If you have a funny bone, hook or patch, visit one of the city's hidden gems!
Mixing a cherry location, great food and an alluring green glow - Absinthe anchors Hayes Valley
with a delightful array of French-style cuisine and a full bar, including absinthe►
Best of old and new..
Specializing in custom made clothing for men and women (including hats and shoes), Al's Attire in North Beach
combines a mix of classic styling and details with a bit of modern funk... or keep it all-classic.
Anchor (Steam) Brewery
Great tour, delicious beer, free? Make a reservation!
Those who take the tour - 45 minutes tour & 75 minutes of delicious brews - will quickly learn why Anchor
is San Francisco's best known brewery. The steam brew is (by far) the most popular,
Escape from Alcatraz
's bigger and less-developed sibling, Angel Island provides unbelievable views on 14 miles of trails - truly a hidden gem! Hiking and biking
are recommended, and for those with sea legs kayaking
and a Segway
tours are also available. Camping
is an unforgettable experience, but fills up quickly - the group sites are regularly booked a year in advance.
Bread line 2.0
Most scenic beach in SF
The first professional ballet company in the United States, San Francisco Ballet is possibly the most highly regarded performance group in the area.
Another one bakes the cake...
With an openly fragrant kitchen (the "bar") and the freshest smelling bathroom in SF - BT starts with the nose and moves inward.
Keepin' it real...
With every performance 100% plan-free (much less practice!) and imbibed with audience input
(and sometimes on-stage participation) - BATS amuses, inspires and, occasionally... falls totally flat :)
How does the bay model model itself?
The US Army Corp of Engineers created the Bay Model
in 1958 to understand the effects of new structures built in or by the bay. The meticulously constructed scale model of the bay area (complete with tides!) is more than 1.5 acres itself and spans from the Pacific to Stockton and Sacramento.
Fresh music and eats
By refusing ASCAP music licensing payments, the warm Bazaar Café effectively guarantees its patrons previously unheard sonic experiences►
. Quality varies - but with no cover charge and tasty food, it's a good risk :)
Just say yes!
Catty corner to Dolores Park
and as-of-yet untouched by the DEA
, this Mission
"homemade ice cream" hot-spot often sports a line out the door. There are no reports of un-delicious►
ice creams, but it's advisable to sample a few flavors before ordering... just to be safe :)
Blue Bottle Coffee
Breakfast of hipsters
Boogaloos transforms an old school drugstore into a old school breakfast cafe - one of the few in San Francisco!
Boom Boom Room
And we like the boom
Founded by the late blues legend John Lee Hooker►
, BBR hosts a reliably good lineup that often results in dancing!
All your flora are belong to us
A tranquil 55 acres inhabited by 7500 hundred plants, the garden►
delights plant nerds, walkers and picnickers - especially on warm days!
Bottom of the Hill
Rockin the hill
Jam-packed with shows (6+ nights/week) and people, Bottom of the Hill burns hotter than most - arrive early or get tickets
Bourbon & Branch
Would you like to play a game?
A prohibition-style "speakeasy" with passwords, multiple rooms (not to mention secret passageways and exits), a massive drink menu and some serious bartenders►
- B & B is carves it's own retro-niche out of the Tenderloin
One stop party
Live music, dancing, alcohol and food in the Mission
- what more do you need?
Delights of Burma, even for regular folks
Long lines (no reservations) and nose-ravaging aromas torture the hopeful - arrive early to improve your lot.
Cable Car Museum
Those interested in the mechanics and history of the Cable Cars
will not be disappointed!
Cafe du Nord
Better than it ever was...
a week in a subterranean Victorian speak-easy gone legit, Cafe du Nord is in a league of its own - check the schedule
Cantor Arts Center
Cartoon Art Museum
Delightful theater, excellent films
Perfect Spot for a Post-Headlands Drink or Three
Providing stunning city views, spooky military ruins (which you're "not supposed to" explore), fishing, and one of the better frisbee/picnicking fields you'll find - Cavallo Point delights.
Jewel of the Richmond
A great high-end dining experience at a reasonable price. Everything about Chapeau exudes warmth - the cuisine, the owners, the workers, the decor.
Between a rock and a gorgeous view
's smaller and more secluded sibling provides a cozy scene with fewer dogs (not technically allowed) and a big storm wall! The beach is supposedly named for Chinese fishermen who used to camp there during the early years of the city.
Not your average juice club
Substituting juice for more traditional heavy oils, this Asian fusion hotspot in the Haight
often sports a line out the door, call for reservations or get some quality time with Amoeba Music
down the block.
Hilarious decorations, utility ensues
With the mantra "Always have what the customer needs when they need it" Cliff's is largely successful with a big, but not huge, floor space in the middle of the Castro
- selling everything►
from appliances to gardening supplies, hardware, and even body paint (!)
Conservatory of Flowers
Located just inside Golden Gate Park
from the Panhandle
, the oldest surviving flower conservatory in the western hemisphere (1878) and consists of 25 tons of glass - and after a 2003 restoration, it seems likely to hold the title for a while longer yet :)
Corona Heights Park
Iron in them thar hills!
Sometimes forgotten but rarely regretted (!) Corona Heights Park offers hiking (short but exciting!), great views, picnicking, basketball, tennis, a playground and a museum
on and around dramatic red rock formations.
Diet like a Victorian
Advertising bridal, steampunk, fantasy, fetish and leather corsets►
- Dark Garden leaves little room for excuses!
F Market Streetcar
The unofficial recreation wing of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (run by the National Park Service
), Fort Funston provides a world renowned hang gliding►
hot spot, the city's largest and best off-leash area for dogs and a network of beautiful trails and beaches.
Glide Memorial Church
Salvation through music
A heavyhitter in San Francisco's progressive political arena - Glide builds on a foundation of gospel singing►
Golden Bear Sportswear
Jacket of Champions
In a windy city of non-conformists, there is one uniform ➜ a leather jacket!
For those who like sex
Friendly and helpful staff augment a high quality selection of books, videos and sex toys in this clean well lit sex positive male/female/trans-friendly shop. Founded in 1977, there are now two locations in San Francisco, one in Berkeley
and another in Massachusetts.
Grand View Park
Great American Music Hall
Party like a Victorian!
Built from the ashes of the legendary 1906 fire
, GAMH is the oldest nightclub in San Francisco and hosts a full calendar
of modern shows in a wildly ornate interior.
Green Apple Books
An Apple for the Self
The premier used book store in SF, Green Apple cycles an impressive collection of used and new books through its warm cavernous home►
on the corner of 6th and Clement
One of a kind sonic adventure
"This one goes out to my man the Groove Merchant
Dating a painted lady
Lace up your corset
and ride the cable car
(California Line) over to Pacific Heights for a
trip back to the late 1800's!
What is that game???
San Francisco became a major center of Hooverball following a surprise 2nd place finish in the national championships a couple years ago!
C is for Cookie, that's good enough for me
In addition to serving up delicious (and hot!) cookies in a variety of shapes and sizes (including male genitalia), HC immortalizes past cookie-binges-in-the-Castro
with photos on the wall!
A taste of Southern California
While relatively new in San Francisco, In-n-Out has a long history►
(by California standards) in Southern California and its simple menu, low prices, no advertising and purportedly healthy ingredients combine to generate fiercely loyal cult-members... err, customers :)
Japanese Tea Garden
The oldest public Japanese garden in the country, this Golden Gate park
gem is a great place to walk, check out the koi, structures, statues.. or have a cup of tea :)
A very little bit of Japan in SF
The largest and oldest Japantown in the United States. With excellent sushi restaurants, a Japanese mall, a supermarket, and the delightful Kabuki Springs & Spa
and more packed into about six blocks "J-Town" makes a great visit. It adjoins the Fillmore District, Pacific Heights, Western Addition, and annually hosts the Cherry Blossom Festival
A warm and relaxing hot pool, dry sauna, steam room, massage services and showers combine with an invigorating cold plunge to make a great escape from city life.
Tuesdays are the only co-ed day - Wednesdays, Friday and Sundays are women-only and Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays are male-only (swimsuits are required only on Tuesday).
King of Thai Noodle House
Sometimes the king is really the king...
In a city of excellent Thai food, the King of Thai excels at both delicious and cheap. The original location is on Clement street (Richmond
district), and the next location... is also on Clement street, about 4 blocks away - it's that good!
Kite Hill Park
Neighborhood chill spot
Take a break from yourself :)
A favorite among street performers, actors, burners
, and anyone looking to be someone else for a while - Kryolan
's astounding collection of high-quality makeup and beauty products provide a huge range of colorful possibilities (including metallics and fluorescents!)
Best hike in San Francisco - easy!
Beautiful hikes up to 5 miles can be started at the Sutro Baths
parking lot (also accessible from the Muni
38 Geary line) and continued until it's time to turn around. The Legion of Honor
and golf course sit at the end of the trail. For those willing to walk through Seacliff
, Baker Beach
and the Presidio
are relatively accessible and offer similarly beautiful outdoor recreation.
Latin American Club
Not your mother's margarita
Serious drinks and a warm vibe snuggle up together at this Mission
hotspot - often crowded on the weekends and sometimes on weekdays too, the nearby Make-Out Room
and Revolution Cafe
offer alcohol at slightly lower voltages.
Putting bittorrent in its place
With 90,000 films Le Video
provides cover from even the longest stretches of Inner Sunset fog
. The premier rental in the Bay Area has something for everyone with many foreign and obscure films - the challenge is choosing :)
Sonic delights, good times
A down home atmosphere with some of the city's best record shops, great murals, an active calendar
- the Lower Haight is possibly urban San Francisco's least pretentious (and touristy) neighborhood.
Do. It. Yourself.
Organized by "Make:technology on your time" magazine
and advertising itself as "The World's Largest DIY Festival", the faire is worth a visit for anyone who loves to make things or is inspired by the creative works►
Play on the edge!
Wild and free
The Mission Murals are an oft-overlooked artistic treasure of San Francisco. The Mission
's regularly warm weather can combine for a great afternoon of mural appreciation.
Sweet, savory, or one of each (!)
An urban offshoot of Pie Ranch
, Mission Pie's commitment to sustainability, local produce and community involvement roots in SF's social entrepreneurship camp.
Monks gone thirsty!
Offering a hearty selection of delectable brews and a kitchen that's open until 1am (limited menu after 11:30) - the Kettle
is a low risk stop for anyone vibing pub in the Mission
Nopa, Nopales, Nopalito
Nominally, a play on NOPA, "North of Panhandle
", and Nopales
, a prickly pear cactus/vegetable - Nopalito's "sustainable organic mexican kitchen" hits on flavor too :)
Oakland Museum of California
Going back to Cali
The big chill...
As San Francisco's largest and most relaxed beach, Ocean Beach is a delightful break from urbanity. Even on the warmest days, there is plenty of room to throw down a towel (or t-shirt) and soak up some California rays and play in the surf►
. It's advisable to bring wind protection and a warm layer, just in case :)
Civilizing the Wild West
Combining artisan local food including baked-onsite bread, Sightglass coffee
and specialty cocktails (+ beer and wine) with a cabin-by-the-sea vibe, Outerlands is one of the Outer Sunset's biggest draws.
From the ground up... the way pizza was meant to be :)
Fresh dough, grow-it-in-themselves vegetables, thin crusts (!?)... and a can't-miss wine list put Pauline's in it's own category.
One cup at a time...
The most inventive, down-homey and apparently successful (?) of SF's coffee
-obsessed businesses - Philz serves up a menu of previously unimagined (unless your name is Phil Jaber►
) beany beverages... each individually filtered to-order (including an optional mint sprig) on-the-spot, albeit sometimes after a wait :)
Shiny happy glitter
Piedmont has pushed the boundaries of petroleum for 30+ years►
with a wild collection of shiny, shimmery, sexy - and synthetic - clothing!
Party on the Pier
Long live the Reyes
With stunning views over an area 40 percent larger than Golden Gate Park
, the Presidio is sometimes overlooked for outdoor adventures. An army base from 1776 (by the Spaniards, the same year as the Mission Dolores
) to 1994, and now operated by the National Park Service
, the area is not especially developed for recreation, but provides it nonetheless.
Red's Java House
Simple building, simple pleasures
In the shadow of modernity and the Bay Bridge, Red's Java House serves cheap burgers on the bay and enjoys an avid following among Downtown
Viva la Mocha
Tasty food, liquor license, art, sunlit patio - check!
This eclectic split-level single-wide hosts a full bar, a dance floor, diverse musical performance, fun(!)draisers... and rickshaws! Don't miss the wheelchaired variety upstairs :)
Sea Trek Kayaking
Bay imitates bath
With the best natural bay in the world, San Francisco has a rich maritime history
, and getting out on the water is one of the most exciting ways to explore the area :)
Smitten Ice Cream
Prepare for smiting!
The robotic "Kelvin" pushes gourmet ice cream to new heights by spinning fresh local ingredients (eg, TCHO
chocolate) at sub-zero (liquid nitrogen) temperatures!
Mashing locally sourced
ingredients, an easy-to-love menu - eg, truffle oil on pizza (!) - and a Burning Man
aesthetic (tent-patio in front!)... recently-opened Source breaks new ground on the SF dining scene in a food-wise sparse section of SOMA
Just the beer ma'am...
Run like a fast moving and lean startup
(15 people!), Speakeasy cranks out serious ales from it's warehouse in Bayview and runs a decidedly modern operation despite its prohibition era name(s) and iconography - start to finish, the ales take about 2 weeks to brew.
Speedway Meadow in the middle of Golden Gate Park
is probably the most popular picnic spot in the city. The location is far enough out for the coastal Fog
to have a larger-than-Dolores
impact, but the spacious meadow and surrounding areas (eg, adjoining Stow Lake
) offer a lot of outdoor activities.
Get out and go, cheap!
Sporting large selections, cheap prices, helpful staff, hilarious signs and sponsoring many community events - Sports Basement has a stellar reputation.
Starr King Open Space
Putting the hill in Potrero
Expansive city and bay views delight human visitors while the four-legged critters sniff out a vibrant social life - Starr King Open Space enjoys substantial popularity among both humans and dogs and regularly provides great sunset watching.
Stern Grove Festival
Not as stern as it sounds
The longest running free concert in the United States, the festival is a great way to spend a summer Sunday afternoon. There are a lot of other folks who think so too, and arriving early is the name of the game for getting good seats.
Amazing music, hall
Climbers, drinkers, clubbers and other belly-minded junkies pack themselves into this little Mission
joint for an authentic taste of... Cancun?
Preferred by 9 out of 10 Mission hipsters
(and tasty!) pastries with a line out the door frequently make for gastrological dissonance at this Mission
hot spot. Good things await those who wait.
Tennessee + a beautiful beach
Insulated by a 2 mile hike from the end of Tennessee Valley Road, the beach is a more secluded version of Rodeo Beach
in the eye-popping Marin
Come for the view, stay for the view...
Sitting on SF's last truly industrial waterfront in the Dogpatch
, The Ramp serves diner food
beside an expanse of bay, sailboats, massive ship repairs... and beer :)
TIX Bay Area
Snooze and win
TIX Bay Area rewards procrastinators, bums and other degenerates with half-price tickets to performances!
Watering hole par excellence
With many dozens of beers on tap and in bottles combined with a lively scene►
, Toronado is a must-visit for folks who like their barley and hops in liquid form.
Beer drinkers unite
Nestled in the woods with views of Mt Tamalpais
, delicious brews, and nose-waking barbecues, the Tourist Club (also known as the "German Tourist Club") provides delightfully transporting afternoons!
Toy Boat Dessert Café
Tired of adulthood?
Serving local "Double Rainbow
" ice cream and a variety of other desserts (plus beverages, bagels and sandwiches) in a playful ice cream parlor atmosphere, Toy Boat delights!
The Little Cafe that Could
Fresh coconut, cinnamon toast (!) and coffee... there have been worse starts to mornings :)
Tenderloin's greatest hits
A large delicious menu
and similar portions propels this dive-joint from the heart of the Tenderloin
into the hearts of the hungry.
At the corner of Columbus and Jack Kerouac Alley...
A delightfully open split level structure, and colorful insides covered in original Beatnik
party pics (just 50 years ahead of the game) combine for an excellent pint, or six :)
Walt Disney Family Museum
A History of Magic in the Kingdom
A must-visit for anyone inspired by the history of animation and/or Disney, the museum showcases an astounding collection of artifacts and exhibits.
A wasteland for all ages
Self-billed as "Vintage + Modern + Designer" Wasteland is a must-visit for clothing connoisseurs.
Wells Fargo History Museum
Back when banking was cool... or at least colorful
Located inside Wells Fargo's first office, this museum-within-a-bank maintains the best collection of California gold rush
artifacts in the city.
Wild Side West
More fun than a bunch of sweaty miners...
A pioneer chic interior unfolds into a beautiful garden out the back at this Bernal hotspot.
Old and East in the West :)
A gallery of tribal and eastern art housed in the only publicly accessible Frank LLoyd Wright
work in San Francisco, the Xanadu Gallery covers great time and space a half block from Union Square
A zeitgeist of bikes, beers and burgers