Luis, Bellman
ONE OF A KIND
Musee Mecanique (Pier 45)
If you're looking for a unique museum to check out in San Francisco, don't miss out on Musee Mecanique. This museum boasts one of the largest privately owned collections of mechanically operated arcade games, musical instruments and more. The collector has over 300 items in his collection, most of which is housed in the Pier 45 location.
-- Kit Yee, Housekeeping
North Beach Edition
Beach Blanket Babylon (North Beach)
An outlandish night combining cabaret and political satire is waiting for you at San Francisco's own Beach Blanket Babylon. Uproarious shows cover topical stories and timeless classics. Running since 1974, Beach Blanket Babylon celebrated 40 years on stage just last year.
City Lights Bookstore (North Beach)
Bring back the Beat Culture at Lawrence Ferlinghetti's legendary bookstore in the heart of North Beach. Home to all the celebrated San Francisco artists and authors (think Kerouac and Ginsberg), City Lights is both bookstore and piece of history. Browse the racks of books, and head upstairs to the poetry room. A great place to linger or pick up your next read.
Mama's (North Beach)
Mama's is one of those SF institutions that you NEED to have breakfast from at least once in your life. They serve up the usual crowd favorites, but a definite must-try is one of their French Toast dishes made with fresh house-baked breads. Grab a coffee beforehand and be prepared to wait, but you will not be disappointed!
--Alexa, Sales Coordinator
Original Joe's (North Beach)
Although technically a restaurant, Original Joe's has an excellent bar area that is perfect for a few drinks before dinner or a show when in the area. Joe's boasts an excellent wine list, but what I come in for are the yummy (and quite reasonable) house cocktails -- particularly the house Manhattan and martini. Cheers!
--Jazmin, Front Desk
Filbert Steps (North Beach)
Get that heart pumping on these series of stairs (almost 400 of them!) leading from the financial district up to Coit Tower. Start your journey on Montgomery and Filbert Streets, and wind your way through the gardens flanking private residences of Telegraph Hill on your way up to Coit Tower. Don't forget to look for those infamous green parrots and soak up those incredible views.
Washington Square Park (North Beach)
Stretch out (and rest those tired feet!) on your journey through San Francisco at Washington Square Park. A green mini-oasis in the middle of North Beach, Washington Square park is the perfect place to watch the hustle and bustle of the neighborhood. Right between Powell, Stockton, Union and Filbert Streets, watch groups practice Tai Chi and neighbors walking their dogs. Grab a slice of Tony's Pizza, relax in the shade, and you're all set!
Saints Peter and Paul Church (North Beach)
Right next to Washington Square, the neo-Gothic cathedral built in 1924 is definitely a must-see for architecture fans. The church originally served as a parish for Italian Fishermen in the area, and still serves as a fully functioning church and school for the North Beach community. The beautiful and dramatic Gothic architecture is breathtaking both inside and out.
Coit Tower (North Beach)
Both a city landmark and integral part of the San Francisco skyline, Coit Tower is both stunning and curious. The structure was donated in 1929 by a volunteer firefighter, and has been both a tourist and local destination for years. On the inside, a large mural depicts the Depression's effects on the Bay Area. Don't forget to treat yourself to the magnificent views of San Francisco at the top.
North Bay Edition
Bay Area Discovery Museum (Sausalito)
Educational, interesting and an awesome view of the Golden Gate Bridge? Check, check and check. The Discovery Museum is a perfect place to take your kids (ages 6 months - 8 years old) for a unique and unforgettable experience just minutes away in Sausalito. Mixing both indoor and outdoor interactive activities, there's something sure to delight your child in one of the many exhibits and workshops.
Cowgirl Creamery at Tomales Bay Foods (Point Reyes Station)
If you're a fan of Cowgirl Creamery, then you need to stop by their original store in Point Reyes Station. Originally a hay barn, it's been imaginatively restored and charmingly repurposed. Shop around, and try some cheese! The cheesemongers are bound to find one (or two, or three…) cheeses that will pique your interest and pair with your tastes. Get your full cheese fix with a $5 tasting.
--Laura, Front Desk Supervisor
Sweetwater Music Hall (Mill Valley)
Come for the live music, and stay for the delicious food. Sweetwater is a wonderful venue to kick back and enjoy live music and great food. With a full bar, it's a great spot to sit out on the patio and enjoy brunch, or grab dinner and drinks before a show.
--Jessica, Front Desk Agent
Barrel House Tavern (Sausalito)
Situated on the waterfront and steps away from the ferry landing, Barrel House has become known for their fantastic fresh food and creative cocktails. The cocktail menu features barrel-aged cocktails, microbrews and wine -- but the best part is the housemade soda bar, where you can mix and match to make your own concoction.
--Evan, Sales Manager
Muir Woods National Monument (Mill Valley)
Take a trip across the Golden Gate Bridge and experience one of the Bay Area's most celebrated parks. With majestic redwood trees and a number of trails for all levels of hikers, the natural beauty of Muir Woods will leave you with a sense of awe. Get there early (especially on weekends and holidays) to grab parking close to the entrance. And give yourself enough time to explore Mount Tamalpais State Park, right next door!
--Qui Cai, Housekeeping
Ferry to Sausalito (SF/Sausalito)
There's nothing better than spending a beautiful morning on a ferry, crossing the bay to Sausalito for brunch and window shopping. Mere steps away from the Harbor Court, grab the ferry at the adjacent Ferry Building, kick back, and enjoy the views -- you can even get a Bloody Mary on board for your journey across the bay. Once at Sausalito, grab brunch or mill around the main drag and take in the local scene. Best part? Just grab the ferry back and you don't have to deal with the traffic! A great way to spend a lazy Saturday or Sunday morning.
Marin Headlands (Sausalito)
Yearning for that perfect picture of the San Francisco skyline and Golden Gate Bridge to put on Instagram and make all your friends jealous? The Marin Headlands is the ultimate spot for you! Right on the other side of the bridge, you'll find some of the most breathtaking and remarkable views of the bay. It can get a little crowded, but it's definitely worth it for that view. Also check out the Point Bonita Lighthouse and Battery Townsley Bunker while in the area.
--Yoseff, Director of Finance
Angel Island (San Francisco Bay)
Angel Island offers a unique opportunity to see a piece of Bay Area history. The island has gone through many "occupations," starting as a processing and transit station for the US Army. Between 1910 and 1940, Angel Island served as an immigration station for over 1 million Asian immigrants coming into San Francisco. Since 1955 the island has been transformed into a California State Park and is a protected California Monument. Absolutely a must-see if you want an interesting and memorable experience.
--Sonia, Head of Housekeeping
For more information about any of these suggestions, and for additional favorites, contact our front desk at 1-415-882-1300.