As of late, whenever San Francisco makes headline news it’s rarely for a good reason. For a long while now, the iconic city has been a magnet for news outlets that are dead set on continuing the cycle of negativity and making a spectacle of anything that will garner more attention. The internet is littered with dodgy articles that harp on its problems with crime and homelessness—all of which are more concerned with getting more clicks than providing a clear and complete picture of what the Golden Gate City truly has to offer.
Despite its bad rap, San Fran is not some washed-up city desperately clinging to its former glory. Yes, it has its issues (what modern-day city doesn’t?) but the reasons it rose to prominence still ring true today.
It’s still the financial, technological, commercial, and cultural center of Northern California.
It’s still the home of quintessential American icons, like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz Island, Big Tech, and The Painted Ladies.
Beyond its historical significance, San Francisco is known for its diverse neighborhoods, LGBTQIAA+ heritage, and progressive values that push for environmental sustainability and social justice. Really, it’s a hub for cultures and businesses of all kinds. That means it has something for every visitor, from any walk of life, that enters her fold.
Tucked away within SF’s urban sprawl—just minutes from the historic Presidio and Fillmore District—is Sacramento Street, one of my favorite places to visit when I’m in the city and is a notable part of San Francisco's still thriving cityscape.
This quaint little district is known for its art, antiques, home furnishings, and upscale shops that strike the balance between trendy and timeless. If you’ve done the whole tourist thing and want a change of scenery, this spot is a San Francisco classic that’s worth visiting.
The next time you’re in the neighborhood with a day to kill, check out these Sacramento Street gems. HCD has your itinerary for morning, noon, and night.
As a bonafide foodie, I have to suggest you start your day with a hearty brunch and one of my top picks is a restaurant called Spruce.
Spruce was established in 2007 and has been a Sacramento Street staple ever since. Their California-inspired menu touts the finest and freshest
ingredients, all sourced from a local, 5-acre organic farm. Plus they offer over 3,500 different wine options to pair with your meal.
Spruce is a recipient of Esquire Magazine’s “Best New Restaurant in America” award, Food & Wine Magazine’s “Best New Wine List” award, and a Wine Spectator “Grand Award.” So if you’re craving a delicious meal, immaculate service, a beautiful atmosphere, and a glass of wine to warm your belly, Spruce is a no-brainer.
Help yourself to an Heirloom Melon and Cucumber Salad and a savory serving of Pan-roasted Halibut before taking a stroll down my favorite street in town.
And if you happen to be in the area come evening time during the Midtown Farmers Market, you can sample some street fare for a change of pace. I’d recommend Old Coyote for Latin-fusion food. They combine El Salvadorian, Indian, and Japanese flavor profiles to create a hybrid cuisine that is absolutely divine.
What better way to polish off your meal than with a little self-indulgence?
When you make your way down Sacramento Street you’ll find a selection of quaint home decor and home furnishing stores unique to this particular neck of the woods. As an interior designer, you know I couldn’t resist having a look for myself. You can end the morning or start the afternoon with a look around these shops if you’re on the hunt for a piece or two to commemorate your trip… But be forewarned. You’re bound to find something you love so go prepared!
March’s blend of classic, colorful, and modern wares struck me as stylish and memorable the second I walked through their doors. Their offerings range from muted decor staples, patterned accents, and sublime “classic with a twist” pieces that go with anything and everything. If you’re looking for luxurious, substantial furniture and homeware, March is a must-see.
Hudson Grace is another shop that offers an intimate shopping experience you won’t soon forget. Filled with a range of vintage, antique, modern, and playful wares, Hudson Grace has everything you could possibly need to make a lasting impression on anyone who visits your home. From tableware to bedding, furniture to gardening products, this spot has got you covered for indelible gifts—whether you’re looking for a gift to give a friend or you’re looking for a gift to give yourself. That’s what we like to call self-care.
THE FUTURE IS PERFECT
The Future is Perfect is my go-to for more avante-garde, conceptual, and one-of-a-kind finds. It’s the kind of shop that sells furniture and decor that doubles as art so it's ideal for people who want to fill their homes with conversation pieces. They break the mold and push the envelope when it comes to furniture and houseware. It’s as if they want to avoid being comparable to anyone else in the game, so plan a visit if you want to see furnishings (read as: art pieces) that you won’t find anywhere else.
Once you’ve had your fill of home decor and interior design you can turn your attention to the fashion offerings on Sacramento Street. After all, some of the best souvenirs are the ones you can wear.
Button Down is a luxury fashion realtor that has been a part of the San Fran fashion scene for over 40 years. They’re known for their refined style, luxe fabrics, exquisite cuts, and distinctive patterns that will set anyone apart from the crowd. Some of the staples I’d invest in are their cashmere sweaters that are overall timeless with a few details that mark them as a touch more forward-thinking. On top of that, they offer home goods, travel accessories, and gifts for the most deserving people in your life.
One of my favorite finds on my trip to SF is The Bar Code, which is a revolving retail store and event space for fashion designers and vendors of all kinds. After opening its doors in 2009, The Bar Code has provided a pop-up space for designers, retailers, and artists to present their collections and share their work. From couture brands, to sample sales, to vintage collectors, and cocktail artists, this unique space has given a platform to many trail-blazers and up-and-comers you will eventually hear about if you haven’t already. You never know what you’ll encounter at their next pop-up, which is what makes it so fun. Carve out time for a visit to experience something fresh, unexpected, and oh-so-invigorating.
Did we mention that they are social justice-focused and make donations to Planned Parenthood? When you visit or partner up with The Barcode, you really can’t lose.
To end a day full of good eats, shopping, and strolling, you can drop by one of the many nearby salons for an afternoon or evening pick-me-up.
Visit Beau for a lash lift, brow lamination, or fresh cut and style to liven up your look.
Or step into Glitz N Glam Nail & Lash Spa with a girlfriend for a relaxing mani and pedi before calling it a day.
Either way, ending your trip with a little TLC would be the cherry on top of a fun day spent on lively Sacramento Street.
So there you have it.
Sacramento Street doesn’t represent San Francisco as a whole but it stands in stark contrast to the negative image the city has been given by the media.
I’m not in the business of writing puff pieces but let me assure you—as an insider that calls California home—San Francisco is alive and well.
Don’t take the media’s word for it and don’t take my word for it either. Instead, I encourage you to take the leap and see for yourself that SF is thriving, with plenty to offer anyone who’s willing to give it a chance.