What am I missing in SFO?
February 25, 2009 6:57 AM   Subscribe

San Francisco What To Do Filter: I'll be out in the city for spring break this year, and i'm looking for new things to do. I've been a few times before, so what have i missed?

It's been a few years since this question has been asked, so i ask it again; perhaps new things have come up. I've been to san fran about half a dozen times before and i feel like i've done all of the big stuff. I've walked down market street, i've wandered around the castro and the haight. I've ridden a bike through golden gate park, marched up twin peaks etc etc.

What are some more..."off the beaten path" things i can get into? I'm looking for those everpresent {art, tech, food(ie), wannabe hipster, alt} culture / underground places that makes sfo so vibrant (or annoying, depending on who you ask). I won't have transportation beyond muni/bart/rentabike, should that be a factor.

posted by virga to Travel & Transportation around San Francisco, CA (14 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Not even remotely off the beaten path, but you almost certainly haven't been to the Academy of Sciences before and seriously everyone I know who has been is obsessed with it. Like, planning weddings there and crap.

Every time I'm in the city I find myself at the Cartoon Art Museum. The main collection is pretty good and the exhibits are rarely so lame that I don't think seeing them was worth the cost of admission.
posted by crinklebat at 7:20 AM on February 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

See the new De Young museum in the park (inside and out). Look at, but don't go in the Academy of Science Museum. If you haven't seen the Frank Lloyd Wright building on Maiden Lane (off Union Square), it's worth a look. Cruise around the Presidio, take the hike out to Sutro Baths along the cliffs, See the Jewish Museum by Lieskind.
Try Clement Street, Potrero Hill, South of Market (way south, if possible) and the industrial area near the baseball stadium. Chestnut Street, Filmore Street are all great walking around areas. If you're into it, Japan Town can be interesting if you look past the touristy stuff.
If the weather is right, watching people hang glide and para glide at Fort Funston is pretty cool.
If you are a climber, there is actually a cliff in the Castro that has some routes!
posted by Carmody'sPrize at 7:39 AM on February 25, 2009

Take the L train, to the end of the line, and visit the Aqua Surf Shop. There is a great greasy spoon breakfast place right by there that I try to hit every so often. Then walk along the beach.

Either take the L back in or take the 23 bus north to Judah St., then the N back into town. The N will take you by the Haight (Stanyan stop) and Castro (Duboce) and lots of walking pleasure in those areas.
posted by Danf at 7:52 AM on February 25, 2009

The Pirate Shop!

It's small, but it's a fun experience. I love The Pirate Shop.
posted by Ms. Saint at 8:36 AM on February 25, 2009

The whole area around the pirate shop is fun - get some mexican food here in the mission and wander around the cafes and murals. :)
posted by gleea at 8:52 AM on February 25, 2009

What Ms. Saint and gleea said.
posted by Wolfie at 10:17 AM on February 25, 2009

There's a pretty fun pub trivia round at the Bitter End on Clement st in the Richmond. Tuesdays at 9:00. It's very popular though so expect the place to be packed.
posted by spatula at 11:55 AM on February 25, 2009

An earlier question with some good responses: Geeky things to see in San Francisco without a car?
posted by dreamyshade at 11:58 AM on February 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Also: the Alamo Square Park shoe garden, the columbarium, the Castro Theatre, the Center for the Book, the troll window, Trouble Coffee in the Outer Sunset, William Stout books, Tartine Bakery, Arizmendi Bakery, etc.
posted by dreamyshade at 12:02 PM on February 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

A correction to this question's title: SFO is not a catch-all abbreviation for San Francisco -- that would be just "SF" (as we dislike "San Fran" almost as much as "Frisco"). Instead, SFO is the IATA code for the San Francisco airport. (And don't make the assumption a friend made, that the "O" in SFO means it's the Oakland airport -- their IACA code is OAK.)
posted by Rash at 2:19 PM on February 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Come to Marin too! (self-link) It's gorgeous here, and quieter than the city.
posted by wzcx at 2:39 PM on February 25, 2009

Laughing Squid's SquidList is a good bet for finding fun events, like the recent Valentine's Day pillow fight or the Grilled Cheese Invitational at Dolores Park last weekend. Mission Street Food is making a lot of waves lately.

(Agreeing with Rash on the SFO thing. I assumed from the title that you were looking for things to do at the airport, which was also a question I was prepared to answer, but this one is a little easier.)
posted by gingerbeer at 4:09 PM on February 25, 2009

I love House of Nanking and the San Francisco City Guides offers a walking tour across the Golden Gate Bridge

Actually I'd recommend any of their walking tours. Have fun!
posted by cjets at 4:38 PM on February 25, 2009

I was just leaving work yesterday when I answered, sorry for posting something so insubstantial. I would recommend coming to see Marin County because it's so close, and is such good contrast to the city.
You can take the ferry over to Sausalito or Larkspur from the Ferry Building (which is full of great stores and restraurants, especially Slanted Door) at the foot of Market St. Sausalito's fun to look at but is too touristy to provide a whole day of exploration. If you have a car, you can drive to the top of Mt. Tamalpais, where I took a few of those photos; you can drive out to the ocean and see the little towns of Stinson and Bolinas; get a coffee, check out the mountain-bike birthplaces and hippie-watch in Fairfax, see the Frank Lloyd Wright Marin Civic Center, drive 'round China Camp State Park and see an amazing view of the whole bay; rent a mountain bike and climb up one of the hills, visit one of the half-dozen local breweries, and so on. If you want to just drive through, you're not too far from Napa and Sonoma wineries-- I suggest Miner Family Winery for a few great bottles-- or stop at Sears Point Raceway and see if there's an indy car or Nascar race going on. The whole SF bay area is pretty fantastic, Berkeley has its laid-back charms and some great parks and views too. I've taken quite a few friends for walks around the campus and then up the hills for a look out over the city and bridges. Enjoy your trip!
posted by wzcx at 11:32 AM on February 26, 2009

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