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A View From San Francisco


An insider’s guide to the city by Jan David Winitz, an art dealer in Oriental rugs


by Jan David Winitz

My favorite view of San Francisco is from the Observation Tower at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park. I come here often to see their collection of historic oriental rugs. It is nine storeys up, and through its floor-to-ceiling windows I get a 360-degree view of the San Francisco hills and a breathtaking sweep of the Pacific shoreline.


Where to live


 

The most majestic homes — with the best views of the Bay — are in Pacific Heights and Presidio Heights, where I often go to visit clients. I love walking through these neighbourhoods with their impeccably preserved homes that were constructed after the 1906 earthquake, which devastated the city and left 400,000 people homeless.


Where to have dinner


 

I go to the Boulevard restaurant whenever I can. They serve the finest in Californian cuisine, and I love its ornate architecture (built in 1889) with a view of the Bay. It has a perfect old-San Francisco ambience and everything on the menu is heaven.


Where to have coffee


 

I like the cappuccino at Caffe Trieste, a North Beach institution that opened during the Beatnik era in 1953 and hasn’t changed its atmosphere at all. The coffee is a standout. Always a treat.


Where to take a day trip


 

The Napa Valley wine country is all that one expects and more. I am privileged that a number of my clients are prominent vintners and I love personally witnessing the exquisite taste they bring to everything from wines to their homes. To have this idyllic area so close to San Francisco is one of the dividends of living here.


Where to see a spectacular sunset


 

The Cliff House restaurant, built in the 1860s, is set on the high cliffs above the Pacific Ocean, and provides unimpeded views of heavenly sunsets, majestic breakers and the Farallon Islands wildlife refuge about 26 miles off the coast.

Farallon Islands off the coast of San Francisco


Where to walk and get a great lunch


 

A view of the San Francisco Ferry Building on The Embarcadero

The Embarcadero walkway along the Bay provides unobstructed views of the city. I start at the Ferry Building and choose from a wide variety of gourmet stands and restaurants. From there, I sometimes stroll towards Pier 33, where you can take a boat to Alcatraz, the island famous for its prison. Or in the other direction, I walk under the Bay Bridge to AT&T Park, the baseball stadium, which, uniquely, is also accessible by boat and water ferry.

 


Where to go with kids in tow


 

The Exploratorium on Pier 15 is a hands-on, interactive museum where art meets science, and where I have wandered for hours with my nieces and nephews. It is the kind of place that I wish had been around when I was a child. And I am sure that my father, a biochemist at NASA and the National Institute of Health, would have enjoyed it as much as I do.

Exploratorium

Photographs: RY for the FT