Think you've seen all San Francisco has to offer? Think again. You've never seen the City by the Bay in its entirety until you've seen it from above.
The W concierge team may know the streets of the city like the back of their hand, but there's nothing like a bird's eye view of those iconic San Francisco hills. We hopped in one of SF Helicopter's choppers and let their pilots show us the city from their perspective.
We took off from the San Francisco airport, swept past Twin Peaks and headed toward Golden Gate Park. The three mile expanse sure does occupy a lot of real estate in this city!
From Golden Gate Park, we headed toward the Presidio and the Golden Gate Bridge. The pilot swooped underneath the bridge for an incredible view (it felt more like a nosedive - and yes I screamed). I mean, how many people can say they've been underneath the Golden Gate? #onceinalifetime
From the Golden Gate, we headed toward Alcatraz and the Bay Bridge. We floated over downtown San Francisco - spotting iconic buildings like the Transamerica Pyramid, the Salesforce Tower (set to become the tallest building in our skyline) and of course W San Francisco.
From downtown, our pilot took us to the ATT Stadium. This view is gold for both Giants fans and Kimye superfans (that proposal though)!
Our concierge team has exclusive access to unique San Francisco happenings. If you're looking to see the city from a different perspective, just let us know and we will customize your experience. Whatever/whenever.
SAN FRANCISCO FROM ABOVE
MORE LIKE THIS
Skip the touristy Fisherman's Wharf and mingle with the locals at Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center. This outdoor night market is back for another season of indulgence, music, and craft cocktails. This is a must-try experience for first time visitors and adventurous foodies.
Fort Mason Center is just one of the places where you can find this roaming food truck extravaganza. Founded on the idea of bringing communities together through shared food experiences, Off the Grid currently hosts over 50 weekly public markets throughout the Bay Area.
Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center offers top tier vendors every Friday evening from 5 - 10 PM. Sample a mix of San Francisco staples (think pizza from A16), up-and-coming food entrepreneurs (visit Instrucktional to preview the future chefs of our city), and pop-ups from SF favorites (including Tai Chi Jianbing from the Inner Sunset).
To complete the experience, Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center will feature live DJs from 5 - 7:30 PM and live bands from 8 - 10 PM. After you get your fill, you'll be ready for your Friday night on the town. Need recommendations for bars or lounges? Just let me know.
Insider Tip: Once the sun sets, you'll want to be sure you have plenty of layers. The Bay offers amazing views, but the winds are no joke.
Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center
Every Friday from March 3, 2017 through the end of October
5 PM - 10 PM
For a sneak peak at another Off the Grid event, take a look at my Insider video. Presidio Picnic will be back for its fifth season on Sunday, March 19th.
In honor of National Random Acts of Kindness Week, we’re throwing it all the way back to December 2016 (ok, so only a few weeks ago) when we paraded around San Francisco sprinkling kindness everywhere we could. 2016 was a tough year. Even the New York Times recognized 2016 as one of the worst years yet, so we couldn’t think of a better time to take to the streets of Soma with kindness on our mind.
Four ladies, five hundred dollars, seven destinations in mind and one light up headband (totally necessary). Our one goal was to spread happiness through completely random acts of kindness. Our first stop was Starbucks, where they likely know W Talent by name. This time, we weren’t here to fuel our coffee addictions, but to surprise a few customers in line with a coffee on the W.
Our second stop was The Grove, another establishment where W Talent have become familiar faces. We talked to the cashiers ahead of time, handed over the credit card and told them that we would like to pay for the next person in line’s lunch. We waited for the right moment, and in walked a dad with his 6-year-old daughter. When the cashier explained that the W Hotel wanted to pay for their lunches, he immediately turned to us and said that he could not accept the gesture. He would rather us pay it forward to someone that needed it more than they did. He explained all of this to his 6-year-old daughter who learned a valuable lesson on this day. The sandwich we bought went to someone on the streets in Union Square.
Next, we hit Philz Coffee (that Mint Mojito Iced Coffee though...), where we attempted to start a chain of kindness. We purchased six coffees and encouraged the recipients to pay it forward to the next person in line.
From Philz, we headed to the Union Square Ice Skating Rink where we purchased a family’s tickets to ice skate. They were shocked and confused by the gesture but eventually came to terms with accepting the act of kindness.
One of the highlights of my day was our stop at Winter Walk, where children rode around on motorized stuffed animals. The inner-child in me really came out – I just HAD to try these scooters out for myself!
After some quality control, we bought four tickets for children to ride the scooters. The kids were just excited to get on these life-sized stuffed animals, but the random acts really resonated with the parents. We received big hugs, lots of laughs, and priceless moments watching the little ones romp around Winter Walk.
Then we hit the BART station (the Bay Area subway system) as rush hour was approaching, where we purchased tickets for eight lucky riders.
Our last stop was the AMC Movie Theater in the Metreon, where we met a group of 5 friends all seeing a movie together. We paid for their movie tickets and sent them off to enjoy the flick and their buttery popcorn.
Taking part in WISH was one of the highlights of my holiday season. There's something about not only giving back but getting to see the reactions of those that were touched by these acts of kindness.
My favorite reaction was watching others become inspired by our acts of kindness. WISH is testament that generosity is truly contagious, so we want to continue making the world a happier place during National Random Acts of Kindness Week. It all starts with one act - one smile, one coffee for a stranger, one favor for a friend.
We're passing on the torch - what will you do this week to make the world a better place than you found it? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tag #RAKWeek2017 and @WSanFrancisco. Win brunch for two in our restaurant TRACE by submitting the most creative random act of kindness. Ready, set, go!
Tequila aficionado, traveler, explorer, and artist are only a few of the things that define Annamarie Pabst. Annamarie started working at W San Francisco in fall of 2011 as a Cocktail Server in the Living Room Bar. Serving drinks by night (very delicious drinks, I might add) and painting by day, Annamarie has fused many of her interests to build a portfolio of inspiring work over the years.
It all started back in St. Paul, Minnesota where Annamarie grew up. From there, she went on to study in Portland, Oregon, then spent a semester abroad in Kenya and Tanzania, and most recently lived in Vietnam for a year teaching English to primary school children. All of this before she landed in San Francisco! Are you getting wanderlust yet?
Her travels around the world and in our very own city of San Francisco have been a source of inspiration for Annamarie’s art. We played 21 questions to find out what inspires her to create, her go-to karaoke song, and how she navigates life as an artist in San Francisco.
Of all the amazing places to which you have traveled, do you have a favorite?
I got to see the Northern Lights on a backpacking trip in Western Canada. I’ll never forget that. I was also fortunate to study abroad in Kenya and Tanzania for a semester in college. Before moving to San Francisco, I spent a year in Vietnam teaching English.
Have you drawn inspiration from your travels for your art?
While I was studying in Vietnam, I took a trip to Cambodia that inspired my series of charcoal drawings S-21 Prison Series. I visited the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh where the walls are lined with mugshots of some of the victims of Khmer Rouge. This experience stuck with me well beyond my time in Vietnam and Cambodia. I didn’t begin my series of charcoal portraits until 2012, which took three years to complete.
You’ve been around the world, but what are some of your favorite things about your home in San Francisco?
San Francisco is packed with gorgeous parks, beaches, and stunning views. Lafayette Park, the Presidio, and Crissy Field to name a few. I love walking around in North Beach and drinking at ancient establishments such as House of Shields or Vesuvio.
How does San Francisco inspire your art?
Inspiration and ideas formulate in bits and pieces over time. Literature, movies, travel, people I know, music, illustrations, wilderness, architecture, all of these things can contribute to envisioning a painting. Caravaggio’s work inspires me, as well as movies directed by Nicolas Winding Refn.
Favorite restaurant in San Francisco?
Any guilty pleasures?
Cheese. It’s the best.
Drink of choice?
Favorite cocktail at W San Francisco?
The R&R. It's a Manhattan that tastes like root beer. So you get to feel like a grown-up and a kid at the same time.
Go-to karaoke song?
In my imaginary life, it’s “When You Were Mine” by Cindy Lauper
Annamarie’s S-21 Portrait Series will be on display at the Roll Up Gallery at Public Works from February 10 – March 10. Celebrate the opening of this exhibit this Friday, February 10th from 6 – 9 PM.
Opening Friday, February 10th, 2017
6 – 9 PM
Roll Up Gallery
161 Erie Street
The W San Francisco team is full of talent and inspiration. Read more about our talent and contributors here.
SAN FRANCISCO INDEPENDENT FILM FEST
Kick off the 19th annual SF Independent Film Festival this weekend. With series such as #Adulting, #ForReals, #LOL and #Love&Death, the fest tackles a variety of themes both somber and comical.
For the full schedule, visit their web page.
SCIENCE OF COCKTAILS
Not to get technical...but according to chemistry, alcohol is a solution. The Exploratorium agrees, which is why their biggest event of the year unites the worlds of science and cocktails. Learn about the distillation process, check out the chemistry behind brewing beer, or discover your new favorite vintage.
Friday, February 3
9 PM - 12 AM
DIA NACIONAL DEL PISCO SOUR
In honor of National Pisco Sour Day, La Mar is celebrating with $10 pisco sour flights all day long. In true Peruvian fashion, the flight includes three pisco sours each made with different types of authentic pisco: Quebranta, Acholado, and Italia. Cheers!
PURITY RING DJ SET
Electronic duo Purity Ring is hitting the City by the Bay this weekend for a DJ set at The Great Northern. Tickets are sold out (electronic music is booming in San Francisco after all), but there are still tickets available at the door if you act fast!
The Great Northern
119 Utah Street
Saturday, February 4
Doors at 10 PM
SHARAM AT THE MEZZANINE
444 Jessie Street
Doors at 9 PM
THIS ONE IS FOR DILLA AT MEZZANINE
February 5th is (un)official Dilla Day. Celebrate the one and only J Dilla at Mezzanine with DJ Spinna Shortkut on the decks.
444 Jessie Street
Doors at 9 PM
The holiday season has come and gone. Relive the best of the season at W San Francisco, from our epic New Years Eve party to our seasonal cocktails. Until next year...
SF RESTAURANT WEEK BEGINS
By now we've given up on our New Year resolutions (#newyearnorules, am I right?), so we won't feel too guilty when we indulge in SF Restaurant Week. Restaurants across San Francisco will be participating in this epic celebration of food, offering prix-fixe menus showcasing their best dishes.
INSIDER TIP: Our very own TRACE joins SF Restaurant Week for another year. Find the full scoop here.
January 18 - 29
San Francisco's favorite comedy festival is back for its 16th year. From top comedians and live podcast recordings to an interactive drinking game, there is something to make everyone laugh.
Through January 29
MORNING GLORYVILLE SF
Alright, maybe we do want to stick to our New Year resolutions. Mix it up and start your morning off in the best way possible - music, dancing, yoga and more. Swing by Kick Start 2017 before you head to work. Trust me it'll be better than coffee. #DetoxRetoxRepeat
2948 16th Street
6:30 - 10:30 AM
CHURN YOUR OWN ICE CREAM WITH SMITTEN
SF's favorite churned-to-order ice cream shop is finally letting us in on their secret! Learn the tricks of the trade at their churn your own ice cream event. They'll even let you create your own custom flavor combinations. They'll gather all the appropriate ingredients for your dream flavor before the event, so get brainstorming! Oh, and don't forget to let me have a taste.
Smitten Ice Cream
2268 Chestnut Street
11 - 12:30 PM
LOVE TRUMPS HATE: THE THROWBACK PARTY FOR AMERICA
Alright ladies and gentlemen, the time has come to usher in our next President of the United States. Regardless of your political affiliation or any feelings you may have post-election, we can still use inauguration day as an excuse to throw back a few. Celebrate 90's style at Rickshaw Stop's Throwback Party for America. Cheers to that!
155 Fell Street
SEA LION ANNIVERSARY PARTY
Play tourist for a day and head down to Pier 39. Already been? Then you’re probably familiar with the famous sea lions that call the pier home. This January, raise a glass to the 27th year of the sea lions’ arrival. Our city wouldn’t be complete without them!
January 20 - 22
THE SOUND OF COCKTAILS
Novela continues to blend music and cocktails for a unique entertainment experience with their Sound of Cocktails series. Deejay Clinton Lee will be spinning 70's jams while you sip on classic and original concoctions. Groovy man.
Saturday, January 21
9 PM - 2 AM
GIRL SCOUT COOKIES + CRAFT BEER
It's January. And January means Girl Scout Cookies ARE BACK! Now add an adult-approved spin and you've got a Girl Scout Cookie and craft beer pairing. Even better, $4 of each flight will go directly back to Girl Scouts of Northern California. Now that's my kind of fundraiser.
Magnolia Gastropub & Brewery
1398 Haight Street
Sunday, January 22
12 - 4 PM
TRACE joins for another year of San Francisco's favorite foodie event: SF Restaurant Week. Top restaurants across the city will be participating in this celebration of, in my humble opinion, the best dining scene in the country. Each restaurant will prepare a prix-fixe menu for lunch and dinner showcasing their best dishes.
Chef Jason Rea has crafted yet another all-star menu for SF Restaurant Week. Our prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus give the opporunity to try some of Chef Jason's best work. Start with our fried (so good you'll forget they're vegetables) brussel sprouts before your main course. Try our hard-to-resist TRACE burger or my very favorite broiled salmon with a black bean glaze.
LUNCH (2 Courses): $25
DINNER (3 Courses): $40
MARTINI ON THE SIDE
Because you can't have dinner without a cocktail. Insider tip: our award-winning holiday cocktails are still on the menu through January. Try our Winter Sunrise with Junipero gin, egg whites, blood orange liqueur, fresh mandarin and hibiscus syrup.
San Francisco Restaurant Week
Share you Restaurant Week photos with #SFRW and @TRACEWSF
It's that time of the year again - when we make resolutions we know we'll never keep, reflect on the past year and pop bottles to celebrate surviving 2016. This year we'll resolve to dance more, lose inhibitions, and play harder.
PLAY AND STAY
The elevator is the quickest way to get home! Settle into one of our rooms after your night out. Book the W San Francisco NYE Room Package for the best deal, including tickets to our party, complimentary champagne, late check out and overnight valet parking.
THE MORNING AFTER
Who said the party has to stop when the bar closes? Grab a green juice from TRACE and head to Breakfast of Champions. The party starts at 6 AM on New Years Day and lasts until 6 PM.
900 Marin Street
Share all of your holiday photos with #NewYearNoRules
It's starting to look a lot like Christmas! A California Christmas that is, where short sleeves are acceptable and the only snow man in sight is on your Instagram feed (jealous).
Even though San Francisco is not known as a Winter Wonderland, we still know how to celebrate the season. From life-size gingerbread houses to silent disco ice skating rinks, we're ready for another occasion for spiked egg nog and holiday festivities. Follow my Insider Guide for the best of the season.
W SAN FRANCISCO HOLIDAY POP UP
Shop till you drop at W San Francisco's annual Holiday Pop Up Shop. We'll be serving up champagne to help relieve anxiety about your last minute buying frenzy. Some of favorite local treasures will be joining us: Argent, beGlammed, Forage Paper Co., Inspired Luxe, Swank by Just Glam, Skincare by Felicia, and Beauty Bar by Meko.
WINTER WALK SF
Winter Walk returns to Union Square for the third year this holiday season. Until January 1st, Stockton Street (between Ellis and Geary) will open for all kinds of seasonal festivities. Beer and wine gardens, reindeer scooters, live performances and our favorite food trucks from Off the Grid.
Insider Tip: Visit between 11-2 PM for lunch or between 5-8 PM for dinner from the rotating selection of food trucks.
GINGERBREAD HOLIDAY TEA
What could you possibly do with thousands of gingerbread cookies and more than a ton of icing? You can find your answer at the Fairmont San Francisco. Every year, the culinary team constructs a life-size, two-story-high Victorian gingerbread house in the hotel lobby. Yes, you can actually walk in individual rooms in the house that stands more than 22 feet high and spans more than 23 feet wide.
You can stop by for a quick visit to see this San Francisco Christmas tradition, or stay a while and enjoy the festivities with holiday tea. Seatings are at 1:30 and 3:30 PM through January 1st.
UNION SQUARE ICE RINK
No snow, no problem. San Francisco is the city of innovation, so naturally, we've created our own winter wonderland in Union Square. Strap on your skates and hope for the best.
Insider Tip: Join for one of the special events, such as the Silent Night Skate Party or the Polar Bear Skate.
Open daily from 10 AM - 11:30 PM
LIGHTED BOAT PARADE
Light it up! The trees aren't the only things getting lit this season. The boats on Fisherman's Wharf will parade along the waterfront on December 16th. The route will begin just off of Pier 39 and proceed to Fisherman's Wharf, Fort Mason and the St. Francis Yacht Club, and will turn around at Crissy Field to return to the waterfront. The best views can be found at Pier 39, the Marina Green, or Crissy Field.
Friday, December 16
6 - 8 PM
'TIS THE SEASON AT CALIFORNIA ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
For the inquisitive and intellectuals out there, 'tis the season for science. Explore the science behind the festive season at the California Academy. This interactive exhibit features a Snowman Theater to learn more about the northern lights, explores reindeer adaptation with REAL REINDEER, and life performances on the Piazza stage.
Through January 8
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL'S LUZIA
Cirque Du Soleil's latest show Luzia takes you through an imaginary Mexico, evoking all of your senses with light, rain, music and dance.
Shows through January 29
CHILDREN'S MAGICAL TEA
Marshmallow snowmen, cookie decorations and a visit from Santa. For the inner-child in us all, Top of the Mark presents Children's Magical Tea - high tea for kids, except better. Because who doesn't want that marshmallow snowman?!
SHINOLA HOLIDAY HAPPY HOURS
Still not done with your Christmas shopping? Yep, me either. Ease the stress of the holiday shopping season at Shinola's happy hours every Friday from 4-7 PM. They've partnered up with Filson and Allbirds, so down that cocktail and check everyone off your shopping list. Cocktails from Rye on the Road and sweets from my favorite Dandelion Chocolate.
Every Friday 4-7 PM
53 Hotaling Place