A Designer’s Guide to San Francisco

By Kristin Yeh

We are lucky enough to have our studio just a short drive away from San Francisco, the 7×7 home of exquisite cuisine, unbeatable views, rich history, and (of course) Karl the fog. As a designer, living in the city is a huge source of inspiration for me—from its Victorian architecture and curbside wildflowers to its foggy beaches and eclectic cocktail menus. I always prefer reading curated guides from local creatives rather than sorting through lists of crowded tourist attractions, so I thought I’d share some of my favorite gems for a weekend in the city!

01 — Coffee

First things first…coffee. Our team at Affinity has a shared love for good coffee (and maybe a slight addiction), so its no surprise we’ve scoured every corner of the city to find the best cup. My current favorites are Sightglass (really nothin’ better than their vanilla cold brew on a warm day) and The Mill (their cinnamon sugar toast is also a must).

02 — Brunch

Come on, we all know the best weekends start with brunch. If you’re in the mood for some pastries and fancy toast, Tartine Manufactory is a bakery, ice cream shop, restaurant, bar, and coffee shop…all rolled into one dreamy space. Their pan suisse (aka chocolate croissant) is to die for. Make sure you head next door to Heath Ceramics afterwards to fall in love with all the colors and textures and explore the beautifully designed publications at Heath Newsstand. Horsefeather is another great staple, and the best part is—I’ve never had to wait for a table, even at peak brunch hours on a Saturday. 10/10 for atmosphere, service, food, and cocktails.

03 — See/Do

Dolores Park is the tried-and-true spot for an afternoon picnic, people watching, and palm-tree-lined view of the city. Walk a few blocks to Ampersand and find yourself in a floral dreamland where you can make your own bouquet or have one of the experts build one for you. Head over to Golden Gate Overlook in the Presidio for an iconic ocean view alongside the Golden Gate Bridge—if you’re lucky, you might even see some whales!

04 — Dine

Mission Chinese is an eclectic, not-your-average Chinese restaurant in the heart of the Mission. Trust me, you’ll be craving their thrice-cooked bacon every day for the rest of your life. Matador is a great spot for modern, elevated Mexican food and amazing cocktails. I would highly recommend their prickly pear margarita and the queso fundido as an appetizer to share!

05 — Drink

Charmaine’s is a classy rooftop lounge on top of The Proper Hotel with highbrow cocktails, fire pits, and panoramic views of the city—really, what more could you ask for?

Let us know if you make it to any of these places next time you’re in the city. And if you’re an SF local, we would love to hear what’s on your list of quintessential spots that keep you inspired. Cheers!

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