San Francisco: New Views and Brews - United Hub

San Francisco: New views and brews

By Bob Cooper

San Francisco has been a favorite travel destination for generations. Visitors are enriched by the vast array of things to see, do, eat and drink in the city by the bay. An explosion of new attractions, restaurants and microbreweries has only added to the bounty.

New & bigger attractions

The world's largest modern art museum is not in London, Paris or New York City—it's the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which reopened in 2016 after a massive expansion. SFMOMA is walking distance from a number of San Francisco hotels. So is the Exploratorium, bursting with so many science, art and human perception exhibits that it was forced to move to larger quarters on side-by-side piers. It's among the world's premier hands-on science museums. A few blocks up the waterfront at Fisherman's Wharf is the city's newest major attraction, the San Francisco Dungeon, which presents 10 shows and rides featuring 20 live actors who play famous figures who animated the city's colorful past.

The Presidio reborn

America's most ambitious military-to-civilian conversion project keeps getting better. The Presidio, a 1500-acre fort that dates to 1776, has morphed into a unique national park where old army buildings have been repurposed as new hotels, restaurants and museums, as well as businesses and private homes. Located only steps from the new visitor center is the Presidio's most popular indoor attraction: the Walt Disney Family Museum. The story of Walt Disney's pioneering role in animation, movies, television and theme parks is told in galleries filled with memorabilia, film clips and Oscar statuettes. Just outside the museum on Thursday evenings (May to September) are Presidio Twilight events: mass picnics on the Parade Ground lawn.

Golden Gate Bridge

Tried & true thrills

Even frequent visitors to San Francisco enjoy revisiting places that put the city on every tourism map. New buildings and paths at the Golden Gate Bridge have improved the visitor experience. The new China Live marketplace and restaurants in Chinatown add to the appeal of the authentic neighborhood, while North Beach still retains its Italian flavor. Golden Gate Park is full of wondrous gardens, lakes, trails, museums and activity options. Fisherman's Wharf and adjacent Pier 39 are as packed with seafood restaurants and family fun as ever. The shopping at Union Square is top-notch. And the cable cars still clamber tenaciously up the city's steepest hills.

Rave-worthy new restaurants

Restaurants rank high among the reasons people flock to San Francisco, where California cuisine and the farm-to-table phenomena arose. San Francisco restaurants pride themselves on serving ingredients that are locally and sustainably grown, raised and caught. But local chefs also turn those ingredients into creative, tasty fare. Among the newest top-100-rated San Francisco restaurants are International Smoke, co-launched by celebrity chef Michael Mina and Ayesha Curry, and three restaurants located blocks apart in the Hayes Valley district near the opera house: A Mano (Italian), Robin (sushi) and RT Rotisserie (casual comfort food).

Alcatraz Island in San Francisco

New & noteworthy nearby

After spending several days taking in the sights of San Francisco, visitors with more time have a wealth of choices. Short ferry rides take you to Alcatraz, the infamous prison island, or Angel Island, a state park with perimeter-road tram rides. A short BART train ride under the bay brings you to within a block of the Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive—reopened in 2016 after a $112 million expansion. Short drives bring you north to Point Reyes National Seashore or the Napa/Sonoma Wine Country (fully recovered from the fires)—or for techies, south to Silicon Valley's Computer History Museum and Tech Museum of Innovation.

Breweries bubbling up

Dozens of microbreweries and tasting rooms have recently sprung up citywide. The newest near the city center are Holy Craft Brewery (a North Beach spot known for its Harajuku Girl rice ale), Black Hammer Brewing (experimental brews and edgy art) and Local Brewing (which names its beers for city neighborhoods). Another recent addition to the craft-beer sceneis Triple Voodoo, in thetrendy Dogpatch district past the Giants ballpark, which offers free tours by reservation on Thursdays and Saturdays.

If you go

United Airlines offers numerous flights to San Francisco from cities throughout the U.S. and worldwide. MileagePlus® Rewards can help pay for your hotel room once you arrive. Go to or use the United app to plan your San Francisco vacation and share your story with #MyUnitedJourney.

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