Where do we start? The area just around the Moscone Convention Center is chock full of places to eat, shop and sightsee.
Walking is a great way to get around town, but this city offers so many mass transit options. Ride an historic streetcar, cable car, light rail or bus (or all four) by purchasing tickets at the booth at the Powell Street station off Market Street, where a daily passport for unlimited travel runs $14 and a three-day pass is $21. Learn more at www.sfmta.com. How cool would it be to bike across the Golden Gate Bridge? Rent a bike and helmet at Alcatraz Gifts and Tours on 486 Geary or right at Union Square. We also found this handy San Francisco bike map courtesy of the San Francisco Bike Coalition.
My East Coast friend Cristina, a California native, says Dottie’s True Blue Café at 28 6th St. is a must. They’re open 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends and 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays, except Tuesday. How about some warm chickpea, mushroom and spinach salad with yogurt mint dressing and a side of fresh grilled chili-cheddar corn bread with jalapeño jelly? The Pinecrest Diner at the corner of Geary and Mason is open 24 hours and, according to their sign, serves the “Best Breakfast in San Francisco.”
Want some live music with your food? Check out Biscuits and Blues at 401 Mason St., which offers “real southern food” (fried chicken, pulled pork, Louisiana meatloaf, fried green tomatoes and the like) as well as a live music line-up that includes Rod Piazza and the All Mighty Flyers tonight and tomorrow’s International Blues Challenge between Howell Devine, the Feral Moon Band, Nancy Wenstrom and Blues Kitchen, and Pinkie Rideau and Blind Resistance. Everyone votes (hey, good practice for Nov. 6), and the winner will represent the Golden Gate Blues Society at the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge in Memphis in early 2013.
Art lovers can find galleries nearby, including the Martin Lawrence Gallery at 366 Geary St. and Hang Art at 567 Sutter St. featuring original works by San Francisco Bay area artists. Pick up a Giants T-shirt or forgotten workout gear at Sports Basement at the corner of Market and 5th streets. Find that perfect costume at Simply Halloween at 151 Powell St. Did we mention the shopping? Union Square is known for its retail delights, from a signature Levi’s store to Luis Vuitton and Tiffany’s. Just head up Stockton Street to Geary and walk around.
Many people tell us Chinatown should not be missed, not to mention Fisherman’s Wharf, where you can eat clam chowder out of sourdough bread bowls and watch the charming seals. Both are accessible via transit. Has anyone biked, jogged or walked to Chinatown? Help your fellow APHA-ers and share you favorite local haunts in the comments section below.
Above from top to bottom, the mass transit ticket booth at the Powell Street Station; safety tips for riding the city's cable cars; and a rainbow of souvenir magnets from Alcatraz Gifts and Tours. Photos by Donya Currie