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Four Reasons to Visit San Francisco Immediately

High temps, fresh seafood, an Alcatraz art exhib, and more

With Wind by Ai Weiwei   Photo: Katie Petrucci

Is there ever a bad time to visit San Francisco? Maybe not, but the stars are particularly aligned right now with perfect weather, radical art on Alcatraz, new restaurants, and a seaside hotel just across the Golden Gate Bridge. If that sounds right up your alley, read ahead for details on why the Bay Area should be on your radar this fall.

1. The Weather Is Incredible

The City by the Bay sees its best weather of the year in fall. From October to November, true Indian summer days mean highs in the upper 60s—sometimes climbing as high as the 80s and 90s. And unlike in summer when June gloom casts a chillier shadow, the city’s famous fog clears by fall and bluebird skies are the norm.

2. See Provocateur Ai Weiwei’s Art at Alcatraz

Open as of last month and showing through April 26, 2015, a sculpture, sound, and multimedia exhibit from Chinese activist and artist Ai Weiwei offers a new way to experience Alcatraz. @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz is on display in select areas of the former penitentiary, including New Industries Building, cells in the A Block, and the creepy hospital—areas typically restricted from public view.

A vocal critic of the Chinese government who is not allowed to leave China, Weiwei created his works for @Large in Beijing, and in response to Alcatraz’s wild history as a former military fortress, federal penitentiary, site of Native American heritage and protest, and now a national park. Admission to Weiwei’s exhibit is included at no additional cost on any available Alcatraz Cruises (from $30; try the eerie Night Tour for $37).

3. New Restaurants Are Only Part of a Major Culinary Scene

Recently named the Best Culinary Destination (Large Domestic) by readers of Saveur, San Francisco is a serious, multifaceted dining adventure. Take your pick of the city’s numerous food truck markets, tracking the whereabouts of the best at any given moment with the amazing Off the Grid app. On Saturdays, walk on the Embarcadero to the gigantic Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, where huge persimmons, pomegranates, squash, and other produce will instill serious California envy. Save time for the main hall inside, where vendors sell everything from artisanal meats to overpriced housewares.

Farther north across from Pier 23, the recently revamped Fog City diner—slick with its triangle shape, curved wooden bar and red-leather stools—is a great stop for refreshing cocktails and quintessential California fare; the chilled derby with Four Roses whisky, zingy oysters still fresh with saltwater, and a smoky kale salad with goat cheese are must-haves. Opened in July, Causwells packs in a crowd next to the Presidio theater in the Marina district. First glance will have you thinking Causwells is cozy and cute, but expect great things: a powerhouse kitchen run by Adam Rosenblum (formerly of San Francisco’s Flour + Water), friendly service, a robust menu (crispy lavosh with housemade ricotta, devilled eggs with smoky salmon, handcrafted beers brewed a stone’s throw away), and outside seating and people watching on buzzy Chestnut Street.

4. Sleep and Sail From a New Mansion in Sausalito

Just across the Golden Gate Bridge sits upscale, small-town Sausalito and the new Mansion at Casa Madrona Hotel. Originally built in 1885 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the redesigned Mansion opened last December with 11 airy rooms (from $569 a night) and one stunning, 3,500-square-foot Alexandrite Suite with a two-tiered, 1,500-square-foot deck ($10,000 a night). Whatever you choose, wake up to views that spill down to Sausalito Yacht Harbor and out across the Bay. Hit the water with the hotel’s sailing program, which includes two nights in the mansion, two days of sailing lessons on a 31-foot sailboat, two spa treatments, and dinner for two at the street-side Poggio (from $2,920). A block away, hop on the Blue & Gold Fleet ferry for a scenic, 30-minute cruise back to San Francisco.

Travel News

A Smart Suitcase Everyone Will Want

The future product of a successful crowd-funding campaign, the rolling Bluesmart suitcase will do what no luggage has done before: use an app to ping your phone when it’s separated from the bag, track travel data, and locate the bag should it go missing. There’s also a built-in scale in the handle and a charger inside. Tnooz has more.

The Love Boat Soon Will Be Making Another Run

From November 6 to 9, members of the original Love Boat cast will join a three-day preview cruise aboard the new Regal Princess Cruise Ship, sailing from Fort Lauderdale to the cruise line’s private Bahamian island, Princess Cays. Gavin MacLeod (Captain Stubing), Ted Lange (Isaac), Lauren Tewes (Julie), and even Charo are among the reunited cast. Grab one of few remaining cabins and join the throwback crew (from $439). See more under Princess’s three-day Eastern Caribbean Getaway.

Colorado Ski Resorts Open for the Season

Earlier this month, Arapahoe Basin—with an 18-inch base of packed powder—became the first ski resort in the country to open for ski season. Copper Mountain comes next with its opening on Friday. Both resorts are among several that have been taking advantage of cooler nighttime temperatures to make snow since September. In November, Winter Park, Crested Butte, and Aspen/Snowmass are among the Colorado resorts to open next.


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