San Francisco’s Historic Streetcars

f-lineSituated just a block from San Francisco’s bustling Market Street, if you have ever stayed with us at The Pickwick Hotel, you likely saw The City’s historic streetcars shuffling along among modern buses and cars.

Known as the F-Market and Wharves line, riding one of these colorful streetcars is a great way to see San Francisco; the F line runs from the famous Castro District, down Market Street, and along the waterfront Embarcadero–all the way to PIER 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf.

The F line has been running since 1981, but plans for the project were in the works for years before. In fact, the first historic streetcar from outside the U.S. was procured from Germany in 1979. Today’s F-Market and Wharves fleet consists of streetcars from Italy, Germany, Portugal, England, Japan, Russia, Australia, Belgium, and various U.S. cities; the cars were built between 1912 and 1952.

What it costs: $2.00 for adults, $0.75 for children and seniors, children under age 5 ride free. Bring exact change with you, as drivers do not carry cash.

When it runs: The F-Market runs every six to 15 minutes from 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight, 365 days per year.

On your next trip to San Francisco, be sure to include a ride on the F-Market and Wharves line in your sightseeing plans!

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San Francisco’s Bay Bridge Lights

Bay LightsWhat is the most unassuming place you can think of for an art installation? We can think of many, and the beautiful yet quirky city of San Francisco certainly offers countless possibilities. If you have visited downtown San Francisco after sunset recently, you likely saw our latest large-scale public art offering on none other than the Bay Bridge. Officially known as The Bay Lights, this “light sculpture” was designed by artist Leo Villareal in honor of the bridge’s 75th anniversary. Comprised of 25,000 individually-programmed LED lights, The Bay Lights will be on display until March 2015.

Who would expect to see an expanse of cascading lights across the span of the Bay Bridge? It’s the surprise of seeing The Bay Lights for the first time that makes the experience so magical. With several months remaining for The Bay Lights installation, there are many opportunities to plan a visit to San Francisco and include this stunning public art masterpiece in your outing.

Spend the day touring San Francisco’s best sights: Union Square, North Beach, Chinatown, PIER 39/Ghirardelli Square, and the Ferry Building to name a few.

After sightseeing, book a waterfront table for a leisurely dinner in view of The Bay Lights. A perfect end to a day in San Francisco! Not sure where to go for dinner? Here are some of our top picks with a great Bay Bridge view:

1. Epic Roasthouse is situated along the Embarcadero, right on the water. Be sure to ask for a table with a view!
2. Head to Chaya Brasserie if sushi and Asian fusion are what you crave. Another great Embarcadero destination.
3. If you prefer a more casual dining experience, head to Mijita in the Ferry Building. Order tacos or a burrito and grab a table outside for a full view of The Bay Lights.

Book your city adventure today and head to our Specials page for great deals from The Pickwick Hotel! We look forward to seeing you.

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2013 Holiday Events in San Francisco

Union Square Christmas Tree‘Tis the season for merriment and holiday fun! From tree lightings, to ice skating, to parties and festive scenery, there many things to do and see in San Francisco to help you get in the holiday spirit.

Here are some of our favorites:

1. Outdoor Ice Skating
Open until January 20, 2014, the Union Square Ice Rink is truly in the center of the action. And it’s only a few blocks from The Pickwick Hotel! Union Square is San Francisco’s busiest public square, located across the street from Macy*s on the south side and Saks Fifth Avenue on the north side; it is also one of the most festive and fun places to be in San Francisco during the holiday season. And after November 29 the Union Square Christmas tree will be lit too, making your adventure even more festive!

If you prefer visiting the waterfront while in San Francisco, go for a skate at the Embarcadero Ice Rink. Located in Justin Herman Plaza next to Embarcadero Center, you’ll have bay views while you skate! The rink is open until January 5, 2014.

2. PIER 39 Tree Lighting
Taking place on December 23 & 24, PIER 39’s Tree Lighting celebration is complete with characters visiting from Disneyland, Santa Claus, games, and live music. And don’t forget the 60-foot tree!

3. Bill Graham Menorah Lighting and Chanukah Festival
The Bill Graham Menorah resides in Union Square and is likely the largest menorah you have ever seen! There will be a special lighting each day of Chanukah. And on December 4, the final night of Chanukah, head to the 4th floor of Westfield Centre for a special end-of-Chanukah celebration complete with treats, dreidels, and crafts!

4. Union Square/Macy*s 24th Annual Tree Lighting
Taking place on November 29, the Union Square/Macy*s Tree Lighting is an event not to be missed. Arrive early to claim a spot to sit and view the ceremonial lighting of the city’s largest Christmas tree! The ceremony starts at 6:00 p.m. and the tree will be lit at approximately 6:40 p.m.

5. San Francisco Ballet’s Nutracker
The San Francisco Ballet’s Nutcracker is one of the best in the West! Performances run from December 11 through 29 at the War Memorial Opera House. A fun afternoon or evening for the whole family!

The Pickwick Hotel is located within easy walking distance of most of the activities listed above. And we’re offering great Breakfast and Shop the Block specials, too! Book today and get your holiday season started.

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Halloween in San Francisco: 2013 Events

HalloweenWhen it comes to holidays, Halloween is one of San Francisco’s favorite to celebrate. Events take place throughout the city at a variety of venues and there are many wonderfully fun celebrations to choose from!

Here are some of our top 2013 San Francisco Halloween picks for you:

1. Boo at the Zoo–San Francisco Zoo: October 19, 20, 26, 27
This family-friendly event offers a chance to roam the San Francisco Zoo in search of candy, visit the on-site animals and even walk a haunted nature trail.

2. Halloween Night at the Exploratorium: October 31
Halloween with a twist of science! If you haven’t yet visited the Exploratorium at its new Pier 15 location, this is a great time to go. You’ll sip creepy cocktails while holding snakes and lizards. Decorate a molten sugar skull to take home with you, too!

3. Spectacular Halloween Party and Trick-or-Treat at
San Francisco’s Japantown Peace Plaza
: October 27

This free family-friendly event gives you an opportunity to celebrate Halloween and experience San Francisco’s iconic Japantown at the same time. Festivities include a costume parade, trick-or-treating, arts and crafts, face painting, and more. 

4. Carrie The Musical by Ray of Light Theater: October 4 – November 2
If you’re looking to be seriously spooked this Halloween, go see Carrie The Musical in San Francisco’s Mission District! The former Broadway production is based on Stephen King’s best-selling novel, Carrie. Be ready for a bloody and creepy evening!

Are you looking for a place to stay in downtown San Francisco for this year’s Halloween activities? Head over to our website and book now. We look forward to seeing you!

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San Francisco’s 2013 Autumn Events

autumn leavesThough Halloween is one of San Francisco’s most celebrated events, there are plenty of autumn-centric happenings to enjoy before then. Explore some San Francisco fun and delight in the City’s beautiful Indian Summer!

1. NotOberfest
Taking place on September 20, NotOberfest specifically highlights the fact that they do not abide by the German beer purity law, Reinheitsgebot. Instead, NotOberfest rings in autumn with a wide array of pumpkin beers and seasonal food. A great pre-cursor to the real Oktoberfest for beer lovers and pumpkin lovers alike!

2. Oktoberfest by the Bay
Lauded as a top 10 best US Oktoberfest celebration, Oktoberfest by the Bay runs September 20 – 22 and offers an array of traditional German beer, food, and live music performed by the Chico Bavarian Band and SF German Band. Wear your trachten too–traditional Bavarian clothing. Oompah!

3. Noe Valley Harvest Festival
One of San Francisco’s more family-oriented neighborhoods, Noe Valley holds their annual harvest celebration on October 26. Featuring a pumpkin patch, face painting, live music, a hay ride, and more, this festival is the ultimate autumn family event.

Stay tuned next month for a guide to San Francisco’s best Halloween celebrations! And if you’re looking for a list of non-seasonal upcoming events, check out SanFrancisco.Travel.

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Dining on San Francisco’s Waterfront: 5 Places to Visit

san francisco waterfrontWith San Francisco’s sweeping bay and ocean views, waterfront dining is a must! Though there are many places to choose from, here are some of our top picks around the city for enjoying a good meal along with your million dollar view:

1. Epic Roasthouse
If you enjoy a well-prepared cut of meat, Epic Roasthouse is the place to go. An easy walk from San Francisco’s Ferry Building, you’ll have views the whole way there and can enjoy a nice stroll before and after your meal.

2. The Ramp
For a look at San Francisco’s warmer eastern waterfront, head to The Ramp. The Ramp is a favorite local hangout on sunny days and nearly all seating is located on their bayside patio.

3. Butterfly
Butterfly serves excellent Asian-California fusion cuisine at Pier 33 on The Embarcadero. The restaurant’s hip, urban atmosphere make this a perfect stop before a night on the town!

4. Greens
If vegetarian food is what you fancy, Greens is a must-visit destination during your trip to San Francisco. Greens, a San Francisco institution, serves some of the best vegetarian food in the nation alongside amazing views of the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Reservations are recommended!

5. Beach Chalet
After a day exploring Golden Gate Park, the Beach Chalet is the perfect place to stop and refuel. Located across the street from Ocean Beach, every seat in the house boasts a beautiful ocean view. Both a brewery and a restaurant, Beach Chalet offers someone for everyone.

What are your favorite waterfront spots? Join the conversation in the comments section below!

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America’s Cup: August Events

yacht-racingWith the Louis Vuitton Cup semi-final and final races taking place in August, now is the time to plan a trip out to San Francisco’s waterfront to watch world-class yacht racing in some of the sport’s most exciting moments.

Races occur on most days in August and always take place in the early afternoon. See a full Louis Vuitton Cup schedule here.

Why the Louis Vuitton Cup? This is the race that determines who competes against the America’s Cup defender in this year’s race! Very exciting!

But if you aren’t so much for watching yacht races, fear not. There’s a lot more to see at America’s Cup Park and America’s Cup Village! These venues have a wide range of daily offerings including film screenings, a sports bars featuring the best in local cuisine and beverages, children’s play areas, evening concerts, and more.

And if that wasn’t enough, iconic San Francisco sites such as PIER 39 and the Ferry Building are just a short walk away.

We look forward to welcoming you when you arrive!

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