San Francisco To Do

The best things to do in San Francisco for an amazing trip.

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San Francisco Named to Flipkey Top Cities

June 20th, 2013 · news

cable-car-fray-sanfranciscoSan Francisco has just been named to the Flipkey Top Cities list based on many of the factors that we know makes SF amazing.  Judging factors included:

  • Reviews from visitors
  • Convention and conference feedback
  • World-class cuisine and dining
  • Rich historical past brought to life in museums and city streets
  • An amazing selection of things to do.

It’s not surprising to find San Francisco on this list, if not at the top of it — but we are excited to be honored once again for what makes the City so special.  Flipkey offers a vacation rental alternative, similar to companies such as VRBO and AirBnb.  Congratulations San Francisco!

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Australian Youth Choir comes to San Francisco

June 10th, 2013 · Events

yvm 2 copyUnder the direction of Mark O’Leary, the Young Voices of Melbourne is one of Australia’s finest young choirs, renowned for its vibrant performances and exciting repertoire.
Join the choir for a program of Australian and international songs, featuring some of Australia’s finest composers and wonderful arrangements of music from around the world.
This concert will be held at Old Saint Mary’s Cathedral at 660 California Street near Grant in San Francisco.  The July 5th concert is totally free except for your own optional donation.  See the Young Voices of Melbourne at this video link:  Young Voices of Melbourne Live Concert Video
Get full details here:   Concert Details

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Medieval Festival at a Castle Winery?

June 10th, 2013 · Events

castleCastello di Amorosa winery will host a Midsummer Medieval Festival on June 22, 2013 from 6:45 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. Festivities will include a wide array of medieval activities like a full-contact jousting tournament, displays of showmanship and a sumptuous array of food and wines for guests to enjoy.

“This is one of our most popular events at the Castello,” says President Georg Salzner. “We always look forward to seeing our Wine Club members and their guests dressed in medieval attire enjoying the wines and events we have in store for them.”



The festival kicks off with the live, full-contact jousting tournament at the Castello’s Lake Mario, where guests can marvel at knights in full regalia competing in various feats of skill atop their charging steeds. After the thrills of the tournament, guests can make their way into the Castello where numerous medieval delights will await them throughout the 121,000 square foot Tuscan-inspired castle winery.

This year’s festival will also include a newly reformatted element, as the Castello’s 14th-century inspired courtyard will be transformed into a medieval marketplace complete with displays of falconry, sword play, and archery. Minstrels and singers will serenade guests as they sample the various dishes available throughout the courtyard, artfully prepared by Oak Avenue Catering and all keeping with the medieval theme of the event. From roasted turkey legs to cherry hand pies, each dish is crafted to pair deliciously with the Castello’s numerous Italian-style wines.

Guests are encouraged to arrive in their finest medieval-themed attire for this evening of food, wine and revelries at the Castello. Shuttles to local Calistoga hotels are provided at no additional costs for the guests. Cost is $155 for the winery’s wine club members and $185 for their guests. Call 707-967-6274 for more information or to purchase your ticket.   Get more information on wineries all around the Napa Valley from SF Travel.

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Study in San Francisco

June 3rd, 2013 · Activities

With our world becoming increasingly tight-knit, San Francisco has a diversity like almost no other U.S. city. Around the globe, people are continuing to learn 2nd and even 3rd languages to expand their knowledge and connectiveness to meet new friends and business colleagues. Although there are many online programs that can help you learn a new language– nothing compares to language immersion.

This summer, you can even combine an amazing time in San Francisco, with building up your language of English. A number of programs provide both part-time and full-time language programs in San Francisco each summer. The nice part is that you can combine the studies during the day – with putting your improved language skills in action at night and on weekends at attractions like the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and the high-end shopping of Union Square. Study in San Francisco

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Bicycling San Francisco: What Kind of Cyclist Are You?

April 9th, 2013 · Bikes

For a city known for its hills, I have no idea how or why bicycles took off as a major method of transportation in San Francisco. But, the San Francisco bike messenger is a city icon right up there with the Silicon Valley entrepreneur and locavore chef. Particularly within the past few years, though, it seems like everybody here is getting into cycling, and it’s particularly a great way for tourists to get out and see the real San Francisco.

Of course, not all cyclists are created equal. Keep reading to figure out what kind of cyclist you are, along with my tailored-for-you recommendations for touring SF on two wheels.



The Lycra Road Warrior

This might be you if:

1. Obviously, you own a lycra bicycle outfit.

2. You actually did some research before buying your bicycle. And then went and paid real money for it.

3. You care about things like drafting and electrolytes.


You should consider renting from:

The Sports Basement, The Presidio

San Francisco Bike Rentals, Fisherman’s Wharf


Where to go:

Make like most cyclists in this city and head to Marin Country. Don’t be mistaken, this isn’t the bike ride over the Golden Gate Bridge into Sausalito that’s plastered all over the Blazing Saddles bike maps (even though that’s not for the faint of heart either). Serious cyclists take it to the winding cliff side highways of the north bay, making their way through seaside villages, dairy farms, and redwood groves. For a short ride, consider cycling to the Marin Headlands for dizzying views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate. If you want to make it epic, plan a trek to Point Reyes Station for lunch at Cowgirl Creamery or at the oyster farms on Tamalas Bay.



The Urban Cyclist

This might be you if:

1. You’ve taken part in a Critical Mass ride. Or, you know what Critical Mass is and choose not to partake in it.

2. You bought the cheapest road bike you could find on Craigslist and you plan on riding it into the ground.

3. You cycle as an alternative to driving or riding transit.


You should consider renting from:

Streets of San Francisco Bike Tours and Rentals, Hayes Valley

Bike Hut, South Beach


Where to go:

You could go to San Francisco’s Mission District and hang out with fellow urban cyclists. Or, if you want something a bit more interesting, I’d recommend heading over to the industrial waterfront of up-and-coming Dogpatch. This narrow slice of a neighborhood, three miles south of Union Square, is bordered by the mountainous Potrero Hill on one side and the working piers of San Francisco Bay on the other. You can cruise past desolate urban warehouses and piers, maybe catching the phenomenal sight of a 200 ft tall cruise ship docked for repairs, then head inland to 3rd Street for some of San Franciso’s best new restaurants.

If you do make it down there, make sure to check out Warm Water Cove for wildflowers taking over abandoned industrial lots, crumbling warehouses, and impromptu public art displays.



The Beach Cruiser

This might be you if:

1. You cycle when you’re on vacation

2. You like to cruise nice and slow, preferably on a boardwalk.

3. You don’t want any part of hills or rush hour roads.


You should consider renting from:

Parkwide Bike Rentals and Tours

Golden Gate Park Bike and Skate


Where to go:

Of course, you could go bicycling along the Marina; it’s a favorite pastime for visitors to San Francisco. With flat streets and Golden Gate Bridge views and some of San Francisco’s finest restaurants only a few blocks away, the Marina is a no-brainer.

But, if you’d like to do something a little bit more local but just as fantastic, head to Golden Gate Park and Ocean Beach. On Sundays, San Francisco shuts down JFK Drive, the park’s major thoroughfare, to auto trafic, and the entire city floods in on bicycles, roller blades, unicycles, and even tricycles. It’s pretty much the happiest place on Earth.

After cycling through Eucalyptus groves and past the Golden Gate Park buffalo range and rose garden, you’ll come to San Francisco’s 10-mile long sandy beachfront: Ocean Beach. From there, you can cruise on the wide cement boardwalk, stop for lunch at the Beach Chalet, pick up sandwiches from nearby Safeway for a beach picnic, or head a few blocks north for an elegant lunch at the Cliff House or a ramble through the Sutro Baths ruins.


Additional Resources

Check out SF Travel’s Top Five Bike Rentals.

For specific route information, check out Google Maps Bicycle Directions. Click on Get Directions and the Bicycle icon to see all of San Francisco’s bike lanes and bike paths.

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Human Powered, Eco-Friendly Rides

March 6th, 2013 · San Francisco Tours

San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf area is a destination for a large majority of visitors, and many take advantage of the historic streetcar service along the Embarcadero.  The distance is enough for a very vigorous walk, but the streetcar is much more convenient.  Increasingly however, visitors find that the Muni public streetcars to *leave* Fisherman’s Wharf are consistently overfilled and with very long lines.  We’ve seen this personally and had similar feedback from many other San Francisco visitors.


The good news is that there is a fun way to get from the Wharf (or any San Francisco destination) along the Embarcadero, including AT&T Park for Giants baseball!   Pedicabs are “human-powered” carts that take you around the City at rates that are generally similar to a taxicab.  The difference is that you get fresh air, some useful advice about the City, and help out someone to stay in shape and make some extra money.  It’s a unique and fun way to see the City, and particularly convenient along the Embarcadero’s stretch from Fisherman’s Wharf to the Ferry Building and on to the San Francisco Giants’ AT&T Park.

Pedicabs can also offer tours, and provide friendly information on San Francisco, while enjoying an eco-friendly ride.  The typical cost to go from Fisherman’s Wharf to Embarcadero Center is approximately $20 for 2 adults.  The maximum a pedicab can safely carry is two adults and two children.  After that, you need a 2nd pedicab.  Typical areas for the pedicabs are along the Embarcadero – and you can also ride to most major hotels throughout Union Square, Chinatown, and around the City.

One of the cooler companies to try out (all pedicabs are not the same) is Golden Gate Pedicabs.  Look for them around the Ferry Buiding and Wharf or better yet, pre-reserve a ride so you won’t have to wait at 415-777-6999.

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City Guides – San Francisco’s Best Walking Tours

March 1st, 2013 · San Francisco Tours

What if you could get a tour of San Francisco – from a real resident – and (mostly) free?  It sounds too good to be true but that is exactly what San Francisco’s City Guides provide.  City Guides shares detailed walking tours of San Francisco neighborhoods and the only cost is a totally voluntary donation.  Tours are scheduled almost every day, throughout the day.   Some of the most popular tour locations (there are over 30 walks to choose from) include Coit Tower, Ferry Building, the Japanese Tea Garden, North Beach, Chinatown, and the historic Palace Hotel.  With an emphasis on San Francisco’s rich history back to the Gold Rush days, these tours are a step above the relatively generic tours offered by most bus companies.

You don’t even need to reserve these tours – just show up at the meeting spot, unless you have a group of 8 people or more.  Larger groups (8 or more people) require an advance reservation to maximize the quality of the tour.  Tours are a combination of the popular San Francisco landmarks and off-the-beaten-path “secrets” of San Francisco.  The typical tour lasts 1.5 hours to 2 hours.  These are walking tours, so be ready for healthy exercise – rain or shine.  The one thing not allowed on the tour is your dog, cat, or gecko lizard!   Pets are not a part of the City Guides tours, please leave them at home during the tour.  City Guides is a non-profit part of the San Francisco Parks volunteers, and there are over 200 active guides that can show you the best of San Francisco.

Past visitors to City Guides tours RAVE about the passionate tours, the tour guides who truly LOVE San Francisco, and the high level of detail in the tours.   SF Travel is a huge fan of City Guides and a strong supporter of their mission to inform visitors and locals on the history, beauty, and unique sights in San Francisco.

Interested in other San Francisco tours?   Check out the complete SF Travel guide to tours here.

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Kung-Fu Hustle: San Francisco Style

February 26th, 2013 · San Francisco Tours

One day per week, you can enjoy the most vigorous and unique tour to reach San Francisco’s Coit Tower.  San Francisco’s Shaolin Chinese Center offers a weekly opportunity to walk and jog from Chinatown up to the heights of Coit Tower views.  This cardio workout includes stops for Tai Chi, breathing exercises, and meditation and some of the most scenic spots in San Francisco.

You’ll need to be in reasonable physical shape, as the hills and stairways up to Coit Tower can be quite steep.  The hustle portion is just one mile of the 1.5 hour tour priced at $15.  The walk / jog tour includes sweeping views of San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz, North Beach, and Chinatown.   Each tour concludes with compliemntary fresh fruit at the center in Chinatown.

Shaolin is San Francisco’s premier kung-fu school and the weekly walk to Coit Tower is a unique event not to be missed.   Learn more on all of the tours across San Francisco with SF Travel.

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Dylans Tours – San Francisco Reviewed.

February 26th, 2013 · San Francisco Tours

There are a multitude of tour companies offering paid tours of San Francisco, from huge bus operators down to individuals who will meet you for a walking tour.  Choosing the best tour company is never easy for your special trip to San Francisco.  One tour company that we recommend checking out is Dylan’s.  Dylan’s Tours is truly a family-owned business owned by two brothers who are both native San Franciscans.  The tour options include bicycle options, which are a great combination with the guided tours.  The primary tour is $65 for 10am to 3pm (5 hours).  You can be picked up in the North Beach or Union Square neighborhoods in a small bus that seats up to 14 passengers.  The tour includes Muir Woods which is an additional $7 entrance fee (not to be missed!).  The tour includes many of the best spots to see in San Francisco in a whirl-wind visit – with some stops ranging from 5 minutes up to a full hour:

  • Muir Woods
  • Painted Lady architecture homes of Alamo Square
  • Neighborhoods:  Mission and Castro Districts, Plus Marina District, Haight Street, and Pacific Heights
  • Golden Gate Bridge and Sausalito

If you are in a hurry with limited time, a similar tour with a subset of stops is just two hours for $50 and includes a free bike rental.  One of the primary differences of the shorter tour is eliminating the trip to Sausalito and Muir Woods (over the Golden Gate Bridge) in Marin County.

Dylan’s also offers private tours with a 3 hour minimum at $80/hour for up to 5 riders.  Reviews of the private tours are very positive and can be a great option for a family that wants to customize the visit.  You can rent bikes for $22 per day, which is one of the lowest costs in San Francisco, or $7 per hour.  Bikes include many add-on conveniences, including locks, helmets, maps, and a carrying pouch.

Overall, people very much like Dylan’s tours based on feedback from real customers.  With so many tour companies operating from huge to tiny size – Dylan’s offers personalized service in a medium-sized company that has great feedback from customers.

Learn more on every tour that San Francisco has to offer with San Francisco Travel.

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Tastes of the City Tours – Reviewed

February 25th, 2013 · San Francisco Tours

Choosing where to have your culinary experiences can be one of the toughest decisions you have to make while on a trip to San Francisco. Luckily, the Local Tastes of the City Tours has taken the guesswork out of deciding on meals and snacks for you so each flavor and dish can simply be savored.

These excursions cover a few city blocks and allow guests to the city to be lead around by season foodie experts, sampling an array of delicious local specialties along the way. For instance, get started over a freshly roasted cup of coffee, indulge in some freshly baked bread then have a sample of award-winning chocolates. Options for culinary neighborhood exploration include Chinatown, Little Italy and customized night tours that blend together the best stops of the day adventures. No need to worry about lunch of dinner afterwards, as the hearty food and drinks during the tour are all included and very satisfying.

Not all culinary tours of San Francisco offer the wide array of options and possibilities that Local Tastes does. It can be easy to take the tourist route and settle on the most popular restaurants, but these excursions challenge visitors to brush shoulders with residents and support local artisans who have a penchant for pastries and other delights, With this leisurely style and wealth of information, taking one of the tours can be the ideal avenue to indulge when wanting to try a little bit of everything in this flavorful city.


Learn more on every tour that San Francisco has to offer for your unique tastes, at SF Travel.

, Copyright SFTravel LLC

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