Looking for things to do in San Francisco

I will be going out to the City this weekend (Friday and Saturday, at least), and am looking for things to do and/or see. Possible places to meet new people (that aren’t bars or dance clubs) would also be nice. Any recommendations from SF-Area Dopers?

Darwin’s Finch–SF is a very, very, very cool place. And I’m glad you’re doing OK and are feeling like getting up and about again.

Check out the Exploratorium! Go to the Asia Museum for a day. Wander around in Berkeley. Eat at Chez Panisse, go check out cheeses at The Cheese Board. While you’re in Berkeley, stop in at some of the other interesting shops, too, like the Vivarium or the Bone Room. Walk around in The Mission. And while you’re in the Mission, take a gander at the Women’s Building (or the Women’s Center–I forget what it’s called now, but it’s a building that’s covered in a gorgeous, intricate, brightly colored mural). After you’re done with that, have lunch at Sunflower, which serves great Vietnamese, or Ti Couz, which specializes in crepes. The owners are from Brittany and make one very mean crepe, but make sure you order something with either cheese or sauce, otherwise the crepes can get very dry. Also, check out the various bookshops in the Mission.

There’s certainly no lack of things to do or see in San Francisco.

As far as meeting people goes–heck, chat up people at the bookshops. That seems to work OK for me. If you’re going to stay for longer than just the weekend, check into a youth hostel. You’ll meet lots of interesting people (and not just people under 25; I’ve met adults of all ages in youth hostels.)

Iron & the Albatross Spare Parts Circus & Cabaret on Sunday.

Go to the airport and pray the time until your flight out passes quickly.

Obviously San Francisco is too much for some people :wink:

I don’t really have any advice to offer, but I’m interested in responses as well. Pseudosister Katie (a.k.a. Miss Moneypenny) is coming to visit me next month when her job is terminated, and as part of the whole excursion through the vast wilderness that is California we’ll be passing through SF and most likely staying in Oakland for a few days. I was thinking of doing the Barbary Coast Trail and see if I can manage not to miss one or more of the markers the way I usually do, and have dinner or two somewhere around the Embarcadero (but try to avoid getting trapped on Fisherman’s Wharf), and just generally riding around and seeing “stuff”, like hiking up to the old gun emplacements on the north side of the Gate. (Alcatraz, check…if I can get tickets reserved in time.)

What else? Good restaurants, pubs, views, bookstores, coffeehouses, sights, sounds, vibrations, spacial discontinuities, et cetera?


Check out the incredible network of state and county parks in the SF Bay Area. I went to Henry Covell State Park and loved it, loved it, loved it. I wish I could have seen them all, though.

Oh, and the interpretive services are great. If you don’t find ecology, or local history, or the evolutionary history of the area interesting when you walk in, you’ll find them pretty neat by the time you walk out.

According to what I’ve read, there are lots of little hidden areas with a lot to offer, natural history-wise. I take it that someone named Darwin’s Finch would find those places of interest. If you Google, say, “hiking” and San Francisco Bay Area, or something, you should get tons of info.

Is City Lights books still open? It’s been a few years since I’ve been there. If it is you should check it out. That whole neighborhood is good for a stroll and there are some cool coffee shops to hang out in.

There’s also a really cool Asian art museum somewhere in the city, but I forget what it’s called.

In Oakland, check to see if there is a movie playing at the Paramount Theater on Broadway when you are there. The movies are cheap, the theater is gorgeous, and it is great fun, with an organ, a spin the wheel game, a cartoon and a newsreel before the movie. It’s well worth a visit.

There are lots of good used record stores in Berkley, for instance Rasputin and Amoeba. (There is a giant branch of Rasputin in walking distance from my house so I don’t go up there so often.)

As for bookstores, Green Apple Books on Clement is gigantic - the only bigger place I’ve been to is Powell’s for used books. There is a very nice and free botanical gardens in Golden Gate Park.

To DF:
I’ve taken my kids to the Exploratorium, but I think it is targeted a bit young for you. I ndon’t think you’d meet anyone appropriate there. The botanical gardens seems like more of a possibility.

I hope it’s still open-- check out the Cliff House at the end of Golden Gate park-- they had a camera obscura, and a big collection of nickle-fed old automata-- sort of like video games/ pinball, and old um, kinetoscopes? Is that the term? Old hand cranked film machines.
The botanical garden in the park is nice. See the sea lions at the pier. I’m an adult and I got a kick out of the Exploratorium, personally.

Well, I’m 31. So’s MaxTheVool, but the two of us spent an afternoon there not too long ago. We loved it. It’s worth going there just to look at and play with all the cool things there. No, you probably won’t meet anyone at the Exploratorium–or, at least, not anyone to date. But, then again, you never know. The places I’ve had the most success have often been those that aren’t usually seen as good places to meet people. I’ve found that, when I’m unhappy, it’s impossible for me to meet guys. When I’m happy and feeling expansive, men come up to me–there’s no effort necessary on my part.

I don’t know how things work with you, Darwin’s Finch. And you’re a guy, so the general patterns you see may be different.

Larry Borgia–As of a few months ago, City Lights was indeed still open, and it was a very cool place.

Has moved to pier 45 I believe http://travel.yahoo.com/p-travelguide-2733615-musee_mecanique_san_francisco-i

But the cliff house has been renovated and apparently has improved views due to new big windows. Exploratorium is always worth a visit no matter how old you are (and the ruined folly near by is a great place to stroll).

hehehe yep. I lived on a freakin carrier in Oakland for 3 years, and I have only a few fond memories of my time in the bay area; with none occuring in SF.

BUt, had many a good time in Marin county. Something about the Moss Beach Distillery that I always loved as well.

To meet people, you might want to check out Yerba Buena Gardens and the Metreon. The Museum of Modern Art is right there as well.

There’s a great view from Coit Tower, but I think there are great views from over a dozen places in the city.

I know everyone warns to stay away from the Wharf, but, if you avoid the silly tourist traps like Ripley’s Believe It ro Not or the Wax Museum or whatever, I think it’s a nice area of the city. The sandwiches, clam chowder, crab cakes, etc from the little crab stations are delicious. I make it a point to stop to get a snack every time I’m in the city, which usually amounts to a weekend or two a month. And the old penny arcade Musee Mechanique moved there, and is definitely worth the price of admission (FREE!) The seals are cute too. Stinky, loud, but cute.

Ghiradelli Square is just a block or two away from the Wharf, and there is a cable car pick up just beyond there. It’s definitely for tourists, not the quickest way to get around the city, but it’s cheap, and it is fun if you’ve never been on one. Last stop is Union Square - tons of shopping - Macy’s, Sak’s, etc.

A little further down the pier is the Ferry Building, with a fabulous outdoor market and some top notch restaurants and shops inside.

Mission Dolores is interesting.

Honestly, the best things to see in SF is just SF itself, the different neighborhoods. Walk around. Check out the Haight, the Castro, the Marina, etc. Lots of cute shops, people watching, excellent restaurants.

It’s a gorgeous city. Have fun!

It seems it may rainy this weekend in San Francisco so come prepared. The Metreon and the Museum are great places to visit. If I was a first time visitor I would visit the Wharf area. You don’t have to shop or get caught up in the tourist traps. I recommend you check out Muir Woods acroos the Golden Gate if the weather is good enough.

Actually, as far as I can tell, that’s pretty much the case almost every weekend. And most weekdays, for that matter. San Francisco’s a great city–I’d love to live there–but I’ve learned not to go there without an umbrella. (I’ve been told that I’ve simply seen an unusual amount of rain the times I’ve visited out there. Maybe I have. I don’t know.) But, then again, Darwin’s Finch, you probably live somewhere in Northern California, based on the way you worded your OP. No-one outside the SFBA would say they were going into “the City” and mean SF if they weren’t close by.

I love that city, though. Love it, love it, love it. I’m working on getting to live out there–but I have to finish my degree here first. :slight_smile:

Yeah, I know about the coming rain. I’ve got a big umbrella, and I don’t melt in the rain, so I’m ready.

I’m also not really looking for a date. I’ve got things to work through before I’m probably ready for that. I just feel like being around people who might not be adverse to a conversation or two.

Scribble: I definitely plan on checking out The Bone Room at some point this weekend. That place looks like heaven!

And yeah, I’m in the east bay area. I’m limited to BART + bus + feet as far as getting around, but that shouldn’t be a problem.

Bippy: your suggestion sounds like a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I have to be back in this area by then. Darn it.

I was going to make a trip to the ocean, but I’m not sure weather will permit that. I’m not really in the mood to get swept out to sea…

There is lots of cool stuff in The Bone Room, but there is something you should know, maybe. Their insect curation leaves much to be desired. The specimens they have look pretty, but the staff doesn’t do much to make sure they last. If I were you, I’d look at the insects they had, but I wouldn’t buy any of them. The bones and lots of the other stuff is another story, though.

Check out the store–it is pretty neat place to visit.

One thing I really love about San Francisco is how easy it is to get around on foot and public transit. I spent a couple of evenings there, while in training (during the day) in Mountain View, and I walked/rode all around the city, never feeling lost or as if I needed a car. 'Course, I like to walk (and for the most part, LA isn’t amenable to that) but it was great. Plus, in walking around (especially in Chinatown) you see all kinds of stuff you wouldn’t catch while driving. And (I’m guessing) it is heaven for photographers; I plan on taking the laptop and an extra CF card and battery.

Good luck to you, Darwin’s Finch and have fun. I envy you for your proximity. Let us know if you come across anything fun not mentioned here.


I’ve never been, but I’ve just been told by a friend (who is something of a foodie) that Square One is the best restaurant he’s ever been to, in the world’s best city. This link gives a bit more info than I can. Have fun!