San Francisco’s New Pier 27 Cruise Terminal:

On Sept. 18, 2014, the Grand Princess will be the inaugural ship at the new James R. Herman Cruise Terminal at Pier 27.  The structure, which was used as the venue for the 34th America’s Cup Village in 2013, is adjacent to a new 2.5 acre public park known as the Northeast Wharf Plaza. The new cruise terminal will accommodate vessels up to 1,200 feet long, carrying 2,600 passengers, and has the capacity at key areas to allow it to service vessels carrying as many as 5,000 passengers.  On non-cruise days, the terminal will be used as a special event facility.  For information, visit

@Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz,Sept. 27, 2014-April 26, 2015:

Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei responds to the layered history of Alcatraz — former federal penitentiary, site of Native American heritage and protest, and now a national park — with a major new body of work.  Ai is creating site-specific sculpture, sound and multimedia works for spaces throughout the island, including restricted areas that will be opened to the public especially for this exhibition. A vocal critic of the Chinese government, Ai was taken into custody by Chinese authorities in 2011 and secretly detained for 81 days on charges of tax evasion. His bail was lifted in 2012 but he is still not permitted to leave China. As a result, he is developing the artwork in Beijing. @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz is organized by the FOR-SITE Foundation in partnership with the National Park Service and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.  Additional information on @Large, Art in the Parks and associated programs may be found on the project’s official page at

The Masonic in San Francisco – Opens September 2014:

Live Nation has announced the much-anticipated re-opening of The Masonic in San Francisco, following a multi-million dollar renovation project. The Masonic will open Sept. 19, 2014 and feature a line-up this fall that includes Train, Daryl Hall & John Oates, The 1975, Old Crow Medicine Show and others. Located at the top of San Francisco’s historic Nob Hill at 1111 California St., The Masonic’s re-opening unveils a transformed space unlike any other of its size in the Bay Area. Renovations include a brand-new concert stage; state-of-the-art sound system tailored specifically to the room; VIP room for 300, with amazing views of Nob Hill, San Francisco, and the Bay; luxury VIP boxes with wait service and private restrooms, and a new general admission open floor with tiered levels, bringing the venue’s general admission capacity to 3,300. Additionally, in partnership with the Nob Hill Association, Live Nation and the Masons of California have contributed $100,000 to the renovation of the Huntington Park children’s playground, which will be the first of many contributions to come from both organizations towards the vitality of Huntington Park and the Nob Hill neighborhood. For information, visit  

Levi’s® Stadium:

Located south of San Francisco in the heart of Silicon Valley in Santa Clara,Levi’s® Stadium is one of the most technologically and environmentally advanced buildings in all of sports and entertainment, with the largest high definition outdoor screens in the world.  It will be the location for Super Bowl 50 on Feb. 7, 2016 but football fans can experience the stadium now by attending a 49ers game or the other events scheduled in the stadium. The 20,000-square-foot 49ers Museum presented by Sony is a first-class celebration of the 49ers past, present and future.  Levi’s Stadium has a seating capacity of 68,500 and more than 110,000 square feet of unparalleled event space.  For information,




Keith Haring: the Political Line

The de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park will feature Keith Haring: The Political Line Nov. 8, 2014 through Feb. 16, 2015.  This is the first American exhibition to assess the political dimension and scope of Keith Haring’s artistic concerns. Working across a variety of media, including subway drawings, paintings and sculptures, Haring (1958–1990) devoted himself to messages of social justice and change.  Haring’s work has long been a part of the city’s visual culture. Haring created works for diverse venues in San Francisco during his lifetime, including murals for DV8, an underground club once located in the South of Market neighborhood and a huge, multipanel painting for the South of Market Childcare Center.   His triptych altarpiece “The Life of Christ” (1990) is installed in the AIDS Chapel at Grace Cathedral.  Haring’s outdoor sculpture “Untitled (Three Dancing Figures)” (1989), will be moving from its current location at the Moscone Center to the de Young for the duration of the exhibition and remain at the museum during the expansion of the convention center.  For information, visit

Skulls at the California Academy of Sciences through November 30, 2014:

Every skull tells a story. As unique as a thumbprint, skulls act as roadmaps in the scientific quest to understand how vertebrate animals live, die, and ultimately, evolve. In this new exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences, explore the science of skulls—from teeth and jaws that allow animals to hunt and consume food, to eye sockets that support advanced vision to escape predators. Walk along a wallscape of sea lion skulls, watch a live colony of dermestid beetles demonstrate just why they’re known as “bone cleaners,” and discover how scientists use the Academy’s collection of skulls to uncover evolutionary clues about the natural world.  For information, visit   




Lovely Martha Sport Fishing:

Since 1908, this four-generation, family-run business has been taking guests on fishing excursions beyond the Golden Gate Bridge onboard the Lovely Martha. The current Lovely Martha is a custom built mahogany vessel with a full sound system, state-of-the-art equipment and two decks for optimal viewing. First-timers and seasoned fisherman alike will enjoy deep sea or “potluck” fishing for salmon, sea bass and halibut. Besides sport fishing, excursions are available for sightseeing cruises, whale-watching (seasonal), private charters and special events. For information, visit  

Tam Hiking Tours:

Tam Hiking Tours offers a unique opportunity to experience the natural beauty of the Bay Area without having to travel far from the city. Mt. Tamalpais, located just 15 minutes from San Francisco, has recently become more accessible to Bay Area visitors and locals alike. Mill Valley resident and lifetime hiker Debra Schwartz started Tam Hiking Tours, an outdoor recreational service, which hosts private and group hiking tours for people of all ages on Mt. Tamalpais and surrounding areas. These guided hiking tours provide education about Mt. Tamalpais, Mill Valley and San Francisco history, local Native American history, and Bay Area geology while hiking on trails through redwood forests and along open ridges with spectacular panoramic views of the entire Bay Area region, including Mt Tam, the Pacific Ocean, Sausalito, Tiburon, San Francisco and Mt. Diablo. Tours range from 1.5 – 4 hours and personalized tours for groups and individuals are available. Organic box lunches are available on request. For information, visit www.tamhikingtours.comor call 415-888-2474.  


RESTAURANTS: Top Culinary Honors for San Francisco


The readers of Saveur, the definitive culinary-travel magazine, have voted San Francisco the Best Culinary Destination, Large Domestic in the second annual Saveur Culinary Travel Awards.  San Francisco was also the Readers’ Choice winner in the category of Best Markets and Shops, Domestic.  Such accolades are neither new nor surprising in San Francisco, which has long been recognized as a leader in the culinary world.  In May 2014, the James Beard Foundation named Charles Phan’s The Slanted Door the Outstanding Restaurant in the country. Daniel Patterson of Coi was named Best Chef for California, Nevada and Hawaii.  Quince was honored for Outstanding Service.  The 2014 Michelin Guide to San Francisco awards five restaurants with two stars, 14 with one star and rates dozens of others (it is considered an honor just to be listed).   Michelin has been reviewing restaurants in San Francisco and the Bay Area since 2006.


Dick’s Last Resort

Dick’s Last Resort, a nationally-known restaurant brand that proudly bills itself as “The Joint Yer Mama Warned You About,” opened on June 24, 2014 in the Anchorage Square at Fisherman’s Wharf. Dick’s Last Resort is known for its outrageous, sarcastic and energetic servers who push social boundaries, but don’t cross the line with their sarcastic, fun-loving tongue-in-cheek verbal shtick with guests.  Their one-of-a-kind specialty drinks in souvenir glasses have names like “Trash Can Punch.” Freshly made appetizers include Wicked Gator Tail, Macho Nachos, Chickin’ Bites and Motha Cluckin’ Good Chicky Wings.  “Buckets ‘O Grub” feature tasty combinations of barbecue pork ribs, chicken, fried shrimp, fish’ n chips and “Katfish.”  For more information, visit  



Scarlet Huntington Hotel on Nob Hill:

Singapore-based hospitality group Grace International opened The Scarlet Huntington in May 2014 following a $15 million renovation of San Francisco’s beloved Huntington Hotel.  The new name, The Scarlet, portrays an avant-garde style that draws inspiration from a deep Peranakan heritage, derived from the blended cultures of 15th century Chinese immigrants in modern-day Malaysia and Singapore, woven together with San Francisco’s history and diversity. The iconic red of the former Huntington Hotel’s exterior, as displayed in the brick façade and illuminated sign high atop the hotel, permeates the new aesthetic, representing the hotel’s heritage while embracing opulent gold, sophisticated black and bright gemstone-inspired colors to convey sheer luxury and glamour.  In preserving the integrity of the hotel, the bones of the building have been retained, including the black wood hand-carved door at the entrance of the hotel, crystal chandelier, crown molding, adorning arches, and the original mailbox chute from 1924 that will continue to be used by guests of The Scarlet Huntington. For information, visit


Hotel G Opens in Union Square:

Following an extensive two-year renovation of a century-old building, Hotel G opened at the corner of Geary and Mason streets on May 2, 2014.  Originally built in 1908 as The Fielding Hotel, much of the emphasis of the hotel transformation was about staying true to the historic design of the building. Many of the original features were carefully restored, including wood and concrete flooring in the guestrooms and hallways, and the building’s original façade.  Comprised of 153 guestrooms on 13 floors, the interior was designed by New York-based Hun Aw Studio.  Hotel G has partnered with San Francisco-based Creativity Explored, a non-profit arts center for adult artists with developmental disabilities, to curate, showcase and sell artwork. A diverse mix of abstract paintings, intricately detailed pen and ink drawings, colorful ceramics, folk textiles, digital prints, collages and mixed-media sculpture adorn guestrooms. All of the artwork is available for sale with proceeds going directly to the artist.   For information, visit  



Folsom Street Fair Returns September 21, 2014

Typically the last Sunday in September each year, the Folsom Street Fair now alternates between the third and fourth Sunday to accommodate San Francisco’s busy convention schedule.  With nearly half a million attendees, 13 city blocks dedicated to more than 200 exhibitor booths, two huge dance areas and a massive stage for entertainment, it is the largest LGBT street fair in the world.  Folsom Street from 8th to 13th streets will be filled with the broad spectrum of South of Market lifestyles, including leather, BDSM, uniforms, fetish and other alternatives from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Nakedness is still allowed; clothes checks are availableVoluntary donations at the entrances benefit local charitable causes, last year totaling more than $358,000.  On Saturday night, Sept. 20, experience Magnitude,a no-holds-barred dance party on Treasure Island from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. with DJs Tony Moran and Tom Stephan.  Shuttle buses are available from SOMA and Castro.  For additional information, visit




Etihad Airways Begins Daily Non-Stop Service to San Francisco Nov. 18, 2014

San Francisco becomes Etihad’s sixth U.S.  destination, complementing New York, Chicago, Washington, Los Angeles and Dallas (starting Dec. 3, 2014). Etihad will operate a three-class Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, leased from their partner Jet Airways, offering eight first class, 30 business class and 308 economy class seats.

“We welcome Etihad Airways to SFO, our international airport,” said San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee.  “This new nonstop flight not only provides a direct route between the San Francisco Bay Area and the United Arab Emirates, but better connects Etihad’s global network throughout the region, including India and Africa.  The Etihad flight is a valuable bridge linking our two regions and our residents, and we are truly confident in its success.”

James Hogan, President and CEO of Etihad Airways, said in a statement that, given San Francisco’s global prominence as a tourism and business center, he anticipates a strong demand for the flights “not only between San Francisco and Abu Dhabi, but onwards to destinations across our network and the networks of our codeshare partners.” For information, visit

Turkish Airlines Begins Non-Stop Service to San Francisco April 13, 2015

Turkish Airlines will begin non-stop service between San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Istanbul on April 13, 2015, with flights operating five days per week to Istanbul using Boeing 777 aircraft.  The flag carrier of Turkey plans to increase service to daily flights on May 11, 2015. Turkish Airlines, the national flag carrier of Turkey, is the fourth-largest carrier in the world by destinations served, with flights to more than 200 international locations.  For the fourth year in a row, Turkish Airlines was named in 2014 as the “Best Airline in Europe” by SkyTrax,  an independent international agency that monitors the aviation industry and whose aviation benchmarking surveys are considered among the most reliable in the world. Flights between SFO and Istanbul will be operated using Boeing 777-300ER aircraft seating a total of 337 passengers, made up of 28 business class and 309 economy class seats. For information, visit

SFO Unveils Mobile App for Visually-Impaired Passengers

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) has unveiled a prototype version of a smartphone application which can help visually-impaired passengers to navigate through an airport terminal.  The app was developed through San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program, which paired SFO with the, a leader in indoor navigation technology, and was developed in a relatively short span of 16 weeks.

“This groundbreaking new innovation offers visually-impaired passengers something remarkable…the ability to navigate through SFO independently without assistance,” said Airport Director John L. Martin.  “I appreciate the collaboration with and the Lighthouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, made possible by Mayor Ed Lee’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program.  This program demonstrates Mayor Lee’s commitment to innovation.”

The prototype app works in conjunction with approximately 500 beacons located throughout the terminal to audibly call out various points of interest, including gate boarding areas, restaurants, and even power outlets.  The prototype version will undergo additional testing and refinement before being released for use by the traveling public. For information, visit




San Francisco Travel publishes updates monthly and quarterly with news, ideas and trends in and around San Francisco for five different types of readers:


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  • LGBT travelers*
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