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Born and raised in Marin County, Monica Smith now lives in “the northern-most region of North Beach,” which has its charms despite the dangerous proximity to Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghiradelli Square and all things touristy. Monica earned a B.A. in Communications in 2009 and now works at a small tech PR agency. She loves writing, music, coffee and fashion, including designing clothes and restyling rejected thrift-store garments. Monica has traveled extensively (most recently to China and Ecuador), and is always planning her next foreign adventure. Whether abroad or at home, she enjoys exploring and discovering new neighborhoods, restaurants and experiences. She is a strong believer in the power of endorphins and stays active through running, hiking, yoga and snowboarding.

The San Francisco Ferry Building

san francisco ferry building

(Photo Credit: About.com)

Where in San Francisco can you enjoy stunning Bay views, satisfy your sweet tooth, and pick up an array fresh produce – all in one building?

Stationed on the Embarcadero at the base of Market Street, the San Francisco Ferry Building is densely packed with restaurants, shops and crowds of people, and offers everything you need for a great day of dining. Whether you’re catching the next boat into Marin, craving a bite after your run along the Embarcadero, or seeking a romantic spot to watch the sunset, the Ferry Building has it all, and is good for several hours of entertainment. Here’s how to spend a perfect day at the Ferry Building:

For starters, head to Blue Bottle to wake up with a delicious latte or single-cup filter-drip coffee. The line can be treacherous but the coffee is strong and worth the wait. If you’re in a hurry or just can’t handle the wait, there’s a Peet’s as well.

Once caffeinated, it’s always fun to take a stroll around the building. History buffs will appreciate the black and white photos and descriptions of how the clock tower was built (posted at the main entrance), and everyone can appreciate the people-watching. The halls are always filled with a diverse selection of city dwellers and tourists, so it’s a great spot to observe fashion Do’s and Don’ts.

san francisco ferry building interior

(Photo Credit: CityProfile.com)

The Ferry Building is a foodie’s paradise, brimming with organic, local, sustainable, artisan and just-plain-delicious culinary delights. Highlights include fresh oysters on the half-shell at Hog Island Oyster Company (only $1.35 during happy hour); tasty tamales at Mijita; and juicy burgers at Gott’s Roadside. I’ve also heard great reviews of The Slanted Door, an upscale Vietnamese restaurant that’s on my list of places to try. For dessert, it’s always a tough call between Ciao Bella’s rich and creamy gelato and Miette’s dainty cupcakes that are almost too pretty to eat.

If you’re looking to kill a little time before your ferry departs or want to escape the crowds, duck into The Book Passage, located at the rear of the building, near the Bay. This small local bookstore has an excellent selection and friendly, helpful staff. The Book Passage also hosts frequent readings, often with popular bestselling authors, like Chris Cleave, Dave Eggers and Elizabeth Gilbert. Check the board out front for a listing of upcoming events.

And if the many wonders inside the Ferry Building are not enough, make sure to visit on a Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday before 2 p.m. to catch the sprawling farmer’s market. With scores of organic fruits and vegetables, prepared foods and baked treats, the enormous market wraps around both the front and back of the Ferry Building – and there are always plenty of samples!

WHERE:
Ferry Building Marketplace
One Ferry Building
San Francisco, California 94111
(415) 983-8030

MINIMUM HOURS:
Monday – Friday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

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