Alcatraz shot from Coit Tower

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March 16, 2017

MYSF Insider Tips


 Summer 2017 Edition

Read through the great insider tips listed below that were submitted from our local experts.

MYSF Insider Tips

North Beach

I always recommend that visitors go to North Beach. The food, the smells, the sights and sounds of the North Beach "Little Italy" is a day trip in itself. There is a plethora of restaurants including but certainly not limited to North Beach Pizza and The Stinking Rose. The area is full of history and must include a walk up to Coit Tower on Telegraph Hill. Coit Tower is a historical landmark built in 1933. Walk off your lunch as you head up the stairs to the very top and see sweeping views of the city. From the tower, you can see many must-see attractions including Lombard Street, the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges, the Bay, Angel Island, Alcatraz and Treasure Island, Mt. Tam, East Bay,  Nob Hill, Russian Hill, Twin Peaks, the Financial District, the Ferry Building and much more. Once inside the monument, you can read about its colorful history as well as view many of the beautiful murals. Once back in North Beach it is time for a little visit to the Zoetrope Cafe where you can have a nice espresso and Italian dessert in the little Italian style cafe. The cafe is in the Sentinel Building, also known as Columbus Tower.  The copper-green Flatiron style structure can be found on Columbus Avenue, Kearny Street, and Jackson Street and is on the edge of North Beach. It is also the entrance of Chinatown and the Financial District. Afterward, walk up Columbus to City Lights Bookstore and view some of the old historical postcards and books, many of which include the history of the Beatnik-era writers and musicians. Hint: There is a Banksy graffiti mural lurking about and can be viewed by looking up atop one of the buildings on the corners of Columbus and Broadway. Never a dull moment in North Beach!

-Submitted by Erin Brown, from Francis Ford Coppola Winery

SF Botanical Garden

San Francisco Botanical Garden is filled with rare, beautiful magnolia trees and they also have special events such as Botanical cocktails! Right outside of the main gate and on your way to the Japanese Gardens is an ice cream truck with homemade, freeze style ice cream, plus other delectable delights, and worth the line!

-Susan, a CTA for Santa Rosa

 Sunset Homes

The Sunset District is a really great place for a one-day tour, a place full of food, recreation, Ocean Beach, art and much more. Some places to visit in the Sunset are the Moraga Steps, Lake Merced, Ocean Beach, etc.

-Ralsy from SF State University

THe Castro

Why not spend the day visiting the Mission and Castro districts? There are many ways to get to Mission Dolores and nearby Dolores Park. There are great taquerias and bars in the area, and a short walk will take you to the Castro neighborhood, home to the famous Castro Theater.

-Rory O'Brien from the Chancellor Hotel

AT&T Park

I love attending Giants games at AT&T Park. The garlic fries are a must!  Be sure to try our local Anchor Steam beer, which is one of the oldest microbreweries in the country.  A walk across the Golden Gate Bridge or a ferry ride to Alcatraz is a must for one's lifetime, but be sure to dress warm as the winds can be unforgiving!

-Matthew Hughes from Wilson Artisan Wines

Have a Tip? You can Win!

If you have an insider tip that you'd like to share; email and you could be our quarterly winner!

Looking for more ideas?

Our Visitor Information Center (ViC) staff has some great tips as well. Check out what the ViC staff is recommending in the SF FAQs by clicking here.

Airbnb San Francisco Locals List


Whether you're into local produce or burritos, graffiti or go-go dancing, getting lost on a hike or amongst the shelves in an old Beat hangout, feeling like a local here takes nothing more than an open mind and a healthy dose of curiosity.

Airbnb reached out to their eclectic San Francisco host community and compiled a list of their neighborhood favorites. Illustrated by Agnes Lee, The Local List will guide you through muraled alleys and reclusive vistas, from the Embarcadero to Lands End and back. Click here to check it out. 

MYSF Volunteer Opportunities

Interested in volunteering at an upcoming San Francisco Travel event or even at the San Francisco Travel Visitor Information Center? If you are, email us at to find out more details. We would love to share any upcoming opportunities with you!

MYSF Training Program

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View previous MYSF quarterly tips. 

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