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  • N N o matter where you stand in San Francisco, fun stuff is just around the corner, or… up the hill, more than likely. There are only so many hours in the day, however, so we’ve put together the most essential mini itineraries for ten awesome neighborhoods, from where to go to what to eat, and the most quintessentially SF stuff in between.
    Afternoon
    jcookfisher/Flickr

    Afternoon

    South Beach


    11:30am: Drink on the patio at Momo’s
    If the sun is shining and the Giants are playing, there’s only one place to be before the game and it’s outside at Momo’s while you people watch and enjoy a cold one. View on Map

    1pm: Take yourself out to the ballgame
    Head across the street to AT&T to catch a Giants day game during baseball season. View on Map

    3:30pm: Grab a cocktail and oysters at Lord George
    Yeah, you probably ate at the game (hi, garlic fries), but there’s always room for cocktails and oysters, so stop by this bar across the street from South Park for both. The gin martini is perfection. View on Map

    Embarcadero

    1pm: Eat lunch at Gott’s Roadside
    This first stop is all about fuel, in the form of a double cheeseburger and a black & white shake. View on Map

    2pm: Explore the Exploratorium
    Just a short walk away is a hands-on museum that will entertain even the most easily bored child. Which, uh, hopefully is not you since you’re a grownup. The Giant Mirror and Monochromatic Room are some of the more interesting visual exhibits, but basically everything in this place is super fun. If you can, make a reservation for the Tactile Dome where you’ll feel your way through total darkness all while exclaiming how cool it is. View on Map

    5pm: Drinks and dinner at Hog Island Oyster Company
    You might not be starving after your huge burger lunch, but you’re still going to want to head back to the ferry building for oysters and craft cocktails with waterfront views. And if you are super hungry, the grilled cheese is one of the best in the city. View on Map

    Inner Sunset


    1:30pm: Eat a late lunch at Park Chow
    This café’s salads, sandwiches, pastas, and pizzas are good, but you’re not leaving without a piece of pie and that’s an order. View on Map

    2:45pm: Visit the California Academy of Sciences
    Head over to the park and get ready to spend a couple of hours at one of SF’s best museums. First things first: the penguin feeding at 3pm. After that, the rain forest, aquarium, and living roof are musts. As is the planetarium at showtime. View on Map

    5pm: Play board games at the Little Shamrock
    Right outside the park is the Little Shamrock, an Irish watering hole with low prices, free popcorn, and lots of board games. Take a load off on a comfy couch and rest those tired dogs over a beer and a game of Monopoly. View on Map

    Evening
    Thomas Hawk/Flickr

    Evening

    SoMa

    2pm: Visit the new SFMOMA
    The new SFMOMA is all anyone can talk about, and for good reason. In theory it would take several days to see everything, so just commit to a few hours and check out the Fisher Collection and the Alexander Calder outdoor sculpture garden on the third floor. Tomorrow is another day. View on Map

    5pm: Relax with a cold beer at Black Hammer Brewing
    This open and airy tasting room is the perfect place to kick back, drink some beer, check your email (there’s free wi-fi), and hopefully pet a dog or four. You can’t go wrong with a flight of four. View on Map

    6:45: Indulge in a Marlowe Burger
    What better way to end the day than by heading to Marlowe for delicious cocktails and the famous burger? No better way, that’s what way. View on Map

    Cole Valley


    4pm: Get a Tarot reading at Sword and Rose
    The Sword and Rose is hidden in the back of a courtyard on Carl Street, which seems about right for a place that sells handcrafted incenses and oils, spiritual stones and crystals, AND visions of the future. It may sound hokey, but people swear by the Tarot readings. Just make an appointment ahead of time. View on Map

    5pm: Play ping pong at Finnegan’s Wake
    After you find out about your future, head down the block to Finnegan’s Wake and either drown your sorrows or celebrate with a beer from the bar. Then head out to the back garden and play ping pong ‘til the sun goes down. Or when you get tired of picking the ball up off the ground. View on Map

    6:30pm: Dinner and drinks at Padrecito
    Just another short hop away is Padrecito. Make a 7pm reservation so that you have time to grab a La Copa Verde (mezcal, chipotle powder, cilantro, lime) at the bar before you sit down to eat. (The guac and braised pork belly tacos are both worth the visit.) View on Map

    Castro

    6pm: Split a sandwich from Ike’s Place
    Yes, you’re going to want your own, but you’re getting dinner in just a few hours and they’re huge, so if you can bear to, split one. The Matt Cain (Godfather Sauce, Provolone, Roast Beef, Salami, Turkey) never ever disappoints. View on Map

    7pm: Sing-a-long at the Castro Theater
    You’ll have to check the calendar and plan accordingly, but if you’re lucky, there will be a sing-a-long to Grease, The Little Mermaid, or maybe even… wait for it… Frozen (!!!). If not, there’s always a classic favorite playing at this old school movie theater. Which is almost as good as singing “Do You Wanna Build a Snowman” at the top of your lungs. Almost. View on Map

    9pm: Dine al fresco at Starbelly
    Ask for a seat on the back patio and feast on spaghetti with bacon and jalapeño under the twinkling lights. View on Map

    Presidio


    4pm: Bowl a strike at Presidio Bowl
    You know the drill: put on the shoes, fill up the jukebox, and bowl until your thumbs hurt. Or when you’re sick of losing. View on Map

    6pm: Eat at Off the Grid’s Twilight at the Presidio
    Okay, so this one is only on Thursdays during the spring and summer, but it’s always a good time as there are cabanas, fire pits, live music, and plenty of food trucks. Not a Thursday? Head to Arguello for elevated Mexican fare. View on Map

    8:30pm: Appreciate the beer selection at Sessions at the Presidio
    There are over 100 beers to choose from, so it’d be a shame to go home without having at least one. View on Map

    Late Night
    Thomas Hawk/Flickr

    Late Night

    Mission

    7:30pm: Peruse the murals in Clarion Alley
    Assuming the sun is still up, take a stroll down Clarion Alley and take in a huge array of socially-conscious, colorful murals by tons of local artists.

    8:15pm: Play mini golf at Urban Putt
    Head to SF’s only indoor miniature golf course that’s housed in a historic Victorian building (really, can there be that many anywhere?). There will probably be a wait, so head to the bar for tasty cocktails, like the on tap Bold Fashioned, and bar bites like fried chicken and waffle skewers. View on Map

    10:30pm: Drinks and dinner at Beretta
    Call Beretta 15 minutes before you leave Urban Putt to put your name on the waitlist. When you arrive, ask the bartender for a Diablo (tequila, lime, ginger, agave, cassis) to sip on while you wait. No worries about rushing at this stop; Beretta serves their entire menu, including fantastic pizzas and risotto, until 1am every night. View on Map

    Polk Gulch

    8:30pm: Listen to a show in the dark at Audium
    Okay, so this is a few blocks away from Polk Street, but it’s still the perfect place to start your night. What is it? Think of it as sound sculptures you listen to in the dark, ‘70s style. Shows are only on Friday and Saturday nights. View on Map

    10pm: Get a shot of Fernet at R Bar
    You’ll need a drink after the show. Get one at this local dive bar known for selling the most Fernet in all of SF (just make sure you’re on foot). View on Map

    Midnight: Grub down at Grubstake
    Linger at R Bar longer if you want ’cause this late night diner stays open 'til 4am. If you’re really hungry, start with the Caldo Verde and then follow it up with a cheeseburger with bacon. And another beer while you’re at it. View on Map

    Ike’s Place
    $$ The Castro
     

    Ike's serves up a myriad of delicious sandwiches (with quirky names) and features vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options to satisfy all. Out of all the sandwich shops in San Francisco, this is the best...more

    Starbelly
    $$ The Castro
     

    The undisputed cocktail masters behind Beretta also coined Starbelly, a 100-seat California comfort foodery, and this time have chosen to complement the grub with a crazy grip of beer n' wine cocktails sho...more

    Finnegan's Wake is a basic neighborhood bar in Cole Valley that nails the effortlessly cool factor. It's kind of a dive, but it's mostly just a place to drink a few beers among regulars, play a round of po...more

    Padrecito
    $$ Cole Valley
     

    We're not totally sure about this, but we're going to assume that somewhere, in some religion, there's a patron saint of tacos. There must be, otherwise Padrecito's heavenly braised pork belly taco wouldn'...more

    Gott’s Roadside
    $$ Embarcadero
     

    Located at the Ferry Building, this eatery is the perfect spot for a water-side lunch. Park it at one of their long, wooden cafeteria-style tables and snack on bites like burgers, milkshakes, and choose fr...more

    Exploratorium
    $ Embarcadero
     

    Ditch your loving family and embrace your inner man-child at Exploratorium's brand new complex at Pier 15. Their main restaurant's got a full bar (for the adult in the child in you), and they've got anoth...more

     

    Hog Island Oyster Bar, located in the Ferry Building Marketplace, does its namesake proud; for those that love oysters, few places do it better. With outdoor seating that truly completes the seafaring ex...more

    Housing nearly 40,000 live animals, the California Academy of Sciences is the only place on Earth with an aquarium, a natural history museum, a planetarium, and a four-story rainforest in the same building...more

    Little Shamrock
    $ Inner Sunset
     

    The Sunset's oldest business period, there's some debate about what year exactly Little Shamrock opened in the 1890s, but there's no denying its place in SF drinking history. This place hasn’t changed much...more

    Urban Putt
    $ The Mission
     

    This maze of genius design features an unbelievable, realistic mini-golf course that's also an accurate portrayal of the city, as well as delicious eats like fried olives and chicken thighs, smoked pork sa...more

    Beretta
    $$ The Mission
     

    Since its opening in 2008, Beretta has been a fixture of the Mission Italian food scene, churning out awesome pizzas (we see you prosciutto di parma, tomato, arugula, and mozzarella), creative antipasti (d...more

    R Bar
    $ Nob Hill
     

    Right off of burgeoning Polk St, R Bar sits within the walls of a brick building behind a menacing black gate. Eight bucks gets you a shot of Fernet or jameson (everyone always picks Fernet, because, SF) p...more

    Grubstake Diner
    $$ Nob Hill
     

    This San Francisco institution has been in the business of serving up unforgettable grub since 1937, by way of greasy goodness from a converted railroad car until 4am (daily). Burgers, Philly cheesesteaks,...more

    Presidio Bowling Center
    $ Presidio Heights
     

    This bowling venue allows for the best of the best to bring their A game. Have a few brews and kick back (and let it slip to your C+ game...?).

    Arguello
    $ The Presidio
     

    Located inside the Presidio Officers' Club, this Mexican-themed restaurant from Traci Des Jardins dishes out upscale tacos, seafood, and a number of other south-of-the-border dishes. Sit by the fire pits o...more

    This beer-focused restaurant has 100 beers on tap, which range from lower-alcohol “session beers,” to hoppy IPAs, to Belgians. The menu is super approachable, organized by style and whether it’s “easy,” “e...more

    This German style brewhaus produces awesome barrels of squid ink IPA, Jaded Raver English Ale, Oktoberfest and many other brews. The tasting room is a spectacle, made from 100-year-old wood from the old Pi...more

    Marlowe
    $$$ SOMA
     

    This French-American bistro in SOMA has all the things that make a neighborhood restaurant so recommendable: excellent brunch; a fine wine selection featuring French, Italian, and Californian wines; an out...more

     

    This pitcher-friendly park offers 8 luxury suites and 6,700 club seats, including 1,500 at field-level behind home plate. Keeping things old school, the park has enormous right-field score boards manually...more

    With Nick Adams (The Corner Store) at the helm, this SoMa cocktail/oyster bar offers open-faced sandwiches, meat and cheese boards, six wines on tap, and inventive mixed drinks in refined digs.

    The Sword and Rose
    $$ Cole Valley
     

    The Sword and Rose is a metaphysical shop that sells books, crystals, herbs, jewelry, and many other offerings for your magickal needs. You can even get an eerily-accurate tarot reading -- just make sure t...more

    Exploratorium
    $ Embarcadero
     

    Located in the Embarcadero neighborhood of San Francisco, the Exploratorium is a combination science and art museum that will both entertain and teach new things to people of all ages. With new exhibition...more

    Park Chow
    Inner Sunset
     

    With an intimate and ambient setting (that includes a fireplace), Park Chow offers plenty of tantalizing fare, including soups, salads, burgers, pasta, pizza, and assorted wines and spirits.

    Audium
    $ Polk
     

    Described as a "sound sculptured space," the Audium fully immerses its audiences as you listen to music while seated in erratic circles in the dark. It includes a "sound labyrinth" and a performance space,...more

    Momo's
    $$ South Beach
     

    Momo's is located at South of Market waterfront, which is great, because it has plenty of outdoor seating for the warmer months. Fare includes many Italian favorites, but also other crowd-pleasers such as...more

    Castro Theatre
    $ The Castro
     

    Sit in one of 1407 seats at this historic landmark -- no, really since 1976, it really is -- to take in the latest films. If you've got the inclination, head out for one of their sing-along events or arriv...more

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