Wunderground® Travel Planner: San Francisco, CA
|Weather Observed||Recorded Days (of 35 total)|
|Sunny||15 days (43%)|
|Partly Cloudy||11 days (31%)|
|Cloudy||9 days (26%)|
|Rain||4 days (11%)|
|Fog||1 days (3%)|
Of 35 days between 1996 and 2018, Sunny was the most frequent condition. Additionally, 4 days were recorded with precipitation.
Note: As multiple conditions can be recorded during one day, the weather observed may total more than 35.
We are confident that the weather will be Warm.
1538 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94709
The only hotel in north Berkeley, one of the best walking neighborhoods in town, this three-level brick structure has a certain pensione
feel—guests check in at a counter at the back of the café, and the only public space in the hotel is the hallway to the elevator. Rooms have pastel or brick walls and cherrywood armoires and writing tables. Balconies make the rooms seem larger than their modest dimensions. The bedspreads and decor are '70s-chic, but you couldn't ask for a more central location. A ground-floor café, serving arguably the best latte in town, buzzes day and night with overflow from the Gourmet Ghetto (Chez Panisse is across the street).Pros:
great location; affordable.Cons:
don't expect a lot of peace and quiet; rear rooms are small and dark. 18 rooms. In-room: no a/c. In-hotel: restaurant, parking. Credit cards accepted.
9870 Hwy. 1
Olema, CA 94950
Built in 1885 as the meeting place for a men's social club called the Druids, this gorgeous, rambling building has been renovated into a place where everything is deluxe. In winter, rooms are warmed by radiant heat that comes up through the original hardwood floors (marble floors in the bathrooms). The suite has a gourmet kitchen (complete with Viking range and dishwasher), a real wood-burning fireplace, and a private deck that leads into the garden's gazebo. The Japanese-influenced cottage has a bedroom made private by shoji screens and a Jacuzzi bath with double showerheads above. All rooms have down bedding and an emphasis on privacy. Pros:
not much is within walking distance. www.olemadruidshall.com. 2 rooms, 1 suite, 1 cottage. In-room: no a/c, kitchen (some), Wi-Fi. Credit cards accepted. Rate includes: Breakfast.
1 Miramontes Point Rd.
Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
With its enormous and elegantly decorated rooms, secluded oceanfront property, and a staff that waits on guests hand and foot, this golf and spa resort defines opulence. Attention to detail is remarkable, right down to the silver service, china, and 300-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets. During cocktail hour, view the ocean from the plush Conservatory bar, or from under a heavy blanket on an Adirondack chair on the lawn. The main restaurant, Navio ($$$-$$$$), is suitably decadent, with a kitchen that turns local fish and produce into dishes like squid tagliatelle with arugula and Meyer lemon, and carrot cake with carrot sorbet and cream cheese ice cream. Pros:
four-star service; total luxury; ocean views.Cons:
formal; not within walking distance of anything. www.ritzcarlton.com. 239 rooms, 22 suites. In-room: a/c, safe, Internet, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: 2 restaurants, bars, golf courses, tennis courts, gym, spa, children's programs, business center, some pets allowed. Credit cards accepted.
Past the pink-brick bank building, Main Street is known as Ark Row and has a tree-shaded walk lined with antiques and specialty stores. Look closely and you can see that some of the buildings are actually old houseboats. They floated in Belvedere Cove before being beached and transformed into stores. If you're curious about architectural history, the Tiburon Heritage & Arts Commission prints a self-guided walking-tour map, which you can pick up at local businesses. www.landmarks-society.org.
Although the summit of Mt. Tamalpais is only 2,571 feet high, the mountain rises practically from sea level, dominating the topography of Marin County. Adjacent to Muir Woods National Monument, Mt. Tamalpais State Park affords views of the entire Bay Area and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The mountain was sacred to Native Americans, who saw in its profile—as you can see today—the silhouette of a sleeping Indian maiden. Locals fondly refer to it as the "Sleeping Lady." For years the 6,300-acre park has been a favorite destination for hikers. There are more than 200 mi of trails, some rugged but many developed for easy walking through meadows, grasslands, and forests and along creeks. Mt. Tam, as it's called by locals, is also the birthplace (in the 1970s) of mountain biking, and today many spandex-clad bikers whiz down the park's winding roads.
The park's major thoroughfare, the Panoramic Highway, snakes its way up from U.S. 101 to the Pantoll Ranger Station
(3801 Panoramic Hwy., at Pantoll Rd., 94941. Tel. 415/388-2070. www.parks.ca.gov). The office is staffed sporadically, depending on funding, but if you leave a phone message, a ranger will call you back (within several days) during business hours. From the ranger station, the Panoramic Highway drops down to the town of Stinson Beach. Pantoll Road branches off the highway at the station, connecting up with Ridgecrest Boulevard. Along these roads are numerous parking areas, picnic spots, scenic overlooks, and trailheads. Parking is free along the roadside, but there's a fee at the ranger station and at some of the other parking lots.
The Mountain Theater
, also known as the Cushing Memorial Theater, is a natural amphitheater just off Ridgecrest Boulevard. Constructed in the 1930s, the theater has terraced stone seats for 3,750 people. Every May and June hundreds of locals tote overstuffed picnic baskets up the short trail to the Mountain Theater to see theMountain Play
(Tel. 415/383-1100. www.mountainplay.org), a presentation of popular musicals such asThe Music Man
andMy Fair Lady.
Depending on the play, this can be a great family activity. TheRock Spring Trail
starts at the Mountain Theater and gently climbs about 1¾ mi to theWest Point Inn,
once a stop on the Mt. Tam railroad route. Relax at a picnic table and stock up on water before forging ahead, via Old Railroad Grade Fire Road and the Miller Trail, to Mt. Tam's Middle Peak, about 2 mi uphill.
Starting from the Pantoll Ranger Station, the precipitous Steep Ravine Trail
brings you past stands of coastal redwoods and, in the springtime, numerous small waterfalls. Take the connectingDipsea Trail
to reach the town of Stinson Beach and its swath of golden sand. If you're too weary to make the 3½-mi trek back up, Golden Gate Transit Bus 63 (Saturday, Sunday, and holidays from mid-March through early December) takes you from Stinson Beach back to the ranger station.
The state legislature chartered the University of California in 1868 as the founding campus of the state university system and established it five years later on a rising plain of oak trees split by Strawberry Creek. Frederick Law Olmsted, who designed New York City's Central Park, proposed the first campus plan. University architects over the years have included Bernard Maybeck as well as Julia Morgan, who designed Hearst Castle at San Simeon. The central campus occupies 178 acres, bound by Bancroft Way to the south, Hearst Avenue to the north, Oxford Street to the west, and Gayley Road to the east. With more than 30,000 students and a full-time faculty of 1,400, the university, known simply as "Cal," is one of the leading intellectual centers in the United States and a major site for scientific research.
The Berkeley Visitor Information Center
(University Hall, Room 101, 2200 University Ave., at Oxford St., 94720. Tel. 510/642-5215. Hours: Weekdays 8:30-4:30) is the starting point for the free, student-guided tours of the campus, which last 1½ hours and start at 10 on weekdays.
Student-guided campus tours leave from Sather Tower
, the campus landmark popularly known as the Campanile, at 10 on Saturday and 1 on Sunday. The 307-foot structure, modeled on St. Mark's Tower in Venice and completed in 1914, can be seen for miles. The carillon is played daily at 7:50 am, noon, and 6 pm and for an extended 45-minute concert Sunday at 2. Take the elevator up 175 feet; then walk another 38 steps to the observation deck for a view of the campus and a close-up look at the iron bells, each of which weighs up to 10,500 pounds. South of University Dr.Admission: $2. Hours: Weekdays 10-4, Sat. 10-5, Sun. 10-1:30 and 3-5.
(Telegraph Ave. and Bancroft Way), just inside the U.C. Berkeley campus border on Bancroft Way, was the site of several free-speech and civil-rights protests in the 1960s. Today a lively panorama of political and social activists, musicians, and students show off Berkeley's flair for the bizarre. Preachers orate atop milk crates, amateur entertainers bang on makeshift drum sets, and protesters distribute leaflets about everything from marijuana to the Middle East. No matter what the combination, on weekdays when school is in swing, it always feels like a carnival. Walk through at noon for the liveliest show of student spirit.
The collection of the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology
counts almost 4 million artifacts, of which fewer than 1% are on display at any time. The Native Californian Cultures gallery showcases items related to the native peoples of California. Changing exhibits may cover the archaeology of ancient America or spotlight the museum's especially strong ancient Egyptian holdings. Mood music enhances the experience. Kroeber Hall, Bancroft Way, at end of College Ave.Tel. 510/642-3682. hearstmuseum.berkeley.edu. Admission: Free; guided tour $5. Hours: Wed.-Sat. 10-4:30, Sun. noon-4.
The University of California, Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive
has an interesting collection of works that spans five centuries, with an emphasis on contemporary art. Changing exhibits line the spiral ramps and balcony galleries. Look for the museum's enormous orange-red statue of a man hammering, which can be seen from the outside when strolling by its floor-to-ceiling windows. Don't miss the museum's series of vibrant paintings by abstract expressionist Hans Hofmann in the main gallery. On the ground floor, the Pacific Film Archive has a library and hosts discussions and programs about historic and contemporary films, but the exhibition theater is across the street at 2575 Bancroft Way, near Bowditch Street. The downstairs galleries, which house rotating exhibits, are always free. The museum's raw foods café is famous, and you can also find some cooked options, too. 2626 Bancroft Way, entrance to theater at 2575 Bancroft Way between College and Telegraph. Tel. 510/642-0808; 510/642-1124 film-program information. www.bampfa.berkeley.edu. Admission: $8. Hours: Wed. and Fri.-Sun. 11-5, Thurs. 11-7.
Thanks to Berkeley's temperate climate, about 13,500 species of plants from all over the world flourish in the 34-acre University of California Botanical Garden
. Free garden tours are given Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday at 1:30. Benches and shady picnic tables make this a relaxing place to take in breathtaking views. 200 Centennial Dr.Tel. 510/643-2755. botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu. Admission: $7, free 1st Thurs. of month. Hours: Memorial Day-Labor Day, Mon. and Tues. 9-5, Wed.-Sun. 9-8; rest of yr, daily 9-5. Closed 1st Tues. of month.
At the fortresslike Lawrence Hall of Science
, a dazzling hands-on science center, kids can look at insects under microscopes, solve crimes using chemical forensics, and explore the physics of baseball. On weekends there are special lectures, demonstrations, and planetarium shows. The museum runs a popular (and free) stargazing program, which is held on the first and third Saturday of each month, weather permitting. (Call for times.) Centennial Dr. near Grizzly Peak Blvd.Tel. 510/642-5132. www.lawrencehallofscience.org. Admission: $12. Hours: Daily 10-5. www.berkeley.edu.
1755 1st St.
Napa, CA 94559
Arts and Crafts style infuses this 1905 building, from the lobby's enormous fieldstone fireplace to the lamps that cast a warm glow over the impressive wooden staircase. The style is continued in the attractive guest rooms, with sturdy turn-of-the-20th-century oak beds and matching night tables, which nonetheless are updated with spacious, modern bathrooms, most with spa bathtubs. The inn is within walking distance of Napa's historic, restaurant-rich downtown area. It tends to book up quickly, so reserve well in advance. Pros:
gorgeous architecture and period furnishings; convenient to downtown Napa; free DVD library.Cons:
must be booked well in advance; some rooms are on the small side. www.blackbirdinnnapa.com. 8 rooms. In-room: a/c, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: some pets allowed. Credit cards accepted. Rate includes: Breakfast.
211 North St.
Healdsburg, CA 95448
In a well-preserved Victorian constructed in 1869, this colorful B&B is on a quiet residential street a block from the town's main square. The parlors downstairs are chockablock with ceramics and other decorative items, while rooms are individually decorated with antiques. Each room has its own charms, like a canopy bed, a claw-foot tub, or a whirlpool bath. Those on a budget should ask about the cozy (and popular) budget room with a full-size bed and large private bath across the hall. Pros:
reasonable rates for the neighborhood; a rare family-friendly inn; within easy walking distance of dozens of restaurants.Cons:
a few rooms have a shower but no bath; the only TV on the property is in the common sunroom. www.camelliainn.com. 8 rooms, 1 suite. In-room: a/c, no TV, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: pool, some pets allowed. Credit cards accepted. Rate includes: Breakfast.
1711 Lincoln Ave.
Calistoga, CA 94515
A long driveway lined with 16 freestanding cottages, each shaded by elm trees and with rocking chairs on the porch, looks a bit like Main Street, U.S.A., but inside the sky-lighted buildings are all the perks you could want for a romantic weekend away. There are overstuffed chairs in front of a wood-burning fireplace, flat-panel TVs, and an extra-deep two-person whirlpool tub. Each cottage also has its own variation on the overall comfy-rustic look, with telltale names like Fly Fishing Cottage and Provence. Spas and restaurants are within walking distance. Rates include afternoon wine and cheese. Pros:
bicycles available for loan; freestanding cottages offer lots of privacy; bathtubs so big you could swim in them.Cons:
no pool; decor may seem a bit frumpy for some. www.cottagegrove.com. 16 rooms. In-room: a/c, safe, Internet, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: business center. Credit cards accepted. Rate includes: Breakfast.
6529 Yount St.
Yountville, CA 94599
If you'd like to be within easy walking distance of most of Yountville's best restaurants, and possibly score a great bargain, look into this casual, comfortable inn. Rooms share a French country style (picture toile bedspreads, wooden armoires, and trompe-l'oeil paintings on the walls) but vary dramatically in size and amenities. The largest have a private entrance, deck, fireplace, and jetted bathtub big enough for two. For a much lower rate, however, you can get one of the tiny but well-kept rooms with a small shower but no bathtub—and save for a French Laundry meal instead. Pros:
smallest rooms are some of the most affordable in town; free bike rental; refrigerator stocked with free soda.Cons:
breakfast room can be crowded at peak times; bedding could be nicer. www.maisonfleurienapa.com. 13 rooms. In-room: a/c, no TV (some), Wi-Fi. In-hotel: pool. Credit cards accepted. Rate includes: Breakfast.
500 Main St.
Napa, CA 94559
Almost everything's close here: this waterfront inn is part of a complex of restaurants, shops, a gallery, and a spa, all within easy walking distance of downtown Napa. Guest rooms spread through three neighboring buildings. Those in the 1884 Hatt Building, in Victorian style, are arguably the most romantic, with deep-red walls, original architectural details such as maple hardwood floors, and old-fashioned slipper tubs. Brighter colors dominate in the rooms of the Plaza and Embarcadero buildings; many of the rooms have river views. Baked goods from the neighboring bakery are delivered to your door for breakfast. Pros:
a pedestrian walkway connects the hotel to downtown Napa; unusual pet-friendly policy; wide range of room sizes and prices.Cons:
river views could be more scenic; some rooms get noise from nearby restaurants. www.napariverinn.com. 65 rooms, 1 suite. In-room: a/c, safe, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurants, bar, gym, spa, business center, some pets allowed. Credit cards accepted. Rate includes: Breakfast.
6481 Washington St.
Yountville, CA 94599
The luxury here is quiet and refined, not flashy. Stroll past the fountains and clusters of low buildings to reach the pool, where automated misters cool the sunbathers. Streamlined furnishings, subdued color schemes, and high ceilings enhance a sense of spaciousness in the guest rooms. Each room also has a fireplace and, beyond louvered doors, a balcony or patio. The spa has huge "suites" big enough for small groups, as well as individual treatment rooms, spread out over 13,000 square feet. Rates include afternoon tea, a bottle of wine, and a generous buffet breakfast—and as the hotel is near the town center, you'll be right next to all those outstanding restaurants. Pros:
amazing buffet breakfast; no extra charge for hotel guests to use the spa facilities; steps away from Yountville's best restaurants.Cons:
can be bustling with large groups; you can hear the highway from many of the room's balconies or patios. www.villagio.com. 86 rooms, 26 suites. In-room: a/c, Internet, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: bar, pool, tennis courts, spa. Credit cards accepted. Rate includes: Breakfast.
8300 St. Helena Hwy.
Rutherford, CA 94573
Jack and Dolores Cakebread snapped up the property at Cakebread Cellars in 1973, after Jack fell in love with the area while visiting on a photography assignment. Since then, they've been making luscious chardonnays, as well as merlot, a great sauvignon blanc, and a beautifully complex cabernet sauvignon. You must make an appointment for a tasting, which might take place during a stroll through the winery's barrel room and crush pad and past Dolores's kitchen garden, or it could be a seated event in the winery's modern wing, where an elevator is crafted out of a stainless-steel fermentation tank and the ceiling is lined with thousands of corks. www.cakebread.com. Admission: Tasting $10-$30, tour $25. Hours: Daily 10-4:30; tasting and tour by appointment.
7801 St. Helena Hwy.
Oakville, CA 4562
The arch at the center of the sprawling Mission-style building at Robert Mondavi perfectly frames the lawn and the vineyard behind, inviting a stroll under the lovely arcades. If you've never been on a winery tour before, the comprehensive 70- to 90-minute tour ($25), followed by a seated tasting, is a good way to learn about enology, as well as the late Robert Mondavi's role in California wine making (shorter tours are also available). You can also head straight for one of the two tasting rooms. Serious wine lovers should definitely consider springing for the $30 reserve-room tasting, where you can enjoy four tastes of Mondavi's top-of-the-line wines, including both the current vintage and several previous vintages of the reserve cabernet that cemented the winery's reputation. Concerts, mostly jazz and R&B, take place in summer on the lawn; call ahead for tickets. www.robertmondaviwinery.com. Admission: Tasting $15-$30, tour $15-$50. Hours: Daily 10-5; tour times vary.
940 Sutter St.
San Francisco, CA 94109
Hitchcock's classic thriller Vertigo
was set and partially shot in this ornate hotel, which was a speakeasy during Prohibition. Kim Novak, who played the elusive Judy Barton in the film, actually stayed in Room 301 (though filming took place two floors up). Undergoing a major remodel that extends to guest rooms, meeting rooms, corridors, lounge, and lobby, the hotel's exterior and interior have been redesigned and built around the film. Although the block includes several apartment buildings, a fancy salon, and cafés, the neighborhood is a bit dicey, so exercise caution when walking here at night.Pros:
tons of personality.Cons:
borderline neighborhood, no a/c. www.hotelvertigosf.coml.com. 102 rooms, 8 suites. In-room: no a/c, safe, Internet, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurant, business center, parking. Credit cards accepted.
1231 Market St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
Built in 1910, this historic hotel (formerly the Ramada Plaza) was the temporary seat of city government from 1912 to 1915 before becoming a hotel in 1916. (What was once the mayor's office now serves as the hotel's administrative offices, and the jail cells are still intact in the hotel basement.) The expansive, well-appointed lobby boasts marble balustrades and columns, carved wooden ceilings, rare Janesero paneling, Austrian crystal chandeliers, Tiffany stained glass, and a ballroom with one of the largest parquet dance floors in the city. Broad halls lead to spacious, newly refurbished rooms with flat-screen TVs and baths. Northeast corner suites offer views of Market Street and the gold-encrusted dome of City Hall. Stroll out the front door to find the Civic Center Muni and BART stations and the main public library; the Asian Art Museum, Opera House, Davies Symphony Hall, and Westfield Centre are close by. Pros:
good location, rich architectural and historical legacy, opulent lobby, spacious rooms, airport shuttle.Cons:
difficult to find street parking, area can be dodgy at night. www.hotelwhitcomb.com. 447 rooms, 12 suites. In-room: Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurant, bar, gym, parking. Credit cards accepted.
555 N. Point St.
San Francisco, CA 94133
The location is key to this hotel's popularity: it's within walking distance of tourist hot spots such as Ghirardelli Square, the Cannery, Pier 39, Aquatic Park, and Alcatraz ferries; bay cruises dock nearby; and it's across the street from a cable-car turnaround. The double-pane windows of the moderately sized rooms—which have flat-screen TVs and dark-wood furniture—keep out the considerable street noise. Each floor has a laundry room. In the North Point Lounge, a domed Tiffany skylight with a seashore motif crowns a large, comfy lounge area with a fireplace and fountain. Plans to renovate the restaurant and guest rooms, expand the fitness center, and redesign the lobby are in the works. Pros:
primo sightseeing location, close to cable cars.Cons:
street noise, crowds. www.fishermanswharf.hyatt.com. 313 rooms, 8 suites. In-room: safe, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurant, bar, pool, gym, laundry facilities, business center, parking. Credit cards accepted.
333 Fulton St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
Within walking distance of Davies Symphony Hall and the War Memorial Opera House, this homey boutique hotel caters to season-ticket holders for the opera, ballet, and symphony; it has been the venue of choice for stars of the music, dance, and opera worlds, from Luciano Pavarotti to Mikhail Baryshnikov. The genteel, newly refurbished, marble-floor lobby resembles the foyer of a finely appointed mansion, and the compact standard rooms feature dark-wood furnishings, queen-size pillow-top beds with 250-thread-count sheets, and cozy terry robes. The sumptuous, romantically lit Ovation restaurant, with its Old World charm, is an intimate place for performers and audience members to congregate before and after shows. Rates include an expanded continental breakfast buffet, and complimentary cookies and apples are available at the front desk. An Internet kiosk in the lobby ($10 per hour) is equipped with its own printer. Pros:
staff goes the extra mile, intimate restaurant.Cons:
smallish rooms and bath, sold out far in advance during opera season. www.shellhospitality.com. 30 rooms, 18 suites. In-room: no a/c, Internet, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurant, bar, parking. Credit cards accepted. Rate includes: Breakfast.
2576 Lombard St.
San Francisco, CA 94123
Reminiscent of the motor courts of yesteryear, this family-owned motel is an inexpensive lodging within walking distance of restaurants, bars, and shops in the Marina District and on the waterfront. Although some rooms are next to the street, others are tucked away inside a courtyard planted with flowers and trees. The individual enclosed garages are a nice feature, too, especially in a neighborhood notorious for its lack of street parking. The motel, located on the busy thoroughfare of Lombard Street, is of an older vintage, which translates to thin walls and no air-conditioning (though a/c is unnecessary on all but the hottest days). Some rooms have kitchenettes with eating areas and all have spotless baths and small shower stalls. Despite roaring traffic, the motel is a good value in a popular location. Pros:
friendly staff that accommodates guests with pets; more character than the chain motels on the same strip.Cons:
no a/c; located on a busy street; rooms can be noisy and stuffy. www.marinamotel.com. 40 rooms. In-room: no a/c, kitchen (some), Wi-Fi. In-hotel: parking, some pets allowed. Credit cards accepted.
545 Point Lobos Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94121
About as far west as you can go in San Francisco without falling into the Pacific, this hotel within easy walking distance of the Cliff House and Ocean Beach is a welcome refuge from the hubbub of downtown. A recreation area with a small pool, Ping-Pong table, and badminton court—plus large rooms with accordion-style dividers separating a queen bed from two twins—makes it a good choice for families with kids. Recent improvements include two ADA-compliant rooms; new furniture, carpets, curtains, and mattresses; renovated bathrooms; and a new patio. Second-story rooms enjoy ocean views, some have kitchenettes, and a little restaurant serves breakfast and lunch. Pros:
close to the beach, lots of activities for kids.Cons:
no a/c, no pets allowed. www.sealrockinn.com. 27 rooms. In-room: no a/c, kitchen (some), Internet, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: restaurant, pool, parking. Credit cards accepted. Rate includes: No meals.
736 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
Fascinating museum buildings are sprouting up all over the city, and this new, Daniel Liebeskind-designed CJM is a real coup for SoMa. It's impossible to ignore that diagonal blue cube. The all-new addition jutting into a painstakingly restored power substation is a physical manifestation of the Hebrew phrase l'chaim
(to life). And even if the architectural philosophy behind the design seems a bit esoteric, the blue, steel-clad cube—one of the most striking structures in town—creates a unique, light-filled space that merits a stroll through the lobby even if current exhibits don't entice you into the galleries. Be sure to check out the seam where old building meets new. "Seeing Gertrude Stein," an exhibit examining this cultural giant's role in 20th-century arts, is set to open in mid-2011. www.thejcm.org. Admission: $10, $5 Thurs. after 5pm. Hours: Thurs. 1-8, Fri.-Tues. 11-5.
3601 Lyon St.
San Francisco, CA 94123
Walking into this fascinating "museum of science, art, and human perception" is like visiting a mad scientist's laboratory. Most of the exhibits are supersize, and you can play with everything. You can feel like Alice in Wonderland in the distortion room, where you seem to shrink and grow as you walk across the slanted, checkered floor. In the shadow room, a powerful flash freezes an image of your shadow on the wall; jumping is a favorite pose. "Pushover" demonstrates cow-tipping, but for people: stand on one foot and try to keep your balance while a friend swings a striped panel in front of you (trust us, you're going to fall).
More than 650 other exhibits focus on sea and insect life, computers, electricity, patterns and light, language, the weather, and much more. "Explainers"—usually high-school students on their days off—demonstrate cool scientific tools and procedures, like DNA sample-collection and cow-eye dissection. One surefire hit is the pitch-black, touchy-feely Tactile Dome. In this geodesic dome strewn with textured objects, you crawl through a course of ladders, slides, and tunnels, relying solely on your sense of touch. Not surprisingly, lovey-dovey couples sometimes linger in the "grope dome," but be forewarned: the staff will turn on the lights if they have to. Reservations are required for the Tactile Dome and will get you 75 minutes of access. You have to be at least seven years old to go through the dome, and the space is not for the claustrophobic. www.exploratorium.edu. Admission: $14, free 1st Wed. of month; Tactile Dome $3 extra. Hours: Tues.-Sun. 10-5.
San Francisco, CA 94129
Dwarfed today by the Golden Gate Bridge, this brick fortress constructed between 1853 and 1861 was designed to protect San Francisco from a Civil War sea attack that never materialized. It was also used as a coastal-defense fortification post during World War II, when soldiers stood watch here. This National Historic Site is now a sprawling museum filled with military memorabilia, surrounding a lonely, windswept courtyard. The building has a gloomy air and is suitably atmospheric. (It's usually chilly and windy, too, so bring a jacket.) On days when Fort Point is staffed, guided group tours and cannon drills take place. The top floor affords a unique angle on the bay. Take care when walking along the front side of the building, as it's slippery and the waves have a dizzying effect. Though it's only open Friday through Sunday, Fort Point may soon be open during the week; call ahead for hours. The fort's popular guided candlelight tours, available only in winter, sell out in advance, so be sure to book ahead. Southeast of this structure is the Fort Point Mine Depot,
an army facility that functioned as the headquarters for underwater mining operations throughout World War II. Today it's the Warming Hut, a National Park Service café and bookstore. www.nps.gov/fopo. Admission: Free. Hours: Fri.-Sun. 10-5.
1100 California St.
San Francisco, CA 94108
Not many churches can boast a Keith Haring sculpture and not one but two labyrinths. The seat of the Episcopal Church in San Francisco, this soaring Gothic-style structure, erected on the site of Charles Crocker's mansion, took 53 years to build, wrapping up in 1964. The gilded bronze doors at the east entrance were taken from casts of Lorenzo Ghiberti's incredible Gates of Paradise, which are on the Baptistery in Florence, Italy. A black-and-bronze stone sculpture of St. Francis by Beniamino Bufano greets you as you enter.
The 35-foot-wide labyrinth, a large, purplish rug with a looping pattern, is a replica of the 13th-century stone maze on the floor of Chartres Cathedral. All are encouraged to walk the ¼-mi-long labyrinth, a ritual based on the tradition of meditative walking. There's also a terrazzo outdoor labyrinth on the church's north side. The AIDS Interfaith Chapel, to the right as you enter Grace, contains a metal tryptich sculpture by the late artist Keith Haring and panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt. Especially dramatic times to view the cathedral are during Thursday-night evensong (5:15) and during special holiday programs. www.gracecathedral.org. Hours: Weekdays 7-6, Sat. 8-6, Sun. 7-7.
2007 Franklin St.
San Francisco, CA 94109
A small display of photographs on the bottom floor of this elaborate, gray 1886 Queen Anne house makes clear that despite its lofty stature and striking, round third-story tower, the house was modest compared with some of the giants that fell victim to the 1906 earthquake and fire. The Foundation for San Francisco's Architectural Heritage operates the home, whose carefully kept rooms provide an intriguing glimpse into late-19th-century life through period furniture, authentic details (antique dishes in the kitchen built-in), and photos of the family who occupied the house until 1972. Volunteers conduct one-hour house tours three days a week and informative two-hour walking tours ($8) of the Civic Center, Broadway, and Union Street areas on Saturday afternoon, and of the eastern portion of Pacific Heights on Sunday afternoon (call or check Web site for schedule). www.sfheritage.org. Admission: Entry $8. Hours: 1-hr tour Wed. and Sat. noon-3, Sun. 11-4; 2-hr tour Sun. at 12:30.
San Francisco, CA 94108
Known as Morton Street in the raffish Barbary Coast era, this former red-light district reported at least one murder a week during the late 19th century. Things cooled down after the 1906 fire destroyed the brothels, and these days Maiden Lane is a chic, boutique-lined pedestrian mall stretching two blocks, between Stockton and Kearny streets. Wrought-iron gates close the street to traffic most days between 11 and 5, when the lane becomes a patchwork of umbrella-shaded tables.
At 140 Maiden Lane
you can see the only Frank Lloyd Wright building in San Francisco. Walking through the brick archway and recessed entry feels a bit like entering a glowing cave. The interior's graceful, curving ramp and skylights are said to have been his model for the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Xanadu Tribal Arts, a gallery showcasing Baltic, Latin-American, and African folk art, now occupies the space.
San Francisco, CA 94122
Stretching 3 mi along the western side of the city from the Richmond to the Sunset, this sandy swath of the Pacific coast is good for jogging or walking the dog—but not for swimming. The water is so cold that surfers wear wet suits year-round, and riptides are strong. As for sunbathing, it's rarely warm enough here; think meditative walking instead of sun worshipping.
Paths on both sides of the Great Highway lead from Lincoln Way to Sloat Boulevard (near the zoo); the beachside path winds through landscaped sand dunes, and the paved path across the highway is good for biking and in-line skating. (Though you have to rent bikes elsewhere.) The Beach Chalet
restaurant and brewpub is across the Great Highway from Ocean Beach, about five blocks south of the Cliff House.
2981 24th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
Founded by muralists, this nonprofit arts organization designs and creates murals. The artists themselves lead informative guided walks of murals in the area. Most tours start with a 45-minute slide presentation. The bike and walking trips, which take between one and three hours, pass several dozen murals. May is Mural Awareness Month, with visits to murals-in-progress and presentations by artists. You can pick up a map of 24th Street's murals at the center and buy art supplies, T-shirts, postcards, and other mural-related items. Bike tours are available by appointment; Saturday's 11 am walking tour meets at Cafe Venice, at 24th and Mission streets. (All other tours meet at the center.) www.precitaeyes.org. Admission: Center free, tours $10-$12. Hours: Center weekdays 10-5, Sat. 10-4, Sun. noon-4; walks weekends at 11 and 1:30 or by appointment.
San Francisco, CA 94129
When San Franciscans want to spend a day in the woods, they head here. The Presidio has 1,400 acres of hills and majestic woods, two small beaches, and—the one thing Golden Gate Park doesn't have—stunning views of the bay, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Marin County. Famed environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy's new sculpture greets visitors at the Arguello Gate entrance. Erected at the end of 2008, the 100-plus-foot Spire,
made of 37 cypress logs reclaimed from the Presidio, looks like a rough, natural version of a church spire. The best lookout points lie along Washington Boulevard, which meanders through the park.
Part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area,
the Presidio was a military post for more than 200 years. Don Juan Bautista de Anza and a band of Spanish settlers first claimed the area in 1776. It became a Mexican garrison in 1822, when Mexico gained its independence from Spain; U.S. troops forcibly occupied the Presidio in 1846. The U.S. Sixth Army was stationed here until October 1994, when the coveted space was transferred into civilian hands.
Today the area is being transformed into a self-sustaining national park with a combination of public, commercial, and residential projects. In 2005 Bay Area filmmaker George Lucas opened the Letterman Digital Arts Center,
his 23-acre digital studio "campus," along the eastern edge of the land. Seventeen of those acres are exquisitely landscaped and open to the public, but not even landscaping this perfect can compete with the wilds of the Presidio.
The battle over the fate of the rest of the Presidio is ongoing. Many older buildings have been reconstructed; the issue now is how to fill them. The original plan described a nexus for arts, education, and environmental groups. Since the Presidio's overseeing trust must make the park financially self-sufficient by 2013, which means generating enough revenue to keep afloat without the federal government's monthly $20 million checks, many fear that money will trump culture. The Asian-theme SenSpa and a new Walt Disney museum have opened, and a lodge at the Main Post is in the planning stages. With old military housing now repurposed as apartments and homes with rents up to $10,000 a month, there's some concern that the Presidio will become an incoherent mix of pricey real estate. Still, the $6 million that Lucas shells out annually for rent does plant a lot of saplings….
The Presidio also has two beaches, a golf course, a visitor center, and picnic sites; the views from the many overlooks are sublime.
Especially popular is Crissy Field
, a stretch of restored marshlands along the sand of the bay. Kids on bikes, folks walking dogs, and joggers share the paved path along the shore, often winding up at the Warming Hut, a combination café and fun gift store at the end of the path, for a hot chocolate in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge. Midway along the Golden Gate Promenade that winds along the shore is the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center, where kids can get a close-up view of small sea creatures and learn about the rich ecosystem offshore. Toward the promenade's eastern end, Crissy Field Center offers great children's programs and has cool science displays. West of the Golden Gate Bridge is sandyBaker Beach,
beloved for its spectacular views and laid-back vibe (read: you'll see naked people here). This is one of those places locals like to show off to visitors. www.nps.gov/prsf and www.presidio.gov.
San Francisco, CA 94103
There's not much south of Market that encourages lingering outdoors, or indeed walking at all, with this notable exception. These two blocks encompass the Center for the Arts, Metreon, Moscone Convention Center,
and the convention center's rooftopZeum,
but the gardens themselves are the everyday draw. Office workers escape to the green swath of the East Garden. The memorial to Martin Luther King Jr. is the focal point here. Powerful streams of water surge over large, jagged stone columns, mirroring the enduring force of King's words that are carved on the stone walls and on glass blocks behind the waterfall. Moscone North is behind the memorial, and an overhead walkway leads to Moscone South and its rooftop attractions. The gardens are liveliest during the week and especially during theYerba Buena Gardens Festival
(May-October, www.ybgf.org), when free performances run from Latin music to Balinese dance.
Atop the Moscone Convention Center perch a few lures for kids. The historic Looff carousel
($3 for two rides) twirls daily 11 to 6. South of the carousel isZeum
(Tel. 415/820-3320. www.zeum.org), a high-tech, interactive arts-and-technology center (adults, $10; kids 3-18, $8) geared to children ages eight and over. Kids can make Claymation videos, work in a computer lab, and view exhibits and performances. Zeum is open 1 to 5 Wednesday through Friday and 11 to 5 weekends during the school year and Tuesday through Sunday 11 to 5 when school's out. Also part of the rooftop complex are gardens, an ice-skating rink, and a bowling alley. www.yerbabuena.org. Admission: Free. Hours: Daily sunrise-10pm.
|June 21, 2018||Max Temp||Min Temp|
|Normal||72 °F||54 °F|
|Record||88 °F (2010)||46 °F (1955)|
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