The Sword and Laser discussion

Going to San Francisco

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message 1: by Kev (last edited Aug 05, 2015 09:05PM) (new)

Kev (sporadicreviews) | 639 comments Not really book related: I might be going to San Francisco at the end of September for 3-4 days. I've never been there.
Is there a cool bookstore I should visit?
Anything locals think I should try to do or visit?

message 2: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) | 1212 comments Check out Mysterious Galaxy. They specialize in genre fiction and participate in the regional cons. They have lots of great signings all year. Take a look at their calendar before you go to see if they're having one you might be interested in.

message 3: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 3962 comments If it's more towards the middle, I'd suggest checking out the Gaslight Gathering. It's a Steampunk / Victoriana convention.
It's at the Town and Country, same hotel that holds ConDor and San Diego Comic Fest, and held Westercon this year.

message 4: by Kev (new)

Kev (sporadicreviews) | 639 comments Oops. My wife just informed me it's San Francisco we're going to. ;)

Same questions:)

message 5: by Keidy (new)

Keidy | 525 comments Rob, one of the S&L forum mods, just asked this very question. You should look at the list of stuff in his thread. ^_^

Fun/Nerdy Things to do in/around San Francisco

message 6: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8503 comments I've been to SF a half-dozen times and no matter when I've been -- February, December, July -- the weather has been SPECTACULAR. Cloudless blue skies, upper 60s/low 70s, just stunning.

Everyone assures me this is an anomaly. Mark Twain once said, "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco." Maybe take a sweater.

I actually loved MOMA and Alcatraz and going to the pier/wharf area, whatever it's called. The Golden Gate. Touristy stuff.

message 7: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 3543 comments Mod
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.

You're gonna meet some gentle people there.

message 8: by John (Nevets) (new)

John (Nevets) Nevets (nevets) | 1556 comments That made me laugh. Not being from the south west I always goof up the "San's", Usually though it is San Diego and San Jose. I always think San Jose should be in far southern California instead of just below SF. For some reason though I don't have the same problem with San Francisco, maybe it's the length of the name.

message 9: by Kev (new)

Kev (sporadicreviews) | 639 comments Keidy wrote: "Rob, one of the S&L forum mods, just asked this very question. You should look at the list of stuff in his thread. ^_^

Fun/Nerdy Things to do in/around San Francisco"

Oh thanks!

message 10: by Rob, Roberator (new)

Rob (robzak) | 6785 comments Mod
Haha. Great minds and all..

message 11: by Lariela (new)

Lariela | 79 comments Not geeky, but Chinatown is fun. (To get some tea to go with books, perhaps.) The Maritime Museum is nice. There's the California Academy of Sciences, in Golden Gate Park.

message 12: by Lisa (last edited Aug 07, 2015 10:38AM) (new)

Lisa | 25 comments Nerdy things to do in SF:
Staircase walk Stairway Walks in San Francisco
Cal Academy of Sciences
de Young museum
Borderlands bookstore
Boardgame meet-up
Film at the Castro Theater

message 13: by Walter (new)

Walter Spence (walterspence) | 707 comments Is Borderlands still open? I'd heard it was closing after that new minimum wage bill was passed, because they didn't think they could afford to stay open. Would be happy to be wrong.

My wife and I visited SF in July/August of 2014, Sporatic. Trike's right about the weather, it's gorgeous. I was concerned because I only discovered our hotel didn't have AC once it was too late to make alternate plans, but as it turned out we didn't even need it; just stuck a fan on the desk in front of an open window. We even had to turn the fan off a few nights, so I completely get the Twain comment.

Wife's ready to go eat, so I'll post again later with some suggestions from our own trip.

message 14: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) | 1212 comments Thank you for posting you had the location wrong. My answer and some others make absolutely no sense for San Francisco.

message 15: by Lisa (new)

Lisa | 25 comments Borderlands is still open. Check out the web link in the post just above yours.

message 16: by Walter (new)

Walter Spence (walterspence) | 707 comments Thank you, Lisa.

Sporatic, here are a few things my wife and I particularly enjoyed that you might want to consider.

SF has a smorgasbord of great restaurants (God knows we ate at enough of them), but two that stood out in particular for me were Dottie's True Blue Café for breakfast (Yelp link and seafood restaurant Scoma's at Fisherman's Wharf (

The cable cars are famous, but they're mostly used by tourists and lines can be long. The most popular one is the Powell/Market line because of the views (it takes you by Lombard Street). Considering your estimated length of stay and depending on your plans for transportation, you might want to consider a three-day MUNI visitor's passport, which convers not only the cable cars, but Muni, Muni Metro, and the historic streetcars as well.

If you want to do some shopping, the stores around Union Square and the Westfield San Francisco Centre mall are good options.

As previously mentioned, Chinatown is a great place to walk around. Be aware that a number of the restaurants in the area are for the locals and don't serve 'American' Chinese food. We went to one and could tell our server had had experience with non-locals, because she directed us away from a number of items on the menu, assuring us we probably wouldn't like them.

Lot of hills, some quite steep. Depending on where you are, and how much walking you do, you may have to acclimate to it. I remember seeing a woman with a baby carriage in one area walking her infant by zig-zagging, I presume in case she somehow lost her grip and sent her child on an impromptu roller coaster ride.

The Sf Sword & Laser meetups are held around the end of the month, so if you're there then you might want to drop by. We were there for the first one and got to meet some very nice people, including Veronica. I see on the calendar that they're still being held at Borderlands, so that would be one way to combine things.

I loved the city. Great climate, and I loved being able to walk pretty much anywhere I wanted to go (I like NYC for the same reason). We were there in part for pleasure and also as research (my last book takes place in SF), and I can see why the real estate prices are so high, it impresses me as a great place to live. Hope you and your wife enjoy the trip.

message 17: by Kev (new)

Kev (sporadicreviews) | 639 comments Thanks all!
I'd love to visit the S&L meetup. I think they meet on Monday though :(

Borderlands is a definite!
I'll probably try to do some touristy stuff, like Alcatraz, maybe with a CityPass.

message 18: by Sandi (new)

Sandi (sandikal) | 1212 comments Do the night tour of Alcatraz. The boat goes all the way around the island instead of straight to the dock. (It leaves while the sun is still up.) The view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the SF skyline after dark is just amazing from Alcatraz.

message 19: by Kev (new)

Kev (sporadicreviews) | 639 comments Sounds fantastic!

message 20: by Joe Informatico (new)

Joe Informatico (joeinformatico) | 888 comments When my fiancée and I were there a few years ago, we did most of the things mentioned in the thread Keidy posted above, but I'll add a few more:

I love history, so we swung by Haight & Ashbury to see where the hippie movement had its heart (it was mostly vintage clothing stores and coffee shops when we went). After vising the Computer History Museum in San Jose, we also did a quick car tour of the Google, Apple, and PARC (formerly Xerox PARC, where many computing technologies were developed) campuses. I also checked out the S.S. Jeremiah O'Brien, a World War II Liberty Ship, and the USS Pampanito a World War II submarine. Both are moored next door to the Musée Mechanique penny arcade on Fisherman's Wharf. Also at the Wharf--Boudin Bakery, where the sourdough is to die for.

We checked out wine country, specifically Napa Valley. It was beautiful.

We went on a little quest in the Presidio, trying to find the statue of Yoda that marks the headquarters of LucasFilm. It was tough, because we couldn't use our phones (getting a data plan for the US through our Canadian carriers was stupidly expensive at the time so we didn't bother), but when we popped into a Starbucks to use their wifi we lucked out and stumbled into the one right at the front entrance of LucasFilm.

Oh, and in our rental car, we drove down Lombard Street. And then I pretended I was Steve McQueen from Bullitt for a bit. Some of those streets are steep! I've never had to worry about rollback with an automatic before.

message 21: by Lariela (new)

Lariela | 79 comments Sonoma County is Wine Country too, but everyone goes to Napa instead.

message 22: by Sky (new)

Sky | 665 comments If you are up for a 2 hour road trip, I'd suggest going to Big Sur and Point Lobos State Park.

I think it was already suggested either in this thread or Rob's, but Muir Woods National Monument is also great and close by.

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