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  • 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.

  • Celebrate the Best of B’way for the Holidays

    December 03, 2018

    This holiday season, treat yourself and your loved ones to something truly special – a month of shows direct from Broadway. First, check out “A Bronx Tale,” at the Golden Gate Theatre through December 23. Based on Chaz Palminteri’s play, the powerful Academy-and-Tony-winning team of Jerry Zaks and Robert De Niro created this 1960’s era musical about a young man who is torn between his love for his father and his ambition to become a mob boss. “A Bronx Tale” is punctuated by the sounds of the ’60s via an outstanding score by the renowned composer Alan Menken. Next up is “Dear Evan Hansen,” a darkly comic musical fresh from a smash run at Broadway’s Music Box Theater. This bittersweet Tony-and-Grammy-winner spins a tale of young love and adolescent angst, all set to a stellar score. Performances are at the Curran Theater and run through December 30. Lastly, don’t miss the supercalifragilistic performance of “Mary Poppins” at the San Francisco Playhouse through January 12. This new adaptation of the venerated children’s classic about everyone’s favorite nanny includes all the old familiar musical hits and will make an enchanting holiday memory for years to come.

  • Fabulous Films, Vintage Vinyl, and a USO Dance

    November 01, 2018

    This month, our guests can choose from a myriad of entertaining events, and we have listed a few of our favorites here. First, calling all Jacks and Jills – suit up in your sharpest WWII military regalia and join us at the Presidio Officer’s Club on November 3 for a USO-style dance. Step back in time with us to an era when “swing was king” and the boogie-woogie bugle boys ruled. You’ll be jitterbugging and jiving in style on San Francisco’s most historic dance floor! Next, this is the month for film festivals, and you’ll find an amazing array here: The 43rd Annual American Indian Film Festival on November 7-11 at the Brava for Women in the Arts Theater, the 20th Annual San Francisco Transgender Film Festival on November 9-11 at the 16th street Roxie, and the 15th annual “Another Hole in the Head” Genre Film Festival on November 28 – December 12 at Japantown’s New People Cinema. Lastly, join thousands of vinyl groupies and music lovers for KUSF’s wildly popular “Rock ‘n’ Swap Record Fair” on November 18 at McLaren Hall/USF. Along with vinyl, you’ll find many rare music-related items and paraphernalia in a variety of formats and genres.

  • Check Out San Francisco's Haunts

    October 01, 2018

    A small, icy, and invisible hand on your arm, a disembodied voice shouting “Get out” at you, and a pale young woman asking you if you’ve seen her long-lost child. These scenarios are chilling, and the experiences that spawned them are legion. In fact, for those who believe in paranormal activity, it is generally agreed that the Bay Area is home to some of the most haunted spots in the U.S. Many of these have a long-standing reputation for such activity, and the list includes Chinatown, Golden Gate Park, the Presidio, and more. One of the best ways to see these “spirited” hot spots is via a variety of ghost tours, four of which are available only during the Halloween season. You can select from such options as Chinatown, the Haunted Haight, Alcatraz, City Hall, the Nob Hill Vampire Tour, and many more, including a time-travel Segway tour! Ghost-spotting is not guaranteed, but you’ll hear the eerie and often bloodcurdling stories from which it is believed that the ghostly goings-on came to be. Most of these tours charge a fee, but the San Francisco Public Library offers free walking tours of many of the City’s neighborhoods. For more information, click here.

  • The Best Bloody Mary in San Francisco

    September 03, 2018

    Beloved by brunchers and spicy cocktail aficionados, the Bloody Mary was (allegedly) created by bartender Fernand Petiot of Harry's New York Bar almost 85 years ago. Originally a bland concoction of vodka and tomato juice, the drink remains a constantly evolving phenomenon now prized for its piquancy. Bartenders have long argued about lemon versus lime and horseradish versus Tabasco when it comes to their recipes, and have since fostered an atmosphere of fierce but friendly competition. On September 29, Mixologists from the City’s finest bars, restaurants, and hotels will be out for figurative blood as they try to one-up each other with unique mashups and unusual garnishes. Come help select the People’s Choice Award for the best Bloody Mary in the City from ten of the Bay Area’s newest, most original, and most ingenious versions of this popular libation – all curated by a crack team of experts. There will be two sessions of tastings, innovative garnishes, craft spirits, and live music to keep the party vibe going. For more information, click here.

  • Movies Under the Stars

    August 06, 2018

    Summer is slipping away and soon the Bay Area will feel the nip of cooler autumn evenings. Until then, there are some fabulous films out there being shown outdoors, so don’t let the outdoor movie season slip away without checking out the following list. First, join us for the 15th anniversary of Film Night in the Park. With a variety of movies shown in various parks throughout the city, this series features both classics and the latest in feature films. Come early with blankets and a picnic – films begin at dusk. The season-ending films are as scheduled: “Lady Bird” on August 25 at Washington Square Park, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” on September 8 at Union Square Park, and “Black Panther” on September 22 at Dolores Park. Also, be sure to save the date of August 24 at 8 p.m. for an outdoor showing of “School of Rock” Head over to Pier 39 for this popular feature starring Jack Black and Joan Cusack. Bring your blankets and a picnic, or grab a bite at any of Pier 39’s eateries for screenside dining.

  • Sea Lions and STRAWS at Pier 39

    July 03, 2018

    Only a short distance from the Calista Organic Hotel, Pier 39 is situated along The Embarcadero at Beach Street. With two levels offering a myriad of dining, entertainment, and shopping, the Pier is one of the most visited attractions by both locals and guests each year. A unique, hand-carved carousel, musicians and street performers, mind-challenging puzzles at “SOLVE IT! Think out of the Box,” and a rollercoaster ride combined with state-of-the-art 3D laser tag at “7D experience” provides a variety of activities and fun for everyone. The Pier is also home to some of San Francisco’s most famous residents: the city’s sea lions. Along with additional sea creatures at the Aquarium of the Bay, the sea lions at the Sea Lion Center are always entertaining and educational. To that end, one of the year’s most interesting and informative short films will be shown every weekend at the Center through September 3. The award-winning documentary “STRAWS” uses bright and amusing straw history animation to inform us about the problems caused by plastic pollution, particularly straws and encourages us to be part of the solution. For more information, click here.

  • Treat Dad to the Clusterfest, a Craft Spirits Carnival, and Great Jazz

    May 28, 2018

    This month is the ideal time to spoil Dad, or the entire family, with tickets to some of San Francisco’s most eagerly-anticipated events. First, for the laughs of a lifetime, join us June 1-3 for Comedy Central's Clusterfest, where the lineup will include such luminaries as Jon Stewart, Amy Schumer, Trevor Noah, John Mulaney. For tickets and details, click here. Next, don’t miss the 36th Annual San Francisco Jazz Festival on June-6-17. The fest will feature almost two weeks of stellar sounds from an array of acclaimed jazz musicians, including Latino and Bossa Nova master Sérgio Mendes, distinguished trumpet virtuoso Arturo Sandoval, and many more. Tribute shows to former bands and musicians include pianist Oscar Peterson and the big band sounds of Benny Goodman. Finally, head over to downtown for the 7th Annual Craft Spirits Carnival on June 6-9. Indulge in two days of sampling hand-crafted premium spirits from up to 100 crafters. Sip and sample as you enjoy your spirits along with art, live music, and a variety of edibles! For more information, click here.

  • One Cool Happening: The Bay Area Maker Faire

    May 07, 2018

    Join us for a spectacular event that began over a decade ago in the Bay Area and created a “maker movement” wave that is sweeping the globe. On May 18-20, some of the coolest things you’ll ever see will be on display at this year’s Bay Area Maker Faire, and you can not only view the works, but also meet their creators. These modern-day makers include students and teachers, artists and crafters, engineers and all-around-techies. Their creativity, resourcefulness, and enthusiasm are as contagious as it is fascinating. See such marvels as the World's Smallest Robotic House: A creation of sheet metal artisans Scott Parenteau and Steve Hawthorne, this tiny house measures only 21” x 21”, yet provides room to stand or sit during the day, and rotates to turn its wall into a bed that sleeps two at night. Next, check out Perkunas Studio’s amazing and moveable 3-D unicorn, panther, and other creatures. Don’t miss Andy Tibbetts’  Clock Ship Tere, which is a masterpiece of mechanical engineering. Andy has honed his maker skills for years, most recently as the head fabricator for “Space Whale,” which was featured at Burning Man 2016. For a complete list of makers, click here.

  • San Francisco International Film Festival Honors Charlize Theron

    April 02, 2018

    A tour-de-force screenplay and direction by Diablo Cody and Jason Reitman, along with a stellar performance by Charlize Theron, makes the trio’s latest collaboration, “Tully,” one of the fastest-rising stars in the cinema firmament. Along with other first-rate offerings, “Tully” will be shown as part of the annual San Francisco International Film Festival. Films will be screened at a variety of venues across the city from April 4-17, and Theron and Reitman themselves will be in attendance for a program and conversation prior to the screening of “Tully” at the Castro Theater on April 8. The SIFF is the longest-running film festival in the Americas, and has dedicated this tribute to Theron for her outstanding performances in such roles as serial killer Aileen Wuornos and a miner in “North Country” along with her dazzling showmanship in “Mad Max: Fury Road,” and in the spy thriller, “Atomic Blonde.” Additional films include “I Am Not a Witch” by Rungano Nyoni, UK/France, “Night Comes On” by Jordana Spiro, USA, “Ravens” by Jens Assur, Sweden, “Scary Mother” by Ana Urushadze, Georgia/Estonia, “The Sower” by Marine Francen, France, and “Suleiman Mountain” by  Elizaveta Stishova, Kyrgyzstan/Russia. For details, click here.

  • The Best Saint Patrick’s Day Eats

    March 05, 2018

    Saint Patrick’s Day in San Francisco is one epic party, with a huge parade and a variety of entertainment. Add to your enjoyment of the holiday by grabbing a drink and some authentic grub at one of the city’s best Irish pubs, four of which are listed here. First, try the Phoenix Bar & Irish Gathering House on nearby Valencia Street, for their homemade Colcannon, Bangers and Mash, and Shepherd’s Pie. Next, for a real St. Pat’s celebration atmosphere (especially for Happy Hour), check out the outdoor party at Harrington’s Bar and Grill in the Financial District. The Chieftain Irish Pub and Restaurant in the city's SOMA district and Johnny Foley's Irish House near Union Square are also ideal stops for pub food, along with some other fabulous menu items and fun patrons. Foley’s also offers live music most nights of the week. Finally, top off your dining experience with a traditional Irish coffee at the Buena Vista Café in the Fisherman’s Wharf area. The Buena Vista is a bit expensive, but they were the first place in the country to offer these iconic coffees, so you’ll be carrying on a glorious Irish tradition.

  • Treat Your Valentine to a Twilight Cruise

    February 05, 2018

    This Valentine’s Day, surprise and delight your special someone by booking passage on a romantic California Twilight Cruise. The two of you can bask in warmth and comfort while viewing a spectacular display of San Francisco’s lights and historic landmarks from an indoor heated viewing deck. You’ll also enjoy listening to live guitar music as you nosh on a variety of savory or sweet snacks, and sip on your favorite hot or cold beverage. Or, bundle up and make your way to one of the outdoor viewing decks for a closer look at some of San Francisco’s iconic night-lit landmarks, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower, AT&T Park, Alcatraz, the Bay Bridge, and the Ferry Building. Be sure to make plans soon, as this cruise is only available through March 26th, and advance reservations are strongly recommended. To book passage, or for more information, click here.

  • Have a Whale of a Time at Point Reyes

    January 08, 2018

    Veteran whale-watchers and whale-watching newbies will be flocking to Point Reyes National Seashore this season to view the annual migration of the magnificent gray whales. Over 90 percent of these impressive gray mammals will pass close to the tip of this peninsula from December through February. However, January is usually the optimal viewing month, with more than 1,000 gray whales passing by daily. Although Point Reyes does not allow direct access to the tip during the viewing months, it does allow visitors to board shuttles at the parking lot, and get off at various prime viewing areas. Cetacean lovers who relish an up-close-and-personal experience can board a gray whale cruise boat. Cruises run from winter through early spring. Whether you plan to watch by land or by sea, you should wear sturdy shoes and layered clothing for warmth; cruisers will need waterproof shoes. A pair of good binoculars and a digital recorder and/or camera will provide optimal viewing and memory-making, and be sure to stock up on drinking water and nutritious snacks. For cruise details, call San Francisco Whale Tours at (415)706-7364 or click here for more information on Point Reyes.

  • Explore San Francisco by Cable Car

    December 04, 2017

    With its clanging bells and singing cables, the cable car has become the traditional symbol of San Francisco transportation as well as part of its culture. Andrew Hallidie tested the first cable car in 1873 and now, almost 150 years later, the cable cars traverse the city, carrying residents and visitors alike on regularly scheduled routes. These iconic cars are a fun way to tour the city at your leisure, taking whichever line you choose, and hopping on and off where and when you wish. The cable cars travel to San Francisco’s most popular tourist attractions, such as Chinatown, Union Square, North Beach, and Fisherman's Wharf, but also into some of the city’s legendary neighborhoods, such as Pacific Heights and Nob Hill. The routes consist of three lines: the Powell-Hyde Line (blue line), the Powell-Mason Line (green line), and the California Line (red line). You can board at any of the turnarounds, or any of the MUNI Cable Car Stops spaced about two blocks apart along each line. Tickets can be purchased from the car conductor, or via the MUNI app. For more information, click here.

  • Spend the Holidays on Ice

    November 07, 2017

    Of the many iconic sounds and sights of the holidays, there is little that conjures the magic of the season like the clash of metal skates on a smooth sheet of ice. Whether you’re cutting figure eights yourself, or serenely sipping hot chocolate as you watch the skaters glide past, the Holiday Ice Rink at Embarcadero Center is the place to be. Presented by Hawaiian Airlines, the Bay Area’s largest indoor ice rink will be open from November 3rd through January 7, 2018 for blissful holiday skating surrounded by a stunning urban cityscape. Skating sessions begin on every even hour beginning at 10:00 a.m. and last 1 ½ hours. Before or après-skate, be sure to check out the many restaurants, shops, and other entertainments the center has to offer. Located just across from the Ferry Building, Embarcadero Center is an ideal place for family-friendly holiday fun. Hours are from 10:00 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. on Sundays – Thursdays, and 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. For details, call (415) 837-1931, or email:

  • Visit Haunted Alcatraz for Halloween

    October 02, 2017

    Famous as one of the most haunted places in America, Alcatraz, commonly referred to as “the Rock” earned its position in the pantheon of the paranormal before it became a federal prison. Alcatraz Island came under the control of the United States military during the mid-1800s, and a fortress was constructed that would become a holding place for military prisoners. These prisoners were made up of rebellious Native Americans, Confederate soldiers and sympathizers, and Spanish prisoners. They lived in poor conditions, and suffered from cold, isolation, and even torture.    Rebuilt in the early 20th century, Alcatraz was operated as a federal prison for the most dangerous criminals from 1934 – 1963. Known as “inescapable” due to the treacherous currents that surround the island, it was true that no inmate ever escaped, despite years of attempts. Since opening to the public in 1973, Alcatraz receives a million visitors annually. Many of these have reported such phenomena as disembodied voices, phantom gunshots, rattling chains, and a foul but indescribable odor. Apparitions of prisoners, soldiers, guards, and Native Americans have all been seen on numerous occasions. For more information about visiting Alcatraz, call (415) 561-4900, or click here.

  • September at the Castro: Bill Nye the Science Guy

    September 05, 2017

    Indulge your inner nerd on Sunday, September 10, when Booksmith presents Bill Nye at the Castro Theater. Celebrating his latest book, “Everything All at Once: How to Unleash Your Inner Nerd, Tap Into Radical Curiosity and Solve Any Problem,” Nye says his goal is for the reader to develop stronger critical thinking skills to create change, and to “examine every detail of the most difficult problems that look unsolvable that is, until you find the solution.” Nye is a popular guest on both entertainment and news programs, and often speaks about climate change, personal success, and societal and political issues. Joining Nye is Kishore Hari, the Bay Area Science Festival director based out of the University of California, San Francisco. A science educator and former chemist, Hari founded an environmental services company specializing in mercury removal and treatment. He serves as the science correspondent for, and is the host of “Inquiring Minds,” the weekly Mother Jones science podcast. Showtime is 1:00 p.m. Ticket prices include a copy of Nye’s book and a bow tie – honest! 

  • Movies Under the Stars

    August 07, 2017

    The Monterey Bay Aquarium invites you to join us for Film Night in the Park. One of San Francisco’s most popular events during the summer and early fall, this outdoor film series has been attended by over 100,000 people since its inception in 2003. All films are free of charge and are screened amidst scenic park surroundings at three different venues: Dolores Park at Dolores and 19th Streets, Union Square, and Washington Square Park in the North Beach neighborhood. The parks are easily accessible via BART/MUNI, and attendees are also encouraged to walk or bike to the events. Director Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land” will be showing on August 26 at Washington Square Park at 7:45 p.m. This winner of multiple Oscar and Golden Globe awards has been lauded for breathing new life into classic film genres. Next up in September: Mike Nichol’s iconic satire, “The Graduate,” will show on September 9th in Union Square, and “The Breakfast Club,” director John Hughes’ seminal film about adolescent angst will be screened on September 23rd at Dolores Park. Picnicking before the film is also part of the experience, so be sure to bring plenty of snacks, drinks, and blankets.

  • A Fun and Educational Walking Tour

    July 04, 2017

    San Francisco is home to so many famous attractions that it’s often difficult for guests to choose what sites to visit based on the time available to them. For those guests, and for others who want to do more than take a few photos, a SF Library Walking Tour is one of the best ways to learn the history and discover the essence of the city beneath its veneer. Led by knowledgeable and experienced docents, these free tours are scheduled at various dates and times, and the tour selection includes many of the city’s iconic landmarks and neighborhoods. The Russian Hill and the Castro tours will remind visitors of Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City,” and “Harvey Milk.” Chinatown, the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Coit Tower Murals, and City Hall and the Civic Center are also popular. Historic Nob Hill and the Beat Generation’s North Beach are two of the most requested tours, along with the Japanese Tea Garden, and many other historic sites. A list of tours, along with their descriptions, dates, and times can be found here:

  • Chocolate and Art Show Benefits "Artists for Trauma"

    June 05, 2017

    This year, forget the ties, the after-shave, and the campy boxers, and give Dad something he'll remember for years to come – a San Francisco getaway. Father’s Day is an ideal time to visit the city, and Dad can play tourist to his heart’s content. San Francisco is also a city of multicultural festivals and events, many of which help to raise funds and awareness for a variety of organizations, such as the one below. This year’s Chocolate and Art Show will be held at the SOMArts Cultural Center on June 22 – 23, from 8:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. Featuring live body and face painting, live music, and live portraits, the show will also feature the work of some of the city’s best new artists. There will be free chocolate for all, and a portion of the proceeds will go to “Artists for Trauma.”

  • Mission Murals: Tour the Art Alleys

    May 01, 2017

    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 back side 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. To schedule your own mural art “staycation,” call us at (415) 287-3657, or visit:

  • Best Bars in San Francisco: Food & Wine Picks

    April 03, 2017

    San Francisco is home to a huge variety of trendy boites and bistros known for cutting-edge design and experts in the art of cocktail-crafting. So, how can tourists new to the city select one, two, or even a few during their stay? Food & Wine magazine recently solved this dilemma by searching out the best destination bars in the U.S. Their list of “50 Best Bars in America” includes seven of San Francisco’s own, and the three below are less than 20 minutes away from the Calista Organic Hotel. Rich Table keeps it fresh and local. Try the Tiger Lily cocktail – it’s a dreamy blend of blood oranges, Blanco tequila, Aperol, and Mexican Liqueur. For reservations, call (415) 355-9085. Beretta is popular for its upscale pizza and its impressive cocktails. A base of absinthe and rum mixed with bitters, lime, and maraschino makes the Dolores Park Swizzle an interesting choice. Call (415) 695-1199 for details. With its reputation for excellent modern Vietnamese food, and cocktails that complement the menu, the Slanted Door features such libations as the Pisco Apricot Tropical. Call (415) 861-8032.

  • Book Now for Bargains

    March 06, 2017

    One of the best travel bargains in San Francisco, the Calista Organic Hotel is featuring more savings in March with our special packages listed below.   Shopping Spree Package: From $599 Begin your three-night stay with a bottle of organic wine and concierge services for shopping in Union Square, home to Macy’s, Barneys NY, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom's, Saks Fifth Avenue and Westfield SF Centre. Rest and refresh at any of the square’s enormous selection of restaurants, outdoor cafes, and coffee shops. Use rate code "Organic3."   Winter Getaway: From $999 Want to spend more time in our fabulous city? Opt for the six-night package and get the same concierge services for Union Square shopping, along with a bottle of red or white organic wine. Use rate code "Organic6."   Loyalty Program We love our returning guests, and, to show our appreciation for their loyalty, we offer rewards of valuable points with every stay. Each reservation gets you closer to a new reward.   Our Shopping Package and the Winter Getaway are only available until April 1, so make your reservations soon! To make reservations, or for more details, email:, or call us at (415) 287-3657.

  • Valentine's Day for Wine Lovers

    February 06, 2017

    Whether you’re a couple of hopeful singles on your first date, or a long-married couple celebrating an anniversary, there is nothing more romantic than sipping wine together. Fortunately, the city offers more boites and bistros than you can shake a decanter at, and the three below are only minutes away from the Calista Organic Hotel. Located at 476 Castro Street, Blush! Wine Bar was inspired by European wine bars and offers over 50 wines by the glass. High marks are consistently garnered for service, ambience, and wine selection. Call (415) 558-0893, or visit: The Etcetera Wine Bar at 795 Valencia Street features a large selection of wines by regions, along with knowledgeable servers, and some tasty tapas. Fun, trendy music and a laid-back vibe is ideal for first dates. Call (415) 926-5477 or visit: Listed in Food & Wine’s “Best New Places to Drink Wine,” Gourmet & More is ideal for those who prefer BYO. Located at 141 Gough Street, their back patio is a great setting for pairing your wine with fine (primarily French) cheeses from their cellar. Call (415) 874-9133 or visit:

  • Get Your Flix Fix at the Castro Theater

    January 09, 2017

    Minutes away from the Calista Organic Hotel, the Castro Theater is a notable city landmark, and a Mecca for cinephiles. This January, the theater will show its regular movie calendar, but will also present NOIR CITY 15 from January 20-29. An annual tradition, NOIR CITY features ten days of the best noir from some of the industry’s most respected directors. This year’s theme is “The Big Knockover,” and portrays the history of the heist from the 1950’s to 2015. The 24-film selection will include such Hollywood heavyweights as “The Asphalt Jungle” and “Criss Cross,” along with British director Basil Dearden’s iconic “The League of Gentlemen.” Also showing will be Argentinian director Fabián Bielinsky’s neo-noir thriller, “El Aura,” which cemented Bielinsky’s name in the industry. Additional films include Takumi Furukawa’s “Cruel Gun Story,” Jules Dassin’s “Rififi,” Mario Monicelli’s “Big Deal on Madonna Street,” and Claude Sautet’s “Classe Tous Risques,” all selections of the prestigious Criterion Collection. The Castro Theater is located at 429 Castro Street. Call (415) 621-6120 for details, or visit:

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