Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
Ask HN: How can I experience SF and Silicon Valley in two weeks?
197 points by imgyuri on June 9, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 150 comments
Hey HN.

We're two hackers from Korea, visiting SF from June 13 to June 24.

Our current plan is to just jump around good cafes and parks, while doing Kaggle competitions.

Any recommendations on places to visit? Things to do? Cool meetups?

What's the best way to experience the Bay Area?

On the small chance that anyone is super generous enough to give a tour around their HQ, I'd be greatly appreciative. (email in profile)

Good lord, so much snark in this thread, so here's some actual suggestions if you want to enjoy yourself (note: I moved out 3.5 years ago).

Get coffee at Four Barrel, Ritual, Sightglass, Blue Bottle, Philz

Get tacos in the Missions at Taqueria Vallarta, Taqueria Cancun

Go to Noisebridge, Sudo Room, Hacker Dojo

Hike at Hawk Hill, Skeggs, Muir Woods, Mt. Tam

Look up local concerts at funcheapsf.com. There's so many fantastic gargage bands that should have record deals. $5 can get you an amazing show

Have a picnic at Lake Merrit

Walk around some of the university campuses (I quite like Berkeley)

Look at the street art on Clarion Alley

Go to Nightlife at the California Academy of Sciences

To the Conservatory of Flowers

Drive up Twin Peaks on a foggy day and watch Carl roll over the city

Walk around Haight-Ashbury (possibly buy drugs) and check out the shops and food

Walk around Telegraph Ave in Berkeley (possibly buy drugs) and check out the shops and food

Drive CA-1 to Monterey. Stop in Santa Cruz.

Good list. I'd add the Rodins at Stanford (which is also a nice campus to walk around) and, for hiking, the Santa Cruz mountains (Big Basin, etc.) Also free guided walking tours in SF and the boat trip to Alcatraz (touristy but worthwhile--book ahead).

While the Computer History Museum in [EDIT: Mountain View] is great, if I were visiting the Bay area from halfway around the world, I really wouldn't spend much time in Silicon Valley proper, tech events, etc. I suppose I get the mystique but there are so many more interesting things to experience on a short visit.

I hope OP listens to this. Spend 80% of your time in SF/Oakland/Berkeley and 20% at most in SV. The former is one of the most interesting, beautiful metropolitan areas in the world.; The later is a fairly mundane suburb.

When I'm visiting the Bay Area I like to go to coworking spaces as well.

What do you do at co-working spaces (aside from work?) Is it to meet people or what exactly? (I've been been)

CHM is in Mountain View. Come on Wednesday to watch the live demo of an IBM 1401 system or see the RAMAC (first commercial hard disk) running.


The Computer History Museum is in Mountain View, not in San Jose. If you go to Stanford you might as well go there too.

I realized that after I wrote it. I'm conflating my technology-related museums.

Would a week or a week and a half be long enough to visit and see a good amount of stuff?

Certainly not everything--especially if you're talking the whole region from Pt. Reyes through Sonoma/Napa to San Francisco, the South Bay, and Santa Cruz/Santa Cruz mountains/Monterey. But 1-2 weeks is enough to give you a nice flavor of the area. I'd probably pick SF and maybe a couple select things to see/do in the Valley and then spend some time either north or south from there.

I just have a lot of vacation days to burn still and I've ALWAYS wanted to visit SF (other than the airport).

SF is one of my favorite cities (to visit :-)). And there's tons of other great stuff to do within driving distance from 1-2 hours on up. (You can reach the Sierras but I probably wouldn't recommend that for a first time visit of limited duration.) IMO, great choice for a vacation of just about any length.

Vegas vs SF? Which would you choose?

Oh good lord. Not even close. Maybe Las Vegas is a bucket list sort of thing to do once for a few days. (I, sadly, have spent a great deal more time in Vegas than that.) There are very interesting places within a few hour radius of Vegas if the weather isn't too hot--Death Valley, Zion, Red Rock Canyon, Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon. But I wouldn't spend money or time to go to Vegas itself voluntarily.

I went for a few days to Vegas for work (first time going) and enjoyed it for the time I was there.

Other than that I've been trying to wait until a band I really want to see plays at Red Rock until I go there.


Thank you for this. As someone interviewing with a handful of companies in SV and considering relocating, this whole thread reenforces a whole host of misgivings I have of the area. Maybe I'm too Midwestern, but most of the comments read as a big "eff you - don't even bother." Does everyone hate it there so much? I know it isn't perfect, but what city/metro area is?

Of the developers I've known in the Bay Area for the last ten years, three have recently left, two are planning on leaving shortly, and one only sort of lives there anymore.

The biggest issue is the cost of housing. It's like 5x more expensive in the Bay Area than housing in my area. The higher incomes available don't compensate.

In order to get "cheaper" housing, most people with families then live farther out with crazy commute times and traffic. Some people send four hours of their day in traffic.

Lastly the tech scene can be a little overboard at times with whatever the progressive flavor of the month. For example, is picking conference presenters in double blind fashion without regard to gender or race, a virtue or a crime worthy of a mob? Are men and women the same, or do they have differences? Either answer could get you ostracized, depending on which way the wind is blowing in SF or SJC.

State Income taxes is a small thing but will take an extra 8-10% of your income a year.

Lastly the Bay Area tech companies and startups seem to require a bit more than 40 hours a week of work. This isn't as common elsewhere.

None of these things may bother you if you are a young, progressive, single person with a high paying job.

But as you get older they can get to be an awful daily irritation.

I wasn't originally going to, but after seeing so many negative responses all over this story I feel like I should also add a response here.

I interviewed with several companies in the Bay Area before deciding on one and moving out here. Yes, the housing market sucks. When we were looking for a place to rent we were shown a house that wasn't on the market yet and already had an interested party who put an application down. Fortunately they went with us but the housing, even out in the East Bay, is expensive and goes fast.

But, for me, that ends the negativity that many seem to be echoing in here.

My family and I absolutely love it here. We lived our whole lives on the east coast and having been in the Bay Area for a year we never want to move back. The weather is amazing, everything is close (we live further out in East Bay but still we're minutes away from just about everything; shopping, restaurants, hospitals; everything!).

The schools in most areas that we looked have phenomenal ratings (some of the ones in SF, not so much and obviously we didn't look everywhere) and my daughter just completed her first year at a school over here and she's crazy sad the year is already over!

The work is interesting! It's also very refreshing to know that there are just so many opportunities here that should I decide I don't like my work anymore it's crazy how many companies will open their doors to interview you ASAP (if you're in the tech industry, I should clarify).

There is a ton of stuff to do here. Beaches, lots of interesting places for kids (like indoor play places everywhere) and for adults (kick ass stores and movie theaters and probably other stuff but I don't do much else lol). I love the california science academy and their planetarium. Fisherman's Wharf in SF has awesome food and is just an interesting place to walk around.

Overall the Bay Area, in my opinion as a semi-recent transplant, is absolutely amazing. I really hope we can make progress on the housing issues.

This is 100% anecdotal.

I'm from Minneapolis as are a number of my friends. Some of them moved out to CA (Irvine) and some later moved to Seattle.

They /can't wait/ to move back to MN. For a while, I didn't understand them (usually, when they tell me this in the winter). But the music scene, culture, and comparative lack of traffic make a big difference.

I've yet to go to CA outside of layovers, but I still want to experience it for myself.

Some of them moved out to CA (Irvine)

Irvine is in Southern California. Southern California is a different state than Northern California, which is where San Francisco and Silicon Valley are.

Midwestern pride (and Minneapolitan pride in particular) is far stronger than most areas.

To me, it presents itself as a kind of Stockholm syndrome. It develops because your brain is aware of the fact that the weather there is capable of killing you 3 months out of the year and it has to find a way to justify the fact that you're not leaving. Obviously there must be something really great about this place when it's not 20 below.

Minnesotans are unusually aware of the primacy of their bike paths, healthcare coverage, skyway'd cities and educational system. They talk to each other a lot about how great each of these things are, reinforcing the special shared status of this land of hardship, but good working folks.

In my experience, most people don't speak so highly of their hometowns as Midwesterners- Minnesotans in particular. When you move to a place where everyone sees the bad stuff and doesn't try to sugar coat it, it can be offputing. If you don't get enough milage between you and the cult of the midwest, you inevitably return to a land where people endure because everyone talks about how good it is when it's not too bad. It could be worse!

-Former Minneapolitan.

As a current Minneapolitan, the thing that wins for me here is the arts scene. Sooner or later, everyone becomes some sort of a hipster, deeply engaged in a local subculture. For me, it's music and theater. For my wife, it's dance. For my daughter, it's the restaurant scene. For my neighbors, it's gardening. But there are scenes here. I go to similar-sized cities, and their arts scenes are like a joke. They have a little four block ghetto of hip somewhere, but nothing like what we have here (as a hardcore Minnesota Fringe Festival nerd, visiting Indianapolis during their Fringe Festival was... ridiculous).

I see stickers saying "Keep Austin weird", and "Keep Portland weird". You never see those for Minneapolis. We don't need 'em.

Don't forget about Chicago, which is worst of all in the brainwashing department. I can't find the source sadly, but there's a crazy statistic about girls who grow up in Chicago being somewhere around 10x more likely to return to their hometown compared to their counterparts anywhere else in the US.

Well that's because Chicago is the best city in the world.

There are always people who are unhappy where they are. Because it feels like the entire tech industry is here people wind up moving here even if they wouldn't have otherwise.

I personally love being here but I also grew up around here. I'd rather all the people who didn't want to live here move on and out and make room for the people who do want to be here.

That being said the people who appreciate being here generally outnumber the people who don't appreciate it. Anecdotally of course.

I think people here are complaining about the tech culture more than the actual place of SF itself. SF is a big city with access to tons of great outdoor activities and tons to do. If you don't like big cities then yeah, you may have a bad time. I don't see how any actual city lover could have a truly bad time here.

As mentioned by others, because of tech, some people move out here despite not actually wanting to live in a place like CS. That number is a minority.

As a Midwesterner myself, the Bay area is my favorite place in America to visit, but I don't really want to live there. I'd consider it, though, for the right circumstance. If I were rich, I might well pay for a timeshare out there, but keep my permanent residence here in Minneapolis.

Everyone hates living here -- it's terrible! That's why people pay some of the highest housing costs in the nation. Because we all hate it!

For a midwesterner, Denver is pretty sweet and techie.

No way. Colorado sucks. It snows all year here. Don't come here. Go to Utah. Utah is awesome. /s


The area between San Francisco and San Jose is pretty boring. But there is a ton of stuff to do in the bay area in general.

Hang out in Dolores Park for the authentic SF experience.

Also, El Farolito is the superior Mission burrito ducks

Came here to say these two things.

Dolores park is my trump card for showing off SF to (20 something) out of towners. There's usually nothing even remotely like it (when it gets crowded and boozy) wherever they came from.

And I'm in it for the al pastor and so far El Farolito has my favorite. I love Guadalajara too though, because you can get a burrito that's just two different (huge) portions of meat, and they also have some very spicy and delicious salsa. I've strained friendships arguing whether Cancun or El Farolito was better though.

To my taste, the best burrito in SF can be found at La Corneta in Glen Park. I lean toward the super carne asada, but the fish (salmon) burrito is also amazing. The Glen Park La Corneta has amazing food in general and if you go there, you will not be disappointed.

Be advised that La Corneta also has a location in SoMa (on Mission) but the taste of the food is entirely different, not bad, but not as much to my liking.

El Farolito for the torta. Cancun for the burrito!


> possibly buy drugs

That would be unwise. It's not a particularly auspicious time to be a foreigner in the U.S., and the Trump administration just announced a crack down on even minor drug offenses. The Haight is pretty relaxed and the odds of getting caught are low, but the consequences at the moment could be particularly severe. Not a risk worth taking.

But do go to the Haight and watch people buying drugs :-)

Prop 65 much?

Huh??? What does prop 65 (or any California state proposition for that matter) have do to with someone on a tourist visa getting in trouble with the federal government for buying illegal drugs?

Piggybacking off of your Monterey suggestion, take the slight detour there to check out Point Lobos, a particularly beautiful state park.

Also, strongly second Nightlife at the Cal Academy of Sciences. I try to design my trips to the bay area such that I'll be there on a the day of the week those are so I can go (Thursday I think?). It's a great museum, very hands on, and those nights have always had a really enjoyable vibe when I've been.

Oh, and taking 1 north of the city along Point Reyes for a ways is also an excellent drive. You can cut back inland through some rolling hills and get a very different vibe than the city and coast going south towards Big Sur

If you go to Santa Cruz, I recommend sea kayaking off the warf next to the boardwalk. It's a great way to get some sun, enjoy the ocean without being a surfer and see sea lions and aborable sea otters (but be careful not to get too close and disturb them).

I also highly recommend night life at the Academy of Sciences, and I think the exploratorium does something similar.

This is a great list! If you really want the city vibe, though, you should check out non-touristy spots as well, and witness some of the insane differences between neighborhoods:

- Check out Union Street in the Marina, then compare that to the Tenderloin (there are good restaurants around Geary/Hyde)

- Go to the Creamery in Soma (tech ground zero), and then take an Uber to Market & Castro, the historical center of the gay community

- Eat amazing Asian food on Clement Street, and then decent Italian in North Beach

You might find that "SF" is actually dozens of different towns fused into one. There are a few overarching similarities, but the most striking thing to me are the differences -- even the weather is different across neighborhoods.

+1 Taqueria Cancun

Hit up Boba Guys if you like bubble tea

Do the Lands End walk (https://goo.gl/maps/UGC651a1Cvt). Some great bridge photos there

There is better bubble tea further south in the valley with no line. I don't get the boba guys craze except for the fact that the amount of boba in SF is lower than necessary.

I will add, if you like watching live music, a more extensive list is here: http://www.foopee.com/punk/the-list/

The drive on 1 also includes a drive on 17.

Big Sur is not accessible due to landslides.

While the experts are chiming in: any recommendations for A). Sushi and B). Healthy Vegetarian / Wellness / Vegan / Juice Bar / Poke Bowl type spots? Thanks in advance!

I'm surprised to see the vegetarian and vegan question get so little attention, but you could get two of these in one by going to Shizen.


Other thoughts (with very different ambience, price range, and focus):

Golden Era is generally delicious but maybe not that healthy in terms of salt and sugar.

Udupi Palace for nice dosa and uttapam options.

Dim sum at Lucky Creation for an unbelievably non-touristy Buddhist vegetarian experience.

If you're particularly looking for juice bar-oriented vegetarian places, Judahlicious is probably a clear candidate (they also have a specialty in raw food). Nourish Café is also a great option in this category.

I was personally not impressed by Seed+Salt or Vegan Picnic.

The vegan scene is stronger across the Bay in Oakland than in San Francisco proper. I love two spots that are not especially healthy: Souley Vegan (soul food) and Timeless Coffee Roaster (vegan baked goods that seem kind of impossible, plus coffee and chocolate).

But this is drifting quite some distance away from the original focus of the question.

You can also get a vegan poke bowl at, at least, Veggie Grill (a chain with its nearest location in Larkspur, over in beautiful Marin County) and Eatsa (a vegetarian bowl-oriented automat, with two downtown locations, where your food is made by unseen workers behind the curtain and appears inside of little boxes on the wall).

Hinata on Van Ness is omekase (chef's choice) and is among the best sushi I've had outside Japan. It'll set you back at least $90 (prix fixe, more if you drink the delicious sake), abd requires a reservation, but you'll be synced with two other couples if you sit at the chef's counter where you will get a detailed description of exactly what you're eating, why it's interesting, and what to look for.

Schedule your reservation to start before 7 and ask to sit at the Chef's counter with Dave (he's the owner, in his twenties and quite knowledgeable).

If you like Hawaiian/Asian fusion, for about the same price range, there's Liholiho in Lower Nob Hill. Liholiho has blown up for a year, so get there at 4:30 on a weekday to make sure you get a seat in the first wave. Otherwise, reservations are a 4-week wait (last I checked).

You can get good healthy vegetarian at just about any restaurant in SF (minus steakhouses and shabu shabu). For a quick delicious vegetarian lunch, check out Plant in the FiDi.

EDIT: typos, readability.

The Poke Bar at the Market at 10th and Market. It's by the Twitter building... so you get to experience the tech bubble at its apex plus amazing fish :-)

If you want the opposite of tech bubble, Ninki sushi in the Sunset has half price rolls many weeknights... instead of the tech bubble bursting, you'll be the one bursting because you'll be so full (and it's so cheap!)

Sushi - Not a huge sushi fan but have good things about Shizen and Cha-Ya

Healthy - Project Juice, Gracias Madre, Mixt (have heard good things), Nourish Cafe

Also Ike's, it's not very healthy but they make great sandwiches.

I like ichi sushi. It's very small, a bit out of the way, and very good.

I'm curious what made you move out.

As someone who haven't made it out to SF I've always wanted to see if it lived up to the hype. (if even for nicer weather)

> if even for nicer weather

Ahh the legend lives, I see. Unless you live somewhere with unbearable winters it's doubtful that the weather is actually "nicer" in SF. ~60 nearly every day, ~50 nearly every night. Just cold enough to make you wear jeans and a hoodie (what, we just thought that getup looked cool?) and rarely warm enough to take advantage of a pool.

Sounds perfect for me. There's a lot less to consider walking in 60-65 than 70+ - half the time I don't walk to work because I don't want to show up sweaty and have to change. I'm from Michigan, though (SoCal now) so maybe your point stands haha.

Yes, the light jacket is the official uniform of the west coast. Even if the days are warm where you are, the nights are cold. But it's also why it isn't humid in summer.

Silicon Valley, on the other hand, just 45 minutes south of SF, has a great climate. It's remarkable what a few mountains between city and ocean can do.

Ohio winters aren't super fun 50-60F daily sounds like a dream, and it's also wonderful sleeping weather!

Berlin was calling to me. There were somethings about SF I didn't like, but it wasn't so much "I moved out of SF" as "I moved in to a new city."

What time and dates do you recommend to be above the clouds on twin peaks?

Id also recommend checking out Detour.com and some coworking spaces.

There is literally nothing in this list that is in Silicon Valley.

Philz and Skeggs are both in SV, and I was contributing what I could because OP said "SF and SV."

(possibly buy drugs)

I'm sure it was intended as a, uh, warning to avoid those areas if 100% committed to avoiding being anywhere around drugs. Alternatively, a tip off for those employed in the War on Drugs. Never under any circumstances an encouragement to buy drugs. Not here.

+ Get truffle from the truffle man

Bookmarking this. Appreciate it.

Sit in traffic on the 101. Take Caltrain to SF between 6am-10am or the other way from 5pm-7pm. Walk around Soma, east some food. Take Bart. Drive East across Dumbarton bridge between 4pm-6pm (actually go West and look at the traffic the other way). Drive by Facebook, drive by Google.

Walk around downtown Palo Alto.

Also there is Hacker Dojo in Mt. View which is a good place to meet others. You can also walk around downtown Mt. View.

There are some good hikes around the coast. Also go see the Golden Gate bridge. Santa Cruz is nice for a beach day.

*EDIT: Alternative lock yourself inside AirBnB for the whole trip, code, code, code, more code, order groceries from Instacart, takeout using DoorDash, sleep under desk. You could also stay at one of the AirBnB hacker mansions on your trip as well.

Don't forget to eat a $15 lunch special in Palo Alto and for bonus points get a parking ticket for failing to parse the insane special case parking signs.

A lot of people like to take selfies at the Facebook sign if you can get to it without being run over.

If you go to the Facebook sign, be sure to take a selfie with the Sun Microsystems sign on the back, too

Hey now. Sushirrito is only $12 ;)

More serious than my first answer... the Bay area is really one of the most interesting places in the world to visit.

Go to some tech meetups you're interested in and just meet people. You might be able to catch someone who is a personal hero speaking. If there's someone you really want to meet (especially if it isn't a pitch!), try just emailing them and asking for lunch! You might get lucky.

Take a day to go north to Marin county. Experience Muir Woods and other natural wonders. Another day to visit Napa is good too, if you like wine.

If you can, I'd really recommend a trip south to Monterey Bay. See Santa Cruz and Monterey, and get to Carmel-by-the-Sea in time to enjoy a beautiful sunset on the beach. (this is really a two day trip). Another possible road trip is Yosemite National Park. But these are ambitious and time-consuming.

Visit the Computer History Museum (must-see!). Walk around the Stanford University campus. Drive up Sand Hill, and admire how much all the VC buildings look like dentist's offices. While you're in Silicon Valley proper, eat at Buck's.

San Francisco itself is tourist heaven. There's so much to see and experience there.

edit: I'm not a local. I've just visited. These are things that worked for me!

* Alcatraz (very touristy, but very cool. get tickets well in advance! make sure to take the audio tour, consider taking the night tour)

* Exploratorium (I recommend Thursday evenings when they serve drinks and there aren't any kids running around)

* Muir Woods (a forest full of gigantic redwoods, 20 min drive North of SF)

* Bike or walk across the Golden Gate Bridge

* Day trip South on Route 1 to Monterey to see the aquarium (the views on the way are stunning)

I second the Alcatraz night tour- not only is it a much cooler way to experience Alcatraz, you also get stunning views of both SF and the bridge. I really love your list, even though I don't know what the Exploratorium is.

It's a science museum... the most amazing one I've ever seen by far. It's super geeky and full of interesting exhibits and gizmos, most (all?) of them made by hand on-site. It's an absolute must for anyone interested in science or technology. Go see it!!!

Interesting fact about it that I only recently found out:

The Exploratorium was founded by Robert Oppenheimer[1] ("the father of the atomic bomb") after his forced resignation.[2] If you keep an eye out, there are some plaques talking about this history at the museum, and there's also at least one uncaptioned atomic-bomb-related photo (of the first milliseconds of an atomic bomb explosion) on the walls.

[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Oppenheimer

[2] - https://www.exploratorium.edu/about/history/frank

The Exploratorium is a huge hands-on science museum. Everything sciencey that you could ever want to touch (or never imagined touching) is there. It's slightly geared toward the younger crowd, but my wife and I went last year and loved it. Stayed almost the whole day. Everyone should visit at least once.

>>* Day trip South on Route 1 to Monterey to see the aquarium (the views on the way are stunning)

This is for sure a must-do. I would recommend going even further south than Monterey, at least to Point Lobos. This is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

For Alcatraz, call ahead and politely ask if someone might be willing to take you to the citadel. Very rarely seen part of the prison.

To find meetups, search meetup.com

A good park is Lands End. Or, take a bus up to the redwoods in Muir Wood. Or, enjoy the drive up to Hog Island for oysters.

A good cafe is Caffe Trieste in North Beach. While you are in NB, stop by Molinari's for a North Beach or South Beach Special sandwich.

Visit the NoiseBridge hacker space.

Contact Stanford and see if the audio lab (or any lab) will give you a tour. Do the same for Berkeley. I hear San Jose State has a really fun VR lab.

Contact companies located in The Vault coworking space and see if you can get one of them to give you a tour.

You might get lucky and find an event here http://sf.funcheap.com/category/event/event-types/geek-event... or here https://www.eventbrite.com/d/ca--san-francisco/geek-events/ I miss the Laughing Squid calendar...

Go see a random show at Bottom of the Hill. Just go in with low expectations ;) But, you might get lucky and see a band you end up liking.

Take the Anchor Steam brewery tour. Get a drink at Tommy's Mexican, Mikkeller Bar, Bourbon and Branch, Smuggler's Cove.

Avoid Pier 38 and Haight Street. They're tourist traps. The Castro is still fun. The Mission is still dirty, but delicious. The Tenderloin between O'Farrell and Market is still sketchy.

Visit the Computer history museum and try to resist the impulse to hugh the Cray-1.

The tech in San Jose is also interesting.

Try to visit a state park or natural reserve nearby. Visit Carmel and point lobos (2hr drive from SF), Half Moon bay...

I googled "hugh verb" to see first if I wasn't missing some slang (not a native English speaker).. it seems not so.. I wonder in what way is the Cray-1 particularly huggable? (genuinely curious)

Probably the impulse to hug is out of pity because our phones in our pockets have way more computational power xD

I admit I'd probably be tempted to sit on the 2001-Space-Odyssey-style bench around it.. but hug it?

Pt. Reyes Lighthouse and Cafe Reyes (at Point Reyes Station on the way). Gorgeous views. Take 101 off Sir Francis Drake (the exit comes up on you very quick so pay attention).

SF: Spend a night doing coke with the ladies at Mitchell Brothers O'Farrell Theatre, bring lots of money...stumble home stepping around the street relics. Don't loose your phone. Goto some snobish coffee shops while hung over. This is about as SF as you can get.

(spoken from experience)

San Jose: Rent a car and park on the 101. Cruise the suburbs and price snap houses for shock and entertainment!

don't forget about the irish coffees and overpriced mediocre croissants. or pretending not to be alcoholics at brunch the next morning, with 5 of your closest enablers, slamming bottomless mimosas and bloody marys. do this while talking about work, and how drunk you got last night, and how amazing the benedict is while posting pictures of it to instagram, even though you can barely taste it after waiting 90 minutes in line for the privilege of paying $75 per person not including tip and the foodservice healthcare surcharge.

This sounds like a perfect night out. The SF part. Not the San Jose part.

for many, the san jose part comes on monday morning.

Best way to quickly experience the Bay? That would be the 1:1000 horizontal scale, 1:100 vertical and temporal scale model[1][2] just across the Golden Gate in Sausalito, built by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. Ok, maybe not the most interesting place to visit in SF, but it's an amazing feat of engineering history built about 20 years before Silicon Valley existed.

As for food, SF is full of great places to eat of all types. If you want roast meat at very reasonable prices (for SF), I've always liked Tommy's Joynt[3].

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Army_Corps_of_Engineers_B...

[2] http://www.spn.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/Bay-Model-...

[3] http://tommysjoynt.com/ (warning: horizontal-scrolling - their food is much better than their website design)

To understand Silicon Valley, you really need to see the peninsula and the South Bay.

I’d spend a day, start with breakfast at Hobees in Sunnyvale or Cupertino, check out 1 Infinite Loop, drive around the Google campus area, _maybe_ stop at the NASA Ames visitor center.

Drive down to San Jose to see that peculiar city, and have lunch at yeh newish San Pedro Square Market or SoFA market - or the classics like Henry’s Hi-Life or Original Joe’s.

Maybe check out the old-school tech beomoths like Intel.

Spend some time at the Computer History Museum (and the food trucks there on Friday evenings!). That could be a day trip in itself.

Skip the Tech Museum in San Jose (it’s a great museum, but its not something unmissable if you’re short on time).

End your day with a trip to one of the peninsula city centers and have a meal at a place with good Yelp reviews. I’d recommend Dish Dash in Sunnyvale.

That’s not the most touristy or startup-focused of trips, but you’ll see the Silicon Valley that’s really lived in by the people that make their homes here.

Oh, and if you’re interested in pre-SV history, check out a local museum, like the Sunnyvale Heritage Park (I’d recommend this to anyone who lives here and doesn’t know how we got to where we are too).

One suggestion I haven't seen is doing an SF bike tour. I did a 5h bike tour around SF years back and it was the highlight of my trip. You get to see many parts of the city and it's far more personal than the buses. The ride was pretty easy, it was designed for people who don't ride often. Do it early in the trip to get a feel for the city.

Grab a Getaround or Zipcar and get north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Everyone only goes as far a Muir woods - don't it's packed of tourists with visor caps and selfie sticks and you'll get annoyed. Drive a little further and Hike Mount Tam - amazing views of the bay. Go to Sonoma for wine, not Napa.

Not sure you can sign up for Getaround as a tourist. Zipcar is possible though.

+1 for Sonoma county for wine, and arguably the best brewery in the world too (Russian River ;)

Go to Filoli. It's a formal garden, an estate, and an oasis of beauty.


Sign up for the Meetup.com event at Google HQ on June 23rd. They've put a cover on the event($10) but I've been to many of these and can confidently say it will be worth it. Plus, they serve food, beer, and wine. I just signed up and I'd be happy to meet you there. (HN lurker and FrontEnd Dev in downtown SF).

If you do make it to Stanford, I'd be happy to take you up to the Hoover Tower (it's free for employees).

* Dolores Park [buy ice cream at Bi-Rite / get lunch on valencia]

* Bike across golden gate [$50 for a bike] / ferry back

* Check out an amazon loft meeting https://aws.amazon.com/start-ups/loft/sf-loft/

* Computer History Museum (If going south, otherwise skip)

* Presidio picnic is really fun https://offthegrid.com/event/presidio-picnic/2017-6-11-2pm

* See comedy show Cobbs sf

* Take San Francisco cable car to Hyde and Union walk & get a slice of pizza at ZA - then walk to lombard and hyde

Go get a sandwich at the Molinari Delicatessen (https://www.yelp.com/biz/molinari-delicatessen-san-francisco).

Here's a list of nerdy sites to visit in Silicon Valley: http://siliconvalleyguide.org/

Disclaimer: I made this.

Rent a bike from SF , explore the city and travel to Salsalito

Ignore the populist suggestions.

Get a Zipcar account and use your instincts.

You will meet people and many of these suggestions are a guaranteed wait in a queue for no real good reason.

Surprisingly few food-related recommendations in this thread. I did see some, but for a trendy and multi-cultural place like the Bay Area, would have expected more.

Edit. - to highlight what the area can offer - on the food front. I mean. Double edit: to make it more clear - all the other activities are great too (okay, not necessarily all :), don't mean to imply that they are not and that only food is.

If you want tours of tech companies, go to a meetup (through meetup.com) and ask for a tour from one of the employees after the talks finish.

The symphony is amazing: http://www.sfsymphony.org

Saw Ben Gibbard in the Davies Symphony Hall last night. ;)

Really jealous - I assume it was wonderful :D

It was, yes. Amazed at how young he is. He's 40 and I remember really enjoying his music almost 20 years ago..

I went there for training, I recall I bought a two day ticket for hop-on, hop-off tour that was more than enough for SF, and regarding the bay area I took the Caltrain and I went to one stop each day from SF to San Jose. I was lucky to visit FB at Menlo Park thanks to friend that is working there.

Watch Silicon Valley. Ride the Caltrain.

Feel free to give me a buzz (DM @gctaylor on Twitter) if you want to do lunch at Reddit HQ and have a peek.

Make sure to catch a Giants baseball game if you can - AT&T is the best park in the major leagues.

Boo. Boo. :-) It may well be the best of the newer parks though.

Fair enough :)

On a Sunday afternoon, go to open houses in some city to see how the typical homes for sales are like.

If you are looking for public spaces to work - the lobby of LinkedIn at 222 2nd is very nice and has access to free wifi/coffee.

Adding to places to visit: * SF Museum of Modern Art * Hike Point Reyes - get some oysters in Tomales Bay on the way back * SF Cable Car museum - Free!

Two weeks isn't a ton of time, so I'd stick around SF with some short trips down to the Peninsula. Here are some ideas:


1. Mission

Get off at 24th st BART and start at Ritual Coffee. Walk down Valencia street toward 16th st BART station and stop into the variety of stores. At lunchtime go to 18th street and grab a sandwich from Bi-rite -- eat it at Dolores park nearby. At night go to The Chapel and see what's playing, you might be able to get tickets. If not, try stopping by Noisebridge (google it!)

2. FiDi

Start at Philz (300 Folsom) and walk to the Google @ Spear St. If you know someone there you can get a tour. If not, you're now standing near the base of the Bay Bridge and it's quite beautiful. Mozilla is right next door as well if you want a tour. They have a nice monument outside their office. Walk away from the Bay Bridge toward the Ferry Building, and get lunch there. Take the Ferry to Sausalito and work from there in the afternoon -- get dinner there and catch a ferry back to SF. Alternatively you can stick around downtown. If you know someone at Salesforce they are right in the area as well.

Night: Try hitting up some local bars for drinks. Some popular ones include Local Edition, Novela, and Rickhouse.

Bonus: Go see a giants baseball game. It's super cheap and really fun. https://seatgeek.com/san-francisco-giants-tickets?oq=SF+gian... -- the cheap seats high up are the best. You get a great view and you can eat stadium snacks while watching an inconsequential baseball game.

I'm assuming others will give you more tips about San Francisco + tourist stuff, so I'll move on to the Peninsula.


1. Palo Alto

Take Caltrain from 4th and King in San Francisco to the Palo Alto station. Get off and walk down University Avenue. There are lots of coffee shops you can work from (Philz is popular here). There's also lots of good food options. If you know someone who works at Palantir, their office is right here. Paxti's deep dish pizza is a local favorite and they have reasonable lunch specials. In the afternoon you can stop by Stanford Campus (it's on the opposite side of the Caltrain -- head back to Caltrain from University Avenue and walk down a palm-tree lined road). If you know someone there you can tour the insides of the buildings, otherwise the outside of buildings is nice too.

Night: Rose & Crown is an English pub that has pretty yummy food and is something different after a day of Palo Alto.

2. Mountain View

Get off Caltrain and walk down Castro street toward Red Rock Cafe. This is a non-profit cafe with free wifi and is a fantastic place to get some work done. For lunch there are myriad options -- just walk down Castro street some more, you can't quite go wrong.

If you have friends at Google you should ask for a campus tour, as there is a free shuttle from the Mountain View Caltrain to the Google Campus. Even if you can't get a tour inside the building, go to the campus and walk around. You can bike to Shoreline Park (there's a small lake there) and rent paddleboats / kayaks.

You can also visit Y Combinator HQ (320 Pioneer Way) but I'm not sure there's much to see.

For dinner I'd stay around Castro street as well. There are tons of great options. Afterwards try getting drinks at St. Stephen's Green or Tied House. Make sure you catch one of the Caltrains back to the city (they stop running at a certain time in the evening, probably around 11pm is the last train up from Mountain View).

3. Sunnyvale

When you get off the Caltrain head to Philz for morning work. Then for lunch go over to S. Murphy Ave -- if you don't know what you want to eat, Dish Dash is a local favorite. If you have friends at LinkedIn you should ask them for a tour here.

There's not much in Sunnyvale -- it's pretty suburban.

4. Menlo Park

I'm running out of steam so the basics here are -- Santa Cruz Ave is their downtown and there's a number of coffee shops to choose from. If you know someone at Facebook, get a tour, but it's not quite walking distance from Caltrain; I'd take an uber once you're in the downtown. Their campus is pretty cool...and their food is ridiculously yummy. Another interesting thing would be to go to Sand Hill Road and walk down -- you can see all the VC firms there. Not sure that's an interesting tourist thing to do, but it's something you can if you're interested.

- Hang out at Coupa Cafe in Palo Alto for a few hours

- Visit the coffee shop in the AirBnB lobby, to at least check out the HQ

- Buy a day pass at a co-working space, such as WeWork or Bespoke and talk to everyone there

Visit Antonio's Nut House and finish in Bert's Alibi

Also be sure to visit the Hall of Heroes I think it was called. Watch a western sunset, absolutely stunning if you're from any other coast, err -the east.

Where will you be staying? When you're in Palo Alto, I highly recommend staying at or at least visiting StartupEmbassy. I'm happy to make an intro.

Visit the Mission District and get a nice, big burrito.

A historic house to visit in San Jose:


LSD / forage for & consume magic mushrooms in Golden Gate Park. Hike Mt. Tam. Jog the Golden Gate Bridge. Palace of Fine Arts. Presidio.

You can't forage psychedelic mushrooms in Ggp

You mean I can't or you can't?

There are numerous reports of folks who have found some great magic mushrooms in the park.

There are even folks who will guide you around and show you where they are.

Here is one such field report. https://www.shroomery.org/forums/showflat.php/Number/1364950...

Generally speaking, psychedelic species are uncommon in Northern California, and at Golden Gate Park in particular.

This report found one elusive group of only five mushrooms.

There are peak times are certain species are certainly psychoactive, but the average person isn't gonna walk around and 'get lucky'.

^This is mostly incorrect, save the reference to peak harvest times.

Psilocybe allenii has been hunted regularly since at least the 1960's in Golden Gate Park, previously under its informal name Psilocybe cyanofriscosa.

According to Psychedelic Society of San Francisco lecturer and mycologist Alan Rockefeller, Psilocybe allenii occurs from BC, Canada to Los Angeles, and is common in San Francisco.[1]

Allenii is also one of the strongest psychedelic mushrooms known, possibly taking second place to Psilocybe azurescens.

Allenii is not alone in the Park either, "Psilocybe cyanescens is also very common in San Francisco. It is almost as potent. If you go to Golden Gate Park in December you will see hundreds of hippies looking at the wood chip landscaping for Psilocybe cyanescens and Psilocybe allenii." says Rockefeller.

The average person shouldn't be walking around hunting mushrooms, period, as there are several species that will kill you from ingesting even a small amount. However, there are a number of commercial services and recurring events[2] that offer to take folks on "day trips" through the park and point out where to find these mushrooms.

Relatively speaking, however, psychedelic mushroom species have a high concentration in the Pacific Northwest and CA in particular. [3]

Appreciate the chance to brush up on my mycology!

[1] Golden Gate Park magic mushroom finally classified, just in time for high season http://48hills.org/sfbgarchive/2012/12/18/golden-gate-park-m...

[2] IN THE WILD! Mushroom Hunt and Identification https://www.meetup.com/psychedelics/events/95388602/

[3] Map of Psychedelic Mushroom Concentrations https://www.shroomology.org/uploads/monthly_10_2012/post-1-0...

Interesting stuff, but anecdotes about people searching non-native environments don't change my position.

Speaking as an amateur mycologist with first hand experience hunting GGP.

What do you mean "non-native enviroments"? Wood chips? The mushrooms are native to the area for at least decades, probably millennia.. they are common.

Did you miss the part where the full blown professional mycologist says that the mushroom is common -- his words -- in GGP? As does the Psychedelic Society of San Fransisco?

Did you read any of the links I provided?

Who should we listen to? The self styled amature? Or the experts and people who discovered the mushroom?

Rent a car and drive down to Santa Cruz and walk along the beach. Also, go hiking in Big Basin State Park, which is very close to Santa Cruz.

Take the nighttime tour of SF on a Segway.

Have an Irish Coffee at the famous Buena Vista where it was invented.

Take a 1AM ride on the cable car trolley thru the fog.

Apply for jobs and attend interviews. Interviews will give you a more realistic sense of companies compared to a walkthrough/visit.

Skip meetups

> Skip meetups, they're mostly for people on the outside trying to get in

Wow. Unfortunately, I think this is mostly true. A lot of great meetups out there, but unfortunately the people "on the outside trying to get in" have way more of an interest/time to be able to do this.

My favorite meetup ever was the VIM meetup. The fact that it didn't seem like a plausible way to get a job meant that only people actually really interested in going went and so there was tons of cool people.

It's true that some meetups are really useful, you're right

Philz FTW. Go to the In-n-Out on Rengsgtorff.

Amazon Startup Loft, Joy's Place Cafe, both good free places to work with internet.

Hit a few dive bars. Seriously. Old SF colliding with new SF.

Wow, definitely did not expect this to blow up like this.

Thanks everyone!


Two weeks should be plenty of time to propose "Uber for ____", get it funded, get front-paged on TechCrunch, run out of money, and be forgotten.

Work for a startup.

Rent a car, drive 3 hours to Yosemite. Idk why others haven't suggested that.

Or Tahoe, for that matter. Also 3 hours away (possibly more depending on traffic).

Seconded, few other things are as beautiful in the world. Go on a weekday to beat the crowds. The waterfalls are in full flow right now.

Because it's neither in SF nor SV.

So what? It's something you can do from there, and they are in the area for 2 weeks.

Binge watch 'Silicon Valley' from your AirBnb.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact