Weekender: San Francisco

The hub of technology and savvy design.

san francisco travel guide

Courtesy of the Asian Art Museum

Eastern Viewpoint

With works from established figures such as Ai Weiwei and Zhang Huan, and rising stars like Xu Zhen, the “28 Chinese” exhibit at the Asian Art Museum explores recent work by contemporary Chinese artists. The 48 pieces from 28 artists—ranging from photography to new media—represent their responses to China’s modern culture and its classic traditions. Collectors Don and Mera Rubell took six research trips to China and saw 100 studios in Beijing, Chengdu, and Shanghai to build the exhibit.

6/5–8/16, Asian Art Museum, 200 Larkin St., asianart.org.

san francisco travel guide

Photo courtesy of the Palace Hotel

Classic Elegance

Completely rebuilt in 1909, the Palace Hotel combines iconic turn-of-the-century architecture with modern luxury. By day, enjoy afternoon tea in the soaring Garden Court atrium—with stained-glass ceilings, marble columns, and crystal chandeliers; by night, sip cocktails with lounge music. Guest rooms are romantic yet contemporary (leather-tufted backboards, marble bathrooms, and brass monogrammed doorknobs), and come stocked with all the comforts a savvy traveler needs. While the hotel’s original grandeur is still very much intact, recent renovations have brought upgraded amenities like an indoor swimming pool and fitness center.

Palace Hotel, 2 New Montgomery St., sfpalace.com.

san francisco travel guide

Photograph by Ryan Hughes

Night Market

Chef Mourad Lahlou’s eponymous new eatery in San Francisco’s financial district blends his Moroccan heritage with modern flair. In a nod to Lahlou’s upbringing, architect Olle Lundberg took cues from the Marrakesh night market when designing the chic two-story restaurant. The entrance to Mourad features a massive, century-old cross-section of an Indonesian tree root encased in steel; a glass “wine cage” is suspended over the marble bar; and warm, vintage Moroccan rugs have been set into tiled marble floors. But the breathtaking design is only half the experience: Classic Moroccan dishes have been reinvented with contemporary twists and Californian flavors (think: a flaky basteeya made with duck confit, endive, pear, and verjus), and can be served as part of a 10-plus-course tasting menu or family-style.

Mourad, 140 New Montgomery St., Ste. 1, mouradsf.com.


Hotel del Sol

The colorful, beach-themed Hotel Del Sol is the perfect place to kick back with the family. Located in the breezy Marina District, the boutique hotel was formerly a 1950s motor lodge. San Francisco-based designer Anthony Laurino’s renovations have maintained the irreverent Californian character of its era (bright beach-themed art in every room, for example), but with upgraded facilities. Bonus: The kids will love the saltwater pool filled with inflatable floats, and afternoon cookies and milk.



The Progress

One of the most anticipated restaurant openings of 2014, the Progress set up shop right next to its sister restaurant, State Bird Provisions, in the former Progress Theater. Its contemporary fare is served family-style, with quirky items like shaved cauliflower with pig fries (crisped-up pigs’ ears); spiced lamb tartare; and a stew of fermented sausage, trout quenelles, and onion-rice dumplings.


Lazy Bear

If you’re lucky enough to score a ticket to this 40-seat former pop-up in the Mission District, you’ll be treated to a fine-dining dinner party experience. The menu changes frequently, but consistently features unusual twists on familiar American flavors: whipped scrambled eggs served in a shot glass with bacon and maple syrup; blue-cheese custard; and pork loin flanked by jowl slices and Asian pears.



“Science in Surrealism”

Gallery Wendi Norris’s tribute to the surreal features explorations of scientific advances, such as quantum physics and the theory of relativity, including rarely exhibited oils by the likes of Victor Brauner and Max Ernst, and a selection of works on paper by František Janoušek.

5/16—8/1, gallerywendinorris.com