If you have a funny bone, hook or patch, visit one of the city's hidden gems!
Record hounds *beware*
Amoeba is by-far San Francisco's biggest and best known music store - and self-proclaimed "World's Largest Independent Record Store" :)
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,
Bread line 2.0
Sweet dreams are made of these...
Mothballed for 3 decades, in 2006 this 200,000 square foot Moorish Revival
castle in the Mission
was purchased for Kink.com, the world's largest producer of S&M pornography!
Asian fusion :)
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.
Bay to Breakers
Putting the fun in run
Beach Blanket Babylon
Larger than life - and funnier too :)
Combining massive millinery with nearly continuous music, song and dance - BBB jets the audience through time and space in blinks of an eye - spoofing everyone from Tiger Woods
to Louis XIV
, and reliably delivering a hilarious performance.
The original hipsters...
Transcending the "Beaten" down post-Depression/War generation, Jack Kerouac
, Neal Cassady
and Allen Ginsberg
(among others) explored, wrote about, and advocated an experience-first life which came to inspire (and frighten) the world during the iconic and notorious 1960's.
Blue Bottle Coffee
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
Reality will return after these brief messages
No longer held in San Francisco, or even California (Nevada), the Burning Man festival
is a big part of San Francisco life for many residents. The event is a week long and held on a dried lake bed - attracting upwards of 50,000 people►
annually and otherwise defying brief description.
Walk Like a Victorian
Originally invented to spare horses dying (literally!) on the steep hills
of San Francisco, the city's now-iconic transportation►
is worth a ride if it's easy - waiting for an hour or more makes the decision harder.
More China than town
Concourse Exhibition Center
Indie convention center
The smaller, hipper sibling of the massive Moscone Center
, the Concourse Exhibition Center hosts a variety of quirky events throughout the year.
What grocery lists dream of...
Political mayhem party's greatest hit
San Francisco's urban traffic take-down brake-down inspired 300+ others around the world. Hard to describe, always lively, and mostly legal - the crew roams free the last Friday of every month at 5:30pm (at Justin Herman Plaza
). Costumes encouraged (especially for the extra special Halloween/October ride!►
) and any human-powered vehicle is good to go.
In Fog We Trust
: "The famous fog of San Francisco, California is a specific case of sea fog. Sea fog is a specific type of advection fog, which is characterized by the lateral transfer of temperature by wind blowing over cooler water. The water is often cool enough to lower the temperature of the air to the dewpoint, causing fog generation."
Folsom Street Fair
Tour or Terror?
The last Sunday of September brings the world's largest S&M/leather event (with 400,000 attendees) to SOMA
, replacing the usual car traffic with a sea of skin and black-leather.
Four Barrel Coffee
Coffee, Donuts and... Boar Heads
The new kid on the roast-it-yourself cafe circuit, FB augments coffee and pastries (including Dynamo Donuts
) with eclectic decor - most notably four stuffed boars heads overseeing the (sparse) coffee condiments. It's harder and harder to get noticed in the Mission
- what will be next? :)
12 galaxies united in perplexion
Frank Chu wears a well-worn suit, walks with a slight limp, and carries a large sign with quasi-political statements usually starting with "12 galaxies united..." (the sign almost always has a black background). The now-defunct "12 Galaxies" club in the Mission District
paid titular homage to Frank.
Gay Pride Weekend
World's finest "political party"
Often referred to simply as "Pride" and possibly the biggest annual party in San Francisco - Gay Pride makes other "political parties" seem pasty and gray, and the transcendence of oppression into a massive for-anyone great-vibes party is simply remarkable.
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.
Her story continues...
The San Francisco Bay Area has supported human life for an estimated 8,000+ years, and today is no exception :)
What do milk, sugar, cream, cornflakes and bourbon make?
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
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 :)
Get your wiggle on
Iconic of San Francisco, the Lombard street hairpins are a quick hit of fun. If the weather is bad, or the location inconvenient - feel free to skip it. It's relatively close to the Maritime Museum
and Aquatic park
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►
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.
Mister S Leather
Gearing up for the erotic wilderness...
If were possible to cover the ever-expanding range of human excitations, Mr. and Mrs. S Leather in the historically
district would have it nailed to the bedframe!
Not just a bad tranny joke...
Post-industrial skyscrapers juxtaposed behind sparkling Victorian gingerbread!
Parrots of Telegraph Hill
Feral parrots on patrol
Frequently flying in flock formation and often heard before seen, these colorful squawkers inspired a well-regarded film ("The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill
") and otherwise appear well-adapted in this city of transplants.
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!
What Marx intended
Packing delicious organic vegetables (with samples), bulk►
grains, local products (eg, TCHO
chocolate), exotic supplements and piles of customers into a not-quite-supersized building often makes for a cozy and exciting grocery experience.
Ritual de lo Habitual
Promoting the rise of the cafetariat►
with in-house-roasted beans and free wifi
(but no power outlets), Ritual has become a staple of Mission
life. That is to say, it gets crowded and loud :)
No force on earth can stop one hundred Santas!
Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence
Nun of the above
With combined commitment to community fundraising and full-femme nunwear, the Sisters are hard to miss! Founded in San Francisco
), there are now chapters around the world.
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.
Summer camp for achievers
An ever growing collection of illustrious students and faculty, a short list of mega-successful companies
, great weather (little/no fog
!), and a beautiful sprawling campus ("the farm") combine for an inspiring educational setting.
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.
Swensen's Ice Cream
Parlor up cowboy
Our Lady of Tamale
Larger than life!
The inimitable► Heklina
runs SF's best-known and longest-running drag show and still rocks her stilettos for a great performance!