This Page Contains Information on San Francisco, Gilroy, Napa Valley, Links to Santa Cruz and other Northern California Cities.
Click Here For Los Angeles, San Diego and other Southern California Cities. San Francisco, CA When heading for SF, bring a jacket. Even in summertime, the weather will bring plenty of suprises. There is an old quote "the coldest winter I ever spent was the summer in San Francisco".
There is one must see tourist destination. Head to the Tonga Room at the Fairmont Hotel on California Street for Happy Hour. You have to enter through this incredibly plush hotel and you wind up in a giant tiki room with a pool in the middle of it. In the pool is a boat that is sometimes filled with musicians. Twice an hour there is fake lightning, and it starts to rain in the pool! Its quite a sight. Why go for happy hour? Why, half price drinks, of course. And they have a buffet of all you can eat appetizers for a nominal price. They used to serve their fruity coctails in amazing carved glasses, but theft put a stop to that. It is still worth checking out though.
Heres the party to go to: Popscene One of the best sources for info on dance clubs in San Francisco comes from the SF Raves List.
The Weekly Alternative paper is the SF Weekly. and The Guardian. The south bay has the Metro. Also check out Bay area Nightlife.
Also try THE LIST, Squidlist, The Station, Flavorpill, the gate and more. Also try Fudcourt for great eating tips. Virtuous tix.
The longest running mod Party is 1964, every 2nd and 4th Wednesday "Moderately" Priced SF Hotels from a May 2000 issue of the NY Times Travel Section:
Sam Wong Hotel-615 Broadway (415-362-2999)-Doubles from $119
Pickwick-85 Fifth Street (415-421-7500)-Standard Doubles $99-289 near Union Square.
Stanyan Park Hotel-750 Stanyon Street (415-751-1000)-Doubles from $150 on the edge of Haight-Ashbury and its Gap store.
Bed and Breakfast: Casa Arguello-225 Arguello Blvd. (415-752-9482) near the Pacific and Laurel Heights and Richmond areas. Four double rooms, two with shared bath for $66 two with private bath from $90-110 and one large suite for up to 5 people for $135-195 depending on number of people.
King George Hotel, 334 Mason Street, (800) 288-6005, A tearoom offers the usual treats, from crumpets to Devonshire cream. Doubles as low as $85.
Laurel Inn-444 Presidio Avenue at California. 415-567-8467. Doubles $135-165.
The Best Band Club in the city is the Bottom of the Hill.
Other live music-
The Knockout-Wide variety of shows from Japanese punk rock to rockabilly to Indie 3223 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
Bimbo's 365 Club-1025 Columbus Avenue (at Chestnut Street),San Francisco, CA-big shows!
DNA LOUNGE-375 Eleventh Street-lots of different parties and shows
The Fillmore-1805 Geary, at fillmore-big show, ticketmaster big. Also check shows at the warfield.
Slim's 333 11th St. (415) 522-0333
Great American Music Hall-859 O'Farrell Street San Francisco, Band like Cat Power and Peter Murphy play here.
Hemlock Tavern-1131 Polk Street @ Post (415) 923-0923
The Independent-628 Divisadero at Hayes, SF
Attraction-The Musee Mechanique has a huge selection of antique arcade games you can play. Pier 45 Shed A at the end of Taylor Street, Fisherman's Wharf The Mission District is the trendy area of town.
On Tuesday and Saturday until 1:30 p.m., you can head to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on Front and Green Streets in the Embarcadero area. Its an upscale market with stalls offering homemade honeys, breads, meats and vegetables, and a lot of prepared foods and an outdoor food court. Its a good way to sample lots of different local food in one outing.
The following are recommendations from a local friend of mine:
North Beach neighborhood:
Vesuvios -semi divey bar that was a hangout for the Beats. Cool vibe, singles scene, fairly cheap booze.
Across the street are two bars...Tosca's-a very cool little bar that has the
feel of a semi-divey (again) cafe in Italy without the food. Known for
their Irish coffee, bartenders that still wear white jackets, a hangout of
Coppola (he supposedly wrote a good part of the Godfather in the back room), they only have operas on the antique juke box. Supposedly Bono was so enamored of it he called his bar in Dublin Toscas.
Next to that is one of my faves- Spec's. The quintessential dive bar. On
any night you could be sitting next to a wino and a guy in a Thurston Howell III sailing outfit.
Around the corner is a lesbian owned and run peep show called The Lusty Lady. Go in the booth, pop a quarter, the window goes up and you see a small mirrored room with about five girls. If you look closely you can see the reflection of other patrons in the mirror beating off, so it is recommened you don't look too closely.
Storyville-1751 Fulton, San Francisco, 415-441-1751
Justice League-628 Divisadero St-San Francisco (415) 440-0409- Very good Dance club with occasional live indie music.
Cafe DuNord-2170 MARKET STREEt, (415) 861-5016-restaurant with awesome live shows.
Amoeba is probably the largest alternative/indie record store around, though Rasputin Records, also in SF run a close second.
Amoeba Records-185 Haight Street and 2455 Telegraph Avenue
Aquarius Records, 1055 Valencia St., San Francisco, CA 94110
Hear Music, 1809B Fourth St., Berkeley, CA 94710
Hear Music, Sony Metreon, 101 4th street, San Francisco, CA 64103
Mod Lang, 2136 University Ave., Berkeley, CA 94704
Open Mind Music, 342 Divisadero, San Francisco, CA 94117
Reckless Records, 1401 Haight St., San Francisco, CA 94117
Record Finder, 258 Noe St., San Francisco, CA 94114
Streetlight Records, 3979 24th St., San Francisco, CA 94114
Streetlight Records, 2350 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94114
Sunday School at the up and down club-1151 Folsom St. 415-626-2388
Must See!-Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker is located at 914 Heinz Ave, on the corner of Heinz and 7th St in Berkeley. They make the best chocolate in the USA.
Werepad -2430 Third Street-San Francisco-(415) 824-7334-Hip, Alternative Film Hangout space.
Here is someone else's travel guide to San Francisco for the "goth-geek-freak-hipster-nerd" and here is another list of record stores. Also here is a great list of compiled music performances, as well as a list for jazz and other improvised music.
added 11/2004-Citrus Club-1790 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 415 387 6366-Recommended by Ursula 1000 who says "The Garlic Edamame is to die for!" Its a noodle restaurant.
Mamas-1701 Stockton St., San Francisco, CA 415-362-6421-Best Breakfast spot
Liguria Bakery-1700 Stockton St., San Francisco, 415-421-3786-Nothing but Foccaccia, and when that runs out, they close for the day.
Le Boulange de Polk-2310 Polk Street, San Francisco, 415-345-1107-Cafe with amazing baked goods, quiches and sandwiches. Relatively inexpensive. Said to have the best almond croissant anywhere.
Citizen Cake-399 Grove Street, San Francisco, 415 861 2228-another bakery with beautiful pastries. Food, too.
Grubstake-1525 Pine, SF-Portugeuse food in an old trolley car. Regular diner food too
Restaurant and Wine Salon-448 Brannan St., San Francisco (415) 904-4100 Trendy pricey wine bar with over 1000 types of wine.
Happy Donut-3801 24th St., San Francisco, CA 415-285-5890-Get a cream filled chocolate bar.
Chez Nous-1911 Fillmore St San Francisco (415) 441-8044-"small plate" eatery. Tapas american style.
Blowfish-2170 Bryant Street San Francisco (415) 285-3848-best sushi with anime and techno djs. EXPENSIVE.
Luna Park-694 Valencia St San Francisco (415) 553-8584-inexpensive updated american. I am appalled that they put tuna roe instead of anchovies in their ceasar salad, but still good.
Tadich Grill -240 California St San Francisco CA 94111-160 year old restaurant with classics fare
House of Prime Rib 1906 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco, CA 94109. Another out of time restaurant, this one has been serving it up for 60 years or so. Classic prime rib, creamed spinach and horseradish sauce.
That's It - 2699 Mission Street at 23rd Street. Open really late. 415) 285-9833. In the back of a liquor store, lunch counter with crazy combo concoctions. Anthony Bourdain ate here on an episode of No reservations. The Cubana is pickled jalapeno, grilled onion, tomato, avocado slices, lettuce, two fried eggs, bacon, mayo, queso, sliced ham & chicken, Mexican chorizo, shredded chicken and pork, refried beans, and cubed ham, but the quesodillas and tostadas.
Red's Java House-Pier 30, San Francisco, CA 94105, (415) 777-5626-not a coffee house, famous for corned beef hash and griddles burgers on non tradional rolls, chili cheese fries. Used to serve the longshoreman and another out of time place.
Conga Lounge -5422 College Ave., Oakland, California; Tel. 510.463.2681 , kitschy lounge music, 50's decor, old movies and great island cocktails, upstairs from Pizza Rustico cafe
Fentons-4226 Piedmont Ave., Oakland, CA 94611-Ice cream parlor/cafe. A banana split is made with 3 lbs of ice cream
Everett & Jones Barbeque, Jack London Square , 126 Broadway (between 2nd St & W Embarcadero) Oakland, CA 94607-REAL BBQ with down home sides to die for
Side Trips from San Francisco-
Santa Cruz is a short drive away. See Feature Link Below.
One hour north of San Francisco in the town of Freemont is the Jelly Belly Factory, where you can take a tour.
45 minutes south of San Francisco is the Burlingame Museum of Pez Memorabilia, 214 California Drive, Burlingame, CA(650) 347-2301
Closed sunday and monday. free. To get there, take Interstate 80 through San Francisco, taking Highway 101 toward San Jose. Exit at the Burlingame/Broadway offramp and veer to the right. Cross the railroad tracks and turn left onto California Drive.
Gilroy, CA is 45 miles SW of San Francisco and they hold the Gilroy Garlic Festival the last full weekend of July. See Feature Below.
45 minutes north of San Francisco is Six Flags Marine World, 2001 Marine World Parkway, Vallejo, CA 707-643-6722. Its a small but rather typical Six Flags Park. Hanging at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Santa Clara, CA/San Jose
Neto Sausage Company-3499 The Alameda, Santa Clara, CA 95050 phone # (408) 296-0818
Every friday this sausage company has a bbq where you can sample their Linquica and other sausages. It is near San Francisco.
Falafel Drive In 2301 Stevens Creek Blvd., San Jose, CA (408)294-7886-old fashioned drive in restaurant for falafel. Only in Ca.
Huong Lan Sandwich, 1655 Tully Rd , San Jose, CA 95122 , (408) 258-8868, chain of banh mi sandwich places. A banh mi is a vietnamese sandwich served on french bread with either cold cuts and pate, pork, chicken or anything else you want but its topped with mayo, cilanto, marinated carrots in a vietnamese sauce, cucumber and jalapenos. Delicious.
Paramount's Great America-2401 Agnew Road, Santa Clara, CA (408) 988-1776-Big amusement park with lots of coasters. Its in the dessert and gets really hot in mid summer.
Branham Lounge=1116 Branham Lane, San Jose, CA (408) 265-5525-Dive bar is hardware store parking lot. Wierd but good. Time warp.
Hedley Club, 233 W Santa Clara Street, San Jose, CA 408.286.1000, Hotel Bar said to be the most elegant club in San Jose. Designed like a 30s nightclub
Los Gatos Bar & Grill -15 N Santa Cruz Avenue, San Jose, CA 408.399.5424. I would never go dance at a place that had the word "grill" in the name, but apparantly they do here.
Fuel-44 S Almaden Avenue, San Jose, CA 408.295.7374-Nicest Live Music Club/dance club located behind a bus station anywhere.
The Usual-400 S. First St., San Jose, CA 408.298.9375-Live Music Club and Dance club in the South Beach like area of San Jose with bad website. Check ticketweb for events.
The worlds largest flea market is in San Jose, Open Wednesday to Sunday, 1590 Berryessa Rd., San Jose, Ca 95133 - 408-453-1110, 800-Big-Flea
Big Sur, CA
Inns and Food and stuff
Complex of Buildings designed by a student of Frank Lyoyd Wright. Fancy and less fancy choices. Cool View.
48510 California 1, Big Sur, CA - (831) 667-2345
Deetjen's Big Sur Inn-on the other end of the spectrum from Nepenthe, this inn has no cell service, no tv, no phone. Inn and Restaurant
48865 Highway 1, Big Sur, California (CA) 93920
Telephone: 831-667-2377 http://www.deetjens.com
Click here for my feature on SANTA CRUZ, the home of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Great seaside amusement park.
Six Flags Marine World-2001 Marine World Parkway, Vallejo, CA (707) 643-6722-Park with about 6 coasters.
Marin Joe's-1585 Casa Buena Dr, Corte Madera, California 94925 (415) 924-2081-open since 1954, great architecture and steaks, caesar salads, cheeseburgers, more
Eats-Taylors Refresher-933 Main St St Helena, CA (707) 963-3486 Carry out only with amazing burgers. Gilroy, CA Gilroy is said to be the only place where you can marinate a steak by hanging it on a clothesline, since 90 percent of garlic in the USA is grown here. They celebrate the last full weekend each July with the Gilroy Garlic Festival-3 days of eating and playing, all focusing on Garlic. They even have a garlic themed tilt a whirl.
Gilroy Gardens, 3050 Hecker Pass Highway, Gilroy, CA 408 840-7100-New park with a pair of rollercoasters-best amusement park food, fried artichokes.
Andersen's Pea Soup(Pea Soup Andersons) 376 Avenue of the Flags
Buellton, California 93427, (805) 688-5581-specializing in a bottomless bowl of vegetarian split pea soup, which you can "soup up" with bacon and other add ons.
Home of the giant artichoke.
Central Texan Pit BBQ 10500 Merritt St. Castroville, 831-633-2285. Old fashioned bbq.
The local alternative paper for Monterey is the Coast Weekly.
Hula's, 622 Lighthouse Ave Monterey, CA (831) 655-4852(hula)-Tiki Bar/restaurant with only beer/wine license. Kitchy Decor.
Tarpys Road House- 2999 Salinas Highway Ste 1. Monterey, CA (831)647-1444-a favorite on chowhound.
Mountain View, CA
San Jose area ribs-
Austins-1616 W El Camino Real Mountain View CA (650) 969-9191
Santa Ana, CA
Koo's-1505 N. Main Street, Santa Ana CA 92701 714.648.0937
Seiad Valley, CA (near the OR border)
eats-Seiad Valley Store & Cafe, 44719 Hwy. 96, Seiad Valley, Calif, 96086
Cafe: 530-496-3340, home of the biggest pancakes in the world