No matter where you find yourself this summer, whether that be on the coastline of Spain or poolside at The Harrison, it’s always smart to have a book in hand. And while summer reads can span all genres, it’s crucial to choose a topic that you love. For us, that topic is San Francisco. Take a look at our list of favorite SF-themed reads and be prepared to fall for the city all over again.
San Francisco Stories by Jack London
From one of America’s greatest writers comes this beautiful collection of 23 adventurous tales set in the San Francisco Bay Area. While renowned for his accounts about the Pacific and Klondike, Jack London was a steadfast San Francisco native who wrote extensively about his home. The San Francisco Stories portrays the city both prior to and following the Great 1906 Earthquake and Fire; yet while London experienced even the worst of it, his admiration for San Francisco never wavered.
The Subterraneans by Jack Kerouac
Written by famed Beat Generation novelist Jack Kerouac, The Subterraneans recounts underground San Francisco after World War II where the streets came alive with paint, poetry, smoke and music. The story follows writer Leo Percepeid’s brief love affair with Mardou Fox, granting the reader vivid, yet oftentimes dizzying, snapshots of San Francisco that leave you hungry for more.
Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin
The first of nine novels in Armistead Maupin’s beloved Tales of the City series is, quite aptly, the series’ title itself. The story follows Mary Ann Singelton’s move from Cleveland to San Francisco in 1976, where she hopes to start a new chapter in her life. Here, her life becomes intertwined with those of her varied neighbors and a myriad colorful characters, offering an inspired perspective on San Francisco’s underground culture.
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
A 1989 novel written by Amy Tan, The Joy Luck Club focuses on four immigrant Chinese families in San Francisco where the matriarchs become united in shared loss and hope. Together, the four women gradually reveal their secrets while relationships become more and more tangled, providing a unique lens of San Francisco as the mother-daughter pairs navigate their way through both Chinese and American cultures.
Whether you’re a San Francisco native or new to town, there’s one thing you’ll never tire of: the city’s incredible sunsets. No matter the season, the San Francisco sky captivates with subtle hues of pink and orange as the sun begins to retreat. But, not all viewing spots are made equal. Below, get a glimpse of The Harrison residents’ top picks for where to catch the nightly sundown in San Fran.
As expected, The Harrison residents opt to watch the sunset from home over all else. On the west side of the building, high above the city below, one can take in the sights of sundown beyond Sutro Tower from their very own abode. Here, floor-to-ceiling glass windows set the ultimate stage for the performance of colors just beyond.
Perched high above the cliffs near Ocean Beach, Cliff House is a coveted sunset spot amongst tourists and locals alike. With elegant floor-to-ceiling windows throughout, the restaurant serves as the ultimate viewing point for panoramic sunset vistas. Be sure to align your reservation with the peak sunset hour so you can wine and dine while reveling in unmatched views of the Pacific, Marin coastline and Seal Rocks as the city and sea are set ablaze.
On the outskirts of the city, tucked behind the cliffs west of Lincoln Park, lies one of the most picturesque spots to take in the colors of sundown. Land’s End can be accessed via the Coastal Trail or Land’s End Loop for a more adventurous hike, but the end result is an unwavering reward. Set out around late afternoon and take a seat for the most sublime show as the waves crash and the Golden Gate Bridge is framed by an electric sunset backdrop.
For a quintessential seaside sunset, look no further than Baker Beach. Located in the Presidio, this coastal gem is the perfect spot to relax and snap photos at sundown. Be sure to bring your dog, pack up an evening picnic and make your way over to Baker Beach for the most serene sunset experience as dazzling hues light up the Golden Gate Bridge.
In an age of culinary infatuation, foodies are known to seek out places both near and far to satiate their hungry appetites. And, amongst the most sought-after locales in the world for its diverse cuisine scene is San Francisco, brimming with restaurants coveted by even the most devout foodies. SoMa ranks high on the list of essential destinations in San Francisco, yet there are several ‘hoods just beyond your doorstep at The Harrison beckoning the culinary enthusiast in you. Below, get a glimpse of the city’s most crave-worthy hotspots.
SoMa has swiftly secured the title as San Francisco’s best foodie neighborhoods, featuring three Michelin star restaurants like Benu and Saison, as well as more informal spots like Marlowe for the best burger in town and Mourad for mouthwatering Moroccan fare. Begin your day while meandering the aisles of the Ferry Building and munching on vegan treats from Donut Farm, grab a few oysters at Hog Island for lunch and make your way into SoMa for dinner at whichever hotspot is calling you with its mouthwatering cuisine.
Known for its boundless array of eateries, The Mission can seem somewhat daunting at first. But, with the right restaurant guide, it’ll quickly become your newest destination for any meal of the day. Stop by the acclaimed Tartine Bakery for their signature morning bun or Craftsman and Wolves for their famous muffin-wrapped egg, head to Burma Love for a stellar Burmese lunch then save room for a multi-course Mexican meal at Californios for dinner. Whatever cuisine you’re looking for, The Mission has the best of it.
Known for its edgy and eclectic vibe, The Tenderloin is home to some of the city’s trendiest, most delicious eateries and bars. From well-seasoned hole-in-the-walls like Saigon Sandwich—where you can get one of the best banh mi baguettes in the city—to classic eateries like Brenda’s French Soul Food—a Cajun joint revered by locals—The Tenderloin is a curious foodie’s dream. And, as many culinary enthusiasts are also bona fide cocktail buffs, Bourbon & Branch and Rye are definite musts for a night cap.
One of the hottest dining destinations in San Francisco, Hayes Valley boasts an impressive docket of five-star eateries. And, better yet, it’s one of the most charming spots in the city to stroll and shop between meals. Order a smoked salmon bagel for breakfast at 20th Century Cafe—and be sure to get a slice of Russian honey cake to go—take a seat at Souvla or Barcino for lunch then choose from coveted spots like Rich Table, Cala and Petit Crenn for dinner. Finally, finish strong with a scoop or two from Smitten Ice Cream, of course.
There are countless reasons to celebrate the Fourth of July—our nation’s independence, delicious summer barbecues and, of course, a matchless bayside setting from which to watch the fireworks. Those who live at The Harrison are lucky enough to have a front row seat to the light show from Uncle Harry’s, but there are several other sites throughout the city to spark your patriotic pride—whether that be on land or at sea. So, without further ado, get a glimpse of San Francisco’s best Fourth of July viewing spots below.
Celebrate Independence Day aboard one of the San Francisco Whale Tours’ comfortable boats—the Kitty Kat, Outer Limits, Happy Days or Salty Lady—for an unrivaled view of the city and spectacular fireworks show. With eco-friendly diesel motors, a heated cabin, sundeck and premium viewing options, these two-hour cruises are an exciting and family-friendly way to get everyone together for the holiday.
Fireworks Pier 39
The most well-known Fourth of July celebration in the Bay Area will take up residence at Pier 39 in San Francisco, brimming with fun events and live music throughout the day. The action-packed celebration culminates with a thrilling fireworks display, lighting up the 180-degree bay views in a patriotic wash of red, white and blue. The best vantage points for viewing this dazzling display are Aquatic Park, the Pier 39 Decks and the hills near the Golden Gate Bridge.
All aboard the San Francisco Spirit for a sophisticated Fourth of July celebration complete with a four-course dinner and live DJ. Offering spectacular views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and the city skyline, this Hornblower cruise also offers a premium bar and unmatched front row seats to the breathtaking San Francisco fireworks show.
There’s perhaps no better spot to revel in the Fourth of July fireworks show than from The Harrison’s private penthouse lounge, Uncle Harry’s. Here, residents have a front-and-center seat to watch the sparkling performance with the twinkling Bay Bridge just below. So, whether you want to host an intimate or grand viewing, Uncle Harry’s always proves to take center stage.