What's New in San Francisco for IPW 2019

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What's New in San Francisco for IPW 2019

San Francisco is an ever-evolving destination with an endless supply of stories to tell. Here are a few developments for 2019 and beyond. For more, visit www.sftravel.com.


More Three-Star Restaurants Than Any Other U.S. City and 13 Must-Try Restaurants for 2019

The 2019 Michelin Guide for the San Francisco Bay Area confirms the city as the fine dining capital in the United States. The eight three-star restaurants total more than any other American city (including New York).  San Francisco and the region has a total of 80 stars among the 58 venues listed in the 2019 Michelin Guide.  The area’s Bib Gourmands, “restaurants that offer high-quality food at pocket-friendly prices,” increased by one this year to 68.  

Two restaurants were given three-star rankings for the first time: Atelier Crenn (San Francisco) and Single Thread (Healdsburg).  They join Benu, Quince and Saison in San Francisco and The French Laundry (Yountville), Manresa (Los Gatos), The Restaurant at Meadowood (St. Helena) in locations surrounding the city.

Dominique Crenn at Atelier Crenn is now the first female chef in the U.S. to achieve three Michelin stars.  Her newer restaurant, Bar Crenn, also received its first Michelin star and was named one of the best new restaurants in the U.S. by Esquire Magazine (see below).  The San Francisco Travel Association features Crenn in a video about what makes San Francisco a distinctive dining destination, available at www.sftravel.com/article/5-places-chef-dominique-crenn-loves-within-walking-distance-atelier-crenn.

San Francisco is also home to one of the least expensive Michelin-starred restaurants in the U.S. – the vegetable-centric Al’s Place, where an individual meal costs about $18 USD.  Other affordable restaurants with stars in the region include Kin Khao, Commonwealth, State Bird Provisions and Terrapin Creek. 

San Francisco also took the top spot on Esquire’s list of “Best New Restaurants in America.” Angler, on the Embarcadero, was named #1 and described as “an Avalon of pleasure and ease.”  Other San Franciscans on the list:  Bar Crenn (#12) and Che Fico (#17). 

What are the restaurants to watch for 2019?  For the complete mouth-watering list of suggestions, see www.sftravel.com/article/13-san-francisco-restaurants-you-need-eat-2019.   San Francisco Travel also offers a Culinary Guide at www.sftravel.com/article/download-san-francisco-culinary-guide.

Major Museum Exhibits

Through Jan. 6, 2020: “Mickey Mouse: From Walt to the World,” Walt Disney Family Museum

The Walt Disney Family Museum presents “Mickey Mouse: From Walt to the World,” a celebration of animation’s most beloved and recognizable character. This special exhibition chronicles Mickey’s impact and influence on art and entertainment over the past nine decades, and tells the story of his origin, rise to fame, and enduring world-wide appeal, juxtaposed with Walt Disney’s inspiring and parallel story. www.waltdisney.org

Through Sept. 2, 2019: “Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again,” SFMOMA

“Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again”—the first Warhol retrospective organized in the U.S. since 1989, and the largest in terms of scope of ideas and range of works—will be an occasion to experience and reconsider the work of one of the most inventive, influential and important American artists. With more than 300 works of art, many assembled together for the first time, this landmark exhibition, organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, will unite all aspects, media and periods of Warhol’s 40-year career. www.sfmoma.org 

Extended Theatrical Engagements

Through Jan. 2020 or later: “Hamilton,” SHN Orpheum Theatre

The most game-changing musical in possibly forever, “Hamilton” is the story of America's Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington's right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and was the new nation’s first Treasury Secretary.  Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway, “Hamilton” is the story of America then, as told by America now.  www.hamilton.shnsf.com 

Oct. 23, 2019 – May 17, 2020: “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” The Curran

The most exciting thing to happen to Potterheads since J.K. Rowling set down her wand, this stage play arrives in San Francisco after racking up nine Olivier Awards in London and 6 Tonys in New York. Based on an original new story by Rowling, Jack Thorne, and John Tiffany, the two-part play begins nineteen years after the events of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." Harry now works at The Ministry of Magic and his son Albus is about to attend Hogwarts. The San Francisco production at the Curran will mark the fourth engagement of the smash hit play, as well as its West Coast premiere. www.sfcurran.com/shows/harry-potter-and-the-cursed-child

Alcatraz Island and Angel Island Combination Tour Offered through October, 2019  

In collaboration with California State Parks and the National Park Service, Alcatraz Cruises offers a seasonal tour including both Angel Island State Park and Alcatraz Island. This combination tour runs during the spring and summer seasons and is available through Oct. 27, 2019.  The combination tour is a 5½ hour journey. Ticket prices include the ferry rides to both islands, a one-hour historic tram tour on Angel Island, the cell-house audio tour on Alcatraz and daily optional programs and exhibits. (Note: the tour of the Angel Island Immigration Station is not included in the Alcatraz & Angel Island Combination Tour). For bookings, visit https://www.alcatrazcruises.com/tour-options/alcatraz-angel-island-combo-tour/.  If booking the combination tour for a group of 15 or more, please contact Alcatraz Cruises Group Services Department at groups@alcatrazcruises.com.

The Flyer is Now Open at PIER 39

The Flyer - San Francisco is now open on historic PIER 39 in San Francisco.  The Flyer - San Francisco takes you on an exciting theme park quality “flight” through the most iconic city in the United States.  Soar above the Golden Gate Bridge, glide down Lombard Street, immerse yourself in the energy of a traditional Chinese New Year Parade and much more.  Using state of the art 3D ride technology paired with drone, helicopter, and advanced CGI, you will go places never possible before.  “Flights” depart every 15-20 minutes.

For more information, visit www.theflyer-sanfrancisco.com.  

Lucky Tuk Tuk Tours

Lucky Tuk Tuk launched at the iconic Fisherman's Wharf crab sign to a crowd of San Francisco media and dignitaries on May 8, 2019. Flanked by a colorful three-tuk-tuk fleet, founder Brian Huber introduced his team of Technicolor tour guides with pride. Lucky Tuk Tuk boasts three unique tours including the Ultimate City Tour, featuring more than 20 San Francisco neighborhoods, and the Craft Beer Crawls which pack in three hours of fun on the town at iconic breweries in the city. Private groups can charter the Tuk Tuks for a completely customized experience.


Golden Gate Park 150th Anniversary in 2020

Nearly a century-and-a-half ago, Master Gardener John McLaren and Park Engineer William Hammond Hall carved out an urban oasis from a vast, windswept expanse of sand dunes on San Francisco’s west side. The result: a verdant, horticulturally diverse and picturesque public park where city residents can relax and reconnect with nature. 

Now, within Golden Gate Park’s 1,017 acres (174 acres larger than New York’s Central Park) are gardens, playgrounds, lakes, picnic groves, trails, monuments, plus an array of cultural venues, events, and activities. The park welcomes an estimated 25 million visitors each year.

In 2020, San Francisco will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Golden Gate Park, which is now home to attractions including the California Academy of Sciences, De Young Museum, the Japanese Tea Garden, the Conservatory of Flowers, the National AIDS Memorial Grove, the San Francisco Botanical Garden plus vast amounts of recreational facilities and open spaces.


Chase Center – New Home to the Golden State Warriors and Top-Name Concerts

Opening in September 2019, Chase Center will be a world-class sports and entertainment destination and a new focal point for San Francisco. To be completed in advance of the 2019-20 National Basketball Association season, Chase Center will be the new home of the Golden State Warriors, while offering visitors a tremendous culinary scene, engaging retail and a gathering place for the community. The first concert in Chase Center will be on Sept. 6, 2019, with Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony.  Other concerts scheduled include the Dave Matthews Band, Eric Clapton, Elton John, John Mayer, Janet Jackson, the Who, Phil Collins, Cher, Andrea Bocelli, Celine Dion and more.  


2020 PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco

The PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park will make its maiden visit to San Francisco on May 11-17, 2020. The 102nd PGA Championship will mark the first major championship to be held at a TPC property and the first PGA Championship to be staged in San Francisco. The PGA Championship perennially features golf's strongest and deepest international lineup. Demand for PGA Championship tickets has reached record levels and a sell-out is anticipated. The PGA is one of the world's largest sports organizations, with nearly 29,000 PGA Professionals who work to grow interest and participation in the game of golf. Since its inception in 1916, the PGA Championship has evolved into a premier global sporting event, with 156 players competing annually for one of golf’s most prized possessions, the Wanamaker Trophy.  San Francisco has joined an elite family of world-class cities as future hosts of the venerable event. Other major PGA of America championships coming to San Francisco include the 2028 PGA Championship and the 2032 Ryder Cup, to be held at the famed Olympic Club.


Sailing Excitement Returns to San Francisco with SailGP

In May, 2019, all eyes in the sailing world were focused on San Francisco, as the inaugural United States SailGP event kicked off. Fans had a courtside seat to the speed and drama, witnessing speeds of over 45 knots literally just off the shore. SailGP makes its next stop in New York (June 21-22), then heads to Cowes, England (Aug. 10-11), before finishing in Marseille, France (Sept. 20-22).”

For more information, visit https://sailgp.com/news/.

Moscone Center Expansion 

Completion of the $551 million expansion of the Moscone Center was celebrated on Jan. 3, 2019.  In May, 2019 the expansion was awarded LEED Platinum status. With the goal of creating more space and greater flexibility, the project added 157,000 sq. ft. of space to create 504,914 sq. ft. of contiguous space (before expansion, the largest contiguous space was 260,000 sq. ft.), including a new 49,776 sq. ft. new, column-free ballroom. There are now 82 meeting rooms in Moscone North and South and 114 in all three buildings (North, South and West) combined. And there are 25,000 sq. ft. of secure outdoor terraces with spectacular views of Yerba Buena Gardens and the thriving South of Market neighborhood.

The project includes four new public art commissions, including “PointCloud,” the latest light installation by Leo Villareal, designer of “The Bay Lights” on the Bay Bridge.  The Moscone Center is also home to San Francisco Travel’s main Visitor Information Center.


San Francisco’s New Hotel Openings

San Francisco hasn’t had this many new hotels since 2001.

Grand Hyatt at SFO

San Francisco International Airport
Completion Date: September 2019
Rooms: 351

The $237 million hotel Grand Hyatt at SFO, scheduled to be completed in September 2019, will feature 351 soundproof guest rooms, including 22 suites, more than 14,000 square feet of flexible meeting space, a 70-seat three-meal restaurant, two bars, 24-hour in-room dining, a grab-and-go market, Hyatt StayFit Gym, yoga room and massage treatment room. Located on airport property, the 4.2-acre hotel site will have its own stop on the AirTrain light rail system, connecting the hotel with all Terminals, Garages, and the Rental Car Center. 

BEI San Francisco  

50 Eighth St.
Completion date: Summer 2019
Rooms: 396

Media contact: Danielle Logan, 415-274-2510, dlogan@wagstaffmktg.com or bei@wagstaffmktg.com

BEI San Francisco, the independent lifestyle hotel invested by BEI Capital of Beijing, China, is accepting online reservations and will complete rebranding renovations in summer 2019. The 396-room hotel includes a “Stay, Work, Play” concept inspired by co-working spaces in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, featuring beds that tuck away to transform living space into working space; two dining concepts including a restaurant and lounge in addition to a grab-and-go option on the ground floor; 10,000 feet of public and private co-working and event spaces; and an expanded, upgraded fitness facility.

Yotel San Francisco

1095 Market St.
Mid-Market area
Completion date: First Quarter 2019
Rooms: 203 cabins

YOTEL San Francisco is located in the historic Grant Building constructed in 1905, one of a few buildings that survived both the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes. YOTEL, known for its innovative design and technology, YOTEL shows its respect for the building’s historic charm by incorporating many original features into the hotel’s sleek design, from exposed brick walls to unique arched windows and the original marble staircase. Blending old and new, YOTEL San Francisco offers modern luxury and a sense of community with spaces for work and play, from the tallest rooftop bar to each cleverly designed cabin.

Virgin Hotels San Francisco

250 Fourth St.
South of Market/Yerba Buena
Completion date: January 2019
Rooms: 194 Chambers and Grand Chamber Suites

Virgin Hotels, the lifestyle hotel brand by Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson, has announced plans to open and operate a new hotel in San Francisco. The San Francisco property will be managed by Virgin Hotels and developed by Paradigm Hotels Group.  The new building will feature 196 Chambers and Grand Chamber Suites; multiple dining and drinking outlets, including the brand’s flagship space, The Commons Club; a coffee shop; numerous meeting spaces; and a rooftop bar.

Hyatt Place San Francisco Downtown

701 Third St.
South of Market
Completion date: January 2019
Rooms: 230

There was previously a diner on this location where Clint Eastwood said the immortal line from the film “Dirty Harry;” “Go ahead, make my day.”  This limited service hotel is located near Oracle Park in San Francisco at 701 Third St.  The LEED Platinum project includes vegetated roofs, a grey water system, and highly sustainable mechanical systems.  There is a public courtyard at the ground level and roof deck for hotel guests on the ninth levels.

Mansion on Sutter in San Francisco

1409 Sutter St.
Lower Pacific Heights
Completion date: January 2019
Additions to be completed by July 2019: 3 rooms & 3rd floor Gym
Additions to be completed by October 2019: Downstairs Speakeasy Bar
Rooms: 9

The historic Mansion on Sutter is an opulent Victorian mansion built in 1881. The property is a prolific design masterpiece crafted with rich cedar, stained glass, gilded ceilings, and breathtaking chandeliers. Each guest room is uniquely designed, blending classic Victorian with all of the contemporary touches the discerning guest would expect. A gourmet breakfast is included with each stay along with culinary surprises in each room. The property also houses The 1881 restaurant featuring California-French cuisine with emphasis on organic and sustainability.  

Central Subway

The Central Subway Project will improve public transportation in San Francisco by extending the Muni Metro T Third Line through SoMa, Union Square and Chinatown. By providing a direct, rapid transit link between downtown and the existing T Third Line route on 3rd Street, the Central Subway will vastly improve transportation to and from some of the city's busiest, most densely populated areas.

When the Central Subway is completed, T Third Line trains will travel mostly underground from the 4th Street Caltrain Station to Chinatown, bypassing heavy traffic on congested 4th Street and Stockton Street. Four new stations will be built along the 1.7-mile alignment:

  • 4th and Brannan Station at 4th and Brannan streets (street level)
  • Yerba Buena/Moscone Station at 4th and Folsom streets (subway)
  • Union Square/Market Street Station on Stockton Street at Union Square (subway)
  • Chinatown Station at Stockton and Washington streets (subway)

Project completion is due in 2019, though no specific dates have been announced.


San Francisco International Airport (SFO)

SFO had a record breaking year in 2018, with a total of 57.8 million passengers.  This represents a 3.1 percent in overall enplanements, up 2.2 percent in domestic sector with a 6 percent increase in the international sector.

First phase of Harvey Milk Terminal 1 opens July 23

On July 23, 2019, SFO will open the first section of the new Harvey Milk Terminal 1. Nine gates will open in the first phase, which will be used by Southwest Airlines and JetBlue. The first section of this new facility will feature nine concession concepts, seven installations of public art, a Kids Spot play area for children, and an SFO Museum exhibit, including crowdsourced image content, honoring the life and legacy of Harvey Milk. For more information, please visit www.flysfo.com/T1.

New on-airport Grand Hyatt Hotel Opens End of Summer 2019

A new on-airport hotel, the Grand Hyatt at SFO, is in the final stages of construction and is expected to open at the end of summer 2019. For more information, please visit www.flysfo.com/hotel.

New Airlines, New Destinations for Summer 2019

For the 2019 summer travel season, SFO offers new international airlines and destinations, including Norwegian Air service to London-Gatwick, Air Italy flights to Milan, El Al service to Tel Aviv, and TAP Portugal flights to Lisbon. Travelers within the United States also have more choices than ever before, with nonstop service to Everett, Washington on Alaska and United Airlines, new nonstop flights to Honolulu on Sun Country, first-ever service to Rapid City, South Dakota on United, and seasonal United service to Fairbanks, Alaska.

New Manufactory Food Hall at SFO 

Reflecting the culinary lifestyle of the Bay Area, San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has opened a 3,241 square foot food hall, located in SFO’s International Terminal.  Manufactory Food Hall is a collaboration between four multi-award winning San Francisco culinary luminaries who will bring their three eateries: Chefs Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt with Tartine, Gabriela Cámara presenting Cala, and Pim Techamuanvivit of Michelin-starred Kin Khao. 

Outdoor Observation Deck  

As part of a $55 million upgrade to SFO’s International Terminal facilities, a 2,997 square foot outdoor terrace and observation deck opened Feb 6, 2019, affording 180-degree views of the airfield.


Anniversaries to Note


150th Anniversary of completion of the Transcontinental Railroad

140th Anniversary of the Conservatory of Flowers

80th Anniversary of the Aquatic Park Boathouse

80th Anniversary of the Golden Gate International Exposition at Treasure Island

75th Anniversary of the American premiere of “Nutcracker” at the San Francisco Ballet, the first complete version of the ballet ever staged in the United States

50th Anniversary of the Exploratorium

20th Anniversary of How Weird Street Faire

15th Anniversary of the Museum of Craft and Design

10th Anniversary of the Walt Disney Family Museum


150th Anniversary of Golden Gate Park

50th Anniversary of San Francisco Pride

30th Anniversary of the arrival of the sea lion community at PIER 39

The San Francisco Travel Association is the official destination marketing organization for the City and County of San Francisco. For information on reservations, activities and more, visit www.sftravel.com or call 415-391-2000. 

San Francisco Travel’s main Visitor Information Center relocated to 749 Howard St., at the Moscone Convention Center, at the beginning of 2019.   There is a second Visitor Information Center at Macy’s Union Square.  San Francisco Travel is also a partner at the California Welcome Center at PIER 39. 

For more about San Francisco, follow www.facebook.com/onlyinSF, www.instagram.com/onlyinsf and https://twitter.com/onlyinsf.

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 50 international cities on 44 international carriers. The Bay Area's largest airport connects non-stop with 85 cities in the U.S. on 12 domestic airlines. SFO offers 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 SFO on www.twitter.com/flysfo and www.facebook.com/flysfo.

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Note to editors:  Press releases and other media resources are available at www.sftravel.com/media.