The Bold Italic
This lifestyle blog is not aimed at tourists, but that is what makes it all the more interesting for savvy travellers who want to get on the inside track on their destination. It’s particularly useful for nomadic types, who tend to spend an extended period in a place (see this post on little pockets around town with slightly less expensive rent). If you like unusual souvenirs, ditch the Golden Gate Bridge snow globe and head to the site’s online shop for some interesting San Francisco-themed goods, from silk scarfs designed with an area map to fake tattoos resembling a Muni ticket (the local transport network). To avoid dealing with long-distance shipping, take advantage of “pick-up Thursday” and swing by their office to collect your purchase.
Useful post Don’t miss the contributions from the so-called chief of cheap Broke Ass Stuart, who also has a notable blog of his own (brokeassstuart.com), for those on meagre budgets in San Francisco (and New York).
Sfist A closed 24-hour diner – San Franciscans know the pain of finding late-night food. Photograph: Jeremy Brooks/Flickr
Mixing humour, local news and events, Sfist is the less pronounceable cousin of fellow city blogs Londonist and Gothamist. If you enjoy a good quick-fix list when planning a trip, don’t miss the page that collates the best of its “best of” articles: the best bars with an outdoor oasis, the best bike rides, the best bloody marys etc. Check out the company’s other useful offshoots across the world, including Austinist, Shanghaiist and Torontoist.
Useful post “41 signs you’re a jaded San Franciscan”: worth a read for a glimpse into local quirks and bugbears.
7×7 Brunch at Skool, on 7×7’s list of recommendations PR
Springing from the magazine of the same name, this site has been running since 2006. The name signifies San Francisco’s 49 square miles, but it has evolved into covering all the surrounding region: the entire Bay Area, Wine Country, Lake Tahoe, and even dipping into LA. The site is well organised, with plenty of content to help a newcomer or a seasoned visitor.
Useful post 11 under-the-radar brunch spots
FOOD AND DRINK
Tablehopper Dessert at Chocolate Lab. Photograph: ChocolateLabSF.com Chocolate Lab
“Tablehopper is not a blog; it’s a website,” says its About page, and it’s true that your average blog rarely boasts both its own app (directing you to all-important, late-night dining options around town), and its own brand of singles night. However you choose to define it, Tablehopper, run by freelance food writer Marcia Gagliardi, is a great resource for busy travellers. If you want to be one step ahead of the guidebook, take a quick glance at the right-hand sidebar, which lists 10 places to eat at right now.
Useful post San Francisco’s best chocolate desserts – featuring not just where to go, but what to order.
The Perfect Spot SF American Bao Bar, a pop-up restaurant in Mission. Photograph: Perfect Spot SF
Virginia Miller is one of San Francisco’s most prolific food writers, with countless reviews and columns racked up for the San Francisco Bay Guardian, plus various articles for major US food sites Grub Street and Eater. Constantly on the move, she provides readers with a regular newsletter, featuring all her latest finds – not just within her hometown, but also further afield. She’s got the local bar scene down, too.
Useful post The neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood food guides
The San Francisco Bar Experiment Bacchus Kirk – one of the many bars reviewed on the San Francisco Bar Experiment Photograph: San Francisco Bar Experiment
Heather Cummings started this drinks and cocktails blog because she heard San Francisco had more bars per capita than any other US city. She’s since found out that this is probably not true, but what does it matter when, over three years after launching, she still has no shortage of places to review. Perhaps the best function of the site is the drop-down menu in the sidebar, which sorts bars according to readers’ taste, mood or chosen neighbourhood: bars with fireplaces, bars with patios, bars with a pub quiz etc.
Useful post If you’re feeling experimental yourself, try mixing up one of Heather’s recipes at home, such as the pickletini
The Bay Bridged
Podcasts, gig reviews, photo galleries, festival line-ups: there’s so much happening within this guide to San Francisco’s independent music scene that you almost go cross-eyed deciding where to click first. Founded in 2006 and still rocking, the site is an essential bookmark for anyone wanting to catch local (or visiting) musicians. To find an event best suited to your location, gigs are neatly divided into San Francisco or the Bay Area. There’s more music with a local edge over at Ears of the Beholder – which does a nice line in playlists that focus on emerging artists.
Useful post The concert calendar offers up ample options for every night of the week.
MissionMission A mural in Mission district, San Francisco. Photograph: Stefano Politi Markovina /Alamy
Focusing on the vibrant Mission neighbourhood, this equally lively blog has been churning out posts since 2007 for a predominantly 20-something, party-loving crowd. Sometimes posts are a simple as Flickr pic of a brunch spot, such as Boogaloos, but that can be all you need to whet your appetite (although the first person to leave a comment seems not to agree). Yes, there are plenty of hip hangouts in this part of town, but when MissionMission tags its posts as “Being cool”, it surely has its tongue in its cheek. (Amusingly, they weren’t too impressed by Vogue’s hipster’s guide to the city).
Useful post MissionMission has kindly surveyed local bathrooms to inform readers of the ones they should check out (this one has a glitter ball ) and the ones they should avoid.
“You can pry my burrito out of my cold, dead hand”: that’s the tagline/threat on this blog. They like burritos so much, they’ve blogged an outline for a burrito-themed musical (with other local blogger 40GoingOn28). But amid the light humour, this site also has a nice emphasis on local history and geography, such as this bid to chart the city’s “microhoods” and this great post on where to dine in San Francisco in 1906. If you like looking back at cities in days gone by, you should also check out the Facebook page Lost San Francisco.
Useful post Struggling with San Francisco geography? This could either be helpful or add further confusion: a map imagines all the city’s neighbourhoods as islands.
Shopikon Thorough Bread, one of the food stores featured on Shopikon. Photograph: Shopikon
Shopikon is not strictly a San Francisco blog: it also covers six other shopping hubs (London, New York, Barcelona, Vienna, Berlin and Paris). But it’s got great insider knowledge, an attractive design and an interesting ethos, which all add up to make it well worth a visit. Fed up of clone high streets, Shopikon seeks out the best independent stores and creates an online directory, with plenty of photos to make the site just as stylish as the places it covers. Happily, for every fancy boutique, there’s a coffee shop or secondhand bookshop for those on tighter budgets.
Finally, a round-up of the best of San Francisco on the web is not complete without a special mention for @KarlTheFog – the spoof Twitter account for the San Francisco fog: “Expect lots of me in the morning. #AlwaysCarryALightSweater”, “Making a reservation at ‘Ruining Your Afternoon’ – party of 800,000” etc, etc