We’ll be in San Francisco for several days in a couple of weeks with family from the Midwest. Do you have any suggestions for activities other than the large tourist attractions that would support the local community?
San Francisco is a pretty magical city to visit with everything you could ask for on a vacation in the wee space of a 7×7 square mile box. Because of its limited space resources, San Francisco has taken innovative steps to become one of the top Green cities in the U.S. The city excels in sustainable values with its vast public transportation network, strong biking community, well-preserved parks and green spaces, and support for local shops and restaurants.
But to answer the question more specifically, with regard to looking for tourist worthy activities that support local communities in San Francisco, I have the following ideas…
San Francisco is well-known for having distinctive neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has its own eclectic style and feel and consequently each neighborhood, aside from Union Square and the Financial District (which are full of chain stores and restaurants), is filled to the brim with local SME’s (small and medium-sized enterprises). Therefore, you can pretty much walk around any neighborhood in the city and easily support the local community by supporting their local businesses.
One idea for getting to know some of these unique neighborhoods, while supporting and interacting with the local community, is joining one of the San Francisco City Guides walking tours. City Guides is a non-profit organization that runs primarily off of the support of volunteer guides. The tours are free and no reservations are required, unless you are a group of 8 or more. The guides are locals themselves and this promotes a healthy interaction between visitors and hosts who are both excited about sharing knowledge about the city they love. Tours range from general neighborhood walks of Japantown or West Portal, to themed ones like Ghosts, Sinners and Secret Places and Billionaire’s Row: Outdoor Broadway Architecture.
Another great destination to visit in San Francisco that will help support the local community is taking a trip to the Ferry Building. While it is slowly starting to become a tourist hot spot, it is still a local hangout and brimming with locally sourced shops and places to eat. Furthermore, if you visit on a Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday you can enjoy the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market which takes place just outside of the Ferry Building. Visiting the market and sampling the local food, such as the pork sandwich from Roli Roti, will help support the local Northern California agriculture industry.
Does anyone else have any suggestions on places to take visitors in San Francisco that support local communities and/or would be sustainable travel options?
For more information on “Green” travel options in San Francisco, visit the San Francisco Convention and Visitor Bureau’s website dedicated to the topic: http://www.onlyinsanfrancisco.com/green/