Volunteer Note: San Francisco Insight From an Insider

By Edward Diao, MD


This year's Annual Meeting is in San Francisco, and Dr. Diao has the inside scoop on how to make the best of your free time in San Fran.

Of course you go to the ASSH Annual Meeting every year for all of the educational offerings, the industry forums, the comradery, and to catch up with old friends and make new ones.  However, being that this year’s meeting is in San Francisco, you should take some time to explore this wonderful city.  Things change so much around here that even though you may have been here in the past and feel you know the town, there is always something new to experience.  Here are some of my favorite things to do, many within walking distance or a short ride from the Moscone West Convention Center.

The Ferry Building has wonderful food stalls and several iconic restaurants such as Hog Island Oyster, Boulettes Larder and The Slanted Door.  There is a Farmers Market (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday) that is absolutely off the hook!  The back of the building offers great views of the Bay, and you can take ferries from here to Sausalito or Tiburon, and get fantastic and close views of Alcatraz along the way. There is an awesome light show installation you can see on any night on the Bay Bridge.

Another great way to experience San Francisco Bay with views of Alcatraz, the Marin headlands, and the Golden Gate Bridge is to go to Crissy Field.  This former airstrip has been reworked and reclaimed with beach front, marshes, plantings and a great path/ boardwalk for walking, running, skating, biking, etc. In the afternoon, you can watch the windsurfers and kite borders in action (or even join them).

There is great shopping and eating right in the South of Market/Union Square area where the convention is taking place.  For something different, try Hayes Valley or the Mission District for great local restaurants and unique shopping in various trendy boutiques.  Mission District is also Mexican food central.  For Asian cuisine, there is always Chinatown, but there is also the Richmond District about 5 miles west, and Japantown is even closer than that.  Classic Italian cuisine is available in North Beach. If you do that, you can also stop in at the iconic City Lights Bookstore.  Coit Tower is not far from there on Telegraph Hill, with great views of the city and the bay, along with WPA murals by Diego Rivera disciples to boot!

For you culture buffs, there’s plenty to take in, between the opera, ballet, symphony and the new SF Jazz Center.  As for museums, the SF Museum of Modern Art has fantastic architecture in the new galleries and a permanent collection that is second to none.  The Jewish Contemporary Museum is a few blocks from the convention center (great building to see even if you don’t go in), and the Asian Art Museum is not far away.  If you venture to Golden Gate Park, the DeYoung Museum with the spectacular tower offers great views of the city, and the California Academy of Sciences are there with the Botanical Gardens close by.  There is swing dancing at the bandshell every Sunday!

Hopefully you will make some time (not during the industry forums, please) to do some of these outside activities to make your trip to SF complete!