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SJC / SFO / San Jose Airport / San Francisco International Airport / San Francisco Travel / → All Tags
Take it from this contributor: Flying out of San Francisco International Airport (SFO) sucks, especially during the summer months. When I lived in the Bay Area, I endured countless flight delays at SFO. So many that I’d go out of my way to fly out of Oakland International Airport (OAK) or even Norman Y. Mineta San José International Airport (SJC) instead.
Oakland is close, of course, so it makes obvious sense as an alternative to SFO. But believe it or not, it really is worth going through SJC, an hour or so outside San Fran. Why?
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.
The release of Tim Burton's Big Eyes may have been overshadowed by the controversy surrounding another Christmas Day release, but that hasn't stopped the film's subject, Margaret Keane, from enjoying her rekindled fame.
Big Eyes follows the drama behind Keane's famous big eyes portraits, which her husband, Walter Keane, passed off as his own until they eventually divorced and she took him to court.
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.
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.
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."
Football Travel / Fall Travel / Football Rivalry Travel / Seattle Travel / San Francisco Travel / NFL Travel / Sports Travel / → All Tags
We’re still pretty early in the NFL season, but that doesn’t mean that it’s too early to start looking forward to the games—and weeks—ahead. That’s definitely the case when trying to catch one of the best rivalries over the last few years, as it’ll be Thanksgiving before you know it. That’s when the Seattle Seahawks travel to face the San Francisco 49ers.
Last year the two teams met in the conference championship game to decide who traveled to the Super Bowl, and in case you can’t remember—it was the Seahawks and they went on to win it all.
Road Trips / Highway 1 / California Travel / San Luis Obispo Travel / Los Angeles Travel / San Francisco Travel / San Diego Travel / → All Tags
We all know that Highway 1 runs nearly the entire coast of California, from Mexico up through San Francisco to the Oregon border. Most people drive it in a day or two from San Diego or Los Angeles up to the Bay Area, with many itineraries including stops in Santa Barbara, Carmel, and Monterrey. Sprinkled between these well-known tourist towns is what this writer considers to be one of the best kept secrets in the country, the rural Central Coast of California.
San Luis Obispo has made headlines in recent years for its happy citizens, and San Simeon draws its fair share of attention thanks to Hearst Castle. Still, the Central Coast is largely bypassed and just a drive-through for out-of-state and international travelers in favor of the bright lights and beaches of Los Angeles and the beautiful bay of San Francisco. As a former resident of Santa Barbara, I had the pleasure of exploring this area in all its untouched glory, where the sea, mountains, and vines of wine country all come together along the coast.
Travel Alerts / Tourism Problems / Los Angeles Travel / San Francisco Travel / Hollywood Sign / Lombard Street / → All Tags
Remember when SF decided to close one of its most infamous tourist attractions, the crooked Lombard Street, on certain weekends due to complaints by locals? Well, its rival city in the south, Los Angeles, is now experiencing similar problems with one of its landmarks, the Hollywood Sign.
According to the LA Times, an impromptu task force consisting of eight police officers has formed in response to "growing complaints from residents who say their neighborhoods are being overrun by tourist vans and rental cars drawn to the sign." Problems include double parking and congestion that has resulted in both physical damage and logistical frustration.