Mixing Business and Pleasure: Quick Escapes in San Francisco

by  Darren Murph | Nov 5, 2012
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco, CA / ibsky/iStock

The City by the Bay is also known as a second home to many business travelers, with a huge swath of conventions and events hosted in San Francisco each year. It's also ludicrously pricey, almost always "chilly" to visitors from the south, and packed full of amazing opportunities for enjoyment… if you know where to look. In an effort to get you outside of the boardroom and into the wilds of SF, we’re offering up two restaurants, two attractions, and one bar that you can hit with just a few extra hours between meetings.

While San Francisco is busy enough to offer a smattering of convention center options, Moscone West is undoubtedly the king of the city. Thankfully, the Mission Bay Conference Center and Fort Mason Center aren't too far away, so even if you find yourself at one of those, these recommendations will still apply – albeit with a little more legwork. Just a few blocks away, you'll find the Hilton Union Square. Chances are, it'll be a recommended hotel for you to stay at if you're spending most of your time at Moscone. Beneath, there's a place called Urban Tavern, and while the hours are a little weird, the food is superb. It's a pretty laid back place, and the prices are really reasonable for downtown San Francisco. I rarely recommend hotel eateries, but this one is a cut above.

If you're okay with a 12 to 15 minute walk through some of San Francisco's most visited streets, you'll want to pay a visit to the Farmerbrown Restaurant. It serves upscale southern food, and they've nailed both the atmosphere and the grub. It's an ideal place to take a client. The food is memorable, but the atmosphere is one where you'll both feel at ease enough to truly talk shop. The sweet tea is served in a Mason jar, the okra is to die for, and the meat selections are seasoned to perfection.

If you're looking for a bit of activity, you've got a trifecta of choices within cabbing distance. If it's the right season, you should absolutely enjoy a Giants game at AT&T Park. It's one of the newest, most technologically advanced stadiums in MLB, and considering that the team won the World Series for the second time in three years, it's safe to say that they put on a pretty good show. A bit further south is Candlestick Park, where you can catch the San Francisco 49ers on Sundays in the fall and winter.

For those that haven't seen it (or haven't seen it on a clear day), it's worth a trip to the Golden Gate Bridge. Be mindful, however, that you have exactly one chance to be in the right lane in order to find yourself in a parking lot where you can exit and snap a typical "The Golden Gate Bridge is behind my shoulder!" picture. If you miss it, and drive across, it's pretty tough to find a place to pull over.

That said, not all is lost. As you head north, you'll run directly into the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and just beyond that is Muir Woods National Monument. For those that rented a car, these two sights can be seen with just 30 (or so) minutes behind the wheel. It's pretty astounding how quickly you can escape the concrete jungle and subject yourself to some of Northern California's natural beauty, and Muir Woods in particular offers a glimpse at some of the state's most aged and towering trees.

If you're looking to wind things down before heading home, make time for a stop at B Restaurant & Bar. It's actually hoisted atop the Yerba Buena Gardens, which are a treat themselves, and offers a soothing view over the city and excellent interior design. Oh, and the food and spirits aren't bad, either.

This is a recurring feature exploring must-visit locales in a variety of cities. If you find yourself traveling to a place for business, why not venture out and enjoy your surroundings?

See our San Francisco destination guide for more trip-planning information, then use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on flights.

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