Locals Being a Tourist in San Francisco

06.14.12


Just Don't Call It Frisco

Why let the tourists have all the fun? Here are three great ways to explore our City by the Bay. Get out for a look, locals!


Bike Brewery Tour

San Francyclo Brewing

A bike ride and a beer just got a refreshing new spin with an off-road, two-wheel adventure that combines San Francisco’s hidden bike trails with its tastiest craft brew pubs. Thank the keen eye and networking talents of long-time resident and owner of Inner Richmond’s San Francyclo, Jason Annecone: He’s rolled out a series of off-the-beaten path and customizable local bike tours, including a Brews & Bike option showcasing parts of San Francisco that guide books won’t. One of these, the "Richmond Gears & Beers Loop", features three breweries with distinct master-crafts. After gearing up in the shop (tours include a smooth riding bike and a helmet), you’ll pedal beyond the crowds on JFK Drive and into the singletrack labyrinth of Golden Gate Park. Weaving through the interior, take in a few of the park’s hidden surprises (that’s all we’re saying) before popping out of the woods at the Park Chalet’s back patio. The on-site brewery is known for crisp California ales, but be sure save your stamina! The pedaling continues with a healthy climb to the Pacific postcard views of Lands End (cameras at the ready) and a jaunt on the Bay Area Ridge Trail through the Presidio. This concludes the power-up portion of the tour…time to cruise downhill and then along the flats en-route to sampling an English bitter at the Haight's Magnolia Pub, followed by the Belgian strong ale at Inner Sunset's Social Kitchen and Brewery. Dust off your mug and give a toast to this tasty Tour de SanFrancyclo.

Bike tours start from Jason’s shop, San Francyclo, 746 Arguello Blvd. (at Golden Gate Ave.). Jason customizes tours for the group, but the featured three-stop bike and brewery tour runs $100/person and takes approximately 4 hours. 

Barbary Coast Trail San Francisco

Earn Your Medallions

Are you ready to chase a trail of golden medallions throughout the city? The do-it-yourself Barbary Coast Trail is your chance to show summer guests a city that even old-timers don’t know! On this self-guided walking tour, 170 medallions set in the pavement lead you into the city's intriguing and tumultuous past. Begin the journey wherever you like, but the official start is the Old U.S. Mint Building in the heart of downtown. Over four flat and gently sloping miles, you'll hitch up at the old Pony Express Headquarters, discover the birthplace of the Gold Rush, and uncover a few scandalous tidbits too. Example: Maiden Lane, the side street known for its high-end shopping, used to be lined with wooden shanties that housed ladies of the night. According to lore, these denizens "often hung out of windows naked to the waist, and offered men one breast to touch for 10 cents, two for 15 cents." You won't find prices like that at today's boutiques! To complete this classic tour, you can ride a cable car from the finish at Aquatic Park—home to the recently renovated, Maritime Museum, featuring 1930s art deco and vibrant murals depicting the underwater world—back to the start at Hallidie Plaza. And the rest is history!

BONUS: The trail passes some eminently edifying watering holes, such as the Old Ship and Caffe Trieste, where you and your guests can ponder the past over a pint of Anchor Steam or a frothy cappuccino.

We recommend picking up a printed guide to get the full Barbary Coast Trail experience. They can be found at various bookstores in the city or ordered online.

Inn at the Presidio San Francisco

This Just Inn

Few cities are home to a national park, and few national parks have a modern and historical boutique hotel hidden within. Lucky for us, there’s the Inn at the Presidio, a new, 22-room hideaway in the heart of the park. The inn is gorgeously refurbished and renovated with locally sourced artisan details and memorabilia. Design enthusiasts will appreciate the bright, red-brick exterior (not to mention the front porch charmed by rocking chairs), the original 1903 hardwood floor inside, and even the old-school slide-up windows. History buffs will love the décor; much of it was found in the Presidio’s scrap yard and underwent some artistic recycling. Bugles lining a giant canvas and magnifying glass chandeliers are good examples of how the hotel blends the Presidio’s past with contemporary touches. Of the 22 rooms, 17 are spacious one-bedroom suites with fireplaces. Try to get an ocean-facing view—there are plenty of windows to take in the scenery. For those wondering, the bathrooms are enormous. Even the reading material is up-to-date and focused on all that’s good and close to home. In the evening, kick back at the outdoor fire pit and enjoy a glass of complimentary wine and cheese while listening to the wind blow through the eucalyptus trees. In the morning, take a hike: the Ecology Trail leaves right from the hotel’s backdoor, a half-mile walk to Inspiration Point for a panoramic view of the Bay. Totally inn-spiring.

Inn at the Presidio, 42 Moraga Ave. (at the Main Post), San Francisco; (415) 800-7356. Rates start at $195. Weekends sell out quickly. Dog-friendly!

Discover a Land Not Far Away

Location, location, location. Terranea Resort is an oceanfront hideaway that sits on some of the most prized land in Southern California. Set right on the tip of the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles County, and surrounded on three sides by the Pacific, Terranea gives guests 102 acres of open space that are rich in wildlife, history, and adventure. Visit Pointe Discovery—a one-stop shop for experiencing all of Terranea’s land and sea adventures, including kayorkling (part kayaking, part snorkeling!), horseback riding in Rolling Hills, or roaming miles of scenic bluff top trails and secluded rocky beach coves. Rather just catch up on some R & R?  Terranea’s three ocean-view pools let you lounge in tranquility. Feast on award-winning food and service at one of the eight restaurants, cafes, lounges or bars located at the resort. And save the best for last by wrapping up the evening with a s’mores roast at one of the numerous fire pits or fireplaces. Discover a land not far away.

TIP: Stay in a hotel guestroom or opt for one of the residential-style accommodations: Bungalows, Casitas and Villas are elegant yet functional with all of the modern conveniences. Sweet Terranea dreams.
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