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    • CommentTimeMar 7th 2011
    Hi, whitechapel.

    After an unexpected series of events, I have found myself in the beautiful city of San Francisco as a lone traveler and first-timer to the area. I was wondering if any of you had suggestions as to where to wander (and where not to wander) and what to eat, or if anyone at all would be willing to plan some kind of small, last-minute meet-up/hang-out/shooting of the shit before the weekend.
  1.  (9625.2)
    Gads, where to start? Where are you staying and how long are you here and what floats yer boat and have you already hit the touristy spots? Off the top of me head, hit Cioppino's on Jefferson for some cioppino, the indigenous-by-way-of-Italy fish stew - expensive, but arguably the best in the city. Have a drink at Top Of The Mark at night to see the city lit up. Hit the Castro for a look-see and go to Takara Sushi at 18th/Diamond and ask for the Spicy Dancing Shrimp. Poke around the Ferry Market on the Embarcadero for foodie-level nibbles. I have half a dozen dive-y bars one might hit, as well as a few Photography Spots if you swing that way. Ping me at if you have a mind to do so, I may be available during the week for bodyguarding and entry-level guided tours....
    • CommentTimeMar 7th 2011
    I went to SF for the first time about a month ago. I stayed in the Mission area - I loved wandering up and down Valencia. Key shops:, which is a pirate-themed shop/non-profit writing center like the super hero supply shop here in NYC, Paxton Gate, the taxidermy & curiosities shop, and a nearly entirely fantasy/sci fi bookstore whose name I forgot, but was recommended to me by a fellow WC-er so someone here can correct me.

    I drove over the SF gate & popped into the vista point on the other side just for the sheer tourism. I also wandered down to the Piers and took pictures of the sea lions/Alcatrez from afar. I went up to Twin Peaks because of both the David Lynch reference and because it really does give a great view of the city. I visited the de Young Museum, which has a range of artwork on view right now from ancient olmec to modern silkscreens - and it sits inside the park, which is really great to wander through.
    After I'd left the de Young, I also wandered around the Lower Haight - there's a giant statue of a pop art bunny with a skull coming out of it on the corner of Haight and somewhere just before it meets 101 that I recommend checking out if you're there or just have a car and can go sight seeing.

    My favourite thing about the Mission, besides the ridiculous amounts of street art (I found an entire alleyway where every available surface was covered in different murals) were the tacos. My favourite was on 24th & Alabama called Farolito Taqueria, which looks like a cafeteria but got me so addicted.
    • CommentTimeMar 8th 2011
    If you're looking for comics Whatever... in the Castro is awesome. While you're there, try to catch a movie at the Castro (they'll probably be playing a golden age Hollywood film, but they play tons of stuff that is awesome all the time) and hit up Hot Cookie on your way up the street. Grab a slice at Escape From NY Pizza while you're there, too.

    If you end up in the mission/downtown, swing by Rasputin for at 69 Powell for some records, then wander around until you're bored of seeing chain stores surrounded by slums. Although Devo is playing at the Warfield on the 18th, so that's something to do if they're not sold out and you're still around.

    I've heard good things about the Jejune Institute, which does odd city-adventure type stuff.

    Run by the park and go to the California Academy of Sciences. The nightlife there is interesting, if kind of odd. It's like a club with learning, and the most atypical non-museum-type people show up.

    Grab some food at Citizen Cake if you can. 2125 Fillmore. A little pricey, but if their burgers are as good as they've been in the past, they're fucking amazing. There's another weird little theater near there, too, but I'm not sure what it's called.

    The Haight is always fun, but I'm not sure if the hoodlums that were abusing people are still hanging about. It's mostly worth it if you like paying lots of money for thrift store clothes. If not, you can go for Amoeba, but other than that it's really just a walk down a popular street. There's another Escape From NY Pizza there, too.

    Have an awesome time! There's tons to do that I'm either forgetting or don't have the mindspace to explain at the moment.
  2.  (9625.5)
    While waiting for my coffee to kick in:

    While Ted is right about the Haight (weekends are the worst, as rich kids come down from Marin and like to play at being homeless), most of the city is pretty safe for even a lone lady who has a healthy amount of common sense (keep to main streets, observe surroundings, etc) - some streets in the Tenderloin are kinda sketchy, but some, like Polk and Post (were I live) are interesting in a not-yet-gentrified kinda way. I also second the Escape From New York pizza, best slice I've ever had in San Francisco - for more adventurous pizza, there's Goat Hill Pizza at 18th and Connecticut....

    You like dive-y bars? There's Lucky 13 in the Castro, Zeitgeist in the Mission, Benders in the Mission (kinda), and Delirium at 16th and Valencia.

    Speaking of 16th and Valencia, there's a couple of interesting used clothing shops in that area, a Community Thrift Store down on Valencia (next door to a Good Vibrations shop), as well as Picaro's (expensive tapas but worth it), The Pork Store (where the hipsters brunch on the weekends), and a handful of taquerias that I have yet to try.

    Erg.... Coffee's not working fast enough. Chinatown is fun to wander around in. Never eat in North Beach (horribly overpriced and the food's no good). Up and down Geary is an interesting mix of Chinese and Russian places of business. Marina Green is one of the better places to take pics of the Golden Gate Bridge. Lincoln Blvd between Presidio and Lincoln Park is where all the rich folk have their fancy mansions. Take Market up through the Castro and up into the curvy uphill parts to find nice spots to take pics of the city (I also second going up to Twin Peaks, but tour busses go up there as well, parking is a pain).

    And if you're looking for local shows and such, I recommend The Squid List and The Guardian (there's also a paper version of The Guardian too)....

    There is, of course, a lot more in my head, I just can't seem to access it at the moment....
    • CommentTimeMar 8th 2011
    This is amazing information. Thank you all for sharing. I knew whitechapelers would give the best suggestions - I've been told to check out the Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman's Wharf too many times!
    @kitsunecaligari, thank you for the exciting suggestions - my mouth is watering at the thought of something called 'Spicy Dancing Shrimp'- and I am absolutely interested in photography spots, so if you have any advice on that (or would be willing to tour me in exchange for some grub) that would be excellent. I'm staying in the tenderloin and I'm here till Friday. Today I plan on covering Mission, so Paxton Gate and Borderlands are on the list, as well as Dolores Park for a rest. I am loving this city so far. It's a nice break from the flatness of the northeast.
    • CommentAuthorRenThing
    • CommentTimeMar 8th 2011
    If you're a fan of sci-fi, fantasy, or horror I recommend checking out Borderlands. Borderlands is an awesome bookstore that frequently has signed copies of local, Bay Area author's books for sale (plus the amount of genre fiction they have is staggering).
    • CommentTimeMar 8th 2011
    While you're at Top of the Mark (which is also a lovely place to see the city by day, as well as by night), be sure to hit the Tonga Room: Polynesian-themed SF Landmark that just got sold, so it's probably your last chance to experience it. It's basically across the street from Mark West Hotel/Top O the Mark, but it's on the lower level of the Fairmont Hotel.

    While you're up there, check Grace Cathedral, one of the oldest in the City.

    I second wandering in Chinatown - the Li Po lounge is also a sort of landmark (lots of "chinatown bar" film scenes shot there) - if you get there, order a shot of Ng Ka Py: either to channel Mal from Serenity, or to experience the closest we'll likely come to Spider's favorite drink ("It's like whisky, only made from tiger genitals"). If you decide to eat there, stay off Grant street, but take to any of the side streets (nothing wrong with Grant, but the side streets are a touch less tourist-y).

    Closer to you in the 'Loin - John's Grill (63 Ellis Street) is slightly famous for its Maltese Falcon shout-out, or there might well be something good playing at the Great American Music Hall.

    And that's about all that jumps off the top of my bald head. Enjoy the Bay!

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