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49 Hours of San Francisco

Whether attendees want to extend their stay a few days or are looking for ways to experience the city during free time, they won’t be able to see all of San Francisco in 49 hours, but that doesn’t mean they can’t try.

Whether attendees want to extend their stay a few days or are looking for ways to experience the city during free time, they won’t be able to see all of San Francisco in 49 hours, but that doesn’t mean they can’t try.

DAY ONE

Morning: In the neighborhood of North Beach, home to the city’s own “Little Italy,” visitors can jumpstart their morning with delicious espresso and pastries at a sidewalk café. For attendees with literary interests, the area is home to landmarks such as the City Lights Bookstore and Café Trieste, both of which are steeped in the Beat Generation lore of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and other luminaries. If it’s views they’re after, attendees should head to the top of Telegraph Hill for a visit to Coit Tower. Built in 1933, the tower features impressive murals from the period, and if it’s a clear day, climbing to the top of the tower earns incredible panoramic views.

Afternoon: For a fun mid-day activity, attendees should head to the intersection of Beach Street and Hyde Street where they can hop on the famed cable cars, which date back to 1873 and are official National Historic Landmarks. The $6 fare includes plenty of scenery as the line ascends to Nob Hill where many of San Francisco’s barons of industry lived during the latter 19th century. Neighborhood sites include Grace Cathedral, the Cable Car Museum and the Buena Vista Café, which perfected the first Irish coffee stateside more than 50 years ago and is still reputed to serve the city’s finest.

Evening: After a chance to freshen up at their hotel, attendees might enjoy an evening at one of San Francisco’s many interesting theaters. The renowned American Conservatory Theater, which is housed in a dramatic Beaux Arts building from the early 20th century, offers productions ranging from premieres of new work to re-envisioned classics. The Curran Theatre, a wonderful Jazz Age building, is home to SHN’s “Best of Broadway” productions touring the West Coast. If they’re interested in a taste of local theater traditions, attendees should spend the evening at Beach Blanket Babylon, a long-running take on fairy tale archetypes infused with plenty of contemporary popular culture cameos.

DAY TWO

Morning: No visit to San Francisco would be complete without a stop at the Golden Gate Bridge. Whether attendees prefer to cross on foot or by bicycle, the iconic structure is best appreciated up close with time to enjoy the views of the Bay, including Alcatraz, Treasure Island and the skyline. Ticketed tours of the bridge are also available. Remind attendees to bring both a camera — so they capture the stunning scenery — and a warm jacket because it can be chilly on the bridge even during the summer. Another impressive sight not far from the bridge is the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park. The magnificent building’s symmetrical, column-heavy façade sets an inspiring tone for the art collection contained within. Visitors will immediately recognize the cast of Rodin’s famous sculpture,
“Thinker,” en route to the front door.

Afternoon: For a pleasant afternoon activity, suggest some time in Golden Gate Park, which covers several square miles and includes a number of noteworthy attractions. Depending on their interests, attendees can explore the Botanical Gardens, which offers a closer look at plants from around the world; the California Academy of Sciences is a wonderful natural science museum and one of the largest LEED Platinum-certified buildings in the world; or the de Young, which is home to an impressive collection of art spanning centuries of North American creativity. After an eventful afternoon, visitors can also enjoy a restorative tea in the park’s nearby Japanese Tea Garden.

Evening: If attendees are looking for an opportunity to unwind after a long day of meetings, consider arranging a wine tasting at The Winery San Francisco or another local tasting room to take advantage of proximity to California’s Wine Country. Another fun evening trip is to make dinner plans in Chinatown. While the ever-popular dim sum is only served during lunch hours, there are plenty of amazing dining experiences to be had. Larger groups should consider a restaurant that offers set menus served family style. Smaller groups might want to find a place off of Grant Avenue, the district’s main street, for a more unique and authentic experience.