San Francisco Travel Guide
Okay, w're going to let you in on a little secret. If you’re in San Francisco and need a spa day, there’s no better place to get your Zen on than at Kabuki Springs & Spa. The Japantown retreat offers a slew of spa services, but it’s the communal baths that made it a Friday ritual when this contributor lived in S.F.; it's still a must-stop whenever I’m in town.
San Francisco might possibly be one of the best cities to nosh on delicious farm-to-table bites while sipping boutique wines — especially in the bay city's charming gems of neighborhoods. The Embarcadero is a great place to get a one-stop-shopping experience without exhausting your legs sore from countless hills and steps.
Although guidebook recommendations make it popular with tourists, the Ferry Building is actually a hot spot for locals as well. The 117-year old building is a great place to score some snaps of the Bay Bridge and breathe in the salty air, plus its food hall is a cool place to discover homegrown (and hipster-inflected) tastes of the region. Saturday mornings are special, with a farmers market dominating the sidewalk in front — but everyday is an event to be experienced, and here are some of our favorite food purveyors to check out.
Alcatraz / San Francisco Travel / History Travel / National Park Travel / California Travel / → All Tags
For 30 years, from 1933 to 1963, this tiny island 1.5-miles off the coast of San Francisco was a place that people never wanted to go. (Some even attempted to flee from it, albeit allegedly unsuccessfully.) Yet now the former island-prison is a tourist attraction that brings people from all corners of the earth to see where infamous criminals were incarcerated. Yes, the half-day trip is touristy — but it's well worth the cost and time to visit the abandoned penitentiary.
The trip will set you back about $30 per visitor, depending on the time of day; this includes the round-trip boat ride across San Francisco Bay. But don't be fooled by the multiple cruise companies offering trips to "The Rock," as Alcatraz Cruises is the only biz allowed to dock its boats at the National Park to bring visitors. (Yes, Alcatraz Island is now managed by the National Park Service.) The boat schedules include several trips per day; the early morning cruises are less crowded, but the evening trips offers some stunning views of the city as the sun sets. (Hence their higher price tag of $37.)
In-Flight Meals / Photo Gallery / Cathay Pacific / Hotels / Mandarin Oriental / First Class Travel / Hong Kong Travel / San Francisco Travel / → All Tags
Once you fly in First Class, on a long-haul international flight, it's quite difficult to return to coach on another flight having tasted what's on offer in the front of the plane. This is especially true for First passengers on Cathay Pacific, not only because the First Class seats were recently updated and remain a flyer favorite, but because the airline enjoys showing off in the in-flight dining department.
For 2015, Cathay Pacific's big treats for First Class travelers are monthly menus designed by Executive Chefs from Mandarin Oriental properties around the world. We already gave you an exclusive preview of the MO New York February meals, but now it's time for March and Mandarin Oriental San Francisco.
T2 at SFO / SFO / Virgin America / Delta / San Francisco Travel / Airport News / Airports / → All Tags
For travelers flying out of Terminal 1 at San Francisco International Airport the options are pretty limited for dining and entertainment and, to make matters worse, the Delta Sky Club is located before the security checkpoint. Those stuck with this situation are traveling on AirTran, Delta, Frontier and Southwest.
At least they were stuck with it, as the good news arrives that SFO has opened up a new passageway connecting the boring and bland Terminal 1 with the contemporary and cool Terminal 2. We have a whole tag tied in with T2 at SFO, and we love everything about T2's shiny digs, from the bathroom and yoga room to the free WiFi and plentiful electrical outlets (not to mention a food court with a Pinkberry).
Movie Travel / Movie Set Travel / Disney Travel / Big Hero 6 / San Francisco Travel / Travel Contests / → All Tags
To celebrate the release of their new animated movie, Big Hero 6, Disney is giving away a trip to San Francisco.
During this Adventures by Disney getaway, one lucky winner and their family will explore the city that served as the inspiration for Big Hero 6's setting -San Fransokyo.
The four day/three night Disney Adventures San Francisco Long Weekend includes stops at the Walt Disney Family Museum and Lucasfilm, a guided tour of the Bay, a ferry to Angel Island State Park, and other activities.
Sports Travel / California Travel / Victory Parades / Baseball Travel / Events / World Series Travel / → All Tags
Congratulations to the San Francisco Giants, as last night in Kansas City they defeated the Royals 3 to 2—and took home their third World Series title in the last five years.
Now it’s time to celebrate over in San Francisco, as the city is getting ready to welcome home the champions. With all these victories in the last few years they know how to throw a party, and it sounds like the celebration and parade is scheduled for this Friday, October 31. That just happens to be Halloween, which is perfect, as the Giants love both orange and black.
We’re sure more and more details will trickle out during the day, but here’s what you need to know to start planning things. The parade is going to star right at noon—local time—over at Market and Steuart streets, and then things will travel down Market Street. The shindig will end at Civic Center Plaza, and we can only expect lots of ticker tape, cheering, celebrating, and general merriment.
Tourism / Tolls / Bridges / Architecture Travel / San Francisco Travel / California Travel / → All Tags
If you’ve been to San Francisco there’s little doubt that the Golden Gate Bridge was on your travel to-do list, and rightfully so—it’s pretty darn snazzy. Taking things to the next level involves actually getting out of the car and walking or biking across the bridge, but it sounds like there are plans to monetize that experience.
Nothing is official as of yet, but city officials are kicking around the idea of charging tolls to both pedestrians and cyclists making their way across the bridge. We don’t want to get political—nor would we know what we’re talking about—but it was a close vote. So now what they’re going to do is study things to see what kind of impact the tolls would have, and also likely how much cash they could raise. We’d imagine that bridge is pretty expensive to maintain.
Business Class Travel / JetBlue / SFO / JFK / New Routes / Seats / JetBlue Mint / → All Tags
If there's one question we've heard over and over since the launch of JetBlue's Mint premium class earlier this year, it's "when will it fly to San Francisco?"
The answer arrived this last Sunday, literally, in the form of a JetBlue A321. This milestone marks the beginning of regular Mint service between JFK and SFO, which comes in addition to the original route of JFK-LAX begun in June.
Mint seats start at $599 each way, and include custom extras specifically for JetBlue Mint passengers. These include a full, hot meal from NYC's Saxon + Parole, a special customer service line, an amenity kit by Birchbox, a comfy pillow and duvet, and a fully flat bed for optimum nappage.
To book Mint between JFK and LAX or JFK and SFO, simply search your preferred dates on JetBlue.com and look for the green column of Mint fares.
If you've been to San Francisco before, you've probably taken a trip out to Alcatraz, one of the world's most infamous golden cages. If the beautiful city views and deep history aren't enough to bring you back for a second visit, the fact that the prison has been taken over by an art exhibit may entice.
At the end of September, a Chinese artist - who is coincidentally under house arrest at the moment - launched a seven-installation exhibit called "@Large: Ai Weiwei at Alcatraz." The installations are found throughout Alcatraz and carry a theme of "protest songs." The most attention-getting exhibit has arguably been one called Trace, which features 176 portraits made of Lego bricks, each presenting "an individual who has been imprisoned or exiled because of his or her beliefs, actions, or affiliations."
Travel Alerts / San Francisco Travel / Lombard Street / California Travel / Tourism / Travel News / → All Tags
Bad news for those with plans to visit San Francisco this summer: The city announced yesterday that it will close Lombard Street, perhaps the most famous crooked road in the world, on certain weekends this summer.
According to reports, the local board received many complaints from residents about tourism on the street, citing traffic congestion and overcrowding that disrupts daily life. Tourists line up to drive and walk down the street, which gains its popularity from its steep grade, tight turns, expensive real estate, and beautiful views.
How To Get Tickets To / Music Festivals / Outside Lands / Live Music Travel / San Francisco Travel / → All Tags
The Outside Lands Music Festival returns to San Francisco August 8 - 10 and there's just one last chance for tickets.
The annual festival brings together dozens of bands, local visual artists, wineries, breweries, and restaurants for three days in Golden Gate Park. With a lineup including Kanye West, Tegan & Sara, Death Cab For Cutie, Macklemore, and more than 70 other acts, it's no great surprise that General Admission tickets and most VIP Passes to the fest have sold out in less than two weeks.