Whether you love the day or hate it, we can all agree that Valentine's Day is good for at least one thing: an excuse to indulge in all things sweet and gooey, chocolate-covered and caramel-smothered. And this February 14, whether you're with a special someone or rockin' it single style, San Francisco has no shortage of ways to make the day a little sweeter.
Food + Drink
Being in the hostelling business, we’ve heard all manner of travel philosophies over the years. Every traveler, it seems, has his or her own reasons for staying in a hostel: some like the social aspect; others love having kitchens on site; still others like to keep costs low so they can stay on the road longer. But there’s another kind of hosteller, too: the savvy traveler who wants to save on accommodation while splurging on activities.
Winter in Northern California means cool, bright days and crisp, chilly evenings. It also means always having a great excuse to duck into someplace cozy for a pick-me-up. From fire-lit bars, to brick-oven-warmed bakeries, to restaurants chock-full of cozy ambiance, we asked the staff at our seven Norcal hostels for their favorite local spots to warm up. Read on for their picks, and get ready to settle in for the winter.
The first time you take a stroll through the Tenderloin, the San Francisco neighborhood surrounding HI-City Center, you might feel a little disoriented: you thought you were in San Francisco, right? So what’s with all the Vietnamese signs, restaurants, and markets?
It’s a typical Tuesday afternoon at Café Franco: the hiss of steaming cappuccino milk muffles the crooning of Sam Cooke. There's a low murmur coming from over in the corner, where friends are catching up over peanut butter cookies at a long, reclaimed-wood table. Behind it all, the click-clack of laptop keys keeps an erratic beat.
These sounds do not combine to make up what most people would call “typical hostel noise” – and that’s exactly the way Café Franco likes it.
"I'm not going downtown," the bus driver calls over the intercom. I'm aboard the N Judah -- one of San Francisco's Muni Metro light rail lines -- and downtown San Francisco is exactly where I'm heading. I'm making the trip to go ice skating in Union Square, but that's the only set plan.