If you follow me on Instagram, you'll notice I enjoy posting photos from my studio or from my favorite cafés and shops around San Francisco. Capturing the personality of the city is addictive. It’s such a quirky, and colorful place, full of interesting moments. Plus, I love the creative energy here, and the fact that there’s always something new to discover.


I’m not originally from San Francisco; I adopted it—or maybe it adopted me—so you know I’m sincere when I talk about how much I enjoy living and working here. That’s why I’m excited to announce my partnership with Heineken to celebrate the relighting of the Bay Bridge. Together, Heineken and I have worked with Illuminate, a California Arts nonprofit, to bring the artist, Leo Villarreal's Bay Lights Installation back to the Bay Area. The Bay Lights, a collection of interactive LED lights, was first installed in 2013 and went dark in 2015 for refurbishment. On January 30th of this year, the lights will be re-illuminated permanently and gifted to the State of California and its citizens. It's a pretty awesome project. Heineken wants to make great cities like San Francisco even greater by supporting local artists and pulling communities together through these kinds of projects, which I love.

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To help celebrate the relighting of the bridge, Heineken has asked me to share my favorite gems of San Francisco as a part of their “Open Your City” platform, which encourages people to take time to enjoy their urban surroundings. Therefore, I took a Saturday to visit a few of my favorite shops and cafés in the neighborhood – The Mission District of San Francisco – and take photos to share with you.

Since I spend the majority of my day in the studio, I try to make time to work in public spaces to interact with people and to feel plugged into the community. I love stopping for a latte in a café or hunting for gifts in local shops. It’s how I truly enjoy San Francisco, and it’s how I want to open my city to you.

To start off my Saturday, I grabbed a bite to eat and a latte from Stable Café. The architecture of this café reflects its history as a stable. Its bright and airy interior is ideal for working, having a meeting, or just grabbing lunch. They also have a beautiful courtyard next door where you can eat or work on projects. It was raining on that Saturday, so I took my latte to go and continued on my tour.

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Saturday in the Neighborhood | Heather Day

Have you ever been to Little Paper Planes?  Founded by artist and curator, Kelly Jones; Little Paper Planes is a shop that assists artists in their careers through print editions, publishing, curatorial and licensing projects. The shop serves as several purposes between hosting lectures to selling goods made by local designers. This is my go to place for gifts. 

Saturday in the Neighborhood | Heather Day
Saturday in the Neighborhood | Heather Day

Heath Ceramics is another wonderful coffee shop located on the edge of the Mission District of San Francisco. What sets it apart from many shops is the fact that it's actually a fully functioning factory. There’s a talented team of potters making beautiful ceramics behind the scenes. It’s a fantastic place to enjoy coffee and pick up some inspiration, or ceramic cereal bowls.

Saturday in the Neighborhood | Heather Day
Saturday in the Neighborhood | Heather Day

Just around the corner is Aesthetic Union. It's a letterpress print shop and gallery that specializes in custom work and original editions. They carry locally made specialty cards, notebooks, and art supplies. Their gallery features current collaborations with local artists. I'm really drawn to this shop because of the art supplies. They have a curated selection of pens, pouches, and notebooks. I usually stop here on my way to a café for something new to sketch with. It's always a treat. 

Saturday in the Neighborhood | Heather Day
Saturday in the Neighborhood | Heather Day
Saturday in the Neighborhood | Heather Day
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Saturday in the Neighborhood | Heather Day
Saturday in the Neighborhood | Heather Day
Saturday in the Neighborhood | Heather Day
Saturday in the Neighborhood | Heather Day

Just a couple blocks from my apartment is Bi-Rite. They are a local, organic market that I love to swing by to buy picnic supplies to enjoy at Dolores Park. I highly recommend their sandwiches and most importantly, their ice cream!  Since it was raining, I went in to grab a few appetizers for dinner at a friend’s house and stopped at the liquor store to pick up some drinks.

Saturday in the Neighborhood | Heather Day

Here are a few other places I frequent in my neighborhood. 

Craftsman And Wolves : Contemporary patisserie and cafe

The Sycamore : Neighborhood dive bar

Tartine BakeryKnown for it's bread, pastries and cakes. 

Taqueria Cancun : Authentic Mexican Food

ABV : Cocktail Bar 

Mission Cliffs : Climbing Gym 

Foreign Cinema: Farm to table dining

There are so many wonderfully creative and innovative places in San Francisco, which is one of the reasons I love living here. I hope you take time to visit some these great spots, but now I want to hear from you. How do you Open Your City? Which places do you consider to be gems? I appreciate how Heineken is helping bring The Bay Lights back to the Bay Area and letting us all become part of such an iconic installation. We invite you take part in the lighting by means of a special giveaway. Share your own secret spots using the hashtag #HeinekenBayLights for a chance to win a pair of lights on the Bay Bridge for you and a friend. 

Rules for the Giveaway:

  1. Use the hashtag #HeikenkenBayLights on an Instagram photo of your secret spot of San Francisco and tag a friend you want to open your city to.

  2. Follow @Heineken_US and @heatherdayart on Instagram.

  3. You must be 21 years of age or older to be considered eligible to enter this giveaway.

  4. A winner will be announced on January 30, 2016 on Instagram through my account. Winners will receive an official certificate that illustrates which light is theirs.

Saturday in the Neighborhood | Heather Day
Saturday in the Neighborhood | Heather Day

A word on partnerships: With the objective of remaining true to my art and lifestyle, I only agree to partnerships with companies I respect. Therefore, I’m thankful for companies like Heineken, who are involved in bettering communities, and support my practice as an artist. I want to be as transparent as possible of respect for my readers and in accordance with the FTC law of 2013. All content and opinions are my own.

Photos by Ashley Batz for Heather Day. Written by Heather Day and edited by Katherine Holthouser. Please only use photos with written consent.