San Francisco: Places to Go, Things to Do

Coming to San Francisco for the Expo? Here are some tips from those of us who live here!

First off, we advise you not to drive. San Francisco is compact enough that you can either walk where you're going (it's a great walking town) or take a cab -- you'll find plenty around the Moscone Convention Center and the Financial District (on the other side of Market St.).

You can also enjoy our good public transit (despite what locals say) -- including cable cars, old-timey trolleys that travel up and down Market, and BART trains that run to points in the city and throughout the region.

Transit Suggestions

San Francisco's mass transit has been the center of many debates and the butt of many jokes. But while you're here, you may want to fork over a dollar and have at it!

Take one of the surface trolleys (not the underground Muni) up Market St. (away from the water) to the Castro for fun shopping, eating, and people-watching.

Take the underground Muni E-line from any of the Market St. stations -- it goes above ground along the waterfront Embarcadero, and takes you out to see the Giants' new Pacific Bell Park under construction. Lots of pretty bay views.

A pleasant ride can be taken on one of the new N Judah trains. Simply walk to the Powell Street Station -- a few blocks north of Moscone Center -- and board any of the N Judah Outbound trains. Once outside the underground tube, you'll see a pleasant view of the Embarcadero from Market Street all the way down to the CalTrain Station. Along the way, get views of the Bay, Bay Bridge -- yes, part of it actually collapsed during the 1989 Earthquake! -- and the new baseball park. Once at the end, hang on to your transfer slip and walk over to any one of the many restaurants in that area. Remember, the transfer is only good for 2 hours, so don't delay too long!

Another fun and cheap adventure is the J Church Muni line, which will take you into the hills of San Francisco and present you with some rather unique -- and beautiful -- views of the City. Simply catch the J Church inbound train at the Powell Station, and take it all the way to the end. Once outside the underground tunnel at Church, you'll begin your outdoor ride up into the hills.

Take BART (the Pittsburg/Bay Point line) to the Rockridge station for another good people-watching, shopping, and eating spot. It's also the home of Zachary's Pizza, a deep-dish Chicago Style pie that's easily the best pizza in the Bay Area and perhaps some of the best in the world.

Ride the cable cars, but do it the smart way -- Everyone stands in long lines to catch the cable car at the Powell turnaround. Instead, walk toward the foot of Market St. (toward the water). In front of the Hyatt Regency is the California cable car turnaround--no crowds, and a lot fewer beggars and con artists. For two dollars, you can board -- no, you can't run up to it while it's moving and jump on -- and ride all the way to Van Ness. Along the way, you'll head up the steep slopes of California Street, past Chinatown -- a great place to stop for a cheap lunch -- pass the Mark Hopkins and Fairmont Hotels, Grace Cathedral, Masonic Hall, and at the end, you're just a few blocks from the Hard Rock Café! If you decide you want to take the cable car out to Fisherman's Wharf, simply jump off the California Street Car at Powell street, and transfer to a Fisherman's Wharf-bound car.

If you're daring, try bus route 42, a loop that takes you through the Financial District, out to Fisherman's Wharf, back past Chinatown, Multimedia Gulch, the South of Market Area (SOMA), and back to the Financial District. And it's only a buck (two transfers included)! Or try the 7/71 Haight, 6/66 Parnassus buses -- they'll take you up Haight St and to Golden Gate Park.

In The City

If you'd like to catch a movie between Keynotes, or maybe enjoy a nice IMAX show, head across the street to Sony's new mega-entertainment complex, the Metreon. There you'll find a full range of movie choices, from your regular Hollywood films to the large-than-life IMAX. Opening on January 1 is Disney's Fantasia 2000, a must-see on anyone's list!

Whether you need something new for tomorrow's event, or just want to grab a few things, there is plenty of shopping to be found just down the street from Macworld Expo. Head over to the San Francisco Centre, which, like most malls, has everything you'll need.

If spending a little time wandering the halls of a Museum is your kind of Fun, head over to the SF Museum of Modern Art. For just $9, you can enjoy all the art you can handle, and it's a quick walk across the street from the Expo. Check out their Web site for details on shows going on while you're here.

Believe it... or not? For just $8.95, you can make that decision yourself by visiting the Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum! With 10,000 square feet of "Themed Entertainment," there's bound to be something there that will make you say "I don't believe it!". Check out its web site for more details on what you can see this time around.

East and North

If you're willing to travel a little farther afield, Berkeley is home to famed restaurant Chez Panisse, bookstore Comic Relief and the Gore-Tex Ghetto at San Pablo and Gilman (The North Face, Wilderness Exchange, REI, Royal Robbins, and a ski/surf shop all have outlets within two blocks of this intersection). BART to Berkeley (Richmond line) will get you to Comic Relief; BART to Berkeley and a 43 bus (or a half-mile walk) will get you to Chez Panisse (AC Transit in the East Bay is $1.35, plus another quarter for a timed transfer); to get to the Gore-Tex Ghetto, take BART to Berkeley, then take a cab or the #9 bus from the BART station.

Oakland's got a great Chinatown centered around 8th and Webster streets (take BART to Lake Merritt using either the Fremont or Dublin/Pleasanton lines). Try Tin's Teahouse (8th and Webster) for dim sum -- get there between 10am and 12pm on weekends for the yummiest selection. They are also happy to pack up a to-go order for you.

If you've planned your trip with some extra days at the end (or something to think about for next year's Expo), rent a car Saturday morning and drive over the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin County. You can take a bus, but it's difficult--the car will be easier, really. Book a bed and breakfast and stay over a couple of days. Go see Muir Redwoods, Mt. Tamalpais, Stinson Beach, the Wine Country (very pretty what with all the grape leaves turned yellow and red), or Point Reyes National Seashore.

Go to: Macworld Expo Central
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