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!]

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Swistle
15 years ago

OH, you’re going to BLOGHER!! Oh, now I want to go to BlogHer! We could stand there looking at each other and going “Huh. Huh. Huh. So! Huh.” Then there could be a prolonged, awkward silence! Or, we could both bring laptops, and we could sit next to each other and IM! It would be SO AWESOME!

samantha jo campen
15 years ago

Damn woman. You’re, like, in DEMAND. How awesome is that?

Never been to SanFran so I have nothing in terms of suggestions. But sleep the sleep of the dead and if nothing else, that will be a success.

I’m so f-ing pissed it’s not in Chicago again this year. Last year I was newly pregnant and feeling like holy hell so I didn’t go. Yet it was in my back yard. Thanks, baby, for making Mama a hermit. Sigh.

Have fun at BlogHer!!

Swistle
15 years ago

Also: the new header makes me happy (because it’s great) and sad (because I loved the old picture) and happy (because it means DYLAN is here!) and sad (because I loved the old picture).

Julie
Julie
15 years ago

Tartine Bakery – not right near Moscone, but worth whatever it takes to get there (TAXI!) – they just won the James Beard Pastry Chef award.

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
15 years ago

I’ve never been to San Fran, so I don’t have any input for you.

Here’s to a hotel room to yourself, a full night’s sleep and pay per view porn!

heather
heather
15 years ago

SF is home to me, so here are some suggestions:

bi-rite ice cream, on 18th and guerrero (in the mission). i promise that if you get the salted caramel ice cream, you will never, ever be the same.

the mission, generally, on valencia between 16th and 24th. tons of bookstores, record stores, yummy food and eye candy (if you’re into that sort of thing) everywhere.

MoMA, because it’s a great museum.

ok, hope that helps!

ELC
ELC
15 years ago

I went a long time ago (20 years), but I remember Fisherman’s Wharf, and would definitely like to revisit it. On the water, as you would imagine – lots of great food, shopping, and accessable via those famous streetcars.

Amy
Amy
15 years ago

I just went to San Francisco last summer and cannot wait to go back! I’d avoid the ultra-touristy Fisherman’s Wharf area and hit the Mission district, or wander around North Beach, Russian Hill, etc. We stayed in Russian Hill, and I loved all the typical SF architecture, the water views, the steep hills, the cool shops and cafes. Just wandering is a great way to spend a few hours in SF.

ZestyJenny
15 years ago

Don’t worry about BlogHer! You will have a blast. I went 2 years ago, and I had great time, even though I knew no one. Being a touch socially awkward is pretty common among bloggers, I think! It’s just such a kick to be around so many other women who get blogging. I can’t wait to read your reports!

kalisa
15 years ago

you’re so lucky. I wish I was going. Then the two of us could sit around and not drink together.

Christy
Christy
15 years ago

Ok, this is going to sound like a total cop-out answer, but you HAVE to go walk on the Golden Gate Bridge (not the entire way across, I’m not that demented, and there IS room service dessert to be eaten). Standing on that bridge, looking out at the bay, and feeling that wind was a life moment for me. It may just have been the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

Naomi the Strange
15 years ago

I am in SF. There’s a ton of stuff around the Moscone center to do, a ton of tourist stuff. You should check out Fisherman’s Wharf and Union Square. :) Have fun at the conference.

My Buddy Mimi
15 years ago

I took a night-time tour of Alcatraz once, and they put a LOT of effort into the special programs (the after-hours stuff generates revenue directly for them while the daytime stuff is shared with all national park facilities). If they have one while you are there, I would highly recommend it.

bea
bea
15 years ago

I’m in the south bay and only go to sf to visit family. I wouldn’t do the Mission unless it’s the middle of the day. Union Square is great and San Francisco City Center is a huge indoor mall that just opened nearby. Ooh, Chinatown too. I would probably do a cable car trip from Union Square to Ghiradelli’s chocolate, then walk to Fisherman’s wharf. Take a cab back to the hotel and enjoy Blogher!

Cali911Gal
Cali911Gal
15 years ago

If you arrive fairly early in the day, and it’s sunny or even slightly foggy, take the red/white ferry across the bay to Sausalito. You can get SPECTACULAR pics of Alcatraz and the Golden Bay bridge, walk around Sausalito and check out the galleries and artisty shops, then head back. Its a nice, fairly cheap way to spend the afternoon, and an easy way to get some stunning pics, especially if the light is right.

marypat
marypat
15 years ago

Must see
1) palace of fine arts
2) exploratorium (for kids, but so much fun)
3) golden gate park – amazing gardens

Must do

walk the path up to the bridge from the water

enjoy!!!

Emilysnow
Emilysnow
15 years ago

I have to second the evening tour of Alcatraz. Bring your camera because the light there as the sun goes down is AMAZING.

Jennifer
Jennifer
15 years ago

I’ve done lots of SF touristy things and the one I keep returning to is: fisherman’s wharf (pier 39 I think?) to watch the sea lions. They sleep and bark and swim around and bite each other and in general put on a great show. I just get a latte or an ice cream and find a spot and just watch. I could watch them for hours (and I have!!!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOpmziaOqoE

Lots of other restaurants and parks and views of the water from down there, people watching and strolling around on a nice day.

I second an earlier commenter’s suggestion to walk out onto the Golden Gate Bridge… look out at the water and the views and breathe the fresh (windy) air.

I sure hope you have a warm sunny day for this!

Oh, and PS I’m sad about Tim Russert too. :(

nonsoccermom
15 years ago

Yep, I agree that the evening tour of Alcatraz is pretty cool. Hubby and I did that when we went a few years ago.

I’m jealous!! I love SF and can’t wait to go back. Have fun!

victoria
victoria
15 years ago

I used to live in Berkely, and spent a summer working in downtown SF. If I had a day to spend there, I would make sure I (1)ate dim sum at Yank Sing (believe me Linda, neither Seattle nor Vancouver has any dim sum to rival Yank Sing’s); (2) visited the Japanese Gardens in Golden Gate Park; (3) went for a run along The Embarcadero & said hi to the sea lions at Pier 33 or whatever the number of the pier is where they hang out; (4) walked or drove over the Golden Gate Bridge and walked along the Marin Headlands; (5) had dinner at Silks Restaurant, or Rubicon.

Joanne
15 years ago

I spent part of my honeymoon there and I really thought the Alcatraz visit was interesting. We also rented bikes and biked across the Golden Gate Bridge which was hard (see hills) but so amazing.

lena
lena
15 years ago

I work in the city, and there are sooooo many places I want to throw out there for you to visit. There is so much to see, it’s difficult to recommend just one place.

If you want to do something close to the Moscone Center, I’d definitely suggest SFMOMA. You can stay there as little or as long as you’d like, there is a ton of great artwork, and the building itself is gorgeous and fun to walk around.

Alcatraz is fun too, but you should definitely plan at least three hours for the trip.

Sunshyn
15 years ago

Well, having LIVED in SF, hmmm…. I love Chinatown. I guess it depends on how much time you have. Waiting in line for a cable car on Powell Street is not my idea of fun. Last summer when we went, we stayed on Fisherman’s Wharf, and we took the F Trolley down to the Wharf and rode the Muni Metro underground down Market Street to Civic Center and walked backup Market Street. Muni has a map of their public transit online you could peruse. I know we caught the cable car somewhere NOT busy and then took the F Trolley somewhere else, and that was fun for all. From Moscone, I think I’d do Union Square and probably Chinatown, if I were a female without males and male children. And I might go out for Irish food somewhere. On maybe O’Farrell Street (near Union Square. But be careful – that neighborhood ain’t the best. Be prepared to be panhandled a lot.

lena
lena
15 years ago

Oh and I agree with Heather on all of her suggestions. Especially the salted caramel ice cream…. MMMMMmmmmmmm. The only thing about the Mission district is that it can go from really nice to kind of scary (if you’re not used to it) if you go two blocks in the wrong direction.

Leah
15 years ago

How touristy do you want to get? Pier 39 is the ultimate. (Crowded, overpriced, a pain in the ass to get to.)

If you want to get a taste of the local vibe, the Mission is a good suggestion–lots of food and shopping, right on public transportation lines, and safe so long as you use your gut. (Mission St. itself can be sketchy.)

If I could steal you for the evening, I would take you on a driving tour that would include the GG Bridge, GG Park, Twin Peaks (best view of the city that exists), and all of the neighborhoods from Chinatown and North Beach to the $10 million homes to the corner with the greatest concentration of tranny hookers.

I am your source. USE ME.

(Also, please don’t ever call it San Fran or Frisco.)

Ashley
15 years ago

First I’d go to the mission district for a burrito, no a falafel, no a burrito, no…fuck it I’d have both. Then I would mosey to upper Haight and go to Amoeba Records because OH MY GOD BEST RECORD STORE EVER. Then I would some how load all the new music I bought on my Ipod and walk across the street to Golden Gate Park and walk until my feet fell off because there is that much to see in that amazing park.

Melinda
Melinda
15 years ago

I love wandering around the Presidio, Fort Point, and Baker Beach area. Amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge. Awesome photo ops. I was just looking at some pictures from a trip I took a while back and thinking how I have to go back to SF soon! Hope you have a great time at BlogHer and exploring San Francisco.

Lesley
Lesley
15 years ago

Love your essay on “ongoing motivation.” So much of our success rests on being mindful and disciplined (Ooooh, the word “discipline” is fraught with negative connotations for me…)

I know someone who is in phenomenal shape who works out twice a week only. In her view, any more than that is a waste of time. Sadly, her routine doesn’t work for me. If I let one day slip my willpower begins to slide and my legs and feet grow perceptibly heavier. I need to do at least one routine every day to keep myself interested and encouraged. It may be that the extra working out makes no difference to my body, but this is what keeps me motivated and upbeat. There is no sadder sight than a discouraged me…

Have loads of fun at BlogHer. I hope you don’t run into any PDish commenters!

mixette
mixette
15 years ago

I used to live there and go back all the time , so if I were looking for a good quick hit of SF-ness it would be a trip to the ferry building

http://www.ferrybuildingmarketplace.com/

You’re right on the waterfront but away from the touristy fisherman’s wharf. Great cupcakes (miette) and cheese to die for (cowgirl creamery) and other bay-area-only shops, no chain stores. You can see both bridges and alcatraz from the pier itself.

If you can swing it for a meal or just appetizers the Slanted Door is yummy, loud, fun, hip and little over the top.

Danielle-Lee
15 years ago

The food at Fisherman’s Wharf and in Little Italy.Yummy fresh seafood & AWESOME gelato….mmmmm!

lee
lee
15 years ago

i had a great dinner for under $20 on a boat at fisherman’s wharf. i think it was called noma rose. i got a glass of wine, salad, great dinner of shrimp and luscious veggies and an evil chocolate dessert, which i ate lingeringly while taking in a great view of the wharf.

if you go to chinatown, hit canton bizarre and ask to see the pillow sculptures. HEHE! they are tiny porcelain sculptures of asian couples copulating in different position. if the wife is too shy to ask for what she wants in bed, she picks the position from their collection and places it on the pillow for her husband to find. unfortunately, i couldn’t afford the doggy style one because i spent all my money on t-shirts and plastic buddhas. oh well, i get it when i want anyway!

Stacy
Stacy
15 years ago

I second the Ferry Building. Nice scenery, good people watching and good eats. If you are getting in in the late afternoon, I wouldn’t suggest the Mission as it does get a bit sketchy at night. The SFMOMA not my cup of tea (have you seen the Michael Jackson and Bubbles sculpture?) but if you like modern art, then it would be cool. There just isn’t a whole lot do around the Moscone center. There is a new mall full of VERY expensive stores but I don’t get walking around and staring at stuff I can’t afford! I like the Metreon because of the IMAX theater but those are pretty common nowadays. Although, they do sometimes show regular movies on the IMAX screen which is pretty cool (saw 2 of the Lord of the Rings movies there).

Kate @ Bleisenblog
15 years ago

Linda,
Thanks so much for your ongoing diet/exercise motivational posts. I don’t comment much, but I am always inspired by you to keep trying when it seems hard.

velocibadgergirl
15 years ago

Hiya! When I went to San Francisco, the best quick trip I made was to the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park. Have fun at BlogHer!

Amanda
15 years ago

Have fun at blogher! I’m jealous! Haven’t been to San Fran since I was seven years old, but I remember eating crabs. Dee-lish.

Mary
Mary
15 years ago

I’m from Seattle too, and while I love Fisherman’s Wharf, we have stuff enough like it that I wouldn’t use one day on it. I love the walking tour somebody described, North Beach and Russian Hill. Fort Point is right under the SF end of the Golden Gate bridge and is one of my favorite spots in the whole city. Drive up to Twin Peaks if you have a car, the views are spectacular. Walk through the Marina district if you like looking at really cool houses. And Chinatown is different from anything we have here. Have fun, plan to be cold, because you think you’re going to California so it should be warm, but SF is actually foggy and cool most of the time. I’m jealous, SF is about my favorite city after Seattle.

Mary
Mary
15 years ago

Oh, and Greens. How could I forget Greens. If you do end up down by the Wharf, Greens is a vegetarian restaurant, I think it’s run by Buddhist monks. To die for. Seriously. And I’m not a vegetarian.

sara
sara
15 years ago

ooh – the moscone center is super close to BART, so you can hop on the train & hit up a variety of neighborhoods, whatever suits your fancy. Personally, I would eat a burrito in the Mission.

Schnozz
15 years ago

I second the Union Square bit, especially since the area is within walking distance of the Westin, which is sort of nice. In my nonconferencing, I’m going to wander around there and find me a nice place to sit and do nothing. :) Maybe we could have one of those interactions where you weren’t even EXPECTING to know someone on the street, so it’s even weirder and more awkward? Bonus!

mia
mia
15 years ago

Alcatraz. Totally. Do the walkman tour. Go into a cell and lay on the bed. Visit the gift shop and buy Whitey’s memoir. I lived in SF for years, and it’s the one tourist-y indulgence I could never resist…it holds up even after repeated experiences!

workout mommy
15 years ago

ok, at the risk of sounding seriously dorky…please can I meet you at BlogHer? I am always talking about your blog to my hubby, although we just refer to you as ‘purple fruit’.

I am dragging my whole family with me, however now I am wondering why. I haven’t slept a full night in almost 3 years–this could have been my chance!

sooboo
sooboo
15 years ago

As an artist (and former San Franciscan) I would always suggest SFMOMA. Their permanant collection is pretty good and they have the best museum store. The show there right now is Frida Kahlo. She’s basically the shit. But, one of my favorite walks is up Stockton street through Union Square/Chinatown and into North Beach. Shopping, food, people watching, and safe. Have fun. I’m jealous!

Pam
Pam
15 years ago

If you do nothing else at all, PLEASE drive to Half Moon Bay and walk the paved path along the water. Honestly Linda, I’ve been to SF twice JUST to do the tourist thing and aside from the magnificent oysters, Half Moon Bay was breath taking.

All Adither
15 years ago

It’s so unfair. I just tried to use the word PORN in my blog post and Typepad said Oops, it appears there’s been some error. Once I swapped out the “O” it mysteriously went right though. Maybe I should switch to WordPress so I can use all the smut I want.

launchingsloth
15 years ago

i have lived in SF about a year, but we have had a crazy number of visitors, and have done many touristy things with them. here is what i liked.

1. Coit tower at sunset. Bring your camera. Hike up to it if you want a kickass workout.Prepare to be crammed in with a bunch of people on the way to the top, but it’s nice up there.
2. The coastal trail–it has great views of the coast and the famous bridge, & it’s pretty wide so you can run on it if you want.
3.We took the ferry out to Alcatraz w/ both sets of parents, and I liked the tour more than I expected.

Also, I’m not vegan or even vegetarian–which may be why this was fun for me–but the hub and I went to MILLENIUM restaurant, which only serves veg food, for dinner and it was really, really good.

Amanda
15 years ago

Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge? It would be lovely at sunset! (which happens a bit EARLIER than up here in WA)

Lisa
Lisa
15 years ago

i lived in SF for 8 eight years and i would recommend a very touristy thing – an evening ride on a cable car – walk to the foot of Powell Street (at Market) and get on a cable car… stay on it until the end of the line (Fisherman’s Warf). it is actually quite thrilling to ride over the hills with the cold wind whipping you in the face and see the view of the bay and the city lights and Alcatraz in the distance. it probably won’t even be that crowded at that hour, since the tourists may have already headed off to dinner. kind of kitchsy – but i love it. i did that same ride from time to time when the city was getting me down and i needed to fall in love with it again.

MizzM
MizzM
15 years ago

Take a tour of Alcatraz! There is also a trolley museum, and you can’t go wrong with a trip to the Ghiradelli Chocolate factory (not only do you get to buy chocolate to your heart’s content, but you also get to watch it being made)! Just riding the trolley to Ghiradelli square can be a tourist-y event–if you are lucky you will get one of the trolley drivers who doubles as a Tour Guide.

Cyndy Aleo-Carreira
15 years ago

I need to find a client who’ll send me to lots of conferences. Seriously. My week in SFO for Web 2.0 Expo was crazy hard work since I was in the booth all day, but the whole “no kids to get ready in the morning” was a welcome break.