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What’s New in San Francisco - August 2015

What’s New” is compiled by the San Francisco Travel Association. Past editions of “What’s New” and a list of “Recent and Coming Attractions” are available in the Media section of San Francisco Travel’s website, www.sanfrancisco.travel.

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August 3, 2015 — “What’s New” is compiled by the San Francisco Travel Association. Past editions of “What’s New” and a list of “Recent and Coming Attractions” are available in the Media section of San Francisco Travel’s website, www.sanfrancisco.travel.

FOOD & DRINK NEWS

28 Stories About Eating and Drinking in San Francisco

San Francisco has always been one of the top culinary destinations in the world. San Francisco Travel, the official tourism promotion organization, has an unending supply of stories about places to eat and drink in every corner of the city.  Here is a collection of their latest suggestions:

Seven New Chefs to Watch in San Francisco

40-Plus Food Fests For Every Palate 

Best Foodie Tours for Exploring All of San Francisco 

Apps for Finding the Perfect Meal in San Francisco 

A First Timer’s Guide to Eating in the Mission District

The Foodie’s Guide to Eating and Drinking in SOMA 

A First Timer’s Guide to Eating in the Financial District 

Eleven Things to See, Eat and Drink in the Bayview

The Newbie’s Guide to Eating and Drinking in North Beach

Seven Delicious Ways to Explore Japantown 

Five Serious Meat Joints to Celebrate Summer 

Nine Restaurants Worth Waiting in Line For

The Definitive History of Cioppino in San Francisco

 Five Great New Places for Pizza in San Francisco 

The Definitive History of San Francisco Sourdough Bread

San Francisco’s History with the Mai Tai and Five Places to Drink Them 

The History of Speakeasies and Where to Get a Throwback Cocktail in San Francisco  

Eight Happy Hours to Check Out Now

The History of Irish Coffee in San Francisco

Ultimate Guide to San Francisco’s Boozy Brunches by Neighborhood 

Ten Places to Brunch Like a San Francisco Local

Five Places in San Francisco to Enjoy Brunch on a Lovely Patio 

The San Francisco Waiting Game – Which Breakfast Places are Worth Your Time

Five Beer Focused Restaurants to Taste California’s Booming Beer Scene

Five Cocktails Invented in San Francisco

A City of Market Fresh Cocktails

Seven Places in San Francisco Where the Wine is as Good as the Food

Seven San Francisco Coffee Places Not to Miss

San Francisco Travel Launches Dining Guide to the City’s Most Delicious Neighborhoods

It’s said that there are more delicious meals packed into San Francisco’s 49 square miles than anywhere else in the world. San Francisco Travel’s new Dining Guide, coming soon to www.sanfrancisco.travel, provides a local’s perspective on where to have a meal of a lifetime over and over again.  Dedicated insiders give their tips on what to eat and drink at 45 restaurants located throughout the city.  

Topics include:

•             “Farm to Table Adventures in San Francisco”  

•             “Twelve Global Food Experiences in San Francisco”  

•             “Eight Intimate Restaurants in San Francisco”  

•             “Eight Vegetarian Options in San Francisco”  

•             “Bar Tabs: 10 Modern Classics in San Francisco”  

The guide also includes indexes of restaurants by name and neighborhood.

San Francisco Street Food Festival, Aug. 15-16, Expands and Improves in New Location

The San Francisco Street Food Festival features the participant businesses of La Cocina, a groundbreaking food business incubator that has been serving the Bay Area since 2005. In collaboration with Noise Pop and The Midway, this year’s event will be held at the iconic Pier 70 location in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood and will also feature a rotating selection of the minds, hands and palates of the people that make San Francisco the best food city in this country, if not the world. These are the cooks and entrepreneurs, the dreamers and the doers, who put their taste to the test every day and aspire to share something sincere with everyone they meet. On  Aug. 15 and 16, join more than 100 owner-operated food businesses representing the best of the bay for a free-to-enter celebration of hard work, well-made food and the vibrant and inclusive food economy that thrives in San Francisco.  The festival will be open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the exception of the separate ticketed Saturday Night Spit Roast event that will take place on Aug. 15 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.  For more information, visit www.sfstreetfoodfest.com.  Media contact: Jada Williams, Jada@GiantNoise.com, 646-649-4933 and William Mills, Will@GiantNoise.com,  512-382-9017    

Eat Drink SF Returns Aug. 20-23

Eat Drink SF, formerly known as SF Chefs, was founded by the Golden Gate Restaurant Association in 2009 to celebrate the Bay Area’s culinary community. The annual event promotes and extends the Bay Area restaurant community as a world-class culinary destination, focusing on local tastemakers. Each year, more than 200 restaurants participate in Eat Drink SF activities, which include a preview party, Grand Tasting sessions, food and beverage classes, and cooking demonstrations. With more than 7,500 attendees, Eat Drink SF provides an opportunity for restaurant members to market to food lovers and connect directly with current and potential guests. Eat Drink SF 2015 takes place August 20-23 at Fort Mason Center.  A quintessentially San Francisco celebration of flavor presented by the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, Eat Drink SF won the 2014 Best of the Bay’s Best Food/Drink Festival.  For more information, visit www.eatdrink-sf.com.  Media contact: Marla McLaughlin, 415-274-2510, marla@wagstaffworldwide.com

Scoma’s Launches National Video Recipe Contest to Select New Menu Item by “Celebrity Chef”

The iconic Scoma's Restaurant is on a quest to locate the next “Celebrity Chef.” Driven exclusively through Scoma’s Facebook platform, the 50-year-old historic landmark intends to select its next menu item from the public’s recipe submission.The contest runs through Sept. 14, 2015 through a public voting platform on Scoma’s Facebook page. Participants must create a short video (maximum 60 seconds) that depicts their favorite Sicilian-inspired seafood dish. Once submitted, the public will have the opportunity to vote for the best videos that convey personality, preparation and presentation. Contestants will be entered into the final pool based on the number of “likes” received on the video. Scoma’s will evaluate and narrow the final contestants to the top three finalists.  Three final contestants will be announced via Facebook Oct. 1, 2015 and will be invited to Scoma’s Restaurant to serve their winning dish in a professional kitchen to a panel of San Francisco celebrity judges on Nov. 6, 2015.  In partnership with Celebrity Cruises, the Grand Prize for the Celebrity Chef Video Contest is a Celebrity Cruises Europe Cruise for two (valued at $6,000). The Grand Prize Winner will also have their menu item featured on Scoma’s official menu for the duration of the 50th anniversary celebration, through Dec. 31, 2015. This contest is limited to residents of the continental United States. Scoma’s will supply the round trip air tickets to fly the three finalists to San Francisco on Thursday, November 5, 2015 for final judging on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. Accommodations are generously provided by Pier 2620 Hotel for up to two nights. For complete details visit www.facebook.com/scomassf or www.scomas.com.  Media contact: Beth Schnitzer |, 415-221-2875, beth@spritzsf.com.

Golden Gate Bridge Round House Reopens for Food Service with Iconic American Menu

The iconic art-deco circular building at the southeast foot of the landmark Golden Gate Bridge started as a diner in 1938—one year after the bridge opened. Originally leased as a restaurant, the Round House has served many purposes since then.  Now, it is reverting back to offering food services.  

On the menu: local, sustainable and high quality American classics like apple pies from San Rafael-based Christine’s Upper Crust Pies, hot dogs from Fork in the Road, Boudin’s chowder filled bread bowls, cookies by City Baking Company based in South San Francisco and Peerless Coffee. 

“The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy signed on in 2011 to help the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District with the visitor experience at the Bridge Plaza in time for the Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary celebrations,” said Greg Moore, president and CEO of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy. “This includes the Bridge Pavilion providing information, exhibits, and interpretive merchandise, The Round House Café for hot food and beverages, the Bridge Stop for grab-and-go food and drinks, and the Golden Gate and Pacific Overlooks in the Presidio to enjoy the world-famous views that define San Francisco.” 

“Since it opened in 1937, this 1.7-mile suspension span between San Francisco and Marin counties has become one of the most beloved bridges in the world attracting more than 10 million visitors a year,” said Denis Mulligan, general manager for the Bridge District. “Enhancing the visitor experience further with meals from Round House will be a welcome benefit to tourists and locals alike.”

The Round House Café is open from 11 am to 5:30 pm daily.  Learn more at http://www.parksconservancy.org/visit/retail/round-house-cafe.html?mc_cid=6ed3d946f8&mc_eid=e4f1130656. Media contacts: David Shaw, 415-561-3064, dshaw@parksconservancy.org and Priya Clemens, 415-317-2222, pclemens@goldengate.org

ARTS & CULTURE

A Season of Free Outdoor Concerts in San Francisco

It wouldn’t be summer in San Francisco without outdoor concerts and plein air cinema.   San Francisco Travel offers a guide to free concerts, performances and film screenings with a few indoor performances included.  Find the details at www.sanfrancisco.travel/article/definitive-guide-san-franciscos-free-outdoor-concerts.

U.S. Premiere of “Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait,” at Contemporary Jewish Museum through Nov. 1, 2015

The Contemporary Jewish Museum (The CJM) presents the U.S. premiere of “Amy Winehouse: A Family Portrait,” a personal and intimate exhibition about Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter Amy Winehouse (1983-2011). Co-curated by the Jewish Museum, London and Winehouse's brother Alex and sister-in-law Riva, the family gave the Jewish Museum unprecedented access to Winehouse's belongings, including her guitar, record collection and iconic outfits, which will be on view through Nov. 1, 2015.  The exhibition celebrates her passion for music, fashion, London and her family. Many unseen photographs of Winehouse's family life will also be on display, revealing her strong Jewish roots and heritage as well as her close family relationships.

Additionally, an exhibition of contemporary art organized by The CJM - titled “You Know I'm No Good” after a track on Winehouse's album Back to Black (2006) - created in response to the Winehouse phenomenon will be on view in an adjoining gallery. The exhibition includes work by Rachel Harrison and new commissions by Jennie Ottinger, and Jason Jägel. For more information, visit www.thecjm.org or call 415-655-7800.  Media contact: Nina Sazevich, nina@sazevichpr.com, 415-752-2483.

“The Illuminated Palace” After-Dark Projected Light Installation at the California Historical Society Through Aug. 16, 2015  

Through Aug.16, 2015, projected light artist Kevin Cain presents his new work “The Illuminated Palace” on the windows of the California Historical Society, located at 678 Mission St., in San Francisco.  This is the latest installation in “Engineers of Illumination by Optic Flare,” a projected light series honoring the stunning achievements of the 1915 Pan Pacific International Exposition. Through the work of six light-based artists, each projecting an after-dark artwork in the CHS gallery’s front and side windows, “Engineers of Illumination” brings to life the innovations of the 1915 World’s Fair with modern technology.  “The Illuminated Palace” combines lens-less camera techniques from the dawn of photography with contemporary digital views to capture architect Bernard Maybeck’s vision of the Palace of Fine Arts as a fleeting ruin. 

“Maybeck spoke of his desire to free the Palace from the obligatory physical limitations he understood all built objects in the world must have,” Cain explains. “If the Palace is a chrysalis, the butterfly Maybeck sought is something his contemporary Rose Macaulay’s lovely phrase sums up:  ’the pleasure of ruins.’” Through the use of light, Cain explores Maybeck’s fantasy of dematerializing the Palace, weaving into his projections a likely future in which a rising Pacific may claim the Palace and its lagoon once and for all.  

“Engineers of Illumination: A Projected Light Project by Optic Flare” coincides with CHS’s exhibition “City Rising: San Francisco and the 1915 World’s Fair” commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE).  Six rotating light-based installations, each running approximately six weeks at CHS, are viewable from Mission St. or Annie Alley every night from dusk until midnight. Artist receptions and installation openings are held during Third Thursdays in Yerba Buena. Other artists in the series include Scott Stark (Shimmering Spectacles), Kerry Laitala (The City Luminous: Spectral Canopy Variation), Ben Wood (Lopa Pikta [Rope Picture]), and Elise Baldwin (Field of Vision: Landscapes from the Imagination). The series concludes with a reprise of all five artists’ installations. 

For more information visit www.californiahistoricalsociety.org.  Media contact: Kevin Herglotz, 415-874-9650,   kevin@hpastrategies.com.

Friday Nights at the de Young Museum Receives Hearst Grant: General Admission to Galleries Now Free

Friday Nights at the de Young programs are after-hours art "happenings" that include a mix of live music, dance and theater performances, film screenings, panel discussions, lectures, artist demonstrations, hands-on art activities and exhibition tours. The café offers a special Friday Night menu and specialty cocktails, and the observation tower is open until 8 p.m. Artist Fellows, Artists-in-Residence, curators, scholars, and arts educators all play an active role in making Friday Nights an engaging museum experience for all. Thanks to funding from The Hearst Foundations, general admission to the permanent collection is now free on Friday Nights.  Season 11 of Friday Nights at the de Young runs every Friday night through Nov. 27. 5:30–8:45 pm.  For details, visit http://deyoung.famsf.org/programs/fridays.  

Erin Garcia, egarcia@famsf.org, 415-750-8904 and Miriam Newcomer, mnewcomer@famsf.org, 415-750-3554. 

SFJAZZ Announces 2015-2016 Season Programming for Sept. 10, 2015 – May 29, 2016

SFJAZZ has announced the artist programming for the SFJAZZ Center’s 2015-16 Season running Sept. 10, 2015 to May 29, 2016, its fourth and biggest season since the Center’s opening in January 2013. The Center has been recognized as one of the best performing arts centers in the country, continually receiving awards from architecture and acoustic organizations. 

The season begins Sept. 10 with jazz giant Chick Corea in four programs over four nights that explore different sides of his genius: solo, duo with Cuban master Gonzalo Rubalcaba, trio with Christian McBride and Brian Blade, and duo with banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck. 

SFJAZZ Resident Artistic Directors – Esperanza Spalding, Zakir Hussain, Eric Harland and Terence Blanchard – premiere new works. In February 2016, one of the season’s centerpieces will the West Coast Premiere of Blanchard’s opera, Champion, performed by the Bay Area’s own Opera Parallèle. Based on the life of African-American, boxing champion Emile Griffith (1938-2013), the production marks both Opera Parallèle’s first foray into an operatic jazz idiom and SFJAZZ’s first opera featuring full staging and video elements with soloists, a jazz trio, orchestra and Gospel chorus, bringing out the full glory of Blanchard’s soulful score.

For over 30 years, SFJAZZ has presented an annual Sacred Space concert at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. This fall, SFJAZZ celebratea Grace’s 50th Anniversary with four concerts: a special re-creation, arranged by Miguel Zenón, of Duke Ellington’s Concert of Sacred Music (which Grace commissioned for the cathedral’s consecration in 1965) with Savion Glover, Queen Esther Marrow (who sang in 1965), Kurt Elling, Oakland Interfaith Choir and more; guitar wizard Bill Frisell playing solo; a Halloween showing of Phantom of the Opera; and a clarinet summit with Don Byron, David Murray, Anat Cohen, and Todd Marcus.

The season’s programming highlights include Brian Wilson and Al Jardine, Cécile McLorin Salvant, José James, Hiromi, Wayne Shorter, SFJAZZ Collective play Michael Jackson, Brad Mehldau, Merle Haggard, Chris Botti, Maceo Parker, Aaron Neville, Dianne Reeves, Natalie Cressman, Melissa Aldana, The Bad Plus Joshua Redman, Cameron Carpenter, Juan de Marcos & Afro Cuban All-Stars, Kenny Barron, Dave Holland, Abdullah Ibrahim, Cassandra Wilson, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and other residencies, collaborations, themes, premieres and projects.  There will be special one-night-only performances, special events, premieres, films, and family matinees in the SFJAZZ Center’s Robert N. Miner Auditorium and Joe Henderson Lab, plus special events at Grace Cathedral, and the Paramount Theatre in Oakland.

For the complete schedule and tickets, visit www.sfjazz.org. Media contact: Marshall Lamm, 510-928-1410, marshall@sfjazz.org.

12th Annual San Francisco Trolley Dances to Follow Muni’s T-Line from Mission Bay to the Bayview, Oct. 17-18, 2015

On Oct. 17 and 18, 2015, Epiphany Productions will produce the 12th annual San Francisco Trolley Dances (SFTD), an admission-free festival that has been dubbed “art for citizens” and “a gift to the City” by past attendees. There are six two-hour tours on each of the two days.  Audiences will embark on their “tour” aboard the Muni streetcar “T” line at Bay View Boat Club at Mission Bay, where the first half of performances will take place, after which they will board the “T” to travel to performance sites in Bayview-Hunters Point, including the Bayview/Linda Brooks-Burton Branch Library, Bayview YMCA, for the remainder of the tour.

More than half a dozen site-specific performances are currently programmed including works by Bay Area choreographers Byb Chanel Bibene, Alex Ketley, Amy Seiwert and SFTD Artistic Director Kim Epifano. This year's event will also involve a partnership with ODC Theater. Zoe Bender and Sheena Johnson, two of the artists mentored in ODC's "Pilot 66" program this fall, will present new works for SFTD. This is a free event.

Each year Epifano matches artists and ensembles with specific sites, inviting them to create an 8- to 15-minute piece in response to the physical environment, architecture and history of the area. "The city is changing so fast," says Epifano. "SFTD has traveled the T-Line twice before, but each time we activate new sites. The event inevitably introduces audiences to places they've never visited, and sometimes those places are old and historic, and sometimes they're brand new."

The starting point for this year's event is the Bay View Boat Club whose original structure dates back to the late 1930s. Since its founding in 1961, the Club has witnessed tremendous change in the Mission Bay neighborhood. Representing the changing face of the neighborhood on this year's route is Mission Bay Commons, the newest addition to the Mission Bay Park System. The park begins at Terry Francois Blvd. and stretches west to Third Street between Mission Bay Boulevards North and South.  

Also on this year's route is the First Responders Plaza at the newly opened Public Safety Building. Within this structure, which houses a memorial for fallen and injured San Francisco police officers, is an outdoor plaza featuring a 21,000-pound bronze bell - named the "All Is Well Bell" - designed by San Francisco-based artist Paul Kos.

Other confirmed sites this year are the Bayview YMCA at the corner of Lane and Revere Streets, and the Bayview/Linda Brooks-Burton Branch Library, which reopened after major renovations in 2013. The library now features an interior courtyard with benches and a tiled walkway with engravings of Adinkra symbols from the Asante people of West Africa. The engraved pavers were gifts of the Bayview Koshland Fellows who chose the symbols for the "life-affirming message they evoke."

At each site, trained volunteers greet audience members, while professional theater artists act as tour guides leading audiences along the performance journey. Attendees have the option to walk or bike to the performance sites on their own. Route maps will be available on site and online at www.epiphanydance.org. Media contact: John Hill johnhillpr@gmail.com, 510-435-7128.

ATTRACTIONS & ACTIVITIES

Seafaring History Comes to Life at Sea Music Festival, Sept. 12, 2015

San Francisco’s Sea Music Festival at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park features heartfelt singing, sweet instrumentals, dance, and a day and evening of traditional maritime music from around the world. Activities include performances on the Hyde Street Pier and on board historic ships, living history players, nautical demonstrations and an evening chantey sing finale.  There will be two stages on Hyde Street Pier and performances on the 1886 square-rigger Balclutha and the 1890 steam ferryboat Eureka.   The festival is on Sept.12, 2015, 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. with the Chantey Sing Finale at 7:30–9:30 p.m.  For more information, visit http://www.nps.gov/safr/planyourvisit/seamusicfestival2015.htm.  Media contact: Morgan Smith, 415-561-7049, morgan_smith@nps.gov.

Madame Tussauds Selects Steve Wozniak for Next Bay Area Tech Innovator Figure

The public has spoken! After an outpouring of public interest, a heated race, culminating with many nominees publicly promoting their position, Madame Tussauds has announced Steve Wozniak, cofounder of Apple Computers and American inventor, was voted to be the next Bay Area “Tech Innovator.”  A 64-year-old San Jose native, Wozniak is a Silicon Valley icon and household name for his strides in changing the face of technology. Through his innovative and influential work with Steve Jobs in founding Apple and various philanthropic ventures, Wozniak was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame and was awarded the prestigious Heinz Award for Technology in 2000 among other outstanding achievement awards throughout his career.

The process will begin with Wozniak sitting with a team of Madame Tussauds master sculptors. The sitting takes between two to three hours, where more than 250 measurements are taken. The sculpting process takes three to four months for completion. Wozniak’s figure will be revealed to the public with a side-by-side release sometime in the fall of 2015. Wozniak will have a permanent position along with Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg in Madame Tussauds Fisherman’s Wharf location.  For more information, visit www.madametussauds.com/sanfrancisco.

Media contact:  Kari Martin, Merlin Entertainment, 415-757-2720, Kari.Martin@merlinentertainments.biz / Kaley Gelineau, Spritz Marketing, 415-221-2875, kaley@spritzsf.com.   

Fauxgirls! Cited as One of the World’s Most Fabulous Drag Queen Shows

Yahoo Travel recently searched the globe for the best in drag (shows, not racing).  Their quest lead them to put San Francisco’s original drag dinner show at number five.  Said Yahoo: “Thought to be San Francisco’s longest-running drag show, Fauxgirls! (at Infusion Lounge) has been in business since 2001. Performing monthly, the show’s stars sing, dance, and perform classic standup routines in the glamorous but intimate Infusion Lounge. Dinner, small plates, and cocktails are served to the table-seated audience during the raucous and over-the-top 90-minute show. Reservations are recommended, as this very popular show regularly sells out.”  Meet the Fauxgirls at www.fauxgirls.com.  Media contact: Richard J. Titus, vwest@earthlink.net

HOTEL NEWS

Multi-Million Dollar Renovation for Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco 

The Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco, 555 North Point St., has completed its $10 million transformational renovation.  The work includes the total redesign of the property’s 316 guestrooms, two dining outlets now called Brick & Beam and The Wardroom and a full renovation with a new design concept in the lobby and public spaces. Designed to reflect the historical lure of the city’s seaport, guests arrive in a re-imagined chic, yet rustic lobby that serves as a home base from which guests can explore. Seaport inspiration continues in the hotel’s 316 guestrooms and suites. Soothing tones of grey and blue complement the new, sleek yet comfortable furnishings. Bluetooth media hubs, conveniently positioned charging stations, and HDTVs add to, “home away from home,” modern comforts.  Brick & Beam is designed and named to salute the city’s history. Once occupied by The Joseph Musto Marble Works Company, the company that provided materials for San Francisco’s City Hall, Public Library and Opera House, the new restaurant’s brick and steel façade is intact, while the interior of the space was redesigned using weathered elements and rugged materials reflecting the Wharf’s shipping industry.  The Wardroom, Hyatt Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco’s new breakfast restaurant, offers diners a visual sense of arrival to the Bay Area.    Other renovation highlights include the remake of the hotel’s meeting and event space in 2012. More than 19,000 sq. ft. of function space serves groups and social events with various breakout rooms and ballroom configurations. Additionally, the hotel’s 24-hour Stay Fit™ Fitness Center is fully equipped with state-of-the-art exercise equipment; an outdoor heated pool and whirlpool are available for guests use year-round. For more information, visit www.fishermanswharf.hyatt.com.  Media contact: Amy Delegal-Fox, 415-486-4415, amy.fox@hyatt.com

The Axiom Hotel to Introduce Seamless and Innovative Design in Fall 2015  

Scheduled to open in fall 2015, the Axiom Hotel is located in the heart of downtown San Francisco, two blocks from Union Square, three blocks from The Moscone Center and steps from the cable car turnaround. Developed by Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc. and managed by Kokua Hospitality, LLC, the property (formerly the Powell Hotel) will feature 152 rooms and tech-forward amenities unrivaled to any other property in the city. For more information, visit www.axiomhotel.com.   Media contacts:  Lani Vaill and Janice Yu-Moran, 415-274-2510, lani@wagstaffworldwide.com, janice@wagstaffworldwide.com

Kimpton Introduces The Buchanan Hotel, A New Pied-a-Terre in Pacific Heights/Japantown 

Fulfilling a long-desired need for a hip, boutique hotel perfectly situated amidst the chic shopping and dining neighborhood of Pacific Heights and the authentic Japantown chock-full of hidden gems, The Buchanan, 1800 Sutter St., opened its doors June 23, 2015 as the newest Kimpton hotel in the brand’s hometown of San Francisco. A neighborhood pied-a-terre erected upon the footprint of the existing Hotel Tomo, the 131 guestrooms emanate the warmth and style of a chic, urban apartment, steps away from some of the best food, shopping, drinking and entertainment San Francisco has to offer.  The residential experience features a private courtyard; stylish whiskey lounge-inspired lobby; spacious guestrooms, many of which boast private outdoor balconies with expansive views; and a quiet neighborhood experience for savvy travelers looking to explore the city beyond downtown.

At The Buchanan, the quintessential Kimpton Robe has become a lightweight, Shibori-print Kimono and the hosted wine hour will incorporate sake tastings, as nods to the cultural heritage of the property. Additionally, in catering to the modern traveler opting for a locals’ experience, The Buchanan’s exclusive App Guide offers access to a directory of the best San Francisco resources to download on their mobile devices.

For additional information, visit www.thebuchananhotel.com.  Media contact: Anna H. Morris, 415-278-1515, anna@seahorsepr.com.

Palace Hotel Unveils Extensive Renovation

The iconic 556-room Palace Hotel, a Luxury Collection Hotel at 2 New Montgomery St. in San Francisco, has undergone an extensive renovation to guestrooms, fitness center, indoor swimming pool, reception and lounge areas creating a seamless transition between past and present.

Modern amenities for well-traveled global explorers include custom furniture and accessories - exclusively created for the Palace. Special attention has been paid to details and little luxuries such as logo embossed desk and bath accessories, embroidered throw and luxury linens. Guestrooms also showcase extensive storage, convenient outlet placement, comfortable and functional work space, a 42" television, large back lit bathroom mirror and glass bath surround.

The hotel amenities include 24-hour room service, three culinary and cocktail options-The Garden Court, The GC Lounge and the Pied Piper Bar, the newly renovated fitness center and sky lit indoor swimming pool. 

Historic elements from 1909 have been restored and incorporated in the new design.  Wide, welcoming corridors are painted to highlight authentic trim and molding. The Italian marble floors are accented by lush carpeting that blooms with color.  

Keeping true to preserving the integrity of the legendary hotel, guests enter the rooms through solid oak doors adorned with brass monogrammed knobs – both originals from 1909. Other vintage details include lattice marquetry vented bathroom doors, interior molding and trim, 11 foot ceilings and expansive interior facing windows that have been updated to open and let in the breeze.

The transformation of the Lobby, Promenade, The Garden Court and GC Lounge will be complete in August 2015.  For more information, visit http://www.sfpalace.com.  Media contact: Renée Roberts, 415-407-7424, Renee@reneerobertspr.com

Payne Mansion Blends History and Modern Services

The Payne Mansion Hotel & Event Venues, 1409 Sutter St., provides travelers with the latest technology coupled with the charm and history of an 1881 historic San Francisco mansion. After undergoing more than $7.5 million in renovations, this unique hotel offers 10 luxury hotel rooms, free WiFi, central location between Van Ness and Japantown, easy access to all means of transportation, a 300-person event space, a 70-person private club and two professional chef kitchens for events ranging from weddings to photo shoots, reunions to press conferences, trade shows to high tech seminars with break-out rooms, parties of all kinds, movie sets and more.  For more information, visit www.paynemansion.com.  Media contact: Irv Spivak, 415-637-5767, irv@paynemansion.com.

Fifth Annual Summer Movie Night Series at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins’ Top of the Mark

Movie lovers and wine connoisseurs are invited to shake up their summer evenings with Top of the Mark’s Annual Summer Movie Nights Series. This year, Top of the Mark, at One Nob Hill, celebrates every aspect of the British Invasion by presenting modern and classic cinematography favorites.  With comfortable stage seating and wines from Domaine Chandon, Stags Leap and Alexander Valley, guests enjoy a unique experience at the legendary Top of the Mark lounge. The full Top of the Mark cocktail and light dining menus are also available during each movie night. The series runs every Tuesday night through August 25, 2015. For details, visit www.topofthemark.com.   Media contacts: Nicole Kilian or Keelin Czellecz at Wagstaff Worldwide, 415.274.2510, nicole@wagstaffworldwide.comkeelin@wagstaffworldwide.com

BEYOND SAN FRANCISCO 

San Francisco Premium Outlets® Announces New Retailers 

San Francisco Premium Outlets® will welcome an impressive group of brands this summer, when its much-anticipated expansion opens. More than 50 new brands will join the property as part of the 185,000 square-foot expansion project, with approximately 35 opening Aug. 13, 2015 and additional openings throughout the following months.

Known for its upscale and exclusive brands, San Francisco Premium Outlets® is currently home to California’s only Bloomingdale’s Outlet Store and the sole Michael Stars Outlet. The expansion will boast additional luxury and designer names, including the first outlet location from international fashion house, Dsquared, as well as A/X Armani Exchange, CH Carolina Herrera, Ermenegildo Zegna, Jimmy Choo, Rag & Bone New York, Scotch & Soda, Ted Baker London, Tory Burch, UGG Australia, Versace and Vince.

As a result of the center’s growth and transformation, existing retailers, Armani Outlet and Michael Kors, will both be relocating this year. Michael Kors, currently in a nearly 3,000 square-foot space, will move into a larger, 6,521 square-foot storefront. Additional new stores will be announced in the coming months.  

Located in the affluent East Bay area of northern California, San Francisco Premium Outlets® opened in 2012 and has become the premier shopping destination for leading designer and name brand outlet stores in the greater Bay Area. The unique open-air center, bordered by fruit-bearing vineyards, draws shoppers from the entire Bay region, in addition to visitors from more than 50 countries every month. With a close proximity to San Francisco, many who visit the iconic city also make a trip to the property as a big part of their San Francisco experience. 

All current retailers are open for business, so shoppers can continue to enjoy the savings of 25 to 65 percent every day at stores, including: Bloomingdale's Outlet, Neiman Marcus Last Call, Polo Ralph Lauren, Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th, Armani, Barneys New York, Burberry, Cole Haan, DKNY, Elie Tahari, Kate Spade New York and Prada. 

For ongoing updates and to learn more about the outlet stores, visit www.premiumoutlets.com/sanfrancisco.   Media contact: Chelsey Allodi, 425-281-1705, chelsey.allodi@curatorpr.com

TRANSPORTATION NEWS

Take the E Embarcadero Line to the Ballpark and Caltrain Depot

Muni riders are familiar with the historic F Market line. On Aug. 1-2, 2015 the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is launching a new historic streetcar line along the length of the Embarcadero. The E Embarcadero and F Market lines will run together from Fisherman’s Wharf to the Ferry Building, but while the F line turns inland and heads out Market Street to Castro, the E line will continue along The Embarcadero and King Street to AT&T Park and the Caltrain Depot.  It will share tracks with the N- and T-line light rail vehicles south of Folsom Street, and has its own low-level boarding platforms and accessibility ramps at one end of each light rail station. Seven-day service on the E Embarcadero is still slated for early 2016. Regular Muni fares apply; the E Embarcadero will operate on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.  For more information on Muni service, please call the San Francisco Customer Service Center at 311 or visit www.sfmta.com.  Media contact: Paul Rose, 415-601-1637, paul.rose@sfmta.com

Cable Car Fares Increase by One Dollar, First Time in Four Years

As of July 1, 2015, a ticket on the San Francisco’s iconic cable cars costs $7 per ride (no transfers).  This is the first time cable car rates have been increased since 2011.

San Francisco has one of the best public transportation networks in the country and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency makes it simple for visitors to get around the city with ease. A Visitor Passport can be purchased for one, three or seven consecutive days of unlimited rides on Muni, Muni Metro, historic streetcars and cable cars.  Single-ride cable car tickets are also available.

Visitors can save money on cable car rides with the San Francisco CityPASS.  Each CityPASS ticket booklet, which saves up to 45 percent off combined admission to San Francisco’s top attractions, includes a 7-day Muni Transportation Passport, good for a week’s worth of unlimited rides on all Muni buses, light rail trains, streetcars and the city’s celebrated cable cars.  A 2015 San Francisco CityPASS ticket booklet costs $94 for adults, $69 for kids, ages 5-11. Passes, which can be purchased online at www.sanfrancisco.travel/sponsor/citypass, at the San Francisco Visitor Information Center or at any of the participating CityPASS attractions, are valid for nine consecutive days, beginning with the first day of use.

The cable car fare increase results from the implementation of the SFMTA Board approved Automatic Consumer Price Index (CPI) Policy. The Automatic CPI is a set formula based on a combination of the Bay Area Consumer Price Index for all urban consumers (CPI-U) and the SFMTA’s labor cost.  

For more information on Muni service, please call the San Francisco Customer Service Center at 311 or visit www.sfmta.com.  Media contact: Paul Rose, 415-601-1637, paul.rose@sfmta.com

No BART Service Between San Francisco and East Bay on Sept. 5-7, 2015

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is encouraging travelers to plan ahead and to find alternate means of transportation across the Bay during the upcoming closure of transbay train service. BART will close the West Oakland Station and will not run trains between West Oakland and Embarcadero stations during Labor Day weekend during repairs to a critical section of track near the Transbay Tube.

BART will offer lifeline bus service between 19th Street in Oakland and the Temporary Transbay Terminal in San Francisco. The buses will carry customers from 19th Street Station in Oakland to the Temporary Transbay Terminal in San Francisco or from there back to the East Bay. There will be no additional charge for the bus. The bus bridge will cause one- to two-hour delays for some customers. There will be a local shuttle from West Oakland Station, which will be closed, to the 19th Street station for West Oakland area residents only. More details will be provided as they are finalized.

During the shutdowns, customers are encouraged to use other public transit transbay options such as ferries and AC Transit service.  Check out www.511.org for trip planning.  Media contact: Jim Allison, jallis1@bart.gov, 510-464-7110.

SAN FRANCISCO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (SFO)

SFO Voted “Best Airport in the Americas” by Frequent Business Traveler

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has been named “Best Airport in the Americas” by the readers of Frequent Business Traveler, an online publication written for and by the world’s most experienced and savvy international travelers.  The 2015 Frequent Business Traveler GlobeRunner Awards recognize the world's best airlines, airports, hotel chains, automobile manufacturers, car rental agencies, luggage manufacturers, and travel-related websites.  SFO was previously recognized with this award in 2012.  See the complete list of winners at www.frequentbusinesstraveler.com/2015/08/winners-of-2015-globerunner-awards-announced-in-new-york-city/3/

SFO Ranked #1 for “Best Airport Staff in North America” by SkyTrax

SFO has been named the #1 airport in North America for customer service in the SkyTrax Passengers’ Choice Awards for 2015.  SFO took the top spot in the “Best Airport Staff in North America” category, followed by Denver and Vancouver airports.  SFO also ranked fourth in the “Best Airports Worldwide (40 million to 50 million passengers)” and “Best Airports in North America” categories.The annual SkyTrax survey is regarded as the most respected study of airport quality around the world.  The absence of any sponsorship, payment or external influence ensures that the results are fully impartial and credible.  For the 2015 awards, SkyTrax compiled over 13 million survey questionnaires completed by 112 different customer nationalities from May 2014 to January 2015.  The survey covered 550 airports worldwide, evaluating the travel experience from a variety of factors, including check-in, arrivals, departures, transfers, shopping, security and immigration.

Introducing the #Mobile Passport App

SFO is one of only five airports in the United States to offer Mobile Passport Control express lanes in its Federal Inspection Area.  Mobile Passport enables eligible travelers to submit their passport and customs declaration information via their smartphone instead of the traditional paper form.  Travelers can simply download the Mobile Passport app from the app store and set up a profile with their passport data.  The app is highly secure and available at no cost.  When a traveler is preparing to enter the U.S., the traveler completes the “New Trip” section of the app: selecting arrival airport and airline, taking a “selfie” photo, and answering standard Customs and Border Protection (CBP) customs declaration questions.  Upon arrival, the traveler uses the app to submit this information along with the profile data to CBP.   After reviewing the submission, CBP may send a digital, secure bar-coded receipt to the traveler’s smartphone via the app.  The traveler then proceeds through the arrivals area, following the Mobile Passport Control signs until prompted by CBP to place their digital bar-coded receipt on the barcode scanner and presenting their passport to a CBP officer.  Unless further inspection is necessary, the passenger then exits the arrivals area.  For more information, visit www.mobilepassport.us

Copa Airlines to Start Nonstop Service Between SFO and Panama City September 17, 2015

Copa Airlines will begin nonstop service between SFO and Panama City, Panama this fall, with flights operating seven days per week to the airline’s hub of the Americas at Tocumen International Airport in Panama City Airport, the largest and busiest in Central America.  Copa will operate a Boeing 737-800 next generation aircraft on the approximately six-hour 45-minute flight, with premium configuration and seating capacity for 16 passengers in business class and 138 in the main cabin.  Copa Airlines operates flights from its Hub of the Americas to more than 70 destinations in 30 countries around North, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.  A member of the Star Alliance partnership of airlines, Copa was recognized as the “Leading Airline in Mexico and Central America” in August 2014 World Travel Awards, colloquially known as the “Oscars of Tourism.”  Copa has also earned multiple “Best Airline in Central America and the Caribbean” awards from SkyTrax, an independent international agency whose aviation benchmarking surveys are considered among the most reliable in the world.  In 2014, Copa was named “Top On-Time Airline in Latin America” in FlightStats’ annual ranking of airline on-time performance.  For more information, visit Copa Airlines.

Qantas Airways Scheduled to Return to SFO

Qantas Airways announced plans to resume nonstop service between SFO and Sydney beginning December 18, 2015.  Qantas plans to build the schedule to six flights per week effective January 2016. The airline had previously operated at SFO from March 29, 2006, through May 7, 2011.  Australia represents a significant source of travel and tourism for San Francisco.  In 2014, a total of 201,600 people visited San Francisco from Australia, ranking it seventh among international inbound markets to San Francisco.  Qantas is one of the largest and oldest airlines in the world, having been founded in 1920 as the Queensland and Northern Territories Aerial Services Limited.  Qantas is a founding member of the oneworld alliance, which includes American Airlines, British Airways, and Cathay Pacific.  Qantas will operate nonstop flights six days per week, using a Boeing 747-400 aircraft with 353 passenger seats, comprised of 14 first class, 52 business class, 32 premium economy, and 255 economy seats. For more information, visit www.qantas.com.au/travel/airlines/home/us/en

Media contact: Doug Yakel, San Francisco International Airport, Doug.Yakel@flysfo.com, 650-821-4000.

MAJOR ANNUAL EVENTS

The following events are held on an annual basis and are updated throughout the year. All dates and locations are subject to change and should be confirmed with sponsors before making travel plans. General city information and detailed event calendars are available at www.sanfrancisco.travel.

AUGUST 2015

AUGUST 7-9

San Francisco’s Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival

Golden Gate Park

www.sfoutsidelands.com 

This huge event in Golden Gate Park has upped the ante on music festivals going green and “leveraged San Francisco’s food, wine, technology and activism cultures, “according to Rolling Stone, “for a one-of-a-kind world-class experience.”

AUGUST 8-9

J-POP Summit Festival

Fort Mason Center and Union Square 

www.j-pop.com

This one-of-a-kind summer festival that brings the latest of Japanese popular culture to San Francisco. In its seventh year, the J-POP extravaganza will expand to Fort Mason Center as well as Union Square presenting another lively two-day program jam-packed with music, fashion and fine foods.

AUGUST 8-16

Japan Film Festival of San Francisco 

New People Cinema, 1746 Post St. 

www.jffsf.org

Japan Film Festival of San Francisco is the first and only fully dedicated annual Japanese film event in the San Francisco Bay Area. Showcasing the latest in anime, live-action and documentaries straight from Japan, this week-long festival will take place in San Francisco's historic Japantown. 

AUGUST 15-16

San Francisco Street Food Festival

Pier 70

www.lacocinasf.org/ or www.sfstreetfoodfest.com/

La Cocina joins with Noise Pop and Midway to produce a two-day celebration of food, music and drink. 

AUGUST 16

Alcatraz Challenge Swim

www.tricalifornia.com 

1.5 mile swim course begins near Alcatraz Island and finishes at the East Beach of Crissy Field located in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area’s Presidio Park. 

AUGUST 20-23

Eat Drink SF

Fort Mason Center, 415/782-2071

www.eatdrink-sf.com/

Chefs, wine and spirits are celebrated in this interactive urban food and wine festival featuring local talent and regional ingredients in a series of tastings, classes, dinners and events.

AUGUST 20

Noe Valley Wine Walk

24th Street from Diamond to Chattanooga, 800-310-6563

sresproductions.com/noe_valley_wine_walk.html

Merchants offer wine samples, finger foods and special treats; attendees who wish to sample purchase tasting wristband prior to event and receive wine glass and map with all tasting locations.

AUGUST 23

The Giant Race

AT&T Park, 415-972-1800

www.thegiantrace.com 

The Giant Race features a half marathon, 10K, and 5K distances that all lead through San Francisco’s historic streets and finish on the field at AT&T Park – home of the San Francisco Giants.  

SEPTEMBER 2015

SEPTEMBER

Metromint Giro di San Francisco

Levi Strauss Plaza

www.metromintcycling.com 

Featuring more than 800 amateur and pro racers on a course covering northeast San Francisco, Il Giro (Italian for tour) begins at Levi Strauss Plaza and includes a day-long expo and a series of races for all levels and concludes with a pro race at 3 p.m. 

SEPTEMBER 1-30

Architecture and the City

Citywide, 415-362-7397

www.aiasf.org/archandcity 

Sponsored by AIA San Francisco, the largest architectural and design festival in the U.S. includes a series of architectural tours, film screenings, exhibitions, design lectures, home shows and more.                                                                                                          

SEPTEMBER 5-7

Sausalito Art Festival 

Sausalito, 415-332-3555

www.sausalitoartfestival.org 

Sausalito’s yearly art festival has been showcasing stars from the contemporary art world since 1952. Browse fine art and crafts along the beautiful bay shore.

SEPTEMBER 11

San Francisco Opera Opening Gala

War Memorial Opera House, 415-864-3330

www.sfopera.com 

The season begins with the annual opening night gala. 

SEPTEMBER 11-26

San Francisco Fringe Festival 

Exit Theatre and other downtown venues, 

415-931-1094 (info)

www.sffringe.org 

This annual festival is a marathon of 40-plus shows with low price tickets and a wide variety of alternative, classical, comedy, cabaret and new theater open to all performers on a non-curated basis.

SEPTEMBER 12 

Sausalito Floating Homes Tour

Sausalito, 415-332-1916

www.floatinghomes.org 

Self-guided tours include access to dozens of the most unique homes in the world; docents are onboard to describe Sausalito’s incredible waterfront style and to answer questions.

SEPTEMBER 12-13

Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival 

Ghirardelli Square, 415-775-5500

www.Ghirardelli.com
Discover unique chocolate desserts and delicacies from Ghirardelli and beyond at this annual chocolate celebration. 

SEPTEMBER 13

San Francisco Opera in the Park

Sharon Meadow, Golden Gate Park, 415-864-3330

www.sfopera.com 

Enjoy this outdoor venue and free admission to an opera concert featuring arias and ensembles by the stars of the San Francisco Opera and the Opera Orchestra.

SEPTEMBER 19-20

San Francisco International Dragon Boat Festival

Treasure Island

www.sfdragonboat.com 

Nearly 100 dragon boat teams and 2,500 paddlers from across North America will race the 500-meter course; festival also features entertainment and children’s activities. 

SEPTEMBER 19-20

Autumn Moon Festival

Grant Ave. between California and Pacific Streets, 415-982-6306

www.moonfestival.org 

This event features multicultural entertainment, traditional lion and dragon dances, arts and crafts, lantern village, moon cakes and children's activities.

SEPTEMBER 20

Comedy Day

Sharon Meadow, Golden Gate Park, 415-820-1570

www.comedyday.com 

Laugh out loud … it’s the free comedy “concert” featuring 30+ of the U.S.’s and Bay Area’s best comedians.  

SEPTEMBER 23-27

Big Book Sale

Fort Mason Center

http://www.friendssfpl.org/?Big_Book_Sale

Held at Fort Mason Center’s Festival Pavilion, the Annual Big Book Sale will feature over 500,000 books, DVDs, CDs, books on tape, vinyl and other forms of media in over 100 categories.

SEPTEMBER 24

San Francisco Symphony’s Opening Night Gala

Davies Symphony Hall, 415-864-6000 (subscriptions available in March; individual tickets for concerts go on sale in July) 

www.sfsymphony.org

The San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas open the orchestra’s regular season with an Opening Gala Concert.

SEPTEMBER 25-27

Oktoberfest By The Bay 

Pier 48 near AT&T Park, 888-746-7522

www.oktoberfestbythebay.com 

Bringing Munich’s autumn beer festival to the Bay, Oktoberfest features non-stop singing, dancing, music, German food and beverages.

SEPTEMBER 26-27

Muni Heritage Weekend

Citywide

http://www.streetcar.org/

Featuring vintage streetcars, a special cable cars and possibly the introduction of one newly restored vehicle, the event celebrates San Francisco’s diverse and fascinating public transit history. 

SEPTEMBER 26

Annual Peak2Peak Walk

415-431-9255

www.walksf.org

Get a unique view of San Francisco's skyline and discover hidden stairways and paths on this 12-mile urban trek connecting neighborhoods, parks, and vistas as you walk the spine of the city, cresting 10 peaks along the way.

SEPTEMBER 26-27

Bay Area Blues Festival

www.bayareabluesfestival.com/

Two main stages, a merchant marketplace, arts and crafts, gourmet food booths and much more are all a part of this annual homage to San Francisco’s blues roots. 

SEPTEMBER 27

Folsom Street Fair  

Folsom Street between Seventh and 12th Streets, 415-777-3247

www.folsomstreetfair.com 

The “daddy of all leather celebrations,” the Folsom Street Fair is the largest leather, alternative and fetish street fair in the world drawing some 400,000 attendees annually, dressed in leather, rubber, uniforms, drag or very little at all. 

The San Francisco Travel Association is the official tourism marketing organization for the City and County of San Francisco. For information on reservations, activities and more, visit www.sanfrancisco.travel or call 415-391-2000.  The Visitor Information Center is located at 900 Market St. in Hallidie Plaza, lower level, near the Powell Street cable car turnaround. 

American Express® is the official Card partner of the San Francisco Travel Association.

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) offers non-stop flights to more than 34 international cities on 29 international carriers. The Bay Area's largest airport connects non-stop with 78 cities in the U.S. on 15 domestic airlines. SFO is proud to offer upgraded free Wi-Fi with no advertising. For up-to-the-minute departure and arrival information, airport maps and details on shopping, dining, cultural exhibitions, ground transportation and more, visit www.flysfo.com. Follow us on www.twitter.com/flysfo and  www.facebook.com/flysfo.

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