Discover Something New at Home in San Francisco

Posted Nov 20th 2013 11:00 AMUpdated Dec 20th 2013 11:00 AM

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Shutterstock / Nickolay Stanev
From the America's Cup races to Twitter's much-hyped IPO, it's been a big year in the city by the Bay. While BART keeps striking and SFMOMA is closed for expansion for the next two years, at least there are pretty (if slightly incongruous) palm trees to beautify the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge, which finally opened for business after several delays and troubling news of failing bolts.

New Restaurant: Coqueta

The opening of Napa Valley chef Michael Chiarello's first San Francisco restaurant, Coqueta, on Pier 5 gives locals a good reason to head to the touristy Embarcadero (another is the brand new Exploratorium science museum on Pier 15). Single-bite pinxto skewers and house-cured jamón serrano complement new interpretations of traditional Spanish dishes like patatas bravas, wood-grilled octopus and seafood paella. It's all served with an affordable range of Spanish wines and imaginative cocktails starting at $6 per glass.

Place to Bring a Little "Home" Home With You: Picnic

Picnic, a small boutique and shop on Polk Street in Russian Hill, is a treasure trove of all the San Francisco swag you didn't know you needed. Tucked between dresses from local designers and refurbished antiques, you'll find gifts like frame-worthy city maps and adorable onesies screen-printed with the Golden Gate Bridge.

Word on the Street

With more tech companies and their employees pouring into San Francisco, the city's already high rents have risen to absurd levels. The latest solution: tiny micro-studios as small as 250 square feet, which rent for a whopping $1,800 (and up!) per month, even in the never-gonna-change seedy Tenderloin neighborhood. Not surprisingly, the East Bay is starting to look a little more appealing to many cash-strapped residents.

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Katie Hammel is a travel writer who has lived in San Francisco for two years. In that time she has (slowly) run up at least 30 of the city's 43 hills, joined way too many Napa Valley wine clubs and failed at countless attempts to bake the perfect loaf of sourdough bread, but she's thrilled to have found a rent-controlled apartment she plans never to leave.

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