Don’t call it Frisco. Call it the land of the green and the home of the clean! With the recent city wide ban on the sale of plastic bottles the Bay area offer peace of mind for those looking for an eco-friendly haven. Bear in mind, the city has officially surpassed NYC in cost of rent and living. So if you can spare and arm and a leg financially, congrats! Until then, I’ve complied a list of places that support a sustainable mission, promote ethical practices and are doing their best to live the #GreenSuitcaseWay.
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At the Orchard Hotel I chatted with Art, the hotel clerk, who showed me some of the rooms. Orchard Hotels are the first in the city to be LEED certified, making them the gold standard among a sea of newly minted “green” hotels. Each room has receptacles for recycling your bottles and paper separately. The entrances to the rooms require the use of your room key to control the power. No key in the door, no lights. It’s a wonderfully James Bond way of conserving energy. Imagine… James comes in and realizes that someone is in the room. He quickly pulls out the key, shutting off the electricity and BAM! He makes his escape.
Another great choice is The Good Hotel, located in the hip SoMa neighborhood. It touts itself as San Francisco’s best boutique eco-hotel with a conscience. Their furnishings are almost exclusively built from reclaimed or recycled materials. They also offer complimentary bikes to guests. Another fun offering they have a photo booth in the lobby—an addition every hotel should have, in my humble opinion.
Hotels aren’t the only ones working to conserve water, reduce waste and implement more eco-features….the restaurants and shops are at it too!
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Brilliant Earth, which only sells ethically sourced diamonds, was a stand out for me! Brilliant Earth was by two friends, Beth and Eric, two Stanford grads who were on their own search for engagement rings. These two quickly realized how hard it is to find ethically sourced rings, and now maintain a commitment to give conscious consumers a better option.
The store’s mission is to make sure they know their diamonds and products are “conflict free”, while giving back a portion of their proceeds to areas harmed by the jewelry industry.
Next up is the Ferry Building! This place is a mecca of vendors that prize sustainability as part of their business model. The mission of the Ferry Building itself is to promote local businesses that practice traditional farming, add to the environmental revitalization of the bay area, or contribute to a sense of community.
The conscientious traveler will find many treasures here. Local farm to table vendors include; Cowgirl Creamery and Prather Ranch Meat Co both farm to table vendors. And Benedetta, a farm sourced skin care line, there many treasures for the shopper with an eco-agenda. I tried several local honeys from Beekind (I bought the lavender honey). The mushrooms from Far West Fungi were also a highlight. You can even buy a kit and grow your own mushies. Fungadelic!
Last but not least, the enterprising souvenir hunter can go local by shopping at Spicer on 3rd. Located in the Dogpatch neighborhood, this cute store makes all of their bags in-house and also sells jewelry, gifts and more from local vendors. Most of their line is organic as well.
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Head over to the California Academy of Sciences with the whole family. With an indoor rainforest (WHAT?!) and a “Living Roof” that provides sunlight for the plants, the museum is a hotspot for the eco-traveler. There was even an entire wall featuring tips on how to make your world a more sustainable place to live in!
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When you spend all day walking up and down the hills of SF, you need a glass of wine to unwind! Yield and Pause is the place to be for Biodynamic grapes! Started in 2006 by Chris Tavelli, who wanted to be part of the growing micro-hood of vendors in the Dogpatch neighborhood, Yield provides wine and vegetarian fare to compliment the wine offerings. The second location, Pause, opened in 2009 with Chris’s cousin, Nic taking over. They are committed to sustainable wine making, as well as serving wines from family owned and operated wineries. I had the Barbera D’ Asti and it was divine!
It feels wrong not to eat seafood in a place that is known for its, well….seafood. If you like fish and are conscious about where it’s coming from, Green Suitcase recommends the following two sustainable seafood gems.
Hog Island Oyster Company in the Ferry Building only offers oysters and seafood that are certified sustainable by the Food Alliance. Not only that, but they reuse food scraps and kelp to soil their vegetable garden and produce delicious kale and veggies!
If you want a fresh-off-the-boat experience, check out Scoma’s in the Fisherman’s Wharf. They have a boat that only catches wild, local and in-season fare to serve to customers. They compost %95 of their waste and provide compostable to-go containers. The also have a veggie fueled automobile to transport equipment. The Dungeness Crab was my choice for the evening and if you are a crab fanatic, you won’t be disappointed!
If you are a vegan or vegetarian there is a plethora of options. Here is a list of places to consider: http://www.happycow.net/north_america/usa/california/san_francisco/
All in all, San Francisco is not only a charming city to visit, you can tell it really has a heart for the environment. I overheard conversations in cafes about sustainability and all the vendors I spoke to were wildly passionate about their cause.
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Written by Misty Foster