Although I lived in Los Angeles for several years, I have never really explored San Francisco. When I was invited for a wedding in city I was thrilled to have the opportunity to check out San Francisco and the surrounding Bay Area.  We stayed at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square. This centrally located hotel gave us the opportunity to discover the city easily. About our stay and where we ate & drank!

View from the Hilton San Francisco Union Square
View from the Hilton San Francisco Union Square

Where to Stay

Hilton San Francisco Union Square: The location of this hotel cannot be beat. You are right in the center of the city in the Theater District, within walking distance to Union Square which is full of shops and restaurants, close to City Hall, Yerba Buena Gardens, and the cable cars. Take a stroll down Market Street, peruse the stores in Union Square, and check out some of the bars and cafes. The hotel itself is great, with large spacious rooms and balconies that offer you memorable views of the city.  Staff is helpful, and you will have access to endless amenities, including a gym, room service, and a lobby bar. See below for details on the different dining options at the hotel!

Balcony, Hilton San Francisco Union Square
Balcony, Hilton San Francisco Union Square

Where to Eat and Drink

  • Saap Ver: I love Asian food and San Francisco is known for its Asian fare. This gem did not disappoint. Indulge in crispy fried spring rolls, stir-fried glass noodles tossed with fresh veggies, luscious yellow curry dotted with carrots and potatoes, and green beans cooked in a chili paste with fresh Thai basil. Saap Ver translates to damn good, which is no exaggeration! The venue itself is casual but trendy and fun.
Saap Ver Restaurant San Francisco
Saap Ver
  • Chili Padi Malaysian Cuisine: It’s not right in the city, but it’s a short BART (San Francisco’s subway system) ride away. The food is worth the trip; you will love the roti canai with its curry dipping sauce, crispy fried noodles, sizzling black pepper tofu, and crispy pumpkin.
Yellow Curry Dish in San Francisco  Chili Padi Malaysian Cuisine:
Yellow Curry at Chili Padi Malaysian Cuisine
  • My China: It might be located in a mall, but don’t knock it until you try it. This dim sum spot has all of treats including green onion pancakes, tempeh bao buns, mushrooms soaked in a spicy sesame sauce, pumpkin dumplings, and hand-pulled noodles. You can watch the Chefs pulling them by hand in the open kitchen!
  • Urban Tavern: If you are staying at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square, you don’t have to go far for a great dinner meal. The hotel restaurant features a menu full of delicious fare that includes a burrata salad, gnocchi with heirloom tomatoes, and cookies and milk for dessert.
  • Millennium: Also in Oakland, this restaurant is one of the best I have ever eaten at. The food is modern, wildly creative vegetarian fare that even your most hardcore carnivores will love it. From Jamaican yellow curry with corn dumplings to red lentil fritters to swiss chard tamales there is nothing on this menu that is not delicious.
  • Poached: If you need some sustenance in the morning, the breakfast buffet at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square has something for everyone. Enjoy smoothies, fresh fruit, pancakes, pastries, and even an Asian station with stir fry and Chinese donuts!
Pastries at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square's restaurant Poached
Pastries at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square’s restaurant Poached

Where to Drink

  • Cityscape: The Hilton San Francisco Union Square has a fantastic rooftop bar where you can have an Old Fashioned, a glass of wine, or a cold beer with bowl of edamame hummus and pita. Best of all is the incomparable views of the city!
  • Benjamin Cooper: This small, unassuming bar in downtown San Francisco has an easy vibe and well-made cocktails. Order off the menu or let the bartenders know what you like and they will make something for you.
  • Temescal Brewing: If you want to enjoy the gorgeous California weather grab a pint and relax at this neighborhood beer garden. If you get hungry, a food truck will be on hand to provide some grub.
  • Tonga Room: The Tonga Room at the iconic Fairmont San Francisco Hotel is a San Francisco staple. Stop by to enjoy the tropical décor, indoor tropical rain storms, and Caribbean inspired cocktails like rum punch.

What to Do

  • Visit Alcatraz: A trip to San Francisco is incomplete without a visit to this historical site. Use Alcatraz Cruises for a comfortable, relaxing ride to the island where you can go on a historical tour to learn about when the prison on the Island was built, who its most famous residents were, and what the island is used for now. Alcatraz Cruises is reasonably priced and has indoor and outdoor seating for optimal comfort. A bonus: They serve snacks and beer on the boat!
Alcatraz Cruises’ boats
  • Redwood Regional Park: For great hiking, head to Oakland for the day. Here, you can soak up the stunning California landscape and see the beautiful redwoods that it is so famous for.
  • Take a ride on a Cable Car: There’s no better way to see the city, and you will feel like a real local. Jump on a cable car just to take a ride, or en route to shops or dinner.

Exploring San Francisco: The Verdict

Great food, beer gardens, rooftop bars, hiking, boating, history and shopping. Clearly, San Francisco has it all!

Hilton San Francisco Union Square, 333 O’Farrell St, San Francisco, CA , Website 

Disclaimer: Our hotel stay was hosted by Hilton San Francisco Union Square. As always, opinions are my own. 
  • Trevor Thorpe

    Do you happen to know if the breakfast buffet is included for Hilton Gold members? Sometimes they only provide the continental or nothing at all. I have to say though, those chocolate filled croissants would probably be just fine for me 🙂

  • Sherianne Higgins (SherianneKa

    San Francisco is one of my favorite cities. Like you I live nearby but do not go near enough!

  • Lara Dunning

    I always enjoy San Fran. It is such a beautiful city, and so easy to get around. Thanks for the dining tips. I will have to check some of them out the next time we go!

  • Last time we visited San Francisco we ended up in Alameda because we were doing an extend stay for a medical vacation. It was so hard to get into the city and see anything when you have to cross the bridges and find a parking spot. Staying at the Hilton right in the thick of everything sounds wonderful. It really gives you a feel for San Fran.

  • I haven’t been to San Francisco yet, but it’s definitely on my list. My friends and I are thinking of doing some sort of west coast/California trip for our 35th birthdays in a couple years, and I’d really love to spend a few days in San Francisco. It seems worth going just for the food.