But in reality, all the stuff that makes America "America" is considered touristy. Heck, half the stuff he lists is something I'd consider touristy.
In any event, I think a grand tour in America from any other country and not visiting a Disney park is just Plain Wrong™. :) Then again, it might be too "touristy."
They were both great experiences but I value the latter far more for a couple reasons:
* I would never have been able to find it, known how to do that exploration, and been too timid to do it without local knowledge.
*It was an adventure rather than a curated experience. The park is great, but I never felt like I was seeing reality. Like going to Epcot vs going to actual places.
It was still a totally touristy experience. The locals thought I was cute for wanting to go wander in the desert to see places I had to walk for a long way to get to, without knowing anything about the desert. I was still just there to see the sights. Yet different - they all were really eager to tell me about their favorite spots off the beaten path.
I guess what I'm saying is that I tend to interpret, and mean, touristy as "not really worth the effort, it's too curated and sanitized and expensive. It's designed to Disneyify some approximation of local experience and does so poorly".
Similarly when I talk to people visiting my hometown of Chicago, I always recommend the Museum of Science and Industry, and the Art institute. "touristy" yeah, but also the stuff I would do once or twice a year when I lived there, and I still try to do it every couple of years when I'm visiting the family.
If your visitors are from "out of town" in some significant fashion, and if they are nice enough that you don't think they'd be an imposition, arrange to meet with some of your friends.
Any place can become magical, if you're there with good people and making friends.
(Plus, someone's always doing something, or has some time free, and maybe they'll extend an invitation. (Just don't expect anything.))
P.S. This may be a bit OT, I realize, with respect to the idea of an online resource of things to do/see.
P.P.S. This is somewhat personality dependent, but when I visit my cousin in the Bay area, we end up stumbling into all kinds of small encounters because she simply, directly -- if politely -- asks questions. If something peaks her curiosity, she simply asks. She has no fear!
Walking through Chinatown, we decide to try some tea with tapioca balls -- she's heard they're useful in dieting. She asks some questions of the server. We also end up talking with one of the other customers. A random "tourist" encounter turns into a few pleasant minutes learning a number of things and getting a bit of the local "vibe".
Multiply that by several-fold through the day, and it ends up being a pretty interesting day. Thanks, cous'!
And also, you might want to spell San Francisco correctly :)
Yes, there may be a certain amount of laziness to it, but there is also something else. When I travel, I have a tendency to leave a lot of gaps in my plan, and just go find locals at the watering hole or whatever, and flat out ask: "hey I'm visiting the area, whats neat to do around here" and usuall get great ideas from people. They know the good stuff locally, they know the stuff that is overhyped, and so on. I see this experiment as an extension of that.
On the up side my shame is public :/
I reckon it's cool to draw on the collective experience of a group to find out nichey stuff, underground bands in that genre, for example.
Try starting a Reddit thread instead. :-)
An issue would do just fine as well
Edit: Switched to wikivoyage due to comments below.
For more information, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikitravel#Community_fork_in_20...
It's not that asking for this kind of thing is necessarily bad, but I think that it's inappropriate for Github. Quora or maybe HN itself would be a better forum on which to ask for suggestions about travel to the US.
FWIW this isn't about being lazy. The intention was to tap into the minds of like minded locals, and past travellers for hidden gems. Anyone who's travelled to Melbourne, Australia (my home town) knows that that is the only way to experience Melbourne.
My hope is that this will reach some demi-viral state and be forever remembered in Google for anyone else wanting to experience SF the way I do.
Things to do:
- Go to a Giants baseball game. Sit in the Bleachers. Even if you aren't that interested in sports, it's a worthwhile experience. If you are working for a startup you are probably in SOMA/South Beach, so the baseball park in near by. Get tickets on http://www.stubhub.com/ they are dirt cheap ($5-15). Remember, sit in the bleachers. Drink Lagunitas IPA while you are there. And eat garlic fries and hot dogs.
- Go to the Castro, and go to a bar there. It's a nice neighborhood, not very touristy, and quite unique to SF. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Castro,_San_Francisco
- Eat Mexican food from a run-down looking taqueria. I think the best one outside the Mission (in SOMA-ish) is Taqueria Cancun. I recommend trying an Al Pastor Super Burrito. And then the next time get some tacos.
- For fancy Mexican food + Tequila check out Tres, probably closer to where you will be working than Tommy's. http://tressf.com/
- You like drinking early on Sunday? Try brunch with bottomless mimosas. Lots of places have them. Ironside has an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet and bottomless mimosas. Farmerbrown has an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet, no bottomless mimosas, but they will happily serve you cocktails (I think the mimosas come in pitchers).
- Eat at a food truck (Korean tacos are yummy!). http://roaminghunger.com/sf http://offthegridsf.com/
- Hmm, pizza. It depends on the type of Pizza you like. Tony's Pizza Napoletana is probably the best traditional Italian pizza. If you've never tried a deep dish pizza you should give Patxi's or Little Star a try. Other than that, whatever pizza place is open near you when the club/bar closes at 2am is probably where you will go, which might be DNA Pizza, but I'd cross the street and go to Crepes A Go Go. Or maybe I'd get a bacon wrapped hot dog from a push cart, mmm, with peppers and onions.
- American beer doesn't suck, you wouldn't want us judging your beer by Foster's, so don't judge our beer by Budweiser! For brew pubs in SOMA check out 21st Amendment Brewery and ThirstyBear. If you are at a bar, find out what beer is local and order it, it will be way better than the big name beers.
- Drink cocktails at Bourbon & Branch (need to make reservations well in advance).
- Take a tour/tasting of Hanger One Vodka (really good vodka). http://www.hangarone.com/
- No need to see big name comedians, just watch local comedians at any comedy club. http://www.yelp.com/c/sf/comedyclubs
- Alcatraz is actually interesting if you like historial things, even though it is a tourist destination.
- Use Yelp to find places. http://www.yelp.com/
- Use Meetup to find meetups. http://www.meetup.com/
(Damn, you are going to be very drunk and full after completing my list.)
Things to avoid:
- Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf should be avoided, they are just tourist traps. If you get stuck there, the Sea Lions and Musée Mécanique (Penny Arcade) are the best things there.
- People in San Francisco don't eat bread bowls, and neither should you.
- Cable cars are pure tourist.
As for bread, my favorite is Acme Bread. They have a retail location at the Ferry Building. If you are going to the Ferry Building you might as well go on Saturday for the big farmer's market, which is the most touristy of the farmer's markets in SF, but the stuff there is still really good.
I had a cousin visit me from England, and he had to get a bread bowl, he thought that's what we ate here. The reality is the burritos are much more San Francisco than bread bowls. The Mission style burrito was popularized here, and has come to be what a lot of people around the world think of as burritos. And people all over Northern California eat them on a regular basis. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco_burrito
If someone wants a bread bowl they should certainly get one. I just think it's sad that people visiting San Francisco feel their experience won't be complete without a bread bowl. There is so much great food in San Francisco, so many things that make this city special, bread bowls are just not one of them.
I'm curious what the law are around hitching a tow from a cable car on my skates Marty McFly style.. :/
I didn't mention basketball before (SF is more of a baseball town), but the Warriors play in Oakland (across the bay). You can take BART to get there. Unfortunately Aug-Sept is not basketball season, it is baseball season. If you come another time of year you can get tickets on StubHub. I see tickets on there now for as low as $2. http://www.stubhub.com/golden-state-warriors-tickets/
There are public basketball courts if you want to shoot hoops yourself. You can probably find one near where you are staying/working: http://sfrecpark.org/wp-content/uploads/Basketball.pdf
Added Sunday Street fests though :)
Swing by our offices in the Mission and I can show you around the area. Email is in my profile.
My advice, though: offer something in return for the best advice. I dunno what, maybe free lunch. That'd be an interesting activity in itself.
(Disclosure: I work at Couchsurfing, but I was a very satisfied user before I was an employee.)