Wanderlust: How to Have a Wellness Getaway in San Francisco
One of the ways we're getting through the current pandemic is by dreaming about our favourite travel destinations. Here, managing editor Courtney Reilly-Larke shares how to (plan to) spend a soul-nurturing day (or week) in San Francisco, California.
You may know San Francisco for its iconic sights: hilly streets, cable cars, the Golden Gate Bridge and pastel houses that were featured in a certain 90s sitcom. But this eclectic city is so much more than first impressions. It has a rich history (it was at the heart of the gold rush and the summer of love, to name a few), breathtaking views, and a booming wellness culture. With an abundance of green space, fresh, local food, and all the hills (just traversing it basically one long HIIT workout), it makes for the perfect wellness getaway that’s heavy on culture.
Here’s what to do when you have a day in the Bay. (Also, check out our list of other travel destinations we’re dreaming of this year.)
Part of San Francisco’s up-and-coming SoMa neighbourhood, the St. Regis’s 260-room hotel offers modern luxury. Stop in at the spa for the Fog on the Bay treatment, which involves a hot stone massage and hydrotherapy. Post-treatment, enjoy complimentary sparkling wine and the spa’s 50-foot heated rooftop pool.
(Literal) steps from the St. Regis is the neighbouring San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the first museum on the West Coast dedicated solely to 20th-century art. Among the 33,000-plus works of varying styles and mediums, you’ll spot works by Andy Warhol, Henri Matisse and Frida Kahlo. (Miss going to museums in quarantine? Us too—so join us in exploring the virtual museum tours available for free.)
For a quick lunch while you dash around the city, pop into Souvla, for fresh, simple Greek food. For fuel, opt for the roasted white sweet potato salad. For fun, the fries are some of the best in the city, and come decked out with olive oil, lemon juice, parsley and mizithra cheese. (Craving Greek food now? Try our Spinach Rice Greek-style dish.)
Bike tours abound, but using the city’s bike share program is a no-brainer: you can rent a bike and then ditch it at the convenient stations when you get to your destination. Bike the Embarcadero, (which translates from Spanish to mean “a place to embark”) — a shared path along the city’s piers, where you can take in views of the bay, Rincon Park and Pier 39 while you ride.
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Dine waterfront at La Mar Cebicheria Peruana, a Peruvian restaurant overlooking the bay. Sip on a pisco sour (a brandy unique to the winemaking areas of Peru and Chile) while you nosh on mushroom empanadas and fresh tuna ceviche served with avocado, leche de tigre (a citrus marinade) and purple tortillas.
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When on the west coast, a trip to Salt & Straw is a must. The ice cream shop offers upwards of 36 flavours, including vegan options, and experimental flavours, like bone marrow and smoked cherries. Try the arbequina olive oil flavour, it may sound odd, but it’s uniquely amazing.
Next, learn about how one woman lost and found herself through solo travel.