San Francisco, United States
Brenda, 57
Interior Designer and Design Coach
see her San Francisco city guide

ask Brenda about

history museum artist studio architecture local design vintage botanical garden playground

What are the San Francisco spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?

Walking west along the promenade at Crissy Field.

Do’s and don’ts in San Francisco: (Ex: Tipping: yes/ no, public transport tips, safety tips etc.):

The city is busier and more crowded than ever, so it's really important to be considerate of others in every way and you'll make a local's day! And if possible, please tip generously because the person serving you is likely facing a huge challenge to afford living/working here.

What do you do and why do you do it?

I help people improve the spaces where they live and work. I do it because our surroundings can reflect who we are and support all that we do.

Which San Francisco shops do you hit up when you’re itching for something new?

I'm in the process of creating a Cloud Forest in my home, so I love browsing at Flora Grubb, Clement Nursery, and the shop at the Arboretum.

What’s the area in town you’ll never be caught dead in?

Sadly I'm starting to avoid neighborhoods that I used to love but that are becoming overly-gentrified...

What’s the one place in San Francisco you think is underrated?

Can I say Oakland?

It's freeeeezing out - what should a visitor do?

Seek out the Lowland Tropics Gallery at the Conservatory of Flowers. It's a warm and humid environment where you'll be surrounded by unimaginably fascinating plants and mesmerizing wildlife sounds. Is it possible to feel euphoria and tranquility at the same time? Yes.

Where do you take your guest when you want to impress?

Watching the fog roll in is the most impressive moment ever. From Moraga Hill or Twin Peaks you can watch it cover the city from above. Or you can stand in the middle of it as it flows like an atmospheric river down the slopes of The Inner Sunset, The Presidio, and Upper Market.

Your go-to brunch spots:

Stable Cafe (for the wonderful courtyard and delightful staff), the cafe at the DeYoung (for the light-filled setting and the creative, refreshing small plates), and Art's Cafe (for the pocket-size old-time diner experience and the adorable couple who run it).

Which local creators do you admire?

My dear friend Dannielle Sergent is one to know! She's a painter, architect, and scent artist whose body of work I admire as a fusion of intelligence and intuition. Her fragrances for her line COGNOSCENTI are experiential poetry, and their effect is amplified exponentially when you see the paintings. Impossible to describe and well worth the discovery.

Special views that mainstream tourists don't know about:

The view of San Francisco when you're standing on Treasure island is really special because you're almost at sea level there and the city looks like it's from a fairytale.

Best place for a cheap bite on-the-go:

Poke Origin for swiftly made-to-order poke bowls that travel well.

You’re meeting the mayor of San Francisco - what constructive criticism would you give them?

I would tell them to have a long conversation with the spirit of Jane Jacobs! Diversity (of uses and users) is disappearing from this city and this will be hard to recreate.

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photos by

Logan Steinberg