The Golden Gate Park is one of San Francisco's most charming assets, busting with natural beauty and cultural hubs. Combine the green routes with shopping, art and munching and get to know the neighborhoods around the park – the hip, insiders-only Outer Sunset and the multi-cultural, bustling Inner Richmond.
This laid-back spot is located in one on the city's best mini-neighborhoods. Sit outside to soak up the hesitant San Francisco sunshine and order a "Buzzed" juice, exploding with healthy ingredients like celery and turmeric – this place is all about the good vibes, and you don't (necessarily) need caffeine for that. Follow with a colorful bowl of vegan goodness – the "No Shirt, no Shoes" combo of rice, beans, avocados and pineapple will win over even the toughest bacon-and-eggs advocate.
The General Store
This crafty gift boutique is a great place to shop for souvenirs. Owners Serena Mitnik-Miller and Mason St. Peter filled their little store with souvenirs, accessories and design items that carry all the right labels: "handmade", "local", "artisanal", you name it – touch silky pillows, caress swanky cutting boards, flip through magazines such as "Kinfolk" and breathe in the cool, beach-town atmosphere. Don't leave without a beautiful, overpriced ceramic spoon or a unique pair of earrings
Mollusk Surf Shop
San Francisco might not be as famous for its surfing culture, but there's still plenty of Cali swag to go around. Just a few steps away from the windy, magnificent Ocean Beach, the Mollusk serves as a mingling destination for local folks, offering a gallery, a concert venue and a place to shop for surf boards and gear. Don't do the wave thing? No problem – this neighborhood hangout is a liberal, embrace-all place.
Japanese Tea Gardens
The Japanese Gardens, a must-see stop, aren't free, but the $7 fee is well worth it, whether you're a Japan appreciator or just enjoy immaculate landscaping and beauty. Take the perfect Instagram pic at the Tea House, walk the narrow bridges and try to snap the exotic Koi fish – whatever you do, you'll probably feel like a stereotypical tourist. But then, it's so pretty here, you just won't care.
The Academy Café, located in the California Academy of Science building, is perfect for an afternoon picnic at the park. Grab pork and shrimp spring rolls, cold noodles and a cup of coffee – all the products here are organic and the humble menu items deliver big on flavor.
The best picnic spot in the park? That would be the Hill in the middle of Stow Lake. As the highest point of the park, the hill offers views beautiful of the Golden Gate Bridge and Mount Tamalpais, plus a plush green backdrop for your lunch. To burn some calories when the picnic's done, explore the hill's waterfalls and coves, or hire a rowboat and start making the rounds.
De Young Museum
Look up at the city's lampposts on any given day, and you'll probably see an advertisement of the De Young, which is just a leafy walk away. San Francisco's best museum never ceases to innovate – be it a David Hockney retrospective or a huge Georgia O'Keeffe exhibition, there's always something grand and exclusive on display, along with the museum's vast (and excellent) permanent collection – check out the Native American crafts, set in ultra-modern spaces . Reserve a couple of hours at least.
Conservatory of Flowers
The Conservatory, a popular wedding-photo destination, is somewhat kitschy – and yet, it's hard to imagine a more romantic spot. AND it's educational, too! Get acquainted with tropical plants, pose by the orchids, inhale the flower magic and catch one of the special exhibits – butterflies and carnivorous plants are some of the upcoming subjects. The building itself, a popular background for wedding photos, is also quite stunning.
B Star Bar
Inner Richmond is a neighborhood rich with culinary fusion – Russian and Asian cuisines mix on the busy streets, and B Star Bar is a yummy option from the latter category. This mix of Japanese, Burmese and Thai food is very typical of San Francisco: the tea leaf salad, a crunchy, salty-sweet mixture that's especially good here, must be the city's worst kept secret