Top Discoveries in 2011
By: Dan Rosenbaum
Being surrounded on three sides by water, San Francisco can sometimes feel like an island, separated from the rest of the surrounding area. What also separates San Francisco is the serendipity that happens here every day, whether you're a tourist or a local. You could be walking down the same street here for years and discover something new every time. 2011 was no different in terms of discovery, as our Facebook and Twitter communities made countless new discoveries. Here are their top discoveries of 2011.
A permanent fixture of the city landscape, you get your first glimpse of Twin Peaks towering over the city as you ride across the Bay Bridge. On a daily basis, you will see countless bicyclists racing to the top and photographers and filmmakers jockeying for the perfect shot. The view, which spans from Ocean Beach and the Golden Gate Bridge to the Mission District and Potrero Hill, will leave you breathless. Twin Peaks should be firmly planted on a visitors AND locals must-see list. Brynn called Twin Peaks "a magical place to go with someone special. [I] can't believe I'd never been there before!"
SF City Guides
49 square miles makes San Francisco one the most compact and walkable cities in the world (yes, even with the hills). One could walk around the entire city, roaming from neighborhood to neighborhood, in one day. Get an insider's view with walking tours from SF City Guides. Tours are given daily and are free ($5 suggested donation should be given when possible). Check the schedule for the times and tour routes. Shelly, one of our Facebook fans, had this to say about the tours:
"They were GREAT! As a tourist to your beautiful city for many years, I was excited to see it from an insider's point of view! I can hardly wait to get back there and try a few more!"
Reminiscent of the French Quarter, Belden Place is San Francisco's slice of European dining. Sandwiched in the Financial District, Belden Place is an alley that houses some of the city's best dining, which include Trademark, B44, Plouf, Cafe Bastille and Sam's Grill. Dining at any restaurant on Belden Place at midnight is a one-of-a-kind San Francisco experience.
A small street in between Valencia and Mission Streets and 17th and 18th Streets in the heart of the Mission District, Clarion Alley has been an enchanted site of bohemian culture at least as far back as the early sixties. With local SF street art covering every inch of the walls, you get a real feel for the burgeoning art scene. Who knows, you might walk past several famous art paintings that you can tell your family about for years to come.
Armed with great music venues and with a musical history that traces back to the 60's with the Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jefferson Airplane, San Francisco has always garnered attention for a stellar music scene. When music festivals started a resurgence more than 10 years ago, San Francisco became an ideal location to have not one, but many music festivals. Notable festivals include Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Outside Lands, Treasure Island Music Festival, Noise Pop and the free summer long concert series, Stern Grove Festival.
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