Concierge Guide: San Francisco’s Embarcadero

Of our 28 locations, Embarcadero, one could argue, is our best when speaking strictly about location. To simply be in San Francisco, one of the world’s most enchanting cities, already shoots that center into an imaginary top 5, if you will, but then to be in Embarcadero, one of the nation’s great historic districts and overlooking the San Francisco Bay – pinch us.   

Embarcadero is taken from the Spanish verb embarcar, meaning “to embark” and embarcadero itself means “the place to embark,” referencing the adjacent San Francisco Harbor and its rich two hundred-year history as a major point of commerce, exploration and outpost for the navy.  Let us embark, then, examining the richness of culture and sights within this prized district.  

Herb Caen, a famed columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, once called the Ferry Building, “A famous city’s most famous landmark.” Whether or not he was right given San Fran’s various postcard-perfect spots, it’s certainly the best place to start enjoying the Embarcadero, housing numerous upscale shopping and dining options as well as one of the world’s best, biggest, and, not surprisingly for a city with this much wealth, priciest farmers markets. The farmers market runs Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays and regularly attracts thousands of visitors.  

While the Ferry Building has a couple dozen stellar places to eat and shop, we want to give a nod to two favorites. First is one of America’s best bookstores, Book Passage, which is known not just for its superb selection, but for hosting over 1000 events per year and bringing in some of the world’s biggest names in publishing (Margaret Atwood was a recent guest). 

Well before everyone became a foodie, the Bay Area was known as a gourmand’s Mecca, owing in part to how the region embraces its many immigrant communities and their respective cuisines. A testament to that is Slanted Door, in the Ferry Building. This nationally acclaimed restaurant presents a modern take on Vietnamese food and has breathtaking design to boot, featuring floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Bay.   

Indeed, when in the Embarcadero you may find it difficult to leave the pull of the waterfront views. If that’s the case, a true San Francisco dining institution, the aptly named, Waterfront Restaurant, merits a visit. At Pier 7, the Waterfront has been around since 1969 and boasts having many staff that have been there between 20 and 30 years. A former longshoreman’s bar, some consider the Waterfront the city’s best seafood restaurant, which is quite a title in this town. 

This next recommendation may at first read as a little odd, but Levi’s Plaza, yes, the corporate headquarters for Levi Strauss & Co., is on sunny days an excellent place to relax. Don’t think you’re trespassing — the grounds are open to the public and there’s even a visitor center featuring a history of the iconic jeans-maker.  

As unlikely as it is that Embarcadero holds the San Francisco’s only major corporate campus, it’s even more pleasing to discover it has one of America’s most interesting museums, The Exploratorium. Calling itself “a public laboratory exploring the world through science, art and human perception,” the Exploratorium is one of those museums that merits an afternoon. Among other visitor favorites is the long-running exhibit, Fog Bridge, spanning Piers 15 and 17, which intermittently envelops pedestrians in the mist so closely associated with San Francisco.  

Speaking of fog, yet another dining institution situated in the Embarcadero which is enjoyed by locals and travelers alike is Fog City Diner. Known for innovative takes on San Franciscan cuisine, its current menu features items like sourdough bread sticks, foraged mushroom pizza, and Dungeness Crab salad. Yes, please.  

And while not exclusive to Embarcadero or even the Bay Area, we love to get our fix of In-N-Out Burger whenever we can and having one located at 333 Jefferson St. by Fisherman’s Wharf makes for a quick trip heading northwest from our Carr Workplaces (a 10-minute car ride). 

Once there, you’ll want to make a quick block-long stroll over to the iconic Ghirardelli Square. This three-level landmark is the home of the former chocolate factory and today holds several shops and restaurants (and many, many opportunities to consume Ghirardelli chocolate and ice cream).  

Finally, if you’re visiting Embarcadero and need a place to stay after so much food-sampling and sightseeing, you could do much worse than the Hyatt Regency at 5 Embarcadero Center, just around the corner from Carr Workplaces. The iconic hotel is both elegant and perfectly situated for exploring the city.  

Whether you’re looking for a happening spot for a serviced office or seek a San Francisco virtual office address that evokes culture and class, our Carr Workplaces Embarcadero location checks off all of the boxes.

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