Been There, Never Done That: Four Hours in San Francisco

San Francisco

Acclaro is lucky enough to count San Francisco as one of its U.S. office locations. In fact, your humble blog author considers himself even luckier to call it home! If you’ve got a few hours (or more) to spend in our fair city, whether for business or pleasure, we’ve got some tips to help you get the most from your visit.


Foodies, consider yourself warned. We’ve got some good eats in this town. Vegetarians can enjoy gourmet cuisine at the likes of Millennium and Greens (whose bayside view alone is worth a visit). If your expense account warrants it, we’ve got a plethora of Michelin-starred restaurants, or if you’re looking for gourmet on a budget, don’t miss the Ferry Building Marketplace, which practically bursts with local, artisan shops and farmers market love, most visibly on Saturdays. Grab an impromptu picnic and sit by the Bay for a memorable meal. When you’re ready for dessert, the Tcho Chocolate Factory, conveniently located north of the Ferry Building, offer free tours — and samples! — provided you register ahead of time. If you’re lucky, you’ll also get to wear a hair net, pictures of which make great blackmail fodder for the officemates back home.

Park it

While Golden Gate Park has some great draws (most notably, the Conservatory of Flowers, the California Academy of Sciences, and the de Young Museum), locals flock to Dolores Park — specifically, the southwest corner, which has a killer view of the downtown skyline and beyond. Brave the line and grab an ice cream from Bi-Rite Creamery, take a seat, and watch the passers-by. You’re guaranteed to be entertained.

You Oughta Be In Pictures

Many of San Francisco’s famous destinations are spread out between formidable hills. If you’re a movie buff whose walking shoes aren’t up the challenge, San Francisco Movie Tours does a great job of not only telling you what movies were shot here, but they drive you to the locations so you can see for yourself. For less than cab fare, you can get to all the major sights and neighborhoods (including the Golden Gate Bridge and the Painted Ladies of Alamo Square) in one fell swoop. On the way back, don’t miss the Castro Theater, home not only to great films but also film festivals. The real treat, though, has got to be the Sing-A-Longs, truly an “only in San Francisco” moment.

As Time Goes By

We’ve already mentioned a few of the more notable museums in town, but one that is sadly oft-overlooked is the Asian Art Museum. Home to over 18,000 works covering six millennia (yes, you read that right), you can peruse artifacts from India to Japan and most everywhere in between. Start on the third floor and work your way down. Don’t miss the Japanese Tea Room on the second floor; if you time it right, you can witness a formal tea ceremony during one of their twice-monthly presentations.


This isn’t a must-see, but as a resident, I feel it warrants a nod. While often — and erroneously — attributed to Mark Twain, whoever said “the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco” certainly knew which way the fog rolls in…and it does envelop the city, especially in the summer months. In fact, today’s high is forecast to be 66 degrees (19 Celsius), with low- to mid-60s (15-17 Celsius) the rest of the week and weekend. That’s the high, folks. In July. While certain parts of the city can be warmer and sunnier than others, do remember to bring a jacket or a sweatshirt if you’re visiting during the summer months. That way, you can smile smugly to yourself as you glance pitiful looks at the tourists shivering in shorts and t-shirts waiting in line for the cable car.

We hope you’ll have a great time while you’re here, and don’t fret if you accidentally leave your heart here, too. Many have (including me). One final word of advice, please don’t call it Frisco or ask for Rice-A-Roni. Please.

Photo attribution: Thomas Hawk

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Smart, fun and useful. Acclaro shares news and tips on translation, localization, language, global business and culture.


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