When I was in contract discussions for this writing gig a while back I was surprised to see that the client wanted to send me to BlogHer this year, presumably because no one had informed them what a braying, pants-wetting jackass I am in large social settings. Now that the conference is a month away I suppose I should be fretting over the fact that I’ll be leaving my precious babies for a few days but to be honest all I keep thinking is: HOTEL ROOM TO MYSELF. A FULL NIGHT’S SLEEP. PAY PER VIEW PORN.

(I’m just kidding about that last one. Unless “porn” = “room service dessert menu”.)

I should go ahead and confess that when I received a very nice email asking if I needed childcare for BlogHer I basically responded, “Ha ha ha ha ha haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa NO.” No, I will not be traveling to BlogHer with a 3-year-old and an infant, my GOD, and for those who ARE bringing the kidlets along, you are made of stronger stuff than I. See also: batfuck crazy. No, wait, I mean, to each their own. I’m sure your kids will have a lot of fun. Hey, who doesn’t remember those heady summer days of childhood, when you’d beg your parents: “Please, please, can we go to a 3-day blogging conference? Please can we learn about content syndication and advertising models?”

ANYWAY, I’ve been to San Francisco several times now on business but I’ve never had time to actually see anything but the blocks surrounding the Moscone during daylight hours. Since I’ll be arriving the Thursday before the BlogHer conference starts, I’d really like to do something touristy. It will be late afternoon once I get checked into the hotel and have spent a while reviewing and strategizing my porn late-night creme brulee options, so I won’t have a LOT of time, and it will probably be right at the most traffic-y part of the day, but for those of you familiar with the area: what would you recommend? Where should I go? What’s the one thing you’d do if you had a few hours to kill in the city?

Lastly, here’s the Weekly Elsewhere Blogging lineup:
• The ongoing search for exercise/diet motivation [Gather.com]
• A damn fine list of workout music, if I do say so myself [SundryBuzz]
Making small talk and things I can no longer do [ParentDish]
Awesome bath products [Work it, Mom!]


69 Responses to “San Francisco treat”

  1. Melissa H on June 14th, 2008 8:23 pm

    San Francisco is great. I was there last weekend so if you want to check out Japantown or craft stuff you can swing by my blog but my friend who is a local has a new foodie blog about restaurants. You can read her post here http://adventuresinsf.blogspot.com/2008/06/those-leftys-and-rightys.html or even submit a request for restaurants in the neighborhood you’ll be visiting.

    As for sights, the hands down BEST thing to do in SF (during nice weather) is to wear comfy shoes and WALK. Take a map, use the bus system ($1.50 and transfers last for ages) DO NOT DRIVE UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES and walk. Market St can be fun (near 4th, up near 8thish it gets kinda sketchy) Chinatown is fun to walk, tons of neighborhoods, I see something new every time.

    FINALLY (sorry for the long comment) check out Sweet Juniper’s excellent guide: http://www.sweet-juniper.com/2006/07/so-long-san-francisco-sweet-junipers.html

  2. Rochelle on June 14th, 2008 10:24 pm

    Go to House of Nanking at Columbus and Kearney. Ignore the fact that it looks kinda divey. Let the owner order for you. It is the best Chinese food I’ve ever had and CHEAP! I live in Monterey and make the drive to SF at least once or twice a month to satisfy my craving. Also, I second Golden Gate Park. So many things to do there. Don’t miss the buffalo!

  3. anonymous on June 15th, 2008 11:16 am

    I’ve had the good fortune to visit SF a few times, for fun, not business.

    I did the Alcatraz tour at night, and it was interesting. But. LONG. Truth be told, I got a little bored by the end. Also, the night we went it was raining cats & dogs, freezing cold, and miserable. This might have detracted from the experience, so I say — bad weather = definitely no Alcatraz.

    My absolute favorite thing in SF is the walk from the Marina to the Golden Gate Bridge. Actually, I run the paths it & it’s a totally inspiring & beautiful place to run. The Presidio is gorgeous so I suggest that as well. There are some neighborhoods in the hills on the other side of the Presidio — Sunset Hills, maybe, is the name of the neighborhood?? I love to ogle amazing houses I would love to own myself, so I consider that good tourist fare.

    I drove through the Golden Gate Park & it was really pretty but also, totally packed with tourists. This makes it less appealing, I think.

  4. Christine on June 15th, 2008 12:15 pm

    While you are in San Francisco:
    – If you are interested in fancy food and cooking, you should not miss the Ferry Building. Also, if you have time for a great meal, book a reservation at the Slanted Door as soon as possible.

    – If you want to check out one of the newer hot neighborhoods, hit the Mission on Valencia.

    – If you want to geek out, go to the Precidio and walk around George Lucas’ Digital Arts complex. I believe there’s a statue of Yoda near the entrance.

  5. Margie on June 15th, 2008 1:34 pm

    I had an afternoon/evening/morning stopover in San Fran on my way to Canada at the end of last year. As recommended by a friend, I hired a bike & rode along the waterfront towards Fort Point (I surf here in Oz so was intrigued that you can surf under the golden gate) and up and over the bridge & over to Sausalito…and then caught the last ferry back over. So much fun – even though I was by myself, I enjoyed every second of it. Then I crashed in my hotel and slept like a log. In the morning, I took an Alcatraz tour (the one that actually lets you off to roam around & learn things on the island) and loved every second of that as well. Doing a night one would have been cool, but they were booked out when I tried to book the same afternoon (funny that!).
    Have fun!

  6. Gentry (formerly of San Francisco) on June 15th, 2008 2:38 pm

    Ignore everybody except the people who told you to go to the Ferry building and stuff your cake hole with cake from Miette. And then take the F-Market (the oldy timey trolley cars) up to the terminus in the Castro to see the Gays and a bar called the Moby Dick where you can order a drink called Seamens Delight.

    Dessert, porn and a tour of the city while seated in a cute trolly car, not a tourist packed cable car that probably costs like $90 now.

    Otherwise, the pharmacies in Chinatown are cool because instead of labling the boxes of medicine, they show pictures of the ailement it cures. I used to decorate my cube with boxes of medicine featuring Chinese people with all sorts of pustules.

  7. wwbd on June 15th, 2008 4:03 pm

    Another vote for the Ferry Building!

  8. Lora on June 15th, 2008 6:02 pm

    Bring your GPS. Or you will go batfuck crazy in your car.

  9. T on June 16th, 2008 9:41 am

    I went to SF in february, so if you want to peruse my blog entries for Feb, u can see the long version of my observations.
    Chinatown is pretty cool.
    I enjoyed the murals everywhere in the Mission district–the ice cream place sounds excellent, wish I’d tried it!
    Enjoyed Haight-Ashbury, you can check out Amoeba as mentioned above & from that area can walk to see the “Painted Ladies”.
    If u ferry over to Sausalito (I thought is pretty but not much going on)eat at at Scoma’s. Actually there is one at the Wharf too. It is an excellent meal.
    Wharf is real touristy, but the sea lions were neat.
    My only regret is not having time to take the bus to Muir Woods from Sausalito so that I could see the giant redwood trees.

    HAVE FUN!!!!!!!!

  10. David on June 16th, 2008 12:50 pm

    San Francisco, beautiful city. You will find plenty to do. I know it may sound tacky, but you gotta ride the cable cars. Well worth getting to see the city and some of the locals. DO NOT ride one of the ones with wooden seats!!! They hurt. Wait for the ones with padded seats.

    Also, China town is my favorite. It still has the feel of long time immigrants living there. Weird food in the windows and unusual smells. Lombard street is worth seeing or driving down if you get the chance. Don’t use BART as you will not see anything underground. The Castro is worth it’s historic value and a fun place. You can’t go wrong just walking around. Lot’s of beggers though. Just stay aware.

    I’m jealous.

  11. Kerri on June 16th, 2008 1:05 pm

    Go watch the sea lions at the wharf… Or go on the boat tour to Alcatraz. Those are the most memorable parts of my trip to SF. The botanical garden is nice too, and riding public transportation is very interesting because of all the different people.

  12. review stew on June 16th, 2008 3:49 pm

    First off – carry layers of clothing, especially since it’s the late-afternoon/evening! Temperature will likely plummet a good 25 degrees.

    Wear good walking shoes. Like Seattle, SF is an excellent walking city.

    Again taking into account the time of day, I’d suggest a nice (not overly-hilly) walk like this:

    – head to the cable-car turnaround at Powell and Market to gawk at tourists’ reactions to street performers and prosletyzers.
    – walk north past Union Square (if it’s a weekend, there will be music or an art show or something)
    -turn right, walk to Stockton Street, glance left. You’ll be facing the tunnel off of which Sam Spade’s partner fell after he was shot in the Maltese Falcon
    -keep heading east another block and you’ll see the Chinatown gate on your left. Go through the gate (turning left onto Grant St), and enjoy the special brand of tackiness.
    -Walk all the way up Grant till it hits Columbus Ave at an angle.
    -turn left on Columbus, visit the awesome and awesomely-historic City Lights bookstore, and keep walking into the North Beach neighborhood.
    -You’ve got about ten trillion great Italian restaurants and cafes to choose from in the next 6 blocks. Chow down!
    -Head back downtown, walking or in a cab, and have a drink at the top of the Marriot (aka the Judas Iscariott), which will cost more than your dinner, but is worth it for the view, especially as it gets dark.

  13. laura on June 16th, 2008 5:29 pm

    i’d head straight for golden gate park. the deYoung museum is amazing to look at, and the stuff inside is good too. also the Japanese tea garden is beautiful.

    for walking around/people-watching/shopping i’d go to noe valley, or hayes valley, both have unique shops, yummy food/drinks and an amazing variety of tattoos.

    have a great time, sf is the best.

  14. Joanna on June 16th, 2008 8:04 pm

    Union Square has good shopping and an Old Navy store that is not to be missed. Since Old Navy/Gap are headquartered there, it’s the flagship Old Navy store. I’m not the biggest ON shopper, but I always find things there.

    The best restaurant I’ve ever eaten at in the U.S. is in Pacific Heights (I think), called Betelnut. Amazing Asian food. http://www.betelnutrestaurant.com/


  15. Courtney on June 17th, 2008 8:37 am

    If you had to go one place, def. Fisherman’s Wharf and be sure to eat some seafood!!!

  16. Albert on June 18th, 2008 4:47 pm

    I am in San Francisco frequently and love it, love it, love it. I agree with all of your readers suggestions…but since you were asking if I were limited on time, what is the one thing I would have to do…and for me, that would be to dine at Cha Cha Cha. There is one in the Mission, but the original (and the better one) is in Haight Ashbury. Excellent Tapas…the calamari is ridiculous, the warm spinach and bacon salad is heaven…and their sangria is the best I’ve ever had, even beating out what I had in Argentina! Have fun.

  17. Bethiclaus on June 20th, 2008 9:13 pm

    I brought my toddler to BlogHer last year, but my husband was there to take care of her which really meant that I could basically ignore her existence while I was at the conference. Any other circumstance and I couldn’t even imagine having my kids there with me.

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