San Francisco Neighborhood Guide to the Marina District

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Back in the day before we became parents, my husband and I used to house sit a cute little apartment in the Marina District. My favorite part of this neighborhood was that you could walk to pretty much everything and it’s so scenic! If you’re staying in San Francisco, cruising the Marina is a great way to spend a few hours. This neighborhood is worth visiting anytime of day, they’ve got great brunch spots, ample lunch options and a lively nightlife scene.

My bestie Kara and I had a girls lunch date in the Marina to catch up and eat good food. While the Marina is always a go-to location to hangout, there’s often new shops and restaurants opening up. So if you haven’t been for a while, it just might be time to re-visit.

To begin your day of exploring in the Marina, a good place to start is on Chestnut St. Most of the popular shops and restaurants are located either on or near Chestnut. It’s a pleasant stroll down the length of the street, it runs about 7 blocks through the main commercial strip in the Marina. Although parking is always a challenge in San Francisco, the residential neighborhood behind Chestnut often has available spots.

Best Eats and Sweets in San Francisco’s Marina District

Tacolicious - My husband will only eat authentic Mexican food usually found in hole-in-the-wall restaurants… but he loves the hipster approved Tacolicious! That’s how legit the tacos are at Tacolicious.

Over the Moon Cookie & Creamery - They had me at honey lavender ice cream. For chocolate cravings you can get the mint chip ice cream sandwiched between two sea salt chocolate chip fresh baked cookies. Sugar coma indeed!

Blue Barn - My favorite thing on the menu is the spicy tuna tartare salad with avocado and mango. But you can’t go wrong ordering pretty much anything there.

Noah’s Bagels - I rarely mention chain restaurants in travel guides but I do legitimately love Noah’s Bagels, especially their options of flavored cream cheese. In the fall they release their seasonal pumpkin spice double whipped cream cheese!

Blackwood Thai - This American-Thai fusion restaurant has modern interiors and serves a great breakfast and brunch menu. I’ve also eaten a delicious curry lunch on the front patio with my dog Holly.

Super Duper Burgers - The key to their awesome burgers comes in the secret sauce. Add a super duper ice cream shake to complete your meal… and then walk it off along the trail with Golden Gate Bridge views.

Causwells - Famous for their cheeseburgers and classic American comfort food.

The Tipsy Pig - Enjoy an evening under string lights on the back patio and get your buzzy drink on with craft cocktails and California style pub eats.

Delarosa - I celebrated my birthday here several years and it’s still a popular joint to this day. Serving fancy pizzas and Italian cuisine, it can get overly crowded and a bit loud as well. I would recommend this place for a weekday lunch or early dinner and avoid the busy times.

Pluto’s - I always order the build your own salad with steak. I am very particular about my quality of meats and Pluto’s always delivers the quality. My husband loves to order a Thanksgiving style feast with carved meat, sides of mashed potatoes and mac-n-cheese. They also have awesome sautéed veggie sides!

SusieCakes - After your lunch, stroll over to SusieCakes and enjoy a Strawberry Rosé Cupcake… or you can opt for 3 mini cupcakes in a variety of flavors. If you’re in San Francisco during the holiday season, you can pick up a freshly-baked pie to share with friends and family for a holiday celebration. Friendsgiving anyone?

Le Marais Bakery - With multiple locations situated around San Francisco, Le Marais cafes are a local favorite. We were fortunate enough to have a hosted lunch at the Le Marais cafe on Sutter Street a few months back. I also have a snapshot of the Marina location at the top of this blog post. All 3 locations are gorgeous and worth a visit!

Patxi's Pizza - Fancy pizza pies that come in both traditional savory and sweet dessert flavors. In a city that is know for outrageous prices, Patxi’s is a bit on the more reasonable side considering you’re getting fresh ingredients and great atmosphere.

Souvla - My first impressions of this place is beautifully designed modern restaurants with fresh California-meets-Greek food. We spent two weeks in Santorini and the authenticity at Souvla is on par.

Maybeck's - If you’re feeling fancy and want to splurge on a romantic dinner, this just might be your place. Put on your dapper duds and prepare to be wined and dined with upscale American classic gourmet food.

Adventures and Sights to Explore Around the Marina

Crissy Field - Everyone visiting San Francisco is looking for those awe-worthy views of the Golden Gate Bridge. On a clear and fog-free day, you get some of the best views of the bridge from Crissy Field. You can even walk the trail to the base of the bridge to a spot known as Fort Point. If you’re a shutterbug and are looking for great photo opportunities, the walk from the Marina to Fort Point will be full of photo-worthy moments.

Palace of Fine Arts - One of the most famous San Francisco landmarks in located right in the heart of the Marina. The super grand and ornate architecture of the Palace of Fine Arts will evoke feelings old-world nostalgia, and the backdrop makes from great photos. It’s a calming walk through the courtyard and feels very open amidst a hustling and bustling city.

Hike Up the Divisadero Hill - San Francisco is known for having some crazy hills and the rewards are the best views at the top. If you begin at the Walgreens located on the corned of Lombard and Divisadero, walk up about 6 blocks on Divisadero towards Lombard St. You’ll hit an intersection on Broadway and Divisadero that has great views in multiple directions. You’ll be leaving the Marina neighborhood and heading into Pacific Heights which has beautiful San Francisco style homes. Be forewarned, the hills are very steep and you’ll be feeling the burn in your calves.

The Presidio - Technically the Presidio are is a separate district from the Marina, but they are so close in proximity that I often lump them together in my mind. The Presidio is characterized by spacious neighborhoods with lush green grass lawns and historical homes. It was once a military site and is now filled with protected parks and landmarks.

Points of interest in the Presidio are:

  • The Walt Disney Museum

  • Baker Beach - another great spot for Golden Gate Bridge views!

  • Lyon Street Steps

  • Lovers’ Lane

More San Francisco Favorites

Take the San Francisco Love Tour - Ride around in a colorful 1970’s Volkswagen bus and see the city’s best landmarks. Neighborhoods included on the tour are Chinatown, North Beach, the Castro, the Mission, downtown and more. Two hours of fun and chillaxin’ while a pro does the driving!

Food Tour of the Mission District - Spend 3 hours eating your heart out on 16th Street in the Mission. Hit up all the hot spots known for the best eclectic and global cuisine… and enjoy some boozy beverages if you’d like.

Food Tour of Little Italy and North Beach - Nibble on North Beach specialties such fresh baked Italian pastries, coffee, Italian sodas and deli delicacies.

Food Crawl! Chinatown and Little Italy - See the neighborhoods by foot and taste local foods like dim sum, handmade fortune cookies, boba milk tea, a Chinese dessert, pizza, and cannolis.

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