Focus on San Fran
Whether you're dashing up this month to catch the action on the water or planning a trip once the sailing excitement has calmed down, San Francisco is an enchanting city to visit. Here are more of our SF must-dos:
1. Check out the Waterbar positioned on the Embarcadero, right under the majestic "other bridge", the Bay Bridge. This spectacular restaurant and bar will take your breath away with its proximity to the yachts as they slide past on their way to and from the race start. At night the Bay Bridge lights up so dazzlingly we nicknamed it the "disco bridge". Waterbar's executive chef, Parke Ulrich, made a special trip to New Zealand before the race season to ensure he could Kiwi-fy his menu so expect to find kingfish, line-caught off our coast, paired with local limes, chilli and pickled nectarine, Kikorangi's famous blue cheese with Californian figs and fennel, Ora King salmon from Marlborough served with a sweetcorn fritter and brown butter and Silere merino lamb from Lake Hawea station, served with shoestring sweet potatoes. And our beloved pavlova is given a Californian twist. Magic.
2. Take advantage of local knowledge with Gourmet Walks Tours - a fantastic company offering tours of San Francisco's neighbourhoods and the surrounding wine country. Their guides are all fun, food-obsessed locals and the itineraries take you to eateries you may not discover on your own because they know all the secret gems in each neighbourhood. Try the Japantown or Hayes Valley tours.
3. Hardly a secret, the Golden Gate Bridge beckons and we reckon the best way to enjoy it is on a bike.
Reserve a bike online with the helpful folk at Bay City Bikes, then pick it up early (they open at 8am), from one of their four Fisherman's Wharf locations, so you can beat the crowds of dawdlers on the bridge, and head off for a wonderful ride across and down into Sausalito to refuel at one of the many cafes.
4. The weather can get chilly in the great city so go for a soak at the serene Kabuki Springs communal baths, an authentic Japanese bathhouse in Japantown.Check the schedule for women-only and men-only days.
5. Locals know how good the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market is (Ferry Buildings every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday). The local chefs all get their produce here, but make sure you spend some time at the incredible Cowgirls Creamery inside the Ferry Building Marketplace while you're there. The huge range of European and local cheeses is impressive and the knowledge and friendliness of the staff make this a fabulous stop.
• Nici Wickes travelled with the assistance of Gate 7 and Air New Zealand who fly direct to San Francisco. To book see airnewzealand.co.nz.