San Francisco

12 Hours In Hayes Valley: A Visitor's Guide

With everything from local boutiques to opera and symphony houses, it’s easy to lose an entire day exploring Hayes Valley. The lively neighborhood in the heart of the city is the ideal place to catch up with friends over coffee, expand your wardrobe, or share a meal before a live show.

With that in mind, here’s our suggested itinerary for 12 hours in the neighborhood.

Fuel Up: Patricia's Green (11am)

Kick off your day with a cup of coffee from Ritual on Octavia Street, and maybe some juice as well. For sure, this works best on sunny days, but while sipping your favorite hot drink, it's still a great place to watch the fog roll in.

Take a seat on a park bench, or at one of the chairs in the plaza in front of Ritual. Keep an eye out for food trucks that stop by, and don't forget to find out more about Patricia's Green's current art installations.

If you linger until noon, you can also be first in line for ice cream. Smitten, right behind Ritual, serves up churned-to-order scoops chilled with liquid nitrogen.


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Cuddle Some Cats: KitTea (12pm)

And now it's time to sip some tea and pet some cats.

KitTea, Hayes Valley's cat cafe on Gough Street, has the right purring friend to assist you with that.

But be sure to make a reservation first. The cat lounge can be pretty packed, or there could be a private event, so it's usually best to book online before stopping by.

All of the cats you'll meet are up for adoption, but no pressure. You're welcome to simply act as a playmate while they wait for the perfect companion to take them home.

Photo: KitTea/Facebook

Shop: Gather, Dark Garden, Raxakoul (1:30pm)

Now that you're feeling warm and fuzzy, are you ready to get some shopping done?

Gather at Octavia and Ivy streets is the place to discover local artists, hand-crafted clothing, and home goods. Owner Daisy McClellan also likes to curate jewelry that will remind you of your Etsy wishlist. If you decide to visit again later, ask about upcoming handcrafting workshops held in the shop

Next, Linden Street boutique Dark Garden has been selling corsets, stockings, gowns and more since 1997. World-famous femme fatale Dita von Teese has been known to stop by. Get something special for your next anniversary, date night or just every other day of the year.

Finally, get some Haribo gummies at Raxakoul Wine & Cheese on Gough Street. Don't miss the walk in cooler in the back of the shop, which is full of delicious cheeses.

Recuperate: Page & Laguna Mini Park (3:30pm)

After all the excitement with the cats, corsets and coffee, it's time to sit still for a moment. Bring your favorite book to Page and Laguna Mini Park. Tucked away between two large residential buildings of Hayes Valley, lean back on a park bench, gaze at apple trees and enjoy this urban jungle.

Photo: Nuala Sawyer/Hoodline

Get Artsy: Hayes Valley Art Works (4pm)

Exhibition, performances, community events: Hayes Valley Art Works at Laguna and Fell streets is a temporary outdoor community arts space in the middle of Hayes Valley. Visit the project's website for information on current happenings, or just drop by and see what the space has to offer.

Sunset over Hayes Valley Art Works. | Photo: Teresa Hammerl/Hoodline

Savor Some Sweets: 20th Century Cafe (4:30pm)

Hungry and thirsty again? Of course you are. It's time for more coffee and sweets.

This Central European-inspired spot on Gough Street brings you a little bit closer to Vienna, Budapest and Prague. The cafe's owner, Michelle Polzine, got her inspiration from visiting those cities. So, order some strudel here!

The vintage flair will tempt you to pull your book out again. And you'll notice that you aren't the only one reading here.

Dine: Suppenküche (6:00pm)

Before you head over to the Symphony, it's time for dinner. Suppenküche is a German restaurant on Laguna Street, open every day for dinner.

With a little practice, you can order Käsespätzle mit Zwiebel-Buttersoße und gemischtem Salat. But don't worry, you could just say, "Cheese spätzle in onion butter sauce with a mixed salad, please."

Relive Hollywood Magic: San Francisco Symphony (8pm)

After dinner, head over to the San Francisco Symphony (a Hoodline advertiser). Various Hollywood movies (old and new) are shown on the big screen in the Davies Symphony Hall, while the symphony performs live on stage.

Classic movies, such as Raiders of the Lost Ark and Casablanca, are coming up next.

Celebrate With Champagne: The Riddler (10:30pm)

While you might have missed out on the popcorn at the symphony, The Riddler on Laguna Street has you covered. This recent addition to the neighborhood serves more than 100 varieties of champagne along with with complementary popcorn.

Artist Danielle Moore designed the mural outside of The Riddler.

If the bar is full when you arrive, leave your phone number and a staff member will contact you when a table opens up.

And what would you do if you've got a full 12 hours free in Hayes Valley? Let us know in the comments.


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