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  • Mission Murals: Tour the Art Alleys

    July 06, 2020

    For guests of the Calista who enjoy public art and culture, the Mission Mural Tour is a must-see. A vital part of the city’s public art scene, they are a fascinating mélange of Depression-era WPA art, early 20th-century Mexican muralists, and graffiti artists whose work demonstrates a heavy influence by graphic comics and/or pop culture. Balmy Alley and Clarion Alley are where most of the murals are located, but there are many other places in the Mission area to view these, including the backside of residences, and there are hundreds of murals by artists of all ages, ethnicities, and levels of experience. Mural themes vary, but social injustice and frustration with inequity is a popular topic due to the city’s rapidly changing demographics. Others range from the fantastic to the more traditional. The murals are best viewed on foot, so wear comfortable shoes and plan on roaming freely. The area is easily accessed via BART, and a map of nearby stops is available online. Schedule your own mural art staycation in the city this summer and get ready to explore.

  • A Cherished SF Tradition

    March 02, 2020

    Since 1851, when Irish immigrants held the first St. Patrick’s Day party and Shamrock Ball, San Francisco has kept a special place in its heart for this annual celebration of all things Irish, and the celebrations have grown exponentially over the years. From the glorious parade to the exciting festival afterward, San Franciscans and their guests eagerly embrace their inner leprechauns and come together to make this one epic party. Whether it’s your first or 51st time celebrating the Irish holiday here, we invite you to join us for all these exciting events. First, get ready for the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, which begins this year at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 14, and runs from 2nd and Market to the Civic Center. Afterward, gather at Civic Center Plaza for more merriment at the St. Patrick’s Day Festival. You’ll find live music, performers, and entertainers, along with cultural displays and arts and crafts exhibitors. Be sure to bring the children along for carnival and pony rides, inflatables, and a petting zoo. Also, you’ll find loads of food and beverage vendors of traditional Irish foods as well as other cuisines, and non-profit booths representing the Irish community.

  • In Search of the Great Gray

    February 03, 2020

    San Francisco is one of the best places in the country to see whales year-round, but February is one of the best months to see the glorious Gray Whales as they pass through their 10,000-12,000 mile migration route from the warmth of Mexico to the frigid waters of the Arctic. While there are some land-based places to watch the migration, it’s often difficult to get a good look at the whales from the shore, so we suggest booking a whale-watching cruise. Both the Gray Whale Watching Tour and the San Francisco Golden Gate Whale Watching Tour offer tours that are led by professional guides, and you’re sure to see whales, in addition to dolphins and other sea creatures. On the off chance that you don’t, these companies will often provide a second whale watch experience for you. Don’t forget to dress warmly, bring your own food and drink, and sea-sickness medication, just in case. Also, be sure to wear comfy shoes, and bring along some sunblock, binoculars, and a good camera. Now, go have a whale of a time!

  • Ten Days of Dangerous Dames and Tough Mugs

    January 06, 2020

    Calling all film noir lovers—grab your trench coats and fedoras and head over to the Castro Theater for the 2020 Noir City Film Festival, taking place from January 23 - February 2. The largest such film fest in the world, Noir City 18 will once again be hosted by everyone’s favorite “Czar of Noir,” Eddie Muller. “Noir has no nationality,” proclaims Muller, and has programmed the fest with a plethora of international noirs including the world premiere of two rare 1950s treasures from Argentina; director Román Viñoly Barreto’s The Beast Must Die, or La Bestia Debe Morir (1952) and The Black Vampire, or El Vampiro Negro (1953). Both of these restorations will debut as a double bill of lost Argentine classics on January 24, the fest’s opening night, and will feature 10 additional nights of darkness by such iconic filmmakers as Michelangelo Antonioni, Andrzej Wajda, Julien Duvivier, Jean-Pierre Melville, Roberto Gavaldón, Jirí Weiss, and Masahiro Shinoda. Additional worldwide selections include France’s Panique and Le Doulos, South Korea’s Hanyo and The Housemaid, and The Facts of Murder from Italy. The lineup will also feature Japan’s Pale Flower, the Swedish classic A Woman’s Face, and Poland’s Ashes and Diamonds.

  • Oh, What Fun It Is

    December 02, 2019

    Bring the fun to your holiday season with some of the city’s favorite traditional events. First, head over to Pier 39 on December 13 for the 2019 Fisherman’s Wharf Lighted Boat Parade. Meet at the waterfront to watch boats decked out in dazzling decorations and brilliant lights from such long-time members as the Fisherman’s Wharf Fishing Fleet make their way along the parade route. For optimal views, head to the Sport Fishing Harbor on Jefferson Street between Jones and Taylor, or Crissy Field, Aquatic Park, and the Marina Green. Next, don’t miss the annual performance of Tchaikovsky’s beloved ballet at SF Ballet: The Nutcracker from December 11-29 at the War Memorial Opera House. Feeling more naughty than nice? Check out the wickedly campy performances at A Very Merry Misfit Cabaret at the Alcazar Theatre from December 13-28. Finally, don’t miss one of the most spectacular New Year’s Eve fireworks displays in the country—ring in the new year at the city’s own dazzling light shows. Come early, bring a picnic, and head over to the waterfront near the Ferry Building and the SF Bay Bridge for one fabulously fun evening.

  • The Gift of Theater

    November 04, 2019

    This holiday season, why not start a new tradition with a classic gift for yourself and your loved ones? Treat yourselves to the gift of theater by grabbing tickets to any of the myriad performances currently showing in SF. Three of our favorites are listed below. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series, and the first of the series to receive its own official onstage production. Ongoing at the Curran Theatre through December 23, the San Francisco production marks the West Coast premiere of the Tony-and-Olivier-Award-winning play. From November 5 – December 23, a variety of the SF's best venues will host one of the most famous versions of Tchaikovsky’s beloved holiday ballet. This spectacular production of The Nutcracker by the Moscow Ballet will feature spectacular costumes and sets, along with enchanting puppets, birds, and more. If you haven’t yet seen Lin-Manuel Miranda’s multiple award-winning Broadway hit Hamilton, here’s your chance. Return to the days of the Founding Fathers with this powerful and wildly entertaining musical showing at the Orpheum Theatre through January 5, 2020.

  • Three Thought-Provoking Film Festivals

    October 01, 2019

    Throughout the year, San Francisco hosts a variety of film festivals offering fascinating and often provocative films from an assortment of organizations. These represent a diverse and wide range of groups, interests, and topics. Listed alphabetically below are three festivals happening this month. Arab Film Festival (AFI) Screening from October 11-20, this is the premier event of the Arab Film and Media Institute. It features contemporary films that spotlight Arab culture and provide a closer look at the complexity of Arabian life. American Indian Film Festival (AIFI) The world’s longest-running film festival dedicated to Native American cinema, this 44th annual edition will take place from October 26 - November 2, with the goal of replacing stereotypes with genuine reflections of Native history, traditions, and present-day life. United Nations Association Film Festival (UNAFF) Screening from October 17-27 with the theme of “Scales of Justice,” this year’s fest will offer documentary films that continue an emphasis on human rights. The 60-plus film lineup includes the France/UK film, “Brexit. Backstage of a Divorce,” Sweden’s “The Feminister,” and one of the USA submissions, “Let My People Vote.”

  • Word Up

    September 03, 2019

    Calling all bibliophiles—September features two fabulous events that will appeal to book lovers, print aficionados, and supporters of public libraries everywhere. First, the Friends of the San Francisco Public Library Book Sale will be happening from September 18-22 at the Fort Mason Festival Pavilion. This is the 55th annual book sale, and you’ll find bargains galore from a supply of 500,000 books and other assorted media with price tags of a mere $2-$4, with products restocked daily. The Big Book Sale is the largest used book sale in the Western U.S. and attracts thousands from the Bay Area and well beyond! Proceeds benefit the SF Public Library system. Next, check out the 16th Annual Roadworks Steamroller Printing Festival on September 22. This day-long event features public printmaking, book arts activities, demos, arts and craft vendors, studio and gallery tours, and, yes, steamroller printing! Linocuts will be printed using a seven-ton, 1924 Buffalo Springfield steamroller; creating large-scale prints by featured artists that will be sold for prices of $40-$500 to benefit the San Francisco Center for the Book. This year’s featured artists are Ann Miller, Hannah Cousins, Ralph Sanders, and Rik Olsen.

  • Go Native at Polyfest

    August 05, 2019

    Celebrate, island-style in the heart of the city on August 17, during the 7th Annual Polyfest at the Marina Green West Park. Honor the culture and history of the Polynesian islands with fabulous food, songs, crafts, vendors, and cultural dances. Check the marketplace for rare items, along with snacks and drinks. Or, bring your own picnic to enjoy during performances by some of the finest Polynesian entertainers in the area. Don’t forget the blankets, low-backed chairs, and umbrellas! Afterward, keep the Polynesian vibes going with a visit to the city’s numerous Tiki bars. Order a traditional Mai Tai or Zombie, or sample one of the newest libations at such establishments as The Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar, where you can imbibe in an environment that includes tropical rainstorms with thunder and lightning. Also, don’t miss a stop in at Zombie Village in the Tenderloin, for an assortment of unique spirit blends and cocktails named by Skipper Kent. Lastly, experience “Polynesian Noir” at Last Rites, by sipping on a Valley of the Shadow cocktail near their famous floor-to-ceiling skull.

  • Eat, Drink, and Fly a Kite

    July 01, 2019

    Summer is here, and the time is right for fun-tastic events all month long. We would like to suggest the following events to take your summertime fun in SF to the limit. First, get ready for a truly cheesy experience on July 14 at the Great Mac and Cheese Melt-Off. Hosted by SPARK Social SF in honor of National Mac and Cheese Day, this promises to be a Gouda time with fabulous fromage and pasta combos, all you can drink craft beer, live music, and more! Next head over to Polk Street on July 19 for their annual Polk Street Summer Wine Walk. You’ll receive a wine glass and map of the tasting locations, and you’ll find a myriad of merchants offering samples. Lastly, experience the spectacular sight of a sky filled with colorful kites and the thrill of kite flight at the Berkeley Kite Festival from July 27-28. Join us for this unique, free, and family-friendly event, which features complimentary shuttle transportation from Golden Gate Fields, free lessons in kite-flying and kite-making, a free candy drop, fabulous food and music, and special kid’s events.

  • Kickoff Your Summer with Festivals and Film

    June 03, 2019

    June is an especially terrific month to visit San Francisco, as there is always a variety of fun and interesting events and activities to kick off the summer season. For your consideration, we have listed a few of our favorite events here. First, don’t miss the 65th Annual North Beach Festival on June 15-16. You'll find gourmet culinary creations, poetry readings, and Italian street painting, along with over 125 arts and crafts vendors, the blessing of the animals, and more. Next, join thousands of jazz lovers for the 37th Annual San Francisco Jazz Festival on June 11-23. This year’s festival will feature the gifted musical stylings of Royal Jelly Jive, La Mixta Criolla, Tia Fuller's "Angelic Warrior" Quartet, Felix Peikli and his tribute to Benny Goodman, The Cookers, the Kurt Ribak Quartet, Roy Ayers, Sarah McKenzie, and many others. Lastly, catch some outstanding cinematic offerings at Frameline43, the SF International LGBTQ+ Film Festival on June 20-30. Join over 60,000 industry guests, stars, and film lovers in viewing 150 international films, in addition to panels, parties, and galas.

  • The Game’s Afoot

    May 06, 2019

    Calling all amateur sleuths, riddle-solvers, and wannabee gumshoes: the game's afoot on May 11, when the 6th Annual City-Wide Scavenger Hunt will challenge you and your team to seek, solve, and find. It all begins at Folsom Street Foundry, when you arrive in the costume of your choice and snag your swag. Teams will then receive information about the various riddles scattered throughout the city, and can bike, walk, or use any method of public transit to solve them and explore interesting parts of San Francisco at the same time! At the end you’ll enjoy free beer, free socks, have a shot at over $5,000 in prizes, and will have made some awesome memories. Awards will be given for teams in the categories of Most Spirited, Most Efficient, and Most Travelled, and the top three. So text your bros and BFFs, but remember, no more than six to a team. Also, don’t forget to wear some seriously comfy foot apparel and bring along your fully charged phone and portable charger. Good luck!

  • The Return of SFIFF

    April 01, 2019

    Cinephiles rejoice – the San Francisco International Film Festival will return to the Castro Theatre on April 10-23. In addition to the usual lineup of stellar films, the festival will showcase a new version of Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City.” This remade-for-Netflix-original-series adaptation of a new chapter in the beloved book and PBS series will be screened at the Castro as the kickoff event of the fest. The cast and crew will be in attendance, including star and executive producer Laura Linney and author and executive producer Armistead Maupin. Additional cast members include Ellen Page, Olympia Dukakis, and Paul Gross. Afterward, come out to drink, discuss, and bust some epic moves at the opening night party at the Regency Center. Director Lulu Wang’s “The Farewell” has been selected as the 2019 SFIFF Centerpiece film. Starring Awkwafina, this tribute to, and loving parody of, the Asian family dynamic and Chinese cultural traditions is a poignant, but joyful celebration. The closing night film selection is Gavin Hood’s “Official Secrets.” The film stars Keira Knightley as UK intelligence whistleblower Katharine Gun, charged with treason over a leaked email. This powerful film also features Ralph Fiennes, Matt Smith, and Matthew Goode.

  • March is Abloom with Spring Events

    March 04, 2019

    March begins with a chill, but the days grow ever warmer until, before we know it, spring arrives with a profusion of brilliantly-colored blooms and fabulous events. This month, we’re suggesting a few colorful and festive activities we hope you’ll enjoy. First, be sure to catch a performance of “Hamilton,” which has just returned to the Orpheum Theatre. This smash Broadway hit has won not only the Tony Award for Best Musical and the Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album but also the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Next, don’t miss the 34th Annual San Francisco Garden Show at the Cow Palace on March 20-24. Celebrate all things gardening with displays, designers, seminars, hundreds of vendors, and more at one of the most renowned such shows in the country. And, you’ll find more breathtaking blossoms at Macy’s Flower Show at Union Square on March 24 – April 7. Lastly, indulge yourself with exquisite samples of artisan, gourmet, and premium chocolate at the San Francisco International Chocolate Salon at the San Francisco County Fair Building Gallery on March 30. Enjoy tastings and demonstrations from a curated selection of some of the region’s best culinary artisans, chocolatiers, and confectioners.

  • Fun Times for You and Your Valentine

    February 04, 2019

    This Valentine’s Day, make a date with your sweetie and step out to some of our favorite events listed here. First, don your bobby socks and your best penny loafers or saddle shoes and join us at the Presidio Officer’s Club on February 9 for the Valentine's Day Sock Hop. Travel back in time to an era when every gal had a poodle skirt, every guy had a deck of smokes rolled up in his t-shirt sleeve, and the back seats of sweet rides were the place to watch the submarine races. Live music from the Ely Brothers and the Doubletake Band will make you want to rock your roll, and retro cocktails will be available to purchase from Arguello Restaurant. Be there or be square! Next, set sail on your very own love boat with a San Francisco Valentine’s Cruise. Dine, dance, and make some romance with a lovely selection of elegant brunch or dinner cruises offered the entire weekend of Valentine’s Day. Bon voyage!

  • Femme Fatales and Tough Guys Rule at Noir City

    January 07, 2019

    Calling all film noir aficionados - the magnificent Castro Theater will host the 17th edition of the Noir City Film Festival from January 25 - February 3. The fest will feature the world premiere of the restored print of director Richard Fleischer’s “Trapped,” along with the Barbara Stanwyck classic, “The File on Thelma Jordon” on opening night. Additionally, the festival will continue its tradition of pairing “A” movies with complimentary “B” movies throughout the screenings. The lineup will include pairings of “The Well” with “Detective Story,” “The Turning Point” with Otto Preminger’s “Angel Face,” and “Kiss Me Deadly” with “Killer’s Kiss.” Other notable noirs include director Samuel Fuller’s “The Crimson Kimono,” Jean-Luc Godard’s timeless French New Wave crime drama “Breathless,” and Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960s shocker “Psycho.” Noir City is the largest annual film noir festival in the world, and this year Eddie Muller, Film Noir Foundation president and host of Turner Classic Movies’ “Noir Alley,” will lead the way through this dark and wonderful selection of films that began in mid-century America, and end with a double bill of 1960s films that changed the idea of noir, and movies in general, forever.