SAN FRANCISCO’s BEST ●Attractions●Neighborhoods/Shopping+Restaurants
EMBARCADERO CENTER’s BEST
Bounded by Battery St./Sacramento St./Drumm St./Clay St., The Embarcadero.
This enormous complex of high-rise buildings holds more than 100 shops and restaurants on its lower floors, countless offices on the upper floors, and both the Le Meridien San Francisco and Hyatt Regency hotels. It covers 6 blocks.
The Embarcadero Center Cinema theater complex is equipped with seven wall-to-wall screens, posh seats (some recline!), and a bar that keeps things busy late into the night.
Justin Herman Plaza is home to the Vaillancourt Fountain, nicknamed “#10 on the Richter” and described by an art critic as “something deposited by a dog with square intestines.” A brochure mapping out a self-guided Sculpture Tour to the center’s treasure-trove of art is available.
The Punch Line 444 Battery St./Washington St.
image courtesy of venue
Sens 4 Embarcadero Ctr. Featuring a lovely interior space with rough-cut stone walls and ceiling accents, artful blown-glass sconces, and a view of the Ferry Building, this restaurant has an ever-changing Mediterranean-inspired menu with strong North African influences. Delicious options have included an appetizer array of pita bread spreads, grilled sea bass with flavorful Romesco sauce and saffron rice, and killer desserts--think chocolate-marshmallow bread pudding. Deep-fried green olives stuffed with veal--a house specialty--are always available. Off the bar, a casual outdoor terrace overlooks Embarcadero plaza; heat lamps make it a year-round option. Hookah happy hours take place there weekdays from 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Puffers choose a flavor—guava and peach are prime—and can also order cocktails and bar food. (Each hookah comes with a sanitary disposable plastic mouthpiece.)
Hyatt Regency San Francisco 5 Embarcadero Center/Market St. 17 stories; 802 rooms. 1 restaurant; room service. Exercise room. No pets. Valet- and self-parking. This elegant and stunning hotel resembles a pyramid on the outside, and every room has a view of either the city or the bay. Nifty glass elevators run the 17-story height of what is the world’s largest atrium lobby (they are famous for their role in the “Towering Inferno” movie). Guest rooms are spacious and tastefully decorated, and Pulse Point Oil, Face and Pillow Mist, and Foot Cream amenities are available by request--I fell in love with them! All rooms have a white noise machine, which I also really liked, especially the ocean channel, but my room was so quiet I didn’t need it. Staying in the Regency Club category includes all-day snacks--light bites and skinny cocktails as well as a buffet breakfast and freshly baked cookies—along with the extraordinary view that comes on the top level of the hotel in what once was a revolving restaurant. Conveniently, one end of the California Street cable car line loads just outside the front entrance, and the Ferry Building, Embarcadero shops and movie theater, and Exploratorium are just a short walk away. .