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Eco-Friendly San Francisco

Where to go green in California’s most progressive city.

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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Easy
Duration: Multiple days

Overview :  San Francisco is green, clean, and organic—the architecture is high-tech and eco-friendly, and the food is excruciatingly fresh and... more »

Tips:  September and October. The summer fog has cleared, the nights are as warm as they ever get, and the winter rains haven't started.... more »

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Points of Interest

San Francisco’s Café Gratitude was founded by Matthew and Terces Engelhart after Terces read a book about live foods (foods that have not been exposed to temperatures above 105°F. The 100% vegan restaurant, located in the Mission District, emphasizes the use of live (or raw) foods and serves dishes created from organic produce provided by local... More

The Museum, in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, extends green, sustainable architecture in unprecedented ways. Pritzker laureate Renzo Piano’s airy, luminous building replaces the original 150-year-old San Francisco institution, damaged in the 1989 earthquake, but preserves an original Neoclassical limestone façade from the beloved African Hall (... More

As Alice Waters travels the world, spreading her gospel of “local, seasonal, sustainable,” Chez Panisse chugs steadily along in its two-story Craftsman-style home. Chefs David Tanis and Jean-Pierre Moulle (each cooks for half the year) keep the standards high in both kitchens: the downstairs one, which provides the nightly menu for the original... More

In 2001, Ian Schrager took over this 1915 Theater District landmark (it’s also close to the not-so-scenic Tenderloin), and the entire city agonized over what he might do to the beloved Redwood Room. Today, the bar looks better than ever, and the 363-room hotel (now part of the Morgans group) has been fully Schragerized: a dimly lit lobby littered ... More

The Spread: Some 85 vendors and growers spread out around the waterfront Ferry Building on Saturdays in San Francisco, the No. 7-ranked city for markets in our America’s Favorite Cities survey. Well-known local chefs (like Annie Somerville of Greens and Craig Stoll of Delfina) vie here year-round with home cooks for specialty ingredients like... More

6. Flora Grubb Gardens

The newly relocated plant store is run by Flora Grubb, well-known for her selection of palm trees. She also stocks a fascinating collection of plants called Echeveria, desert succulents that look like undersea creatures. She’s using them in a civic project, replanting the median strip of Guerrero Street. The store is housed in an airy,... More

7. Hog Island Oyster Co

The most famous of the Marshall oyster purveyors sells unshucked oysters—but unfortunately they charge $5 per person merely to sit at a picnic table.

20215 Hwy. 1
Marshall, California
United States

(415) 663-9218

8. Hotel Triton

Part eco-friendly, part rock-and-roll, the Triton is most famous for its seven “celebrity suites,” individually designed by music stars like Carlos Santana and Jerry Garcia (heavy on the psychedelic art and groovy multicolored fabrics) and Anthony Kiedis (whose “Red Hot Love Nest” has furniture made from recycled touring equipment). Equally... More

9. Hotel Vitale

Location, location, location…the 199-room Vitale has it in spades. Not only is the hotel right on the Embarcadero—three minutes’ walk from the Ferry Building and facing the bay—but it sits all alone on its own block. From the outside, the nine-story brick structure looks nondescriptly “contemporary,” but inside, it’s Tahoe ski lodge meets Finnish ... More

Although its collection is a tad out of balance (strong on New Guinea art, historical American paintings, and Anatolian kilims; light on anything contemporary) and critics carp that the current director opts for style instead of substance, this museum itself is definitely an eyeful. Designed by Swiss starchitects Herzog & de Meuron, the... More

The flagship restaurant of the eponymous chef (who runs nine other hotel restaurants around the country) has one of the most showstopping dining rooms in the city. Grecian columns, soaring ceilings, and enormous arched windows frame the linen-clad tables here, where the velvety chairs, carpets, and artwork all echo each other in tones of pearl and... More

Set in San Francisco’s tiny, unofficial French Quarter, the Orchard Garden feels exactly like a spiffy little Left Bank hotel—one that’s LEED certified. This is the first “green” hotel in town, which means eco-friendly cleaning products; separate trash cans for recyclables; and key cards that automatically kill the (compact fluorescent) lights... More

13. SF Recycling & Disposal Inc.

Not only do they recycle everything from beer cans to house paint (which its workers pick up in alternatively fueled trucks, remix, and give away to developing nations), they also have a meandering sculpture garden full of rusted springs and discarded soda bottles transformed into aesthetic object in addition to an artist-in-residence. Once a... More

Unlike its predecessor in NYC, this St. Regis is modern—Jean-Michel Frank modern, that is—in both style and amenities: master panels that control all the lights and shades; a fax/copier/printer in each room; “rainforest” and regular showerheads; plus the usual flat-screen TV’s, DVD/CD players, and Wi-Fi and Ethernet Internet access. The hotel and ... More

At Chris Tavelli’s wine bar, located in southeast San Francisco’s up-and-coming Dogpatch neighborhood, it isn’t enough just to serve certified-organic and biodynamic wine. The space also utilizes eco-friendly building materials, such as a boomerang-shaped bar and wine shelves backed by opaque glass cubes. Every wine is available by the glass,... More