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Lauren Sheber

Lauren Sheber

Time Out San Francisco Contributer

Lauren Sheber contributes to Time Out San Francisco on culture, lifestyle and food, writing listings, reviews and features on San Francisco and the Bay Area. 

Articles (68)

The best Napa hotels to book right now

The best Napa hotels to book right now

A trip to Napa Valley is not to be rushed; Wine Country is meant to be savored. That being said, you should definitely swallow it and not spit it into the proverbial bucket. Thankfully, there's no shortage of standout Napa hotels for relaxing, swimming, and wining and dining (and wining and wining), in style. You'll find historic vineyard estates, stylish boutique newcomers, scene-y rooftop decks, and truly luxurious digs. (Soaking tub with a view, anyone? Well, they'll have that, obviously). To help you focus on the good stuff: Cali vino, and not the: oh my god there are so many places I can't be bothered I'm going to stay at home and get some expensive wine from the bodega... We've rounded up the best places to stay in Napa Valley. You're so welcome. RECOMMENDED: The best Airbnbs in Napa Who makes the cut? While we might not stay in and review every hotel featured, we've based our list on our expert knowledge of the destination covered, editorial reviews, user reviews, hotel amenities and in-depth research to find you the best stays. This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, see our affiliate guidelines.

The 17 most romantic restaurants in San Francisco

The 17 most romantic restaurants in San Francisco

Sure, pretty much anything in San Francisco can be romantic. Like sharing a taco, or watching the seals at Fisherman’s Wharf after cracking open a bread bowl. But if you’re really trying to impress someone, then hey, you might need something a little more.  Luckily, SF is full of seriously romantic restaurants. Everything from spots for your second date, with quiet candlelit tables, to white tablecloths and intricate tasting menus. Whether the mood calls for classy and comfortable or a special-occasion splurge, these romantic restaurants are the way to go. Here are the best spots for lurrve in San Francisco.  RECOMMENDED:📍 The best things to do in San Francisco🏛️ The best museums in San Francisco🍽️ The best restaurants in San Francisco🏨 The best hotels in San Francisco This guide was updated by San Francisco-based writer Clara Hogan. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines.  

The best beer gardens in the San Francisco Bay Area

The best beer gardens in the San Francisco Bay Area

San Francisco's indie beer scene is booming, and there's nowhere better to experience it than at some of the Bay Area's best beer gardens. From German-inspired sausage halls to open-air spaces with stunning views, there's no shortage of places to enjoy a foamy cold one. Sample house-brewed favorites on the sunny deck of local classic Zeitgeist, or dive into curated selections from around the globe at Willkommen by Black Hammer Brewing. Across the bridge, in the East Bay, you’ll find even more beer gardens (and often sunnier weather.). No matter where you go, you'll be able to enjoy a bite with your brew: many breweries have craveable food options, from rotating food trucks to fully customizable sausage menus. Whatever you're in the mood for, hope for a sunny day—but don't forget your jacket—and stop by one of the best beer gardens in the San Francisco Bay Area to get a taste of some of the best California craft beer available.  RECOMMENDED: The best bars in San Francisco

The 12 best art galleries in San Francisco

The 12 best art galleries in San Francisco

Art lovers, you couldn’t be in a better place for it. Seeing fantastic art is easy in San Francisco, but it’s not just the SFMOMA or the de Young you should be adding to your list; this city is full of fantastic independent galleries, covering all things small, niche and local.  On this list you’ll find everything from internationally acclaimed pieces to works by emerging young artists. Though galleries used to cluster in Union Square, they’ve now popped up in more affordable, less central neighborhoods all over the city. From Dogpatch to Potrero Heights, here are the best art galleries in San Francisco right now.  RECOMMENDED:🏛️ The best museums in San Francisco📍 The best things to do in San Francisco🍽️ The best restaurants in San Francisco🏨 The best hotels in San Francisco Lauren Sheber and Clara Hogan are writers based San Francisco and the Bay Area. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines. 

The 16 best cheap hotels in San Francisco, for an easy-on-your-wallet escape

The 16 best cheap hotels in San Francisco, for an easy-on-your-wallet escape

San Francisco is one of the top travel destinations in the world, but unfortunately, it’s also among the most expensive, with luxury hotels regularly hitting the high hundreds per night. But don’t panic (and don’t settle for some soulless Lombard Street motel). There’s still affordable lodging to be found throughout the city, from SoMa to the Mission. Whether you’re seeking a quiet retreat steps from the beach or an amenity-packed suite in the heart of Union Square, these inviting, low-cost hotels and B&Bs mean you can spend your travel budget exploring the city. RECOMMENDED: The best attractions in San Francisco for tourists (and locals!) Who makes the cut? While we might not stay in every hotel featured, we've based our list on top reviews, hosts and amenities to find you the best stays. This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, see our affiliate guidelines.

The 18 best things to do in Chinatown, San Francisco

The 18 best things to do in Chinatown, San Francisco

San Francisco’s Chinatown is one of the city's most vibrant and culturally significant enclaves. As one of the oldest Chinatowns in the United States, the neighborhood offers architectural and historical importance—and serves as a testament to the enduring immigrant spirit and cultural diversity that defines the city. Today, visitors can experience tradition, history, modernity, and innovation thanks to a recent uptick in new restaurants and shops.  Truly, the best way to experience Chinatown is to eat and drink your way through. From incredible, authentic dim sum to family-run eateries as well as newer, high-end spots, you won't go hungry. And once you’re full, walk it off by wandering the bustling streets adorned with iconic red lanterns, stopping into various markets, tea shops and art galleries. Overall, Chinatown is one of the best neighborhoods in San Francisco to explore, drink and eat. Here are our top things to do in the neighborhood.   RECOMMENDED:🥟 The best dim sum in San Francisco🍽️ The best restaurants in San Francisco👗 The best thrift stores in San Francisco📍 The best things to do in San Francisco🍳 The best brunch in San Francisco

The 13 Coolest Airbnb San Francisco homes you can rent

The 13 Coolest Airbnb San Francisco homes you can rent

So you've booked that ticket to San Francisco, lined up all the best restaurants to dine at, and have plans to visit every museum in town. All you need is the perfect place to stay. You could reserve a room at one of San Francisco's best hotels, but for something a little homier, consider staying at one of these amazing Airbnb San Francisco homes. And don't worry, we've made sure that the recent changes in regulations for short-term rentals in San Francisco won't affect your stay with our cherry-picked list of the very best properties registered via the City of San Francisco. From a garden oasis to a geodesic dome to a luxurious artist's retreat, these Airbnb options are the perfect way to experience SF in style.  RECOMMENDED:🍻Check out the best things to do in SF🏨Stay at one of San Fran's best hotels Who makes the cut? While we might not stay in and review every Airbnb featured, we've based our list on our expert knowledge of the destination covered, editorial reviews, user reviews, hotel amenities and in-depth research to find you the best stays. This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, see our affiliate guidelines.

The best corn mazes in the Bay Area this fall

The best corn mazes in the Bay Area this fall

Everybody stay calm. It’s officially fall, and that means only one thing: Halloween season is finally here. Whatever your age, this is one of the silliest and most magical times of year, and the Bay Area knows how to do it properly, with pumpkin patches and corn mazes in abundance.  Here, you’ll find everything from massive mazes with impressive designs and towering stalks to more manageable ones for little’uns. You’ll find decorative gourds, pumpkin-spiced treats, and fields of cut corn to get lost in for hours and hours. Whatever your skill set, here are the best corn mazes in the Bay Area right now, open throughout October. Happy exploring.  RECOMMENDED:🎃 The best pumpkin patches in the Bay Area👻 The eeriest ghost towns to visit in the US🏘️ The most haunted Airbnbs in the US📍 The best things to do in the Bay Area Clara Hogan is a California-based Time Out writer and editor. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines. 

The best rooftop bars in San Francisco

The best rooftop bars in San Francisco

San Francisco has no shortage of places to get an excellent drink, from intimate cocktail bars to award-winning breweries to carefully curated wine bars. But historically, one type of venue was severely lacking: rooftop bars. We're here with good news, though. Over the past couple of years, the city has experienced a boom in sky-high drinking destinations. Now, rooftop bars are some of the hottest spots to grab a drink in the city. Enjoy fresh air (with heat lamps, don't worry) and cityscape views that stretch from the iconic Bay Bridge to the streets below. Sip on handcrafted cocktails expertly mixed by talented local bartenders as you take in the sights and sounds that define the city. From established favorites to hidden gems, we've rounded up the best rooftop bars in San Francisco that offer a range of options to suit your tastes. Whether you're seeking a laid-back atmosphere to catch up with friends, a romantic setting for a special date night, or simply soak up the city's beauty you'll find it here.

The best flea markets in San Francisco and the Bay Area

The best flea markets in San Francisco and the Bay Area

It’s no secret that San Francisco oozes cool. From endless thrift stores for vintage bargains to rows of antiques and incredibly chic bars and small plates, once you visit this city, you’ll never want to leave. But the best way to get your teeth into the city, and truly experience it as a local would? That’s San Francisco’s flea markets.  These flea markets are the hidden gems of the city, found by the water, in local communities and in huge, sheltered marketplaces. You’ll find vintage clothing, retro radios, random bric-a-brac, food stools and furniture, and a whole load more, and you can spend hours browsing (sometimes to a backdrop of live music). See the city in a different light, and visit one of the best flea markets in San Francisco.  RECOMMENDED:🛍️ The best shopping in San Francisco📍 The best things to do in San Francisco🍴 The best restaurants in San Francisco🍷  The best bars in San Francisco🍸 The best rooftop bars in San Francisco

The best wildflower hikes in the Bay Area

The best wildflower hikes in the Bay Area

Big city life can be plenty stressful. The best wildflower hikes in the Bay Area are the perfect antidote to the chaotic day-to-day tumult of life in San Francisco, Oakland, and the rest. Worry not; you don’t need to be a botanical expert to wring every last drop of beauty out of these gorgeous strolls. Sometimes, all you need is a clifftop view of the Pacific Ocean (and a filled water bottle, hydration is vital).  As mentioned, a degree in botany isn’t necessary to enjoy these hikes, but it is never too late to learn about the glorious world around us. After all, what better way to impress the love of your life than by correctly identifying miner’s lettuce, owl’s clover, and more? The Bay Area is a magnificent playground, and these wildflower hikes are a great way to embrace the beauty.

The 12 best spots for camping near San Francisco

The 12 best spots for camping near San Francisco

There is no such thing as a bad time to get out of the city, and San Francisco offers plenty of opportunities to do just that. The hiking here is fantastic, and California is packed with beautiful national parks that showcase the shimmering magic of the world around us. Fancy sleeping under the stars? The best camping spots near San Francisco have you covered.  You don’t need to be an expert adventurer to make the most of these. The best camping spots in these parts offer something for everyone, and they usually come with incredible views. Does that sound right up your street? Okay, rhetorical question. Pack the tent and supplies and get going. 

Listings and reviews (299)

Kin Khao

Kin Khao

5 out of 5 stars

The ambiance is colorful and informal at this Michelin-starred Thai restaurant, from the decor to the bold curries. Kin Khao—which translates to “eat rice”—is the passion project of chef Pim Techamuanvivit, who was born and raised in Bangkok. (Her stated mission: “To liberate her beloved Thai cuisine from the tyranny of peanut sauce.”) All Techamuanvivit’s produce, mushrooms, meat, and seafood is sourced from local Northern California purveyors, from Half Moon Bay to Napa. The menu is separated into bites, meats, seafood, greens, and curries. The dishes are shareable and generously spiced, from the “Pretty Hot Wings” glazed with fish sauce, garlic marinade, tamarind, and Sriracha to the dry-fried Duroc pork ribs in a turmeric curry paste. Don’t miss Kin Khao’s modern spin on curries, like the rabbit green curry or the mackerel gaeng som sour curry.

Asian Art Museum

Asian Art Museum

4 out of 5 stars

The Asian Art Museum contains one of the most extensive collections of Asian art in the world, with more than 18,000 works in its permanent collection. Though the museum originally shared a space with the de Young, it quickly outgrew its cramped digs. In 2003, after extensive renovations by architect Gae Aulenti, the museum took over the former San Francisco city library building in Civic Center; you can still read the quotes about books and literature etched into marble walls on the second floor. The building is split into galleries devoted to South Asia, the Persian world, West Asia, the Himalayas and Tibetan Buddhist world, Korea, Japan, and China. In particular, the Chinese collection, considered to be the best outside of China itself, is a point of pride. That section reveals jade carvings, Buddhist sculptures, decorative ceramics, ritual bronzes, and more. The museum is slated to expand further still in late 2019 with the addition of a new pavilion on the first floor.

Cartoon Art Museum

Cartoon Art Museum

4 out of 5 stars

Originally founded in 1984, this petite but well-appointed museum displays a slew of comic art, including comic strips, comic books, anime, political cartoons, graphic novels, zines, and underground comix. The museum relocated to this waterfront location in fall 2017, which affords nearly 8,000 square feet of exhibition space, as well a screening area, a library, and a collections facility. Visitors can browse everything from early Disney and Warner Bros. stills to obscure graphic art from around the world. The museum houses nearly 7,000 works in its permanent collection, including the work of illustrators like Roz Chast, Robert Crumb, Wally Wood, Edward Gorey, and Chuck Jones. Tables stationed around the space are stocked with drawing utensils for adults and kids to create their own comic art.

Contemporary Jewish Museum

Contemporary Jewish Museum

4 out of 5 stars

Located across from Yerba Buena Park, the Jewish Museum fills the former space of the landmark PG&E Power Substation, originally built in 1881. Designed by architect Daniel Libeskind, the retrofitted building is an architectural marvel, swathed in more than 3,000 color-changing blue steel panels and shaped to reflect the Hebrew letters chet and yud, which together spell the Hebrew word for life. On the second floor, the 2,200-square-foot Yud Gallery soars to 65 feet high and is dotted with 36 diamond-shaped windows; that inspiring space is devoted to audio installations, performances, and special events. The three-story, 63,000-square-foot museum showcases a vibrant range of group shows and rotating exhibitions, including the works of Israeli musician and composer Kutiman, famous illustrator and New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast, legendary director Stanley Kubrick, and contemporary artist Cary Leibowitz. Plan your visit on the first Tuesday of the month, when admission is free.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)

4 out of 5 stars

The modern art museum’s new building, which opened in 2016, merges seamlessly with its original structure, completed in 1995. Global architecture firm Snohetta designed the ambitious addition, making it one of the largest modern art museums in the country. The distinctive, textural facade was inspired by San Francisco’s fog and rippling bay. Inside, you’ll find 33,000 works of art, including painting, photography, architecture and design, and media arts. The light-flooded space features six sculpture-decked terraces, as well as the largest living wall in the country. (It’s bursting with more than 19,000 plants, including nearly two dozen species native to California.) Even if you don’t shell out for a ticket—which, trust us, you should—there are still over 45,000 square feet of free public art spaces to explore for free. Even the vibrant, monochromatic restrooms are endorphin-spiking feats of design.

Musée Mécanique

Musée Mécanique

4 out of 5 stars

Local legend Edward Galland Zelinsky founded this museum as a showcase for his unparalleled collection of antique oddities, namely coin-operated mechanical musical instruments and antique arcade machines. It’s a must-see for vintage lovers and history buffs. The assortment spans more than 300 items, including coin-operated pianos, antique slot machines, hand-cranked music boxes, salvaged bits of local history, a steam-powered motorcycle, and various vintage arcade games. The arcades are all in working condition and can be played—most cost $.25 or $.50 apiece.

California Academy of Sciences

California Academy of Sciences

4 out of 5 stars

Cal Academy is an aquarium, planetarium, rainforest, and natural history museum wrapped into one. Though it’s considered California’s oldest museum—originally established in 1853—it has morphed over time to remain a vital, vibrant space. In all, the 400,000-square-foot building contains over 26 million specimens. The Kimball Natural History Museum is perhaps best known for the Africa Hall, where taxidermied animals are displayed behind glass, while the Project Lab showcases real scientists doing research in public view. The Morrison Planetarium features the world’s largest completely digital planetarium dome, measuring 90 feet in diameter. You can meander among the butterflies, marine life, and birds of the rainforest within a humid, 90-foot glass dome. And the impressive Steinhart Aquarium includes exhibits of coral reef, tidepool, and swamp habitats, as well as a colony of African penguins. The museum also has one of the most striking rooftops in the city, covered in seven rolling hills and home to an estimated 1.7 million plants.

de Young Museum

de Young Museum

4 out of 5 stars

Located in the middle of Golden Gate Park, this 125-year-old museum specializes in art from America, Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. In recent years, it’s become particularly known for its sprawling costume exhibits, from contemporary Muslim fashion to the contemporary designer Oscar de la Renta. The permanent collection spans the gamut from gowns, paintings, and textiles to ancient artifacts. In addition, you’ll find an impressive collection of 19th-century American and European photography with a focus on historical California photographs. The museum deftly mixes historic gems with modern technology, as evidenced by the new “de Youngsters Studio,” a multimedia space for kids to interact with art through cameras, AR, and digital works. Don’t miss the Hamon observation tower on the 9th floor: the stunning, glass-encased space overlooks all of Golden Gate Park, downtown San Francisco, the Bay, and the Marin headlands.

California Palace of the Legion of Honor

California Palace of the Legion of Honor

4 out of 5 stars

This grand Beaux-Arts building is a feat of architecture in itself, clad in white limestone, marble, and gleaming chevron wood. Devoted to ancient and European art, the museum contains more than 800 European paintings in its permanent collection—of which around 250 are on view—including works by masters like Claude Monet and Fra Angelico. The emphasis on sculpture is evident from the moment you arrive—you’ll encounter Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker in the outer courtyard. The permanent collection spans from medieval times to the early 20th century, showcasing decorative arts, paintings, sculpture, and ancient artifacts. Ancient art from Egypt, Greece, and Rome fills the Hall of Antiquities (don’t miss the mummy room). The Legion is also home to the Skinner Organ, a beautiful  mahogany, ivory, and ebony instrument built by the Ernest M. Skinner Organ Company in 1924; check deyoung.famsf.org for a schedule of free concerts.

Exploratorium

Exploratorium

4 out of 5 stars

This eye-popping art and science museum mesmerizes kids and adults alike. Reopened after massive renovations at Pier 15 in 2013, the museum touts over 500 exhibits, including hands-on activities, science experiments, and interactive galleries incorporating sight, touch, memory, and perception. The clever, mind-bending exhibits blend light, tricks of physics, and sound. Whether you’re ogling rare plants or awe-inspiring art (a sculpture made from 100,000 toothpicks?!), it’s easy to spend a full day here.

Walt Disney Family Museum

Walt Disney Family Museum

4 out of 5 stars

This Presidio museum is devoted to the life and work of Walt Disney, the man behind the iconic mouse. Opened in 2009, it was founded by the Walt Disney Family Foundation and overseen by Disney’s daughter, Diane Disney Miller. The space is split between historic photographs and media from Disney’s life (spread across 10 permanent galleries) and rotating exhibits highlighting the significant animators and stylists behind the company’s beloved movies. That includes original artwork and concept art from all of Disney Studios’ animated features, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) to present. Throughout, interactive galleries contain multimedia video, listening stations, early renderings, and a 12-foot diameter model of Disneyland.

Swan Oyster Depot

Swan Oyster Depot

5 out of 5 stars

This family-run raw bar has been slinging fresh seafood for over 100 years. Despite its advanced age, Swan's popularity hasn’t diminished—hour-long lines regularly form to snag one of the counter’s 18 seats. The cash-only spot is unfussy, but dedicated to its seafood craft. (Anthony Bourdain was a lifelong regular). Peer into the window to survey your future meal: The cold case is piled with lobsters, shrimp, crabs, and squid. Swan sources oysters from the east and west coasts; smokes its own salmon, and makes its own addictive Louie dressing. Most of the seafood is served as cocktails, salads, or simply composed dishes, like raw scallops sliced and topped with olive oil, lemon, and salt. Dungeness is their specialty, served cold with a generous dish of Louie sauce.