Information / Sources, San Francisco
There's no law that says you have to dress a certain way in San Francisco, and people have become much more casual in their dress in recent years, just as they have elsewhere. But there still are some places where people generally dress up to go - the theater, the opera, the nicer restaurants . . .
A little aside: if you pack for San Francisco as if you were coming to "Sunny California," you will most likely be running out to buy long pants and a sweatshirt with "I left my heart in SF" on it! San Francisco can be warm (and even hot, on occasion), but it can also be foggy and cold, even (some say "especially") in the summertime. So bring some warm things along, just in case.
Fondest memory: My first trip (can't even count how many times since) to San Francisco from Sacramento with my boyfriend and his family when I was 17 - we had breakfast at the Roundhouse Restaurant at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge (now home to the Gift Center).
there's a rink down on the embarcadero at market street.
other than that, check out this website for events.
but, i wouldn't pay to skate in circles. the embarcadero is super smooth. you can skate from south beach to fort mason practically!
There is so much to see in San Francisco and, for obvious reasons, walking around isn't the easiest thing to do. The cable cars are handy for certain areas, but they don't go everywhere. At some point, you're really going to need a car (or spend a lot of time waiting around at bus stops). So, here are some tips.
Most hotels have a little tourist map of the city. Find it and study it the night before. I like to make a route. This would include not only where certain things are but exactly which streets I need to take to get there, whether those streets are one way or not (a lot are one ways in SF), and what the street is called right BEFORE the street where I want to turn. That way, you're not going to hold people up while you search for addresses. I also like to write down the names of the streets a couple blocks BEFORE my destination. That way, if I'm coming down the street and I see a parking place, whether or not I've seen that street that's 2-3 blocks away yet or not will help me decide if I should take the parking place. If I know I'm only 2 blocks from where I want to be I'll take the parking place - this might turn out to be the closest one available and I don't end up wasting time driving around the block (not an easy thing to do in SF) looking for a place or trying to get back to that one I saw 2 blocks away.
Also - save up your quarters! If (or when:-)) you find a parking place, most likely you'll need to feed a meter. I keep my quarters in an old film canister in my purse. Just by picking it up I can tell if there's enough money in it for a 2 hour meter (usually $2-3).
Fondest memory: Another parking tip, and this applies not only to viewing Cupid's Shot but I'm just using that as an example: this is a great piece of modern art just below the Bay Bridge at the far end of the Embarcadero. If you're spending most of your time at Pier 39/Fisherman's Wharf area of the city (where there is a great parking structure!) it's going to be a VERY long walk down to see Cupid's Shot. Driving there first might be easier. When I went, I saw a lot of parking places right in front of the sculpture but they were all either "no stopping" or taxi stands. If there is plenty of space (don't take some poor cabbie's last spot), and if you're willing to risk getting a ticket, whip in, put the car in park but don't turn off the engine, hop out, snap a few pictures (the view of the bridge and bay are great from here too), then hop back in the car and continue on your way down to Pier 39:-) So, for other things that you want to see but don't need to spend a lot of time hanging out around, as you drive by, see if there's somewhere to pull in for just a few seconds and use that to your advantage.
(By the way, on that drive from Cupid's Shot down to Pier 39, you'll drive right by both the TransAmerica Pyramid and Coit Tower. If you hit the red lights right, you can take pictures of both from your car while you're waiting for the light to change.)
For parking near the Golden Gate Bridge, drive like you're going to drive across the bridge but right before you get to the toll booth, there's a sign with two arrows - to the left it says Bridge and to the right it says Parking. That parking is a nice-sized lot with bathrooms, a gift shop, a cafe, and terrific access to a lookout over the bay and the bridge. You can also access the sidewalk that takes you across the bridge if you would prefer to walk it instead of drive over it.
well, the hipsters are in the mission and the bohemians are in the upper haight
near ashbury and golden gate park. they do drum circles in the park so that may
be fun to watch and listen.
the cat club is fun if you want more of a gothy vibe. even though most of the
bars in the castro are gay bars, they're straight friendly :) the cafe is one
of my favorite dance clubs (on church street in the castro). burritos in the mission are a must. single slices of pizza can be sold all over the mission and upper haight.
pizza orgasmica for awesome pizza (north beach pizza is really good and has a
few locations as well) but more expensive
esperanza for spanish tapas
citizen cake for desserts
woodhouse fish company on upper market for oysters (they have a "happy hour" for oysters on tuesdays
swan oyster depot downtown for the best crab salad ever
blue bottle coffee for the best coffee in california
dosa for indian (although naan n curry is cheaper and still as good imo)
more local dive bars---
the 500 club
elixor (build your own bloody mary sundays)
the elbo room always has good latin and reggae live music, cheap cover
underground sf in the lower haight has great beats (it's kind of a small bar
with a dance floor, cheap cover)
upper playground is a good place to shop for illustrated t-shirts
if you want used clothing, wasteland is good, also buffalo exchange is good.
they have a few locations.
for books, dog eared is good
for more coffee, muddy waters
for belly dancers and hookas, kan zaman on upper haight
for good sangria and a juke box, hobson's on upper haight
karaoke-- the mint on market street
for good sandwiches, ike's
super local bar, the noc noc on lower haight (looks like a garage with mosaic
art inside, small but cool)
that was a lot. i have an arsenal, so let me know if you want more. a lot of
bohemian people love cafe gratitude, with their organic everything, but i think
it's really pretentious.
great breakfast is at both cafe flore and morning dew.
home is a good homestyle cookin' restaurant on church and market
chow is my all time favorite restaurant in the city because they have a great
atmosphere, nice quick staff, outdoor seating, a huge menu and good food and a
great location also on church and market
for fresh produce, golden grocer is my favorite (church and market)
i think i've overwhelmed you. i'll stop now :)
Fondest memory: Having forgotten our city guides at home, we actually made some random walking and discoveries, with no feeling of missing something we had planned. Which is a good thing in fact ! We had two intensive but relax days at the same time, instead of running hectically from one spot to another (which we certainly would have done, given all the things there are to do in San Francisco !)
Before coming to SF, rent these movies:
Escape From Alcatraz -- Clint Eastwood stars in the movie about the only successful (?) escape from "The Rock"
The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (pictured here) ... true story : imported from South America, escaped captivity, and found each other here on Telegrah Hill
If your like me and can only stay in the city for a short while-the wilderness of the still 'wild West' is close in every direction. So many thousands of protected wooded hills complete with mountain lions, bob cats deer and other furry delights. Oh and look up to the skies..red tailed hawks long eared owls.. sea vultures.. and the delightful pelicans!
Half Moon Bay has 7 miles of powder white sands... see only a handful of locals spread out , usualy sitting miles apart with their dog watching the sun rise/set.. or just meditating, drawing energy from the turbulent ocean waves.
The fog is more prevelant on the coast.
Fondest memory: I've emmigrated here twice.
Like the song.. 'i left my heart in SFO' !
Before we came back again... i used to cry when i saw the Golden Gate Bridge on Films, and i used to think... i used to live just behind that curveture of rock's. How could i ever have left it all behind !?
I'm back, I'm Blessed xx
Favorite thing: I woudn't say this is a favorite or fondest thing. I guess I thought I'd include this bit of information for anyone who is interested because it's different from what you might see in most cities. The idea for these toilets originated in France. You pay a quarter, go in the booth, shut the door and do whatever you have to do. The doors are on a timer and will automatically open after 20 minutes. They are self-cleaning after every use. Not exactly like being at home, but using one will do in a pinch!
Favorite thing: the drivers are so nice in san fran! they are all so friendly and helpful! and they will patiently tell u how to get to where u want to go, wat numbers to take, where to transfer,... they even announce to everyone when the bus reaches a stop that has some popular tourist attraction or a stop where u can transfer to another bus to a tourist attraction! how i wish some of the bus drivers in singapore are that friendly.
You will have 9 days to visit 5 famous San Fransisco attractions once (save 50% on admission fees), PLUS unlimited use of the world famous Cable Cars for 7 days. You can purchase it at the first attraction you visit or online.
- San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
- Legion of Honor or California Academy of Sciences & Steinhart Aquarium
- Muni & Cable Car 7-day Passport
- Asian Art Museum
- Blue & Gold Fleet Bay Cruise**
** If you want to substitute this with Alcatraz Tour, purchase CityPass directly from Blue & Gold Fleet (Also see Transportation Tip).
$31 Youth (ages 5-17)
DO NOT REMOVE THE TICKETS FROM THE BOOKLET!!
San Francisco is a city of surprises. I find myself on a long layover in San Francisco International Airport and decide to head into the city for the day. As I approach the area around the wharf, I see a lot of people gathered. Inquiring what was going on, the answer was, "The Blue Angels are here!" Sure enough, in less than half an hour, there was a loud roar over the bay, and the blue and gold jets of the Blue Angels appeared to give us all a spectacular airshow. The flew over the bay and executed some stunning maneuvers. They also come over our heads too. If you are a fan of the Blue Angels or airshows in general. It would be good to see when they are going to be in town. This was a fantastic setting for an airshow. Since it happens up in the sky, there is enough room for everyone to see it. There is always something going on in San Francisco.
Fondest memory: Surprises like this.
Leaving San Francisco is like saying goodbye to an old sweetheart. You want to linger as long as possible.......Walter Conkite
San Francisco..... A place where you will leave your heart.
Funny but it took a second trip to this city to make me fall in love with it. Probably, it really helps when you’re out here with a special person. Going back the second time, everything was just so different. Everything looks so lovely and beautiful.
The weather is perfect, the fog was so cooperative coz it didn’t hide the enchanting Golden Gate. I even had the chance to take the one-hour boat ride around the Bay where you can have the perfect view of San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate. SF is always cold especially during the boat ride but don’t worry coz blankets are provided by the friendly tour guides.
But boat ride isn’t enough when youre in SF. We were one of the lucky ones who were able to buy a ticket for the Alcatraz Tour on that day without making reservations. But if you’re one of those who are trying to follow an itinerary and only have a few days in SF I suggest that you reserve or buy a ticket in advance. Alcatraz is worth seeing and who knows you might even have a chitchat with one of those men that was imprisoned at “THE ROCK”. I even had a picture taken with one of them.
A trolley ride around SF is also a fun way of seeing China Town, Lombard street, Nob Hill and all the other hills...cant remember anymore the names of the streets. All I remember is that I was so happy at that time.
Don’t miss this
Sunset at Pacifica............the view is just awesome and spectacular. When youre done with the bustling and chaotic Pier 39, drive down Pacifica and relax while watching the sun setting. A very romantic place.
Visiting San Francisco is not enough if you haven’t tried the Clam chowder...ooohh heaven; the fish and chips at Fisherman’s Wharf and eating at Chics Seafood.
Favorite thing: San Fancisco is a tiny city. It's only 7 miles by 7 miles but what's inside that area is larger than most cities. You can find anything and everything there. Just use your imagination and make sure you go with an open mind to explore.
The whole city of San Francisco is a must see. It is only 7 miles square and bordered on three sides by water. You can't go too far astray! Just too many things to list.....Coit Tower, Lombard Street, Gharidelli Square, Pier 39, Cable cars, Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, Museums, Theater, Shopping, Marina District,
Fondest memory: I call it HOME! Lived here for 35 years and only left for business reasons. San Francisco Bay Area is the one of the most beautiful places on earth.
Favorite thing: Thank you for visiting my travel pages. Please leave a comment. Write me an email and I will give you personal help on anything related to your trip to my "Secret San Francisco".