Memorial Day Weekend unofficially marks the start of summer, which means a lot of you are planning some exciting trips for the months ahead. A favorite destination for many is the beautiful city by the bay, San Francisco.
When visiting the spectacular city of San Francisco (it’s my hometown, so I’m allowed to use the grand adjectives), most people hit the usual “must-see” spots such as Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Warf, the Golden Gate Bridge, etc. If their itinerary allows, some visitors might opt to escape the city and go to the Marin Headlands, or indulge in succulent sips and restorative spas in the Wine Country, or be wow’ed by the majestic Muir Woods. Yes, there certainly are plenty of interesting, world-renowned spots to satisfy even the cynics of the tour.
But, when the often-crowded, always cash-draining stand-bys start to wear you down, where is the weary traveler to turn? Well, sharp left, headed straight off the beaten path. Here are 5 still-sorta-kinda-secret spots in SF that’re sure to knock your socks off!
1. The California Academy of Sciences: Located in the heart of Golden Gate Park, the California Academy of Sciences features an aquarium, planetarium, history museum, living rainforest and more. It’s perfect for all ages (really), and it’s the ideal way to spend the afternoon if being awed by amazing exhibits and interesting stories/facts are your thing. Plus, the cafe is yummy, so that’s a huge plus!
2. Free Walking Tours: There are actually several businesses that offer free walking tours around the city, but City Guides seems to be one of the favorites among locals (good sign). No matter what company you choose to wander with, there are multiple tours appealing to multiple interests. I’ve done the Nob Hill, Mission Dolores and Pacific Heights Mansions tours, but there are also plenty of others to satisfy your soles (sorry…bad pun). You’ll learn a lot of cool facts, meet some interesting people and, hey, you can’t beat the price!
3. The View Lounge at the Marriott Marquis: Located right in the middle of Downtown San Francisco, the The View Lounge at the Marriot Marquis makes this conference hotel one source of eye-candy too sweet to skip! The iconic bar and restaurant is on the 39th floor and offers some of SF’s most breathtaking views, as well as tasty cocktails and food to boot! A popular spot for leisure and business guests alike, it’s sure to be an awe-inspiring outing no matter what brings you to the city by the bay.
4. Off the Grid Food Truck Events: SF hosts various Off the Grid food truck gatherings that are a favorite of foodies near and far. They’re also great meeting spots for family picnics and social get-togethers. I’ve seen a casual volleyball game started up by a few friendly food truckies, as well as informal jam sessions with local musicians. These popular events offer all types of foods – from gourmet pizza and gluten-free goodies, to Burmese cuisine and Korean BBQ, to burgers and bacon-wrapped mac n’ cheese balls (I know, that last one sounds like a stomach bomb, but people love ‘em!).
5. The Ferry Building: The Ferry Building is one of San Francisco’s most famous landmarks and features a dramatic clock tower that’s been an icon of the San Francisco waterfront for more than a 100 years. It also happens to host a Farmer’s Market on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturday, an outing favored and frequented by locals and visitors alike. Packed with plenty of the region’s finest produce and goods, it won’t disappoint. Plus, the interior of the Ferry Building has shops and eateries destined to delight the whole family!
So, whether you plan to book a trip to the beautiful city by the bay, or will be letting your summer wanderlust lead you elsewhere, definitely be sure to check out the awesome savings and deals offered by IHC. They not only offer some amazingly low prices on beautiful hotels and resorts across the globe, they’ll also donate 4.5% of your purchase to the charity of your choice. That means you might even be able to slip in another fun trip this summer, guilt-free, traveling both under budget and giving back.