Going to San Francisco

Maybe this notice is a bit late, but next Tuesday I'll hop on board the plane that will take me to San Francisco for a ten day stay (Wed. 17th to Fri. 26th).

I've never been there before (in fact, this will be only the second time I visit the US), and I'm very curious about this great city where everybody's rumoured to talk about CSS all the time, which is supposed to be quite a bit like Amsterdam (at least, that's what a San Franciscan once told me), and whose praises have been sung many times over, even though the requirement to put flowers in your hair seems to have been scrapped somewhere during the Reagan administration.

My main reason for visiting San Francisco is the Voices that Matter: Web Design Conference (22nd-25th), during which I'll give a talk titled Advanced Design Techniques: JavaScript to the Rescue (Wednesday 24th, 9:30). Apart from this conference, I have a few appointments here and there, especially in the week before the conference.

Anyway, this entry has two main goals:

  1. Can any native give me a few Dos and Don'ts for visiting San Francisco as a tourist? Which places are not to be missed, and which ones are just tourist traps?
  2. Is there any kind of event related to web development in the weekend of 20/21 October? If not, maybe somebody could suggest some kind of meeting? Sitting in a pub with a few web developers and discussing a few tricks of the trade would be ideal.
    One of my strictest policies is contacting the local web development scene in whichever city I happen to visit, and San Francisco's scene is obviously something I shouldn't miss.


This is the blog of Peter-Paul Koch, web developer, consultant, and trainer. You can also follow him on Twitter or Mastodon.
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1 Posted by Dante on 13 October 2007 | Permalink

For godsakes, avoid Fisherman's Wharf/Pier 39. This is the very epitome of tourist traps. Unless you like the smell of sea lions and seafood being cooked, I would avoid it.

2 Posted by Sander on 14 October 2007 | Permalink

Don't be surprised at the really, really, really large amount of homeless people in San Francisco.

Do visit the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, ideally on a an early morning weekday when there's bound to be not nearly so much other visitors and you have a chance of having all the beauty to yourself.

Do visit Valencia Street, the stretch between 19th and 21st (iirc), for some totally out of this world stores (to wit: the pirate store with its awesome fish, the landscaping store with the unreal handmade animal-skull puppets (including the best Baba Yaga you'll ever have seen), and Borderlands Books, the best science fiction bookstore in San Francisco (partly due to its resident sphinx cat), plus a whole host of other more-or-less awesome places.

3 Posted by Jon on 15 October 2007 | Permalink

I've lived in San Francisco 11 years and still love going to North Beach to check out the cafes, City Light Books, and all the great restaurants. Avoid it on Friday, Saturday night, though, as it turns into a bad club scene.

Get a burrito in the Mission District. Arguments rage continuously as to the best taqueria - just look for one that is crowded and you'll bet set.

It's a great city - have fun!

4 Posted by Anthony Ettinger on 18 October 2007 | Permalink

Fishermen's warf is lame...checkout SFMOMA instead. Also Golden Gate park is cool, Steinheart aquarium, and the Japanese Tea Garden (bring camera).

Ride the trains/buses, forget renting a car.

Try a night in North Beach if you're into the bar scene.

5 Posted by Anthony Ettinger on 18 October 2007 | Permalink

ps - Alcatraz is pretty cool if you have the time.

6 Posted by Stephen on 19 October 2007 | Permalink

Come visit us at Yahoo! Oh wait...you just did. Thanks for visiting us, a great talk. Good luck with the guild...you know we all want to franchise it.

7 Posted by Joseph Silvashy on 25 October 2007 | Permalink

To bad I didn't get to meet up with you, and that you are leaving tomorrow!

Reguardless I hope you have enjoyed your stay in our city, and maybe you feel compelled to come back soon!

8 Posted by Mary on 29 October 2007 | Permalink

Fishermen's Wharf isnt lame, but I wouldnt spend all day there. Go in mid-morning when its cool. Get a nice cup of clam chowder and relax. There is so much to do and see in SF, no one place should take up all your time or be avoided altogether, IMO.