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Ask HN: I'm visiting SF for 3 days, what do I do?
46 points by idiotb on May 12, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 43 comments
Hi HN'ers, I'm visiting SF for 3 days from May 15th to May 17th. What meetups/cafes/events can I go to to network with VC's, founders, tech people, other awesome companies, etc?

Forget all of that. The most interesting people in tech are largely not in San Francisco (and the ones who you find are loud, while the ones who are interesting you won't find).

Instead: SF is a stellar place to unwind. Do that.

Catch a Giants game. Drink fantastic coffee (Sightglass, Blue Bottle, Epicenter, Four Barrel, Ritual, etc.) Get a Chocolate Shot at Tcho, Ice Cream at Humphry Slocombe, a burrito in the Mission, and Shabu Shabu. Drink a cocktail at Alembic or Comstock. Spend an afternoon peoplewatching in Dolores Park. Shop at the ferry plaza. Walk across the Golden Gate. Take a few days of the best weather that you're going to see for the next 4 months and enjoy it outside.

If you're interested in learning, drop in on some things at Stanford and Berkeley - find interesting talks from people who are doing legit change-the-world research that you can sit in on.

But the OP said specifically:

"What meetups/cafes/events can I go to to network"

The goal appears therefore to be to network. Not to do interesting sight seeing things. Nor to meet "interesting people" unless those interesting people are specifically for networking purposes.

Add: How does a three day visit for networking jive with "Catch a Giants game. Drink fantastic coffee".

You can do all that in the city that I live in and in many cities.

True, it's not answering the OPs original question. I think people are responding to the implied idea that you can just show up in San Francisco and bump into VCs all over the place, and that this is all the city has to offer. SF people love their city for other reasons, and get a bit defensive about this attitude that tech is the only worthwhile thing about it. It's partally a part of the ongoing angst about the changing nature of the city with the influx of so many tech folks.

I second the above. Also, walk up 24th street to Potrero then on over to the top of Bernal Hill. If you have time you should definitely check out the views from Twin Peaks. Or all the different 100 or so of species(including Redwoods) of trees in Buena Vista Park. You should walk up the Embarcadero near the Bay Bridge side after a Giants Game.

Sutro Ruins near Ocean Beach is pretty cool too. You can easily do all of this in three days.

Yeah, SF's not all about tech. Take the time to explore the reasons why all the tech people wanted to live here in the first place, before there was a startup ecosystem. Access to nature, beautiful location, progressive and accepting attitude etc.

If you can stick around an extra day, Bay To Breakers is happening on Sunday. One of the more quintessentially San Francisco events which you wont find anywhere else in the world.

I've visited SF just once, but California Academy of Sciences was pretty nice.

Also, probably more exotic for foreigners, but the hop-on hop-off bus tours are also quite nice, especially if the weather is OK.

Have fun! :)

Try to somehow sneak-in Mythbusters?

Also: I remember a "Still untitled" videos (Tested on youtube) that they mentioned some good food places.


Also get a cinnamon toast at Trouble on Judah St and take a walk on ocean beach.

Ride a cable car and see the buffalo in Golden Gate park.

If I can recommend Alamo Square, and the Mill, a cafe nearby. Not necessarily a place to do networking, but a lovely part of SF.

Please go visit some redwoods or beaches or wineries or dim sum or taquerias, too. Our fair city is more than just a tech hub.

I think the Maker Faire is that weekend, about 20 minutes south of SF in San Mateo, if that kind of hacking is your thing.


This saturday and sunday

Networking is a two-way street: if you want people to offer to meet with you, it helps to give some indication of what you have to offer them :)

You'll be missing the startup conference on Wednesday, but the tips page shows what happens the next day, when you are in town:

May 15: Hackers and Founders Meetup at the Hacker Dojo.

May 15: the Founder Showcase is a great event, and even if you can’t attend the afternoon presentations, it’s worth spending $15 for the evening after-party at NASA that looks to be really cool. Registration here, after-party here.

Grab a coffee at Red Rock Cafe in downtown Mountain View, if you are a pennyless entrepreneur working on the next big thing, or at Coupa Cafe in Palo Alto if you think you are ready to pitch VCs. Just sit back and watch…

[source] http://thestartupconference.com/tips-for-first-time-attendee...

Someone else mentioned Maker Faire, and I second that. Even if you don't think that kind of thing is "your thing", there's so much there that's genuinely interesting to any inquisitive person that you're bound to find it fun. The only drawback IMO was that it's massive and crazy crowded, so if you're not a fan of large crowds it can get overwhelming.

Also, change your ticket and fly back on Monday so you can experience Bay to Breakers. It's one of the best/most ridiculous events our city has to offer.

Visit Noisebridge:


I stopped in on my last visit to SF and it was amazing... So much activity and fun hackerish things going on. You'll love it I'm sure!

Attend a Haskell mini-conference! http://www.haskell.org/haskellwiki/BayHac2014

Come to Music Hack Day, https://musichackdaysf.splashthat.com/

It's on the 17th and 18th. You'll miss some of it, but you'll get to meet cool people building stuff

PG has a guide if you're more broadly interested in seeing Silicon Valley: http://paulgraham.com/seesv.html

Suggest targeting 2-3 individuals, local experts who might be able to help with your business or career goals. Offer to pay for 1 hour of their time for advice & counsel. Most people will be flattered, appreciate the sign of a respect and will waive any fee. Bonus, you'll get some great insights and potentially make a new friend.

Friend speaks my mind^

Checkout Steve Blank's guide:


I suggest doing some online research and find people / companies that interest you and then cold email them and try to set up meeting a couple of people before you get there and then expand your network from there. Its the best way to go about it. Make friends and then friends of friends. 3 days is a short time so make sure you unwind as well. SF has a lot to offer. (Although if I was in your place i'd have prolly not 'Chilled' out either) xD. You can message me if you need any other help. I can try and point you in the right direction.

Hey! thanks for comment.

I'd be meeting a friend at Dropbox and later on thursday will be going for Github Drinkup. My main goal for the trip is to see tech community as I just graduated from Hacker School, NY. I'm exploring my career options now.

If the goal is to relax and "absorb" tech culture, I'd go with everyone else's suggestions. Tech-focused cafes include Creamery, SightGlass, Philz, and The Grove in SOMA. If you have a car, driving around Sand Hill (not in SF) and visiting Rosewood will definitely give you the opportunity to tech eves-drop.

If you'd like to meet some real entrepreneurs, engineers, designers, investors in the trenches, download our app (www.weavenow.us). There are thousands of people you can meet in SF if they're also interested in meeting you.

Thursday night drinks at the Rosewood on Sand Hill Rd.

Google it before you go, though.

Be safe: My wife and I have been to SF twice. The first time a bar fight spilled out into the street while we were walking to church at 9am on Sunday morning. One of the guys pulled a knife, but someone talked him down before there was any blood spilled.

The second time my wife was about 20' away from a shooting near the convention center.

I am sure its a great city, but I haven't had the best experience there.

I've found the city to be hugely disappointing, but compared to NY and London it is substantially smaller (maybe that's why). There are only ~800,000 people there.

Third time is the charm. I have no doubt these things happened, but they're not usual.

Check out meetup for interesting things happening. You can find people immersed in their laptops at any coffee shop in the city, especially SOMA.

But yes, since the weather will be nice you should get outside. Rent a bike, go to the GG Bridge, Twin Peaks, etc. It's a beautiful town.

How do I know? I live here and work in FiDi in tech. I've yet to meet a VC at a coffee shop.

I'll be presenting about time series data at SFRails on May 15th. The meetup offers free pizza/beer and generally has 100-200 people attend.

You can find more info about this month's event here: http://www.meetup.com/SFRails/events/167606272/

Great!! I will be doing the same between 10th of June and 4th of July. Looking forward to meet with likeminded folks. One of my friends who had done an internship at facebook suggested me to drive towards San Diego, probably there are good views on the way. However what to do depends extremely on your intrinsic purposes.

There's not a listings/event site that aggregates all of this stuff?

(He says with mild surprise from London)

I think OP is hoping to network with HN-type people, specifically. :)

Visit Cha Cha Cha on Mission. Fantastic food and drink. My favs, all from the Tapas menu (small plates): fried plantains, chicken Piard, and the best fried calamari in the world. The Sangria is excellent. It's a couple of blocks from BART on Mission and 18th.

Maker Faire, definitely.

Noisebridge: Yes.

Maybe the morning session at http://events.stanford.edu/events/442/44295/ before Maker Faire

I rented a bike from one of the bike shops and proceeded to get lost cycling around San Francisco. It was really fun! I only barely made it back in time for the conference I was presenting at though...

Rent a bike, ride the Golden Gate to Sausalito for some icecream or coffee and then to Battery Spencer before going back to city, or hang around at Fort Point and at the park nearby.

I really enjoyed just driving around: visit the multiple campuses (Facebook, Google), checking out Steve Jobs old house and neighbourhood.

+1000 for Maker Faire on Sat the 17th. There's nothing more awesome at any point in the year, anywhere else in the world, for tech.

Check out http://www.sfwat2do.com - always intersting stuff there.

Check out Tonga Room if you're up for something crazy and unique one night!

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