From San Fran expert and PA student Britta Grayman, some recommendations on what to do and where to go while in San Francisco at AAPA Conference 2015, May 23−27.
1. The Ferry Building
Located on the Embarcadero about a mile away from the Moscone Center, the Ferry Building is a foodie emporium and a San Francisco must! Enjoy the hustle and bustle of the many artisan vendors offering the best of the Bay. Check out the fabulous view off the pier and be sure to make a stop at Blue Bottle Coffee, pick up some cheese from Cowgirl Creamery and have some oysters at Hog Island, three quintessential San Francisco eateries. It gets crowded for the farmers’ market on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, but the fantastic food and atmosphere are absolutely worth it.
2. Golden Gate Park and the California Academy of Sciences
Central Park has nothing on Golden Gate Park! With its over one million trees, nine lakes, numerous museums, botanical gardens, windmills, and even a buffalo paddock, Golden Gate Park really has something for everyone. Rent a bike for $5/hour and enjoy the park’s great expanse via its dozens of meandering bike paths. The California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park is an amazing way to spend the afternoon. Known as the greenest museum in the world, the California Academy of Sciences features a living roof of native plants, solar panels and insulation made from recycled blue jeans. They pride themselves on being “the only place on the planet with an aquarium, a planetarium, a natural history museum and a four-story rainforest all under one living roof!”
3. The Palace of Fine Arts and the Marina
The Palace of Fine Arts remains the only remnant of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition held in San Francisco, now celebrating its 100th anniversary. Located in the Marina district, the Palace of Fine Arts is a neoclassical domed rotunda, surrounded by a lagoon of ducks and swans. Soak up the sun on the rolling grass hills or come at sunset to enjoy the impressive reflections on the water. The Palace of Fine Arts is an architectural gem of the city, and you’re bound to get some beautiful photos. Stroll through Union Street or Chestnut Street to window-shop the many boutiques of the Marina/Cow Hollow neighborhoods, and while you’re there, enjoy some amazing restaurants. Brunch favorites include Rose’s Café and The Brixton.
4. “Beach Blanket Babylon” and North Beach
Plan ahead and get tickets for “Beach Blanket Babylon,” the world’s longest-running musical revue—and for good reason! With elaborately gaudy costumes and wigs, and hilarious, often raunchy, spoofs of politics and pop culture, the show is a San Francisco tradition. While in the heart of North Beach (Little Italy), enjoy some of the best Italian food the city has to offer. A huge favorite is Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, a Food Network gold medalist and winner of the World Pizza Championships in Italy. Truthfully though, you can’t go wrong with any North Beach restaurant.
5. The Presidio and Golden Gate Bridge
What San Francisco list would be complete without a photo op of the Golden Gate Bridge in all its glory? Check out the view from Crissy Field in the Presidio, a former military base and now a national park. The large grassy field right on the waterfront offers one of the most spectacular views of the Golden Gate. On a clear day, you can walk across the 1.7 mile bridge to Marin County, perfect for photos of Alcatraz against the San Francisco skyline. But don’t forget to bring your jacket!
Hungry? Visit the Presidio Social Club—located in former army barracks—for some great food and great ambiance.
If you’re planning on making a long weekend out of AAPA Conference, consider getting tickets to see the World Champion San Francisco Giants in beautiful AT&T Park right on the waterfront. It’s a short walk from the Ferry Building and has a phenomenal view of the Bay. Try the garlic fries, and again, don’t forget your jacket!
For more San Francisco tips, check out PAStudentEssentials.
Britta Grayman, PA-S, is a student in the Touro University PA program.