Welcome to our City!
Broncos fans, Panthers fanatics, and all the NFL-loving 1%ers who flew in to enjoy Super Bowl 50, let me be the first to welcome you to our fine city of cultural, culinary, and natural wonders. Every savvy traveler needs an insider’s look at the city they’re exploring, and you’re in luck because I’m here to give you one. Going on four and a half years of living in this city I’m basically a native, considering most born and bred ‘Friscans (as they love being called) flew the coupe after too many years of this metropolitan mecca to experience life outside this utopia. You only have so much time here, so let me walk you through the must-dos of this city by the bay, the city everyone calls: San Fran.
Moscone Center and Downtown
Stay here and you can’t go wrong. Between Moscone Center, Yerba Buena park, and the Westfield Mall, you’re seeing life through our eyes, really. The four block radius around Super Bowl Village (curated just for you, you lucky ducks!) cannot be understated in all the local attractions it has to offer. Taste artisanal coffee at any one of the twenty-two Starbucks! Explore San Francisco’s flourishing tech scene by downloading one of the locals-only apps like Uber, Twitter, or Pinterest and gaze in awe at the innovations of nearby Silicon Valley. Take turns riding up and down the escalator at Powell Station (choose between Muni or Bart, or make an afternoon of it and do both!). And of course don’t miss out on our famous Cable Cars, the only mobile item on the list of National Historic Monuments. Get there late though because standing in line is half the experience!
Embarcadero/Fisherman’s Warf/Ghirardelli Square
More time to explore? Well lucky for you my favorite neighborhood is just around the corner! Hail an easy-to-find yellow cab over to Fisherman’s Warf and Ghirardelli square for an afternoon of seal watching and chocolate tasting. Every day from 12:05am to 11:55pm the Ghirardelli Chocolate Company gives away free chocolate (just gives it away!) for anyone to come and try amidst their aptly named square. Local’s tip: if you get one of the newbies who thinks they don’t do this just keep asking around and tell them a local sent you, you’ll eventually find someone who knows what’s up ;). Take your chocolate down to pier 39 and bathe in nature’s majesty while admiring the local sea creatures who’ve wandered onto the piers to suntan (don’t actually bathe in the water, silly! It’s actually highly contaminated).
No visit to the city of Rice-A-Roni would be complete without partaking in our world famous food scene. As a resident foodie I can tell you you CANNOT leave without trying the famous mission-style burrito. Sure, some may tell you Tacorgasmica is the place to visit, or Tacolicious can’t be missed, but if you ask me (and that’s why you’re here after all), you can’t beat the bang for your buck at the Chipotle on Fourth st. just south of Mission. Head back to your Moscone Center of Civilization and experience all the gustatory pleasures of rice, beans and chicken (what we call pollo — pronounced “poy-yo”), without any of that pesky travel to the Mission district, or the multitude of options which can leave any traveler dizzy. Take it from me: get your burrito to go (insider’s tip: guac is extra) and sneak it into one of the many offerings at our local cinema, Century San Francisco Centre 9. I hear The Revenant is long! Top it off with a Pinkberry, and you’ve relived my classic Saturday night out on the town.
AVOID AT ALL COSTS
All good travel advice comes with some warnings, so before you venture into the wrong part of town, let me steer you clear of these tourist traps you’ll do well to avoid:
- The Mission
- The Castro
- The Haight
- Any gay bar
- Any restaurant on this list (I’m doing you a favor, that’s all marketing hype)
- Pacific Heights
- Divisadero St.
- Dolores Park (<- really at all costs this one)
Ah how I envy you, the inexperienced traveler, getting to take it all in for the first time. You’re truly in for a treat! Just remember to stick to your zones, and you’ll find you never want to go back from where you came from. But that would ruin the magic! So definitely go back once this is all over, and remember fondly the times you spent here…until Super Bowl 75!
-Rob Warner, the Savvy San Franciscan