What even IS in the Bay Area?

I'm going to San Francisco in exactly one month to do the WORLD PREMIERE of my big fun indie game at Day of the Devs. And even though lately I have been more of an active reader than an active poster, I would love to see some of you there!

But my question is, what are even good things to do in the Bay Area? I'm flying in from The Netherlands so I thought I would make the most of my trip there, but I went through most of the tourist staples already a couple of years ago and I'm not quite sure what to do with my time this time around. Any recommendations?


@“oprel”#p87396 I’m going to San Francisco in exactly one month to do the WORLD PREMIERE of my big fun indie game at Day of the Devs.

[That game?](https://forums.insertcredit.com/d/534-show-me-anything/199) Nice! Congratulations and good luck!


What even IS in the Bay Area?

[upl-image-preview url=https://i.imgur.com/Z2IWwAK.jpeg]


Any recommendations?

Wishlist [_HYPER GUNSPORT_.](https://store.steampowered.com/app/1663250/Hyper_Gunsport/)

I will be at day of the devs myself!

So the bay area is a series of distinct-feeling-to-locals-but-probably-indistinguishable-to-outsiders towns that are smashed together, one right next to the other. San Francisco, as you'll quickly find, is a place with big buildings and reasonably poor weather which is only cool when you get away from the center of it, which you will likely not be able to do in the time. I actually truly do not understand the appeal of san francisco or the bay area in general in terms of tourism, unless you like seeing another big city but it's laid out differently.

Anyway, you probably won't have access to a car, which is what truly unlocks the potential of the area because you can go to the bay, the ocean, the redwoods (recommended), the mountains, the desert, all within an hour to two hours drive (several of these are mere minutes away). Truly the only things I can recommend about the bay area are scattered deep cuts. Specific restaurants, shops, hiking places, parks, etc. And america in general is obviously incredibly hostile to visitors in that it's very difficult to get around, it's expensive, and very few of the good things are next to each other. Especially coming from europe it's like... why do people live here and how do they get where they're going. Anyway!!!

With all that said, here are a few things I can recommend generally that may help get you started:


  • -

    SF chinatown. there's interesting restuarants, bars, curio shops, all up and down SF chinatown, it's the only place in the city that I'd recommend. It's touristy but in a good way, and also is full of regular humans who live there. There are two streets, the one that's more touristy (grant), and the one that's more local (stockton), but the touristy one is actually quite fun by itself.

  • -

    northbeach. once you walk to the end of chinatown you're in northbeach which is an i-talian area with good food if you want that. If not don't bother.

  • -

    golden gate park. It's quite a nice park with a museum and a zoo in it but it's huuuuge and better with a friend.

  • -

    haight - upper haight is the old hippie zone. it's got chintzy shops and an amoeba records. lower haight has cool restaurants and bars but only worth going to with friends. so, if you've got friends, you can go to the sausage place whose name has changed so I don't remember it, and bring it next door to the nice bar (toronado) and that'll be a fun time. If not, don't go I'd say!

  • -

    if you have a car, muir woods is great.

  • Oakland:
    First of all, just to note that as much as I talk up oakland, it's not really a place to be wandering around aimlessly, but neither is san francisco so it's probably fine. But you should not like... get out at the Colosseum exit and start walking around. Regardless of that, once you know where you're going it's more chill, the weather is nicer, but it is just as spread out as SF and has fewer major landmarks and even worse public transit. Here's some places:

  • -

    Lake Merritt. A delightful heart-shaped lake with the first wildlife preserve in america (for birds, we have a lot of night herons), a bonsai garden with the oldest bonsai in america, children‘s fairyland which you can’t go into but can see the outside of (inspired disneyland, etc) and a constant stream of cultural events happening. It‘s 3.4 miles (sorry, I will not be converting to kilometers today) and there’s stuff to see the whole way round.

  • -

    Oakland Chinatown. Chiller, smaller, denser than SF chinatown. Good place to shop for groceries (ha ha) but also just wander around and get food. It's small but nice.

  • -

    "Old Oakland" is right next to oakland chinatown and has a nice but too busy bar called the trappist, and other eateries.

  • -

    Oakland Museum of California. It's a museum - I didn't recommend any SF museums but they're good also, you can go to them. The OMCA has events sometimes, a permanent exhibit about the history of California, but do spring for the pricier ticket because then you get to see the monthly/bimonthly dedicated exhibitions from certain collections or artists. It's a much more community-focused museum but still high end. It's got a focus on contemporary art from california which is nice.

  • Note that you could conceivably walk from lake merritt to the museum to chinatown to old oakland and then take the train back to SF but that's a Big Long Day IMHO.

  • -

    Sibley Park or Redwood Regional - two nice hiking areas in oakland depending on the vibe you want to go for. You need a car to get there. Much closer way to see the redwoods or just have a Very California Hike.

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    Temescal. This is an area that has nice restaurants and some interesting things along telegraph. I used to live here - it's really more of a food area (bakesale betties, alem's cafe) than anything else. Kingfisher is a bar some people like, there's good ethiopian food, good pizza, etc. If you go a fair bit further you'll get to 1234 go which is a good record shop.

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    Fruitvale. This is where I live now. It's where to get good central american food, see some interesting culture you wouldn't otherwise get to see, but I truly wouldn't recommend it to anybody unless they were physically with me because there are directions in which you shouldn't walk too far and it's hard to know where the good stuff is unless you already know.

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    Jack London Square - there's a nice bay walk you can do, there's Heshers Pizza made by friend of the show Zak Mccune, lots of other food and stuff to do, a sinking/slanted bar called heinhold's first and last chance saloon, this is a solid place to go (if you have a car lol).

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    Chapel of the Chimes and the St. Mary Cemetery. It's a really big cemetery park which is super nice to walk around, and Chapel of the Chimes is a crematorium you can go in that has interesting architecture and the whole thing is a unique vibe. You can walk down piedmond and get to shops and stuff from there but getting there in the first place is several busses or car.

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    I forget whether day of the devs includes a first friday but if so you could definitely go to the Oakland First Friday by walking up telegraph from 12th st bart. Definitely an experience with vendors and music and galleries. Just leave before 10 pm I'd say.

  • Berkeley:
    You can pretty much see all you need to of this place by walking up Telegraph Ave, close to the university. Good shops to walk along, two record stores (amoeba, rasputin), a berkeley branch of one of my favorite fruitvale taco shops (tacos sinaloa), and then you can walk around the UC Berkeley campus which is quite a nice place to go.

    Extreme "I have a car" places to go:

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    Laney Flea Market in Oakland. Cool flea market that I like a lot, cheaper and easier to get to than the alameda one.

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    Berkeley Rose Garden. It's nice to spend 30 minutes in!

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    Little Saigon in Oakland - good place to get vietnamese food, also a good place to get into some Big Trouble if you don't know where you're walking ha ha oops.

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    Port Costa. A biker/artist town way out in the zone. you can walk along the train tracks by the reservoir, listen to a dad band play at the big bar, listen to a jazz band play at the small bar, go to a curio shop if it's open... it's a cool place and the first place on my list to take Swery if he had half a day free. It also has a high chance that everything will be closed whenever you go though.

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    Niles, CA. a big stretch of antique shops and ice cream shops and things. It's fun and feels olde time, and is in fact the old rival to Hollywood, because Charlie Chaplin had his studio there. There's a silent movie theatre there that plays movies on weekends, and also has tours. Once you're here, you got here by car, so you can go to Fremont and get good indian food.

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    Concord. Phoenix Games, a good half price books, some okay places to eat like Bambinos (old American pizza place), generally a chill time.

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    Alameda. an old army base, so has a weird 50s americana vibe. there's some antique shops (there's also a huge antique fair that happens every weekend), and the best game store in the bay area called The Experience Share.

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    Northern California's coastal cities are really fun to go to in my opinion. they feel like "old america" but if it were rich, and about to be under water. So, Pt Reyes, Bolinas, both near the water and other hiking, have a unique vibe, and are neat to be in. But you've gotta drive an hour and a half from anywhere to get there.

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    San Jose. The biggest suburb you've seen in your entire life. 1m people live here, it's huge, and full of weird stuff - recycle book shop, the rosecrucian museum, the rose garden, an old abandoned japan town, amazing food all over (best place to get chettinad food!), but you will drive 15-20 minutes between everything here, after having driven an hour to get there.

  • Well, I could go on forever and I've forgotten a lot I'm sure, but..............there you go! If you were here for a month I'd have a lot of Real Specific Recommendations but those aren't useful for a shorter trip.

    Oh yeah, the good music venues are:
    SF: the chapel, great american music hall, DNA lounge, rickshaw stop, hotel utah, the independent, elbo room. All the others shut down basically...

    Oakland: Eli's, Crybaby, New Parish, Golden Bull, Starline Social Club, the other Elbo Room (lol) and then if you're a cool person on their instagram: Oakland Secret, Stay Gold Deli

    The good record stores are: Amoeba, Rasputin, Streetlight (San Jose), 1234 Go, Needle to the Groove is fine but if you're in Niles you'll go there anyway, but all the stores around here are alright.

    The good game stores are scattered to the 4 winds but the experience share in alameda is the best one, then in San Jose you've got Retro Fix, Game World, and Game Shop, in Milpitas there's Retro Rewind, I Concord there's Phoenix Game, and in Fremont there's Cartridge Cartel (which is very small). I think a new one opened in a mall somewhere but I haven't heard good things. There is no game store in san francisco.

    Final note: Truly the best thing to do in the bay area is google a place, find some thrift stores or restaurants, go check them out, and get the vibe of that particular area. This is not really possible in a tourism capacity because we simply don't have public transportation. weee

    Aw, shit, I had a big post that was about twice as long as Brandon's full of whimsy and wonder and amazing locales to discover, but then I realized you meant the San Francisco Bay Area, not Bayarea, the name of my original tabletop roleplaying game high fantasy setting

    (also congrats on your big accomplishment!!! It's gonna be YOUR Day!)

    [img width=250]https://i.imgur.com/rL1g4Rk.png[/img]


    Wow, I‘m surprised anyone would remember! Yes, that’s the one!

    I'm stunned! Thank you so much for the extensive explanation. We only got to speak super briefly in 2019, hope we'll see each other again at the event!

    You basically hit all the marks of the things I was most curious about. I'm going to dig in more and see what I can do about getting further out of town. Thank you so very much for your help!

    Thank you!! At the moment I'm way too busy to start feeling excited, but from a logical point of view I'm looking forward to it.

    Tacos Sinaloa is good enough that you should make it a point to go there if you make it out to the East Bay. Shrimp or pescado burrito if you‘re a meat eater!! Would also recommend the Rockridge neighborhood if you wanna see a more hoity toity Berkeley, it’s a decent walk with plenty of stuff to see. If you like baked good Sunday Bakeshop is good over there.

    If you go to St, Mary Cemetery(you should) it's also worth it to take a walk up Piedmont Ave(some cool shops, a sweet video rental store I go to sometimes, restaurants/quick bites)

    If you're sticking to San Francisco I would also recommend, in addition to Brandon's great suggestions, Japantown, Inner Sunset, and Richmond(inner and central only, outer has nothing) neighborhoods. Mission District is also a classic place-to-go on everyone's lists and it's pretty cool but I honestly wouldn't make a special trip out there. I could also just be jaded having hung out there in my teens and not thinking it's anything special anymore lol, idk!

    OH YEAH: the oakland zoo is great if you can get there.

    You may wanna check out M.A.D.E., the playable video games museum.

    Only if you have nothing else to do that day and wanna be underwhelmed :3

    They do have a big steel battalion rig though, dunno if it's set up in the new space


    Super interesting! I'll read up on all of these, thank you very much!

    And thank you for the suggestion! It looks like a pretty nice way to unwind. I used to have a pretty sick Steel Battalion set-up at home though, which even then was pretty underwhelming after going through all the effort of putting it together.

    I’ve got to travel to SF in a few weeks for work and I don’t really know the area well. I think I’ll have one free night! Are there any legit arcades in SF with shmups, Metal Slug, and other Good Games? I’m trying to search online but struggling!!

    Edit: also @exodus your guide post is seriously so helpful, I appreciate it a million

    @“Brett”#p118107 if you‘re in SF proper the answer is no - there are some barcades which are fine (like the detour in the Castro) but no true arcades that I know of! If you have only one night and no access to a car to get to a round one (far away from the city) I’d rather check out the Roxy or Castro theater and see what vintage movies they've got going! Are you with friends or solo?

    Basically if I were in SF and needed to have a good time by myself in one evening I'd either:

  • - go to that barcade, the detour, for 30 minutes or however long you're able to have fun in a place like that by yourself, then:
  • - get a late night pizza slice at marcello's (they used to have a good potato pizza - do they still? who knows), then
  • - go to the castro theater and watch a vintage film introduced by an organ player and all
  • OR:

  • - go to the mission district and wander around and find some good central american food
  • - go to The Roxy and see a fun movie, or one of the music venues nearby to see a band
  • It's a little easier to have fun in the daytime but those are my recommendations for ~ the night ~.

    @“exodus”#p118122 double thx! That helps a lot. I’ll be in SF proper. Solo! Starting a new job and there’s a work gathering. Love older theaters, so seeing a movie may be more viable/enjoyable.

    @“Brett”#p118131 good luck, hope you're able to have a cool time!

    I‘ll be in the Oakland area for a week and this is a great thread! I’ll be working and going to a wedding, but should have some time for fun, especially since I'll be there for the July 4th week and will have a few extra days. Thanks @exodus !!

    My only recommendation is to go to Death Guild at DNA Lounge on a monday night, sit in a VIP booth, and pretend you're meeting a villain in a spy movie.

    Did anyone else know that radio museum in the bay was charging $10 entry fee to **take pretty much any of their selection of vintage radios you want**? My buddy got some really sick Victor, Zenith, Sharp etc that are pushin 100 years old

    I was going through this box of old stickers and stuff and found this very old kmel jams temporary tattoo shoutout to the Bay Area

    Edit - it’s not actually a box of stickers it’s one of the sections in an accordion file where I keep paperwork, it’s even labeled “stickers”

    @“mindleftbody”#p139934 yesssssssss, this is a good object. I listened to kmel every morning on my way to middle school.