[Biz Travel Advice] San Francisco

Random Observation/Comment #572: Adapt to a healthy and productive routine quickly during business travel.

As mentioned in an earlier post about business travel advice, travel for business is a completely different beast from travel for leisure. There’s expectations to do more than just eat, take photos, sight see, and eat some more. It’s absolutely necessary to blend in and enter a disciplined routine to maintain the healthy balance of work, sleep, and fun.

What SF Does Well

  • SF Vibes – man, if you don’t know what this is, I couldn’t even begin to explain it
  • Beautiful weather – If January is “cold rainy season”, I’ll take it any day to NYC toxic slush and streaks of bi-polar temperatures.
  • Restaurant Selection – I’m spoiled by NYC fine dining, but found endless suggestions for secret spots to try all around SF. From the authentic Italian/Chinese to the quirky fusion restaurants, I was a thoroughly impressed foodie.
  • Calve Workouts – I stayed on top of a hill and got a great workout walking back forth to work and other places. I wish I worked on top of the hill and stayed at the bottom so the workout would be in the morning instead of after a long day of work.
  • “Morning People” – even more than I’m used to, people really get started. I was running on East Coast time and there were a surprising number of people jogging and up at 5AM. Maybe crazy people are just everywhere.
  • Hiking & Biking – Right across the Golden Gate Bridge is a trove of incredible trails. I loved the 3-hour bike ride across the bridge and up Hawk Hill

What SF Can Improve

  • Random Attacks – I was very surprised to hear 5+ stories on random beatings and attacks on the street. I guess the police enforcement is scarce in SF (under funded, under staffed, or overly optimistic). This is a bit of a deal breaker.
  • Homeless population – In the Mission, 6th St, and SoMa, the homeless population is fairly rampant. I volunteered and made muffings on National Muffin Day to hand them out to the homeless (link to donate). “Homeless people hear their names on an average of once every 2-3 weeks.” Their basic fabric of identity has been stripped from them.
  • Real estate expenses – I do like how they protect renters, but it’s likely impossible to own houses in SF without working for a tech giant
  • Everyone’s an Entrepreneur – there’s a tech snob community here that I’m on the fence about. Everyone has a company and the higher standard is Series A or no convo. What happened to just having a fun side hobby?

How to Work and Have Fun in SF

This is the same for any major city, but here were a few staples of fun (sometimes you don’t remember how to do this because your married life has a default to hang out with the wife at home):

  • Create a routine – whether going to the gym or finding a bar that you want to be a local in for a week, it’s always good to keep the decisions easy. It takes the stress of traveling and missing out on random fun things out of it.
  • Be conservative on your travel goals – I planned much more around eating than going out to some tourist spot every night. If weather permitted, I’d just go out with my headphones and wander the city.
  • Cook if you can – It was pretty random, but I did get a chance to help host a wonton making party. Life is like a wonton party. I don’t know what that means.

Feeling Like a Local

Bike Ride up Hawk Hill – beware the large hill in the beginning, but totally worth the exciting rush downhill (check your brakes and low gears!)

Spin SF – Table tennis at its best. Beautiful open location with a Monday night tournament at 7PM. Got lucky and won.

Wander the City – walk around and take some photos from some key points. Above is Lombard Street. You can also ride the cable cars form Fisherman’s Wharf to across the city.

Take the Ferry to Saulsalito – I didn’t get a chance to do this on Saturday because of the rain, but I had a 6 hour day planned with a ferry ride across to Saulsalito and then a walk back across the golden gate bridge. If you’re doing this alone, bring an audiobook :).

More Wandering – beautiful park around the Palace of Fine Arts. I’d just bring a book and read there.

Do Touristy stuff and eat well:

  • Tonga was pretty cute for a late night drink – corny enough to be kinda cool
  • Original Joe’s – some solid egg plant parm in layers like a lasagna
  • Nob Hill Cafe – another delicious Italian place that’s usually crowded, but great for brunch
  • Mister Jiu’s – Contemporary chinese food with an incredibly trendy vibe
  • Slanted Door – Some fancy cocktails with a great view of the Bay Bridge

~See Lemons Love SF