Awash in muted tones, the Embarcadero district's Hotel Vitale offers postcard-perfect views of the Bay Bridge and complimentary yoga classes. The Redwood Room Bar at the landmark Clift Hotel is lined with polished wood from — you guessed it — 2000-year-old redwood trees, making the regular chic crowd of writers, designers, and locals feel very young indeed (clifthotel.com).
Academy of Art University is the only U.S. design college to show during New York fashion week.
Find coats and sundresses from unique Down Under labels at retailer Elizabeth Charles's San Fran outpost.
Could be the vibrant Victorian architecture: SF is the birthplace of several trendsetting makeup brands, like Bare Escentuals and Benefit, whose modernist flagship is at 2219 Chestnut Street. Go to get glam, with products like "Touch Me Then Try to Leave."
WHY GO NOW?
Eco-maniacs rock out in Golden Gate Park at the Green Apple Festival, part of the nation's biggest Earth Day event, April 18 to 20. Hottie Stephen Marley, Bob's other reggae son, headlines.
The SF International Film Festival (April 24 to May 8) celebrates the big 5-0 of Hitchcock's mind-game flick Vertigo, set here.
April temps vary between the 50s and 60s, depending on the 'hood ("microclimates"!). Layer up and trek the 1.7-mile Golden Gate Bridge.
NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM
Art-smart clubbers hang at the new de Young Museum, designed by architect rock stars Herzog & de Meuron. Empress of punk fashion Vivienne Westwood's recent retrospective really packed 'em in (
Combine a speakeasy alley entrance, built-in champagne buckets, and decadent snacks, and you've got Union Square's trendy lounge Vessel.
OH, HIPPIE DAY
Wear some flowers in your hair for a Summer of Love tour around the original hippie neighborhood, Haight Ashbury, or "The Haight" (pronounced "Hate"). In 1967, 100,000 rebels came here to party hard, predating Woodstock by two years.
Browse City Lights, the landmark indie bookstore and hip salon for radical '50s Beat writers Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg.
You'll get why many skip lunch for a spot at International Orange Spa's noon yoga class in Pacific Heights. Its sensual massage oils and cleansers were anointed "Best Locally Made Body Care."