What is the best time to visit San Francisco?

You may be thinking that since San Francisco is in California, any time of year is a great time to visit — not so in this bayside city. Although San Francisco’s climate is mild year-round, the weather does vary seasonally. Winters are cool and rainy, but low temperatures rarely dip below the mid-40s. Summer in this city is a relative term; it’s not unusual to see people wearing knit hats to ward off the chill in overcast June and July. Time your visit between September and November, and you’ll be rewarded with glorious sunny days more typical of the Californian ideal. Bottom line is: No matter what time of year you are visiting, your suitcase better have a couple of sweaters in it.

  • On July 28, 2013
    Maria Hunt answered the question: Maria Hunt

    What are the best sushi restaurants in San Francisco?

    San Francisco may lack L.A.'s ultra-expensive sushi dens like Urasawa and Nobu, but there are still a handful of places to go for pristine and fresh fish made into sushi. 

    Chef Tim Archuleta of Ichi Sushi wows San Francisco sushi fans with his super-fresh and artfully carved nigiri and sashimi, thrilling omakase menus, and dishes like albacore tuna tataki and sea bream with kabosu juice, shiso, green tea salt and yuzu kosho. Soon he and his wife will open a new Ichi with a raw bar, sushi bar, full kitchen and mixed drinks in a larger space at 3282 Mission St.

    Ozumo's two locations in San Francisco and the East Bay bring a modern vibe to the sushi experience, from signature Asian-inspired cocktails to specialty rolls to robata grilled skewers. In Oakland, head to Piedmont Avenue to find offers B-Dama, a super authentic spot with a small sushi bar, an ever changing menu of seasonal hot dishes and yakitori. For a more festive time, head down the avenue to Itaba, a new sushi spot sleekly done in natural wood; their generous happy hour offers a selection of rolls and cocktails.
  • On July 24, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What are the best comedy clubs in San Francisco?

    Many legendary comedians including Robin Williams, Dana Carvey, and Margaret Cho got their starts doing stand-up in San Francisco. Thus, the city by the bay is a great spot to check out up and coming talent as well as established profesionals on tour.

    The best place to catch a show is Cobb's Comedy Club in North Beach. This old-school comedy house is large and in charge (it seats 400 people) with a two drink minimum per person. They also have an assortment of food including chicken and waffles, meatball sandwiches, and steak with French fries. All of the seating is first come first serve, so if you've got a big group, try and get to your show early. Upcoming comedians include Tom Cotter, Bobcat Goldthwait, Jay Larson, and Cecily Strong.

    Another popular comedy spot is The Punchline Comedy Club. The oldest club in San Francisco, Punchline is managed by the same group as Cobb's so the same rules apply. Comedians with shows in the near future are Adam Ray, Julian McCullough, and The Sullivan & Son Comedy Tour.
  • On July 24, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What is the hottest nightclub in San Francisco?

    San Francisco isn't a town that is known for its nightclubs. Locals prefer to see and be seen at trendy restaurants and popular bars instead of packed nightclubs. That being said, I believe there are a couple of nightclubs worth checking out, if that is your thing. These places are the hottest in my humble opinion.

    Mighty, located in Potrero Hill, is a square-shaped club that has a great scene and an assortment of DJs, musicians, and bands roll through. The space is industrial chic with a brick wall behind the long bar and high concrete ceilings.

    Supperclub is a chain of nightclubs that promotes itself as a 'feast for the senses.' The San Francisco club has low lighting, a circular bar, and beds to lounge on. There is an upstairs area that allows dancers to show off their skills.

    Cat Club, the seediest nightclub of the bunch, is an awesome place to let loose and get your dance on. Thursday nights are incredibly popular because the music is all 80s, all the time.
  • On July 24, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    Where are the best places to go dancing in San Francisco?

    Most San Franciscans avoid the downtown club scene because it generally draws a crowd of non locals, whom natives refer to as 'bridge and tunnelers' because they enter the city by crossing a bridge or coming through a tunnel. Well known nightclubs like Ruby Sky, Harlot, Infusion Lounge, and Slide, are somewhat seedy and attract young drug-using partiers. I advise against checking them out on a weekend night.

    Instead, go to a popular establishment that is known to play a mix of top 40, classic dance, and hip hop songs. The upstairs bar at Le Colonial transforms into a super fun dance floor around 10 PM on weekends. Blondies, in the Mission, is another bar that locals flock to for a great dance scene. For an outrageous night, try the Cat Club, which is known for it's lively characters and rave-like scene. If you're into hip hop and rap, Double Dutch, also in the Mission, is the ideal spot to bust a move.
  • On July 24, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What would be a perfect date night in San Francisco?

    For me, a perfect date night in San Francisco involves a meal at one of the city's top restaurants followed by drinks at a nearby establishment. Choose a restaurant and bar that are within walking distance and on the same level of formality.

    For date night downtown, start with dinner at Gitane. Located on the adorable Claude alley, you'll be instantly transported to another place. The lounge and bar at Gitane, which specializes in Spanish and Basque cuisine, are particularly sexy. Afterward walk around the street to Rickhouse for a whiskey-fueled nightcap. The lighting is low and the atmosphere intimate.

    For a Mission district date night, go to dinner at Central Kitchen where chef Thomas McNaughton specializes in high end Cal-Italian cuisine. The covered patio is romantic and comfortable. When dinner is over, pull up a couple of bar stools at Trick Dog, the bar next door. The changing cocktail menu features some of the city's best drinks.

    For a date night in North Beach, begin with a meal at Park Tavern. This Washington Square Park restaurant offers delicious renditions of American cuisine, think spicy deviled eggs and perfect roast chicken, in a chic and bustling setting. Grab an after dinner cocktail at Toni Nik's, a dark watering hole that has been serving up classic concoctions since 1933.
  • On July 24, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    What are the best sports bars in San Francisco?

    One of the best sports bars in San Francisco, Public House, is located at AT&T Park, home of the 2012 World Series Champions, the SF Giants. Public House has a massive selection of craft beer on tap and plenty of state of the art flat screen televisions. The menu consists of upscale versions of classic bar snacks like chipotle buffalo wings with housemade ranch and soft pretzel bites with porter mustard.

    If you prefer a dive-y sports bar, head to the Bus Stop in the Marina or Greens on Polk Street. Both of these establishments have been providing locals with affordable drinks and round-the-clock sports for years.

    For those looking to watch a soccer match, Mad Dog in the Fog, in the Lower Haight is your best bet. Most soccer leagues are shown on one of their many TVs and there is a back patio and a decent selection of beer. Pub food, like fish and chips and bangers and mash, are on the menu.
  • On July 24, 2013
    Katie Sweeney answered the question: Katie Sweeney

    Where are the best cocktails in San Francisco?

    San Francisco is a cocktail lover's city and the bartenders here take their drink-making seriously. Look in any neighborhood and you'll find several craft cocktail bars where the staff make their own bitters and tinctures, fill the shelves with artisanal spirits, and offer a unique selection of classic and modern libations.

    15 Romolo and Comstock Saloon are two favorites in North Beach. They are within walking distance of each other and make a great mini cocktail tour of the city. 15 Romolo is a modern speakeasy with Pimm's Cups and fried chicken sandwiches on the menu. A juke box always plays in the background. Comstock Saloon has an old time feel with a live jazz band most nights and excellent preparations of classic drinks like the Southside and Negroni.

    Other noteworthy bars with exceptional cocktails are Rickhouse (known for its collection of whiskey and punches), Elixir (a dive with the city's best bloody Mary bar), Smuggler's Cove (a tiki bar that has many hard to find rums on hand), and Trick Dog (San Francisco's newest cocktail bar that has a line around the block on weekend nights).
  • On July 24, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best places to ski near San Francisco?

    Any chance of a good snow storm, or following one, and most of the skiiers in the San Francisco Bay Area have one word on their mind:  Tahoe!

    Lake Tahoe is America's largest Alpine Lake and a popular year-round destination for hikers, campers, and bikers. But skiing is tops among San Franciscans and Tahoe's pristine blue waters surrounded by snow-capped mountains harbor some of Northern California's best ski resorts. Located about 200 miles, or 3.5 hours (no traffic) from San Francisco, Tahoe is a favorite for winter sport lovers and families. From intimate and casual to sprawling world-class ski resorts, Lake Tahoe has something for every age and skill level.

    Squaw Valley was the site of the 1960 Winter Olympic Games and skiiers and snowboarders love its challenging terrain and runs, and there are some pretty awesome views of the lake too. Nearby Alpine Meadows offers diverse terrain and has more than 6,000 acres to ski. FYI: Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley USA now offer a combined season pass, to maximize your ski season. Northstar is off the lake a little bit, but the gorgeous setting is also popular for families, its stellar skiing, as well as the pretty village with 35 shops, restaurants, an ice rink, fire pits, and tons of après fun. The gorgeous Ritz Carlton in Northstar adds to the appeal for luxury travelers. Heavenly is one of Lake Tahoe’s largest and most visited resorts with jaw-dropping views, great ski and board conditions, with the highest elevation and the longest vertical drop in the Lake Tahoe area. 

    The choices are endless, really, but there's a start.  Check out this website for more details.

    FYI: Traffic can be a nightmare and the 3.5 hour trip has been known to take double the time during popular holidays and if weather slows things down.  Chains might also be required if you are driving in inclimate weather.  Reno Airport is the closest to  Lake Tahoe, about an hour away.  

  • On July 24, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best free museums in San Francisco?

    No surprise, San Francisco is an expenisve city and museums are no exception, generally charging admission of $10 or more, plus special exhibition fees. However, they are not entirely budget savaging. A few worthwhile museums around the city are free, and, with some clever planning, many of the "big name" institutions can be friendlier to your pocketbook.

    The Cable Car Museum is one of the freebies and a wonderful way get a look behind the scenes at San Francisco's moving monuments. The museum houses a few ancient cable cars as well as various mechanical tools to teach you how the system works. Head downstairs to see a the cable line running under the building.

    In the center of the Financial District, the Wells Fargo History Museum could be mistaken for a bank if you don't know where to look. On the site where Henry Wells and William G. Fargo first offered banking and express services to Gold Rush pioneers, this free museum is an immersion in California's 49er past, with an old Concord Coach used in the 1860s and a display of gold dust and ore from California's gold country. A free audio tour is also offered.

    The Legion of Honor and  de Young Museum  make up San Franciosco's Fine Arts Museums and are the city's premiere art destinations,welcoming high caliber international exhibitions. Normal admission price is $10 but come on the first Tuesday of the month, admission is free at both venues.

    San Francisco's modern art Mecca, MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) is a must for lovers of the genre, but entry is $18 dollors a pop for adult entry. However, entry on the first Tuesday of the month is free. Also, kids under 12 are always free as are active U.S. Military members. If Tuesday can't work, try Thursday night after 6pm when entry is half-price. UPDATE:  MoMA has closed for renovations until 2016.

     

     


  • On July 22, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best seafood restaurants in San Francisco?

    San Francisco is known for its food, and seafood is top notch in our city surrouned by water.

    Speaking of Water, Waterbar is a seafood-centric restaurant located on the waterfront with spectacular views of  the Bay Bridge and city skyline. The menu bursts with the freshest sustainable fish and seafood. Also on the waterfront, La Mar Cebicheria specializes in ceviche ( or cebiche) at Pier 1 1/2 on the Embarcadero, and serves beautiful dishes with an ecclectic and colorful mix of fresh flavors, and a Peruvian bent. Head to the Ferry Builidng and to Hog Island Oyster Company, the oyster bar and retail outlet for the Tomales Bay oyster farm of the same name. The seating is causual---belly up to a U-shaped bar, and enjoy more great water views out on to the San Francisco Bay. Fisherman’s Wharf is one of the most popular tourist destinations in San Francisco, and many go to the plethora of seafood restaurants, like the landmark Alioto's, the oldest on the wharf..  I prefer to grab a sourdough bowl of clam chowder or some fresh crab and eat it on a near by bench. Venture across the bay to Sausaliton and Fish. The name says it all, and it's all they do here at this order at the counter casual eatery.  It's all fresh, all local, and all sustainable. The place is usually packed, so be prepared to queue up. But it's worth it!
  • On July 5, 2013
    Kimberley Lovato answered the question: Kimberley Lovato

    What are the best restaurants in San Francisco’s Mission District?

    You can barely throw a fork in the Mission District without hitting a restuarant and chances are, it's pretty good. It's a neighborhood known for its Mexican cuisine and there are some great choices here for that, like longtime favorite Poncho Villa and La Taqueria (2889 Mission)

    But don't limit yourself.  Here are a few other favorites.

    Delfina has been a longtime classic in the neighborhood and still serves some of the city's best Italian and American comforts. Always packed, be it at outdoor tables on nice days, or huddled inside on cold ones, you can't go wrong here. Ever.  



    Tartine Bakery is pardise for pastry and bread lovers. The smell of fresh cooked dough alone could satisfy your hunger (fresh loaves come out around 4:30). But better yet,  grab one of the mouth watering hot pressed sandwiches. You won't ever go back to the deli again. 

    Flour + Water reminds is a quentessential gathering spot that specializes in homemade pasta, but also serves meat dishes and sauces and fresh vegetables. It's intimate and inviting, perfect for a dinner with friends or a romantic rendezvous.  And the past---oh boy---doesn't get better.

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