San Francisco Staff Picks
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San Francisco Staff Picks

  • girls in robes drinking tea

    Go Green When You Travel

    We are dedicated to being a good neighbor and providing a sustainability program that allows our guests to embark on a feel-good journey. While Earth Day isn’t until April, our green policies are practiced year-round and are key to a number of ways we do business as a sophisticated hotel destination. We have been awarded the Green Leader Gold status by TripAdvisor and are certified by the City and County of San Francisco for having complied with the San Francisco Green Business Program standards. We invite all of our guests to join us in our mission to lessen our footprint thanks to a number of simple program offerings, including in-room recycling bins, the option to reuse towels, and utilizing public transportation or our complimentary bikes. And, we recycle all electronic equipment, use certified green cleaning products, purchase 10% of energy from renewable sources, offer water-saving aerators in each shower, donate left-behind items to the local St. Anthony Foundation, and use as many locally-certified ingredients and products as possible. Learn more about our green efforts here and feel good when you travel. Here’s to being green!

  • ina coolbrith park

    Instagram-able Bay Area Views

    Embark on an outdoor adventure to capture some of San Francisco’s top Instagram-able spots. A picture is worth a thousand words, or in this case, “likes”, and all three of our favorite places offer unparalleled Bay Area views. Simply show up, snap a few pics, soak in the scenery, and choose a filter; but if you ask us, the natural beauty is so stellar, you might not need one.

    Grandview Park – Get in a little workout and head up the steps of 16th Ave. Along your way up the colorful mosaic stairs, you’ll catch sights of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Pacific Ocean, and Golden Gate Park. Pro tip: check the weather for fog before you go, clear days are your best bet.

    Ina Coolbrith Park – The namesake park of the Golden State’s first poet, this under-the-radar attraction is home to a variety of plants and provides sweeping views of Coit Tower, “The Pyramid,” and San Francisco’s signature skyline.

    Tank Hill – Less than a mile north of the more widely-known Twin Peaks, this boutique park offers larger-than-life views for you to admire. You might not even find this one on the map, but just ask our team and we’ll be happy to help point you in the right direction.

  • wooded california road

    Road Trip Republic

    Plentiful sunshine and epic outdoor experiences are just a few of the reasons why California is the ultimate state to enjoy by road trip. This summer, consider making your way to Hotel Drisco by car. Embark on an adventure that leads to Pacific Heights, and experience a getaway where the journey is truly part of the destination.

    Visit California has created Road Trip Republic, which outlines incredible routes for road trips around the state, with itineraries suitable for anywhere from 1-10 days.

    More than one of the itineraries will lead you through San Francisco. The “Highway 1 Classic” route starts here and leads all the way down to San Diego. The “Call of the Coast” showcases iconic attractions along Highway 1 between Santa Cruz and Big Sur. Of course, a sojourn in San Francisco makes sense, and our notable neighborhood offers the panoramic views you’ll seek.

    Let the open road lead you to relaxation. Pick a route or craft your own, and we’ll look forward to hosting you during your journey.

  • mixologist

    Whiskey Galore

    Calling all whiskey aficionados: head over to the Belle Yacht at Pier 3 on Friday, March 28, for Whiskies of the World. The yacht will remain docked during this elegant event that will feature tastings from hundreds of varieties of Bourbon, Canadian, Irish, Scotch, and additional imported whiskeys from all over the globe. Also, learn more as you sip and sample during seminars advising on the fine art of pairing whiskeys with cigars and food.

    Participating brands for sampling will include such label luminaries as Alley 6 Distillery, Bardstown Bourbon Company, Frey Ranch Bourbon, Glengoyne, Kuleana Rum Works, Mosswood, Single Cask Nation, Single Malts of Scotland, Spirit Works Distillery, WhistlePig, and many others. The proceeds from this event will benefit Casa Círculo Cultural (CCC). CCC is a non-profit, grassroots, “multidisciplinary art organization dedicated to creating cultural programming reflective of the experiences of the Latino communities in the San Francisco Bay Area,” including such programs as their Community Impact Scholarship Program.

  • handmade chocolate

    One Sweet Destination

    This Valentine’s Day, make the most of a time-honored tradition and indulge yourself and your loved ones with some of the best candy in the country. San Francisco is home to an abundant array of chocolatiers, candy shops, and places to buy unique sweets, and listed below are five of our favorites. Plus, if you can refrain from eating them, many of these items make for interesting souvenirs.

    Brehmer’s Candies

    Handmade gourmet truffles, chews, and more. They also sell a variety of seasonal cookies and offer special candies for Valentine’s Day and other holidays.

    Giddy Candy

    An enormous selection of chocolate, licorice, European favorites, sour gummies, and rare classic favorites.

    Lolli & Pops

    Bonbons and dark chocolate truffles stand out here, along with mix and match gift boxes and bulk sweets.

    Shaws San Francisco

    The oldest candy store in the city, Shaw’s offers decadent homemade fudge, toffee, and truffles, along with flavored popcorn, and a variety of Mitchell’s Ice Cream.

    Teuscher Chocolates of Switzerland

    Exquisite Swiss chocolate made into a luscious assortment of truffles and bars. Don’t leave without trying a Dom Perignon truffle.

  • red theater seats

    Several Singular Sensations

    San Francisco is renowned for hosting a plethora of world-class art and cultural events all year round, including many stellar theatrical productions. A variety of venues throughout the city feature an upcoming line-up of Broadway’s hottest shows, such as these listed below.

    The Book of Mormon

    Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s outrageous musical comedy made them the toast of Broadway and won them an impressive nine Tony Awards. Showing at The Golden Gate Theatre from March 31−May 26, 2020.

    A Chorus Line

    Winner of nine Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, this tribute to the unsung chorus members is a must-see. This singular sensation will be performed at the Victoria Theater from April 11−May 10, 2020 .

    The Rocky Horror Show

    Let’s do the Time Warp, again! Join Dr. Frankenfurter, Brad, Janet, and Rocky in this cross-dressing cult phenomenon that has endured through the decades to become a Broadway smash. You can catch TRHS from April 23−May 17, 2020 at A.C.T.’s Geary Theater.

  • young ballerina in tutu with nutcracker toy

    One Sweet Christmas

    This holiday season promises to be especially sweet, with a different version of a classic ballet favorite, a variation on a beloved Christmas tale, and a visit to the city’s favorite gingerbread house. Check out the list below for details.

    Mark Foehringer’s Nutcracker Sweets    

    This version of Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet has been shortened to 50 minutes; making it ideal for families with small children. Foehringer’s choreography features contemporary dance, colorful sets and costumes, and is accompanied by a live chamber orchestra. Showing December 7-22 at Cowell Theater, Fort Mason.

    A Noh Christmas Carol

    Performed from December 6-29, this version of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is set in Meiji-era Japan and uses a mix of kabuki, noh, butoh, and kyogen. Under Nick Ishimaru’s direction, you’ll view the tale of Scrooge, Marley, and the Christmas ghosts in a delightful new light.

    A Giant Gingerbread House

    Every year, the Fairmont Hotel features dazzling holiday décor showcasing a spectacular gingerbread house. Located in the hotel’s grand lobby, this year’s two-story example of every child’s sugary fantasy will contain over 3,000 pounds of royal icing and 1.650 pounds of candy, along with an abundance of house-made gingerbread bricks.

  • two girls ice skating

    Favorite Holiday Events in SF

    All year round, San Francisco provides an abundant array of wonderful events for our guests, but the holidays bring seasonal favorites beloved by locals and visitors alike. A few of our favorites are listed below.

    Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker

    Catch the royally extravagant production of this beloved Christmas ballet from November 5 – December 23. Featuring stunning sets and costumes, performances are scheduled for a variety of venues.

    Ice Skating in Union Square

    From November 6, 2019, to January 20, 2020, you can glide blissfully across the ice in an urban winter wonderland. Lessons and skate helpers are available for newbies.

    The Velveteen Rabbit

    This charming version of the classic children’s favorite features a masterful narrative, delightful dance, music, and clever costumes. Ongoing November 29 through December 8, all shows will be performed at YBCA’s Blue Shield of California Theater.

    A Christmas Carol

    Join Tiny Tim, Scrooge, and a host of ghosts for this production of the Dickens classic. Performances are ongoing at the A.C.T Geary Theatre from November 29 - December 24.

  • colorful pumpkins

    The Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival

    Featuring just about everything a fall festival should be, the 49th Annual Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival will take place during the weekend of October 19-20.

    Just about everything a fall festival should be, the 49th Annual Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival will take place during the weekend of October 19-20. Head over to Main Street in picturesque Half Moon Bay for one of the greatest pumpkin festivals in the U.S. Celebrating a glorious array of oversize, prize-winning gourds and an amazing assortment of family-friendly entertainment, the “World Pumpkin Capital” is the place to be for this signature annual event. Don’t miss the Great Pumpkin Parade, and gaze in awe at the huge (11 feet high, 10,000-pound) mosaic pumpkin sculpture by artist Peter Hazel.

    Browse harvest-inspired crafts, enjoy craft brews and other fabulous food and drink (including the perfect pumpkin pie). Also featured are four stages of awesome entertainment, bungee jumping, contests, and the Sunday-only “Made on the Coast” Locals’ Artists Block, showcasing the finest arts, crafts, and demonstrations from local painters, potters, jewelers, glassblowers, photographers, furniture-makers and fabric artists. Be sure to pose for a selfie with “Gourdy,” the festival’s plump pumpkin mascot, and don’t leave without your own Halloween pumpkin from one of the many pumpkin patches in town.

  • chinese dragon boat festival

    Northern California's International Dragon Boat Festival

    Chart a course this month for Lake Merritt, Oakland, and the 24th Annual Northern California International Dragon Boat Festival. Happening on September 28-29, the festival will feature a fleet of sleek and brilliantly-colored 40-foot dragon boats, all racing in time to the beat of Chinese drums. Come out to cheer on your favorite teams, including competitive racers from all over the world. Get an airbrush dragon tattoo at the Kaiser Permanente Health and Fitness Pavilion, and don’t miss the opening ceremony on the morning of September 21, when Buddhist monks will perform a traditional blessing and eye-dotting ceremony to awaken the dragons for racing.

    This ceremony also includes lion dancing and a performance of the National Anthem by the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir. In addition to 120 teams of world-class dragon boat racers, you’ll find dazzling cultural performances by Chinese acrobats, Taiko drumming, martial arts displays, roving stilt walkers, magic shows, and Tahitian dancing, a marketplace filled with an amazing array of tasty eats, and a cool, shaded area with picnic tables to enjoy it all. Lastly, be sure to bring the kids, where games, arts & crafts, and other kid-friendly activities await them in Dragon Land.

  • woman with face and body painting

    Celebrate Summer’s End at Sausalito

    Mark your calendars now and make a date to join us on Labor Day weekend for the Sausalito Art Festival. One of the country’s most prestigious outdoor art events, this annual fest offers the finest of fine art, fabulous food, world-class wine, and live music on the Sausalito waterfront. From August 31 through September 2, the festival will be rockin’ with the sounds of 19 bands on two stages, featuring such musical luminaries as Blues Traveler, Blood, Sweat, and Tears, Andre Theirry, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, and ZZ Ward, along with tribute bands to Santana, The Beatles, Earth, Wind, and Fire, and Elton John.

    This 67th edition of the fest also includes the Summer of Love opening night preview party, where you can rub elbows with over 250 juried artists from around the globe while savoring curated appetizers and wine and champagne bars. Along with the 14 categories of art, be sure to check out the new Art-Tech Pavilion, with augmented reality art demos and virtual activations in addition to exhibits by Airstream, Tesla, and Chris Craft. Festival proceeds will benefit the local arts community in the form of grants, scholarships, and community programs.

  • colorful sprinkles

    Stay Cool at the Museum of Ice Cream

    Where in San Francisco would you find a pool of brightly-colored sprinkles, a tribute to gummy bears and popsicles, and an interactive gallery of suspended bananas? The answer is the Museum of Ice Cream! One of the most Instagrammable places in the SF, this fun and interactive museum was originally opened as a pop-up but has since earned a permanent place in the heart of the city. With the distinction of being the only one of its kind in the country, the MOIC features rooms of installations depicting delectable sweets in larger than life sizes.

    Located near Union Square, MOIC’s ticket price includes samples of other sugary treats along with loads of ice cream samples—and rotating seasonal installations just mean that you’ll always have a good reason to come back for more. Additionally, the MOIC offers special events to celebrate the months and the seasons. July 4 through September 22 will allow kids of all ages to relive or reimagine the experience of summer camp. Attendees can earn “Sprinkle Scout” badges, make S’mores, and meet the camp counselors. Just like the delectable frozen confection it's named for, this place is totally cool, super sweet, and fabulously fun!

  • little boy laying on sidewalk chalk art of a motorcycle

    A San Francisco Tradition

    Head over to the historic North Beach District this month for an epic street festival featuring an abundance of food, music, art, and fun. Long famous as the home for such “Beat Generation” luminaries as Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady, and poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who founded the legendary City Lights bookstore, North Beach has been named one of the ten “Great Neighborhoods in America.” Also known as “Little Italy,” the neighborhood has thrived and grown throughout the last 50 years and celebrates its heritage annually at the North Beach Festival.

    June 15-16 will mark the 65th year of the festival, which is considered one of the original outdoor street festivals in the U.S. You’ll find over 125 booths with a variety of arts and crafts, two stages of live entertainment, poetry readings, gourmet food for sale, a kids’ chalk art area, beverage gardens, and the traditional blessing of the animals at The National Shrine of Saint Francis of Assisi. Don’t miss out on this annual San Francisco tradition!

  • man controling robot from computer

    Cool Rules at the Bay Area Maker Faire

    For more than 10 years now, a “maker movement” that originally begun in the Bay Area has become a worldwide sensation. Featuring some of the most interesting and coolest creations ever, the Bay Area Maker Faire on May 17-19 plays host to an array of works and their creators, including a myriad of artists, engineers, techies, teachers, students, and craftspeople. The result is a display of creativity, resourcefulness, enthusiasm, and often, genius. Join us at the San Mateo County Event Center for a veritable combustion of creativity, with talks, demos, robots, and the opportunity to meet and speak with the creators and their teams.

    Attractions include Adam Savage’s “Sunday Sermon,” lightsaber training, the Tiny Home Zone, the Museum of Future Sports, and the Dance Battle Stage. You can also browse hard-to-find crafts, handmade items, unique art, and hundreds of interactive exhibits. Don’t miss the “Navajo Mythbusters” as they demonstrate their unique sustainable energy systems, watch the Space Enterprise at Berkeley team show you how they’re going to take their Eureka-1 Rocket into space, help WeTheBuilders.com with crowd-sourced, 3D-printed sculptures, and interact with many more makers and their exciting visions of our future!

  • cherry blossoms

    Welcome Springtime at the Cherry Blossom Festival

    One of the loveliest of the state’s many native floral offerings, cherry blossoms are a not only a colorful and fragrant harbinger of spring but also represent the U.S.A.’s ongoing alliance with the country of Japan and Asian cultural traditions. The Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival was created in 1968 to honor this partnership and has since become one of California’s most famous celebrations, as well as the largest such festival on the West Coast. In 2019, the 52nd Annual Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival will take place on April 13-21 in San Francisco’s Japantown.

    Don’t miss the festival’s Grand Parade, featuring Co-Grand Marshals: Mayor London N. Breed and Marié Digby. Experience Japanese classical (Buyo) and folk dance (Minyo) performances throughout the parade route. Additional activities include origami and flower-arranging exhibits and demonstrations, tea ceremonies, fashion shows, live music, Cosplay on the Catwalk, and more, including an exciting scavenger hunt to help you discover the treasures of Japantown. Mark the date, and make your plans now to join hundreds of thousands of attendees at this free event honoring Japanese and Japanese-American culture.

  • san francisco conservatory of flowers

    Valentine’s Day at the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers

    For a genuinely memorable and exotic experience, the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers is the place to go. Inhale (if you dare) the reek of the Corpse Flower blooms from Sumatra, get a close up view of the tiny “dragon faces” on the Dracula Orchids from South America, and, for a much more pleasant olfactory experience, sniff the White Ginger Lily, whose fragrant and delicate flowers resemble butterflies, or Mariposa, as it is known in Cuba, where it is the national flower. The conservatory features five different galleries to explore: Aquatic Plants, Highland Tropics, Lowland Tropics, Potted Plants, and the West Gallery, each with a variety of rare, remarkable, and frequently endangered plants.

    In addition to the galleries, the Conservatory hosts a variety of changing exhibits and events. As a special treat for Valentine’s Day, come out for their latest exhibit, “Aphrodisiacs for the Tropics”, where you and your special someone can take a trip to the rain forest to view “aphrodisiac” plants on February 14. Browse the Conservatory galleries as you nibble on chocolate and sip a complimentary libation. Also included are tarot readings, a Victorian pink velvet photo booth, and a live accordion performance.

  • whale breeching the water

    A Whale of a Good Time

    A stunning view of a spectacular phenomenon can be seen here each December through February when magnificent gray whales pass by during their annual migration. One of the best views of this migration is from the Point Reyes National Seashore, when about 90 percent of the whales will pass within a mile of the Point Reyes peninsula. January is one of the optimal viewing months, as it is estimated that approximately 1,000 of these cetaceans pass through this area each day. Point Reyes offers one of the best views on the coast, but direct access is restricted during the migration.

    The best option for whale watchers here is to board the frequent shuttles in the parking lot – shuttle drivers will then convey them to any drop-off point they wish. For a much closer look, book a seat on one of the cruise boats. These run through the season, which usually ends in early spring. No matter which whale-watching option you choose, remember to wear sturdy shoes, bring nutritious snacks, plenty of water, and to dress warmly for the duration. You may also want to pack your camera and/or binoculars. Happy whale watching!

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