San Francisco Advice

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 10, 2008 8:48 PM GMT
    I'm heading to San Francisco the last weekend in July.

    I've never been and would love suggestions as to what I need to be sure to see/do.

    Thanks!
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    Jul 10, 2008 8:51 PM GMT
    I'm going to piggyback on to your post icon_lol.gif, I'm also going to be in SF in the beginning of August as it stands now (I travel for work) and would love to know of things I should see when I'm there!
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    Jul 10, 2008 11:43 PM GMT
    Ha! I'm glad to share the post.

    I'll be there July 25th-27th; if you're getting there early, perhaps we can explore the wonders of SF together.

    But really guys...what *must* be seen in SF?
    Restaurants, Bars, Parks, Scenic routes, et cetera.
    All suggestions and advice much appreciated!
  • steven_patter...

    Posts: 144

    Jul 11, 2008 4:31 AM GMT
    I'm probably not the best person to be responding to this thread. My partner & I lived in SF for 14 years, but we were (and are) more stay-at-home types than guys who got out and did the town. That said, here are a few places I DO miss.

    THE MUSEE MECANIQUE. Now located at Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 45. Great collection of vintage arcade games from the long defunct Playland at the Beach. Think the finale of LADY FROM SHANGHAI.

    BEACH CHALET & BREWERY. On the Great Highway at Ocean Beach, right near where Golden Gate Park hits the shore. The food ain't spectacular but the view alone makes it a great place to go for breakfast or brunch. And while you're out there, you might wanna head up to the site of the old Sutro Baths. The ruins are really nice and there's a parking lot with trailheads out toward Land's End.

    GOLDEN GATE PARK. Take the time to really explore it. Like Central Park in NYC, There's lots to take in. Definitely check out the DeYoung Museum, especially the Observation Tower, Stowe Lake, and the Japanese Tea Garden.

    THE CASTRO THEATRE. Assuming you'll be doing the Castro regardless, but especially if something decent is playing there, The Castro Theatre is a great place to see film: a wonderul old-time movie palace with an organ prelude before evening shows.

    PALACE OF THE LEGION OF HONOR. My favorite SF museum, it's the one in Hitchcock's VERTIGO. Gorgeous view and greeat walks out to Land's End nearby.

    SF MOMA. Though more for its architecture than its collections. There are some gems, however. And while you're there you might wanna check out Yerba Buena Center next door. Great place to picnic and people watch.

    DOLORES PARK. Between the Castro and the Mission. The southwest corner has been dubbed Dolores Beach and is where lot of guys go to lay in the sun. Plenty of flesh on display all summer.

    THE MISSION DISTRICT. Our old neighborhood. Great ethnic and cultural mix, though not as bohemian as it once was. Great string of restaurants along Valencia from about 16th to 21st Streets, some high end, some incredibly cheap. Definitely get a burrito at one of the tacquerias there - our favorite was always El Toro at 17th and Valencia. And Valencia Pizza & Pasta has excellent and low priced food - especially good is their calamari appetizer with a garlic aioli.

    PACBELL PARK. Home of the Giants. Great ballpark. And the China Basin area - in fact the whole waterfront - have undergone a real resurgence in the last decade, since the tearing down of the old freeway. You can take vintage trolleys - the F Line - from the waterfront (including Fisherman's Wharf) all the way to the Castro as well.

    MARIN HEADLANDS. Just across the Golden Gate Bridge. Great oceanfront drive. Wonderful lighthouse. Stunning views. On the SF side, if you're a film buff, you'll want to go down to Fort Point, where Kim Novak takes a dive in VERTIGO. And if you head out that direction, you might want to swing by the Palace of Fine Arts.

    SF EAGLE. Been a while since I've been, but this was always THE classic SF leather bar, especialy hopping during Folsom Street and Dore Alley Fairs. A pilgrimage is probably in order, even if, depending on your tastes, it may not be where you'll wanna spend most of your bar time.

    Lord knows there's plenty more to see and do there (for my money, SF is a much better place to visit than live) and not really knowing what your tastes are, these may not be what you're looking for at all. But hope you guys both have a great time while you're out there. If you'd like some more specific info about other stuff to see and do, lemme know & I'll wrack my increasingly feeble brain for some answers.
  • dfrourke

    Posts: 1062

    Jul 11, 2008 6:28 AM GMT
    This was a great list! 14 years definitely gives you a great perspective.

    TWIN PEAKS: If the day is clear and sunny, you'll be awestruck by what you see!

    THE BAR ON CASTRO: Thursday, Friday, or Saturday nights the music is truly amazing and the bartenders are HAWT. Stay until 12 midnight on Friday and they all take off their shirts.

    The A-LIST: [www.sfalist.org] for whatever martini night is going on Wednesday night. They always take on a traditionally 'straight bar' and fill it with a bunch of gay trendy boys.

    LEGION OF HONOR: I know this was mentioned, but I have to second this. Even if you do not go into the museum, the grounds are amazing. Great perspective of the Golden Gate Bridge.

    DORE ALLEY: FILTH, FILTH, FILTH. The South of Market area of the city celebrates the leather and fetishes which make this city so fun...

    Enjoy your trip!

    - David
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 11, 2008 5:20 PM GMT
    WOW - Those were great suggestions! Thanks so much for taking the time to put that together. There are definitely places on that list I'm going to want to hit up (I'll pass on the Eagle though icon_lol.gif )
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    Jul 11, 2008 5:23 PM GMT
    Ok on TOP of everything they all shared, which are ALL GREAT!! That weekend happens to be Up Your Alley, a mini Folsom Street Festival...

    http://www.folsomstreetevents.org/alley/
  • Csrobbie2000

    Posts: 359

    Jul 11, 2008 5:48 PM GMT
    I dined at Aqua and Farallon (excellent seafood restaurant) two weeks ago during SF Pride, and they were both fanstatic!! Michael Mina and Boulevard are also great restaurants as well. If you like Dim Sum, City View in China Town is a good place for that.
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    Jul 11, 2008 6:10 PM GMT
    And if for some reason you end up in The Wharf and you want some DAMN good food, hit up Bistro Boudin NOT Boudin Cafe but Bistro Boudin! The food is AMAZING and the view is AWESOME and the service is GREAT!!!
  • steven_patter...

    Posts: 144

    Jul 11, 2008 10:13 PM GMT
    Many thanks to dfrourke for providing a couple suggestions for bars to visit - my post was definitely deficient in that area. Can't believe I forgot to mention Twin Peaks - both during the day and at night it has probably the best views of the city. If you're going up at night and the fog is rolling in, be prepared to dress warmly. The wind from the coast whips over that hill and you can really freeze your ass off (what was that Mark Twain comment about the coldest winter he'd ever spent in his life being a summer in SF?). I was also unaware that the Up Your Alley (used to be the Dore Alley) Fair being this weekend. If you're having red flags go up over the Eagle, you may want to avoid this one. But even an old fuddy duddy such as myself used to really get off (not literally - I saved that for later, at home) on the atmosphere of absolute freedom it provides. If you're out there for it, you really should try to go.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 11, 2008 10:19 PM GMT
    steven_patterson said The wind from the coast whips over that hill and you can really freeze your ass off (what was that Mark Twain comment about the coldest winter he'd ever spent in his life being a summer in SF?).


    Ok in regards to this, this is VERY true!! If you know you'll be out past 3p, make sure you have something to throw over your shirt, however after 8p it typically calms down and warms up again. So if you head in and change for the night you'll be ok with one layer.

    Oh yeah, not that I'm a BIG fan of this place, but YOU may wanna check it out, a Video/Dance Bar/Club called Badlands.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 12, 2008 6:06 AM GMT
    badlands is also called Sadlands....it's ok, but the dance floor gets too crowded. I prefer the Mix bar up the street.
  • MikemikeMike

    Posts: 6932

    Jul 12, 2008 6:14 AM GMT
    wear a condom!
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    Jul 12, 2008 6:58 AM GMT
    A couple of great restaurants to go to:

    Foreign Cinema
    2534 Mission St.
    415.648.7600
    www.foreigncinema.com

    Limon
    524 Valencia St.
    415.252.0918
    www.limon-sf.com

    both are fantastic - but I would recommend reservations (actually - for most places in the city..)

    Can't miss for shopping... Gumps - LOVE that store!
    www.gumps.com

    Anything around Union Square...

    Absolute must miss tourist trap - Ghirardelli Square and Fisherman's wharf... couldn't get out of there quick enough!

    The market at Pier 39 is fantastic - if you are there on a weekend - it's a must go..

    Hope this helps - San Francisco is a fantastic city - have fun!!!!
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    Jul 12, 2008 7:14 AM GMT
    Great suggestions above! Just a few more resources/suggestions to supplement. Last time I was at the Eagle, it seemed more like a Bear bar than a leather bar - maybe because it was the beer bust on Sunday... some hot, hairy men, if you're into it. icon_smile.gifhttp://sanfrancisco.gaycities.com/bars/44-the-eagle-tavern See below in the "neighborhoods section" for other gay bars/clubs. Have a great trip!


    EVENTS CALENDAR: http://www.sfstation.com/ Kind of a hippish collection of things to gander if you have the time.

    YELP: www.yelp.com sometimes handy in terms of what floats locals' boats in all things consumable (and free!)

    FIRST THURSDAY: If you're into the art scene, the first Thursday of every month (August 7th if either of you are there) is a free opening of art galleries in downtown SF, often with free booze and finger foods. Check out this URL for a listing of galleries and locations: http://art-collecting.com/galleries_ca_sanfrancisco.htm

    RESTAURANTS: If you're into really high-end restaurants, Gary Danko's is great and renowned: http://www.garydanko.com/ as is Campton Place, at least in 2005: [url]http://www.tajhotels.com/FoodandWine/Campton Place,SAN FRANCISCO/CAMPTON PLACE RESTAURANT/default.htm[/url] I've never been, but this place has always sounded intriguing: http://www.supperclub.com/ Check out yelp.com or sanfrancisco.citysearch.com
    for lots and lots of other suggestions.

    NEIGHBORHOODS: 1) North Beach, China Town; 2) SOMA (http://sanfrancisco.gaycities.com/bars/nid/106/), Mission, Castro. Each set of neighborhoods are close to each other so you could explore around both fairly readily.

    STERN GROVE: Free concerts every weekend. http://www.sterngrove.org/07272008.html

    DAY TRIPS: Marin Headlands for a hike (http://www.nps.gov/muwo/), dinner at the Buckeye Roadhouse (http://www.buckeyeroadhouse.com/), or beer and bangers at the Pelican Inn (http://www.pelicaninn.com/dining.html); Napa/Sonoma Valleys, if you like wine (ZD, Rosenblum, Matanzas Creek are all great). Great restaurants up that way, too! (e.g. Cyrus, Red's, Bouchon, French Laundry ("best in the nation" according to some!). Half Moon Bay for a hike at Purisima Creek, and great sushi at Sushi Main Street (http://www.sushimainstreet.com/).
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 12, 2008 7:23 AM GMT
    homonculus saidGreat suggestions above! Just a few more resources/suggestions to supplement. Last time I was at the Eagle, it seemed more like a Bear bar than a leather bar - maybe because it was the beer bust on Sunday... some hot, hairy men, if you're into it. icon_smile.gifhttp://sanfrancisco.gaycities.com/bars/44-the-eagle-tavern See below in the "neighborhoods section" for other gay bars/clubs. Have a great trip!


    EVENTS CALENDAR: http://www.sfstation.com/ Kind of a hippish collection of things to gander if you have the time.

    YELP: www.yelp.com sometimes handy in terms of what floats locals' boats in all things consumable (and free!)

    FIRST THURSDAY: If you're into the art scene, the first Thursday of every month (August 7th if either of you are there) is a free opening of art galleries in downtown SF, often with free booze and finger foods. Check out this URL for a listing of galleries and locations: http://art-collecting.com/galleries_ca_sanfrancisco.htm

    RESTAURANTS: If you're into really high-end restaurants, Gary Danko's is great and renowned: http://www.garydanko.com/ as is Campton Place, at least in 2005: [url]http://www.tajhotels.com/FoodandWine/Campton Place,SAN FRANCISCO/CAMPTON PLACE RESTAURANT/default.htm[/url] I've never been, but this place has always sounded intriguing: http://www.supperclub.com/ Check out yelp.com or sanfrancisco.citysearch.com
    for lots and lots of other suggestions.

    NEIGHBORHOODS: 1) North Beach, China Town; 2) SOMA (http://sanfrancisco.gaycities.com/bars/nid/106/), Mission, Castro. Each set of neighborhoods are close to each other so you could explore around both fairly readily.

    STERN GROVE: Free concerts every weekend. http://www.sterngrove.org/07272008.html

    DAY TRIPS: Marin Headlands for a hike (http://www.nps.gov/muwo/), dinner at the Buckeye Roadhouse (http://www.buckeyeroadhouse.com/), or beer and bangers at the Pelican Inn (http://www.pelicaninn.com/dining.html); Napa/Sonoma Valleys, if you like wine (ZD, Rosenblum, Matanzas Creek are all great). Great restaurants up that way, too! (e.g. Cyrus, Red's, Bouchon, French Laundry ("best in the nation" according to some!). Half Moon Bay for a hike at Purisima Creek, and great sushi at Sushi Main Street (http://www.sushimainstreet.com/).


    Great places - but if you try to go to French Laundry be prepared to reserve 6 months in advance. I would recommend Mustards - great food also and not the waiting list - although I always recommend reservations... Mmmm - makes me want to take a trip to Napa - and soon! icon_biggrin.gif
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    Jul 12, 2008 8:16 AM GMT
    Don't forget Black Sands Beach, just north of the Golden Gate Bridge in the Marin Headlands... it's almost always warmer over there and beautiful views on the way there and back - not to mention the beach itself.

    A little tricky to find, but worth it. Let me know if you want explicit directions and I'll write them up for you.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 12, 2008 9:02 AM GMT
    I think it's easier just to say what to avoid, repeating other wise posts above just for emphasis.


    The STAY AWAY list:

    o Ghirardelli Square
    o Fisherman's Wharf
    o Badlands
    o Any tour involving a bus
    o The top of Coit Tower (the base is worthwhile tho)
    o North Beach (Columbus Ave) on a Friday or Saturday nite (unless you enjoy drunk vomit-prone straight people from the suburbs with tendencies toward violence -- and that's just the women)


    Stay away from this stuff, and it's hard to have a bad time.

    Oh, and like previous posters mentioned, but repeated here for emphasis, again:

    Mark TwainThe coldest Winter I ever spent was a Summer in San Francisco.

    Layers layers layers!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 12, 2008 9:11 AM GMT
    1. Drive across the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin County and head to the Marin headlands for 2 hours. At some point there is a nice view of the Bridge and City looking south from that height. Might be a little toursity, but every tourist I've taken there loved it.
    2. The Deyoung Musuem observation tower, and Japanese tea gardens in the Golden Gate Park.
    3. Ferry Building at the Embarcadero for Farmer's Market on Saturday/ Sunday Morning.
    4. Ride every form of public transport- bus, cable car (California line is less crowded more dramatic), muni underground, street car, possibly bart from the airport.
    5. Eat ethnic in the Richmond (or avenues). SF has a lot of cheap FANTASTIC food.
    6. Don't spend too much time in the Castro. You're visiting from Chicago, so its not like you dont have GAY BARS there.
    7. Dolores Park is nice. So is Alamo Square. So is Alta vista. Twin Peaks (above the castro with the TV tower) has good views.
    8. If you have a car, you must drive through the presidio- espceially on a cool foggy night. Its spooky and unforgetable.
    9. Ocean beach at the western edge of the City is worth your time, the vastness of the Pacific is breathtaking.
    Lastly,
    10. San Francisco is a compact dense City 7x7 miles that can be walked or biked to a large extent, so make sure you have streetwise SF map and a pair of comfy shoes.

    Enjoy San Francisco. (And if a friendly well meaning local talks about the famous "Mark Twain Quote" about the coldest winter, politely correct them that might not have been Mr Twain.
    http://www.snopes.com/quotes/twain.asp

    Oh, and dont call it Frisco or San Fran when you go back to Chicago. ;))
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 12, 2008 10:24 AM GMT
    IF YOU WANT THE TRUE SAN FRANCISCO EXPERIENCE-

    Make some time in your trip to go to U-Lee's. Located at the corner of Jackson and Hyde.

    Order potstickers, egg rolls, and the lemon chicken. Those three are enough to feed 6 people and the best food you will ever eat.

    Order more if you want, all the food is great, but those three are world class. The place is a must see, small, dingy, but awesome. I ate there once a month when I lived in SF, and my family in the area still eats there weekly.

    When I visit with friends, I always take them there, and NOBODY has ever been disappointed.

    Tell them Bud from Petaluma sent you.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 13, 2008 1:05 AM GMT
    saturday morning head down to the ferry building for farmers market (i can't believe no one mentioned this?) get a coffee from the blue bottle cart and wander thru all the deliciousness. then walk down to embarcadero x folsom, and hop on the T train going to mission bay. get off at 22 and go to just for you cafe in the dog patch for brunch. if you're a man's man kinda guy, cross 3rd street to visit TAD gear too.

    if it's warm enough do not miss bi-rite ice creamery on 18th st, or the indian ice cream place on valencia and 17th.

    also try osha on 2nd st, suriya on valencia, or thai house express on geary for truly authentic thai food.
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    Jul 13, 2008 1:52 AM GMT
    BostonVball saidWOW - Those were great suggestions! Thanks so much for taking the time to put that together. There are definitely places on that list I'm going to want to hit up (I'll pass on the Eagle though icon_lol.gif )


    HEY!! the eagle is SF is really cool. It's got a great patio and there are hot guys in SF that are bears!!!

    I recommend that you go have a burrito in the mission. Ask a Taxi driver to take you to a good one and they can get you to a good one. Also, Clam chowder at fisherman's warf in a sourdough bread bowl.

    The japense gardens in golden gate park is awesome. Take the bike tour over golden gate bridge. It is completely worth it. If youre interested, I thought the alcatraz tour was MORE then worth it, but they sell out fast so you might want reserve your ticket early.

    Something else that is awesome if you can afford it is the travel guide from Lonely Planet for SF. It is awesome and gives you great tips.

    Have fun, i love SF and cannot wait to go back. If you don't have a place to stay i recomment The Belvedere House bed and breakfast. I stayed there last year during the "summer of love" and felt like i lived there by myself... Pretty Awesome and VERY gay friendly. Just a few blocks from the Castro.

    Cheers,
    JJ
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    Jul 13, 2008 3:50 AM GMT
    for burrito, i'm pretty sure everyone will agree taqueria cancun is the best, unless you want fish burritos, then you go to el metate. but cancun is right in the middle of the mission, by all the bars. perfect for a night out.
  • vindog

    Posts: 1440

    Jul 13, 2008 4:11 AM GMT
    check www.pollstar.com

    Great music venues are the legendary FILLMORE AUDITORIUM and THE GREAT AMERICAN MUSIC HALL.

    unfort THE WARFIELD is being remodeled so it won't be open.

    THE INDEPENDENT is another great spot.


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    Jul 15, 2008 4:45 AM GMT
    grew up in Marin and came out in the City, but now I am really only an occassional visitor having lived in San Diego for 15 years. I still get there every 3-4 months, but things change quickly, bars and restaurants come and go, so follow the advice of the SF locals.

    But!!!! If you do have time, go to Marin, specifically West Marin. Stinson Beach, Marshall, Tomales Bay, Pt. Reyes and the lighthouse, Limantour Beach. It is one of the most beautiful areas of California. You will not be disappointed.

    I always have fun at Badlands. Maybe it is Sadlands, but I have fun. Most of the fun places I went to are long gone so when I do spend time at nite in the Castro, I hit Badlands, Mixx, Midnight Sun. The Cafe? is fun. I guess it depends on the night but I just tend to have fun wherever I go.