Inside SF

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The San Francisco Scoop

For locals who want to experience San Francisco like a visitor and visitors who want to experience San Francisco like a local.

the san francisco scoop

The San Francisco Scoop is designed by us to take you inside SF, whether you’re visiting or you live here. From current-affairs inspired articles on California history, to our suggestions on the best things to do in SF every month, via inside information on authentic experiences and events, we give you the essential scoop on the Bay Area.

And if you’re a visitor looking for more specific information related to your trip here, such as locations at which famous movies have been filmed, to a list of the best family activities in San Francisco or how to navigate the city using public transport, don’t forget to check S.F. Info.

Big Alma: From Poor Nude Model To Rich Art Patron

March 7, 2024

In the center of Union Square, on a very high column, is a statue of Nike, the Greek Goddess of Victory. If you read the inscription at the base you’ll find that it’s dedicated to Admiral George Dewey, victor of the Battle of Manila Bay in 1898, during the Spanish-American War. Big deal, you may…

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Nob Hill: SF’s Posh Neighborhood

March 4, 2024

San Francisco is one of many cities around the world that claim to be built on seven hills (for some reason it’s always seven), going back all the way to ancient Athens and Rome. In our case the ‘The Seven Hills of San Francisco’ are Telegraph Hill, Nob Hill, Russian Hill, Rincon Hill, Twin Peaks, Mount Davidson and Lone Mountain or Mount…

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The Original Chinatown: San Francisco

February 23, 2024

A Chinatown is defined as an ethnic enclave of people of Chinese background, that is outside China itself. From the 1830’s onwards a large, and growing, number of them have popped up all over the world, in cities like New York, London, Los Angeles and Melbourne. The oldest in the Western world is considered to…

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How Maya Angelou Changed San Francisco

February 12, 2024

For Black History Month I want to highlight the positive influence of one of our most famous former inhabitants, Maya Angelou, and show how she left an indelible mark on San Francisco. Angelou was born in St Louis, Missouri, but while still young her family moved to Oakland, in the East Bay. Like a lot…

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San Francisco In Film Noir

February 6, 2023

Noir as a genre was really born in San Francisco, in 1922, when a series of short stories by a writer called Dashiell Hammett began being published in literary magazine The Smart Set. It wasn’t known as ‘Noir’ at the time, these were considered to be, more or less, just pulp crime stories. But Hammett…

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The Great Fire & How It Changed SF

September 21, 2022

The 1906 Great Fire is one of the most cataclysmic moments in the history of San Francisco. In many respects it’s the big “before and after” event here. Some buildings survived – the St Francis Hotel, the Flood Mansion, the Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill, and the Ferry Building were amongst the few – but so much…

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Founding of San Francisco

July 14, 2022

If you look at a map of the West Coast of the U.S. it seems logical that there would be a port in the Bay Area. It’s far and away the best natural harbor between San Diego and Seattle, so it seems entirely natural – almost ordained really – that San Francisco exists. However, like…

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Old Chinatown: Crime & Vice

May 19, 2022

San Francisco has the oldest Chinatown in the U.S. and one of the oldest in the West. Chinese first began moving to the city in 1849, as news of “Gam Saan” (Gold Mountain) spread around the world and reached China, firing the imaginations of thousands of young men who were struggling after years of prolonged…

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How The Gold Rush Created San Francisco

May 13, 2022

On May 12, 1848, Mormon pioneer and businessman Samuel Brannan walked onto Portsmouth Square, shouting “Gold! Gold from the American River!”, while holding aloft a phial full of gold flakes. He hadn’t discovered the gold and he never attempted mining it, but it fired the starting gun for the great California Gold Rush. He owned…

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Maiden Lane: From Brothels To Boutiques

April 15, 2022

Today Maiden Lane is an upscale, boutique-lined, pedestrian street running east off Union Square, notable chiefly for its gates and for being the home of San Francisco’s only Frank Lloyd Wright designed building. However, the narrow, quiet, street has a scandalous past as one of old San Francisco’s main red-light districts, in the late nineteenth…

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Haight-Ashbury: Summer Of Love, 1967

March 7, 2022

Background In the mid-1960s, San Francisco exploded with a counterculture movement. A tremendous spontaneous expression of youthful enthusiasm, loving life, allied with opposition to the Vietnam War, attracted an estimated 100,000 young people to San Francisco. More than ten years earlier, in the early 1950’s, another counter-cultural movement, also against materialism and conformism, called the…

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The Fatty Arbuckle Scandal & St Francis Hotel

February 10, 2022

St Francis Hotel Long before the Fatty Arbuckle scandal the St Francis Hotel opened in 1904 on Union Square, built as an investment vehicle for Charles Crocker’s grandchildren. Crocker was one of the ‘Big Four’ that had dominated San Francisco in the nineteenth century and, although he had died ten years before, his enormous mansion…

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How To Ride SF Cable Cars & Trams

April 1, 2024

One of the first things that pops into most people’s minds when they hear the words “San Francisco” is an image of a cable car (the other one is the Golden Gate Bridge obviously). It’s considered an indelible element of the city and many visitors coming here already want to take a ride on one,…

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Alcatraz: The Rock

February 6, 2024

Originally named after the Pelicans that used to be inhabit the island, Alcatraz, has since become a symbol of San Francisco, as much as the Golden Gate Bridge and our cable cars. Most first-time visitors to the city by the bay will have it on their list of things to see and do here, along…

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San Francisco’s Barbary Coast Today

January 12, 2024

Barbary Coast was the name given to a neighborhood of San Francisco, more or less encompassing Pacific Avenue (then known as Pacific Street) between Montgomery and Stockton Streets, from the 1860’s to the early 1900’s. Roughly bound by today’s Chinatown, North Beach and the Embarcadero, the area was infamous for the easy availability of almost…

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Golden Gate Bridge: History & How to Visit

December 12, 2023

Ever since the late nineteenth century San Franciscans had dreamed of a bridge across the Golden Gate, the narrow strait that separate the northern and southern sides of the entrance to San Francisco Bay. However, the practical difficulties of constructing a Golden Gate Bridge seemed insuperable at the time, and the crossing remained a fever…

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Mission District: SF’s Fun Neighborhood

September 18, 2023

The Mission District is a very well-known neighborhood in San Francisco. It’s popular for a number of reasons: it has some of the best restaurants in the city (it was the birthplace of the Mission Burrito after all), it’s a Mecca for clubbers and others wanting to have fun, it’s home to one of the…

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Berkeley, Oakland & Alameda: The East Bay

May 10, 2023

The San Francisco-facing parts of the wider East Bay region, encompassing Berkeley, Oakland and Alameda, have a lot of attractions and things to see and do. They’re also popular places to stay for visitors to the Bay Area, since they’re reasonably well-connected to the BART and SF ferry systems, as well as being a short…

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Bicycling In San Francisco: 6 Great Routes

March 30, 2023

San Francisco has a lot of great opportunities for getting out on two wheels (or more), powered by legs and lungs. It’s true the city, and wider Bay Area, is pretty hilly, but there are ways to avoid them, if you prefer (and no one would blame you for that – our hills are often…

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Castro: SF’s Naughty Neighborhood

September 30, 2022

The San Francisco neighborhood known as the Castro is one of the best-known in the city. It was a birthplace of the LGBTQ+ rights movement in the U.S. and was where Harvey Milk, the gay-rights activist and politician, began his political career. It’s also a very picturesque and historic part of the city, with some…

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North Beach: SF’s Nightlife Neighborhood

May 5, 2022

North Beach is one of San Francisco’s most storied and picturesque neighborhoods. It’s chiefly known nowadays for being our ‘Little Italy’ and most visitors want to see it while they’re in the city, to eat at one of the many great Italian restaurants and cafes that line its streets. It was also the West Coast…

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Fisherman’s Wharf SF: Cafe’s To Carousels

April 1, 2022

Almost everybody visiting San Francisco is going to make a trip to Fisherman’s Wharf at some point, it’s our Times Square or Hollywood Walk of Fame. However, like those other attractions, it can be a little underwhelming for the visitor – a few too many tourist traps and well… tourists! Nevertheless, again like the aforementioned…

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10 Best Things To Do In SF In April

March 14, 2024

“San Francisco in the Spring” may not quite have the ring of “Paris in the Spring”, but it is a great time to be in the Bay Area. Weather’s getting warmer and a little more predictable, days are longer, and there are – as you might expect – a lot of things to do here.…

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10 Best Things To Do In SF In March

February 15, 2024

As San Francisco continues its strong start to 2024, events are popping up all over the Bay Area, like flowers pushing their heads up as Spring arrives. This month we have a well rounded list of the best things to do in SF in March, including sporting events, St Patrick’s Day shindigs, stargazing, a ghost…

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10 Best Things To Do In SF In February

January 11, 2024

February is a surprisingly good month in San Francisco for events, there’s the Lunar New Year, Valentine’s Day, dance parties at museums and beer and comedy festivals for God’s sake! It may only be the second month of the year, but we’re not waiting around in San Francisco, we aren’t wasting time – we’re creating…

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10 Best Things To Do In SF In January

December 15, 2023

There are a lot of great events coming to San Francisco this month, Christmas and the New Year don’t slow down the city by the bay! There are cultural celebrations, art exhibitions, comedy shows, film festivals and there’s even a long-distance run (followed by hot chocolate, natch, it’s probably going to be cold). Writing this…

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10 Best Things To Do In SF In December

November 17, 2023

Christmas is officially coming, the goose is getting fat and the tree has been put up. Once you’ve done all the food and gift-shopping, you’re probably going to want to go out and have a little festive fun. But what, exactly, are you going to do? Well, wonder no longer because we have this list…

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10 Best Things To Do In SF In November

October 13, 2023

The nights are getting darker earlier and – i know we shouldn’t mention it yet, but – Christmas is drawing near. Attention begins to turn to going out: celebrating, doing stuff. But what exactly? What are the best things to do in SF in November? This is a list of our recommendations, so you can…

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10 Best Things To Do In SF In October

September 8, 2023

October, for most San Franciscans means two things: Halloween and Dia de Los Muertos. As you would expect there are a ton of those events happening this month in San Francisco. However, not everybody wants to do a Halloween themed event, and even if they do they probably want some other things too, so I’ve…

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10 Best Things To Do In SF In September

August 22, 2023

This might be, perhaps, the best month to be in San Francisco weather-wise. It’s usually the warmest it ever gets here (which can be quite warm, it’s California), the elements are just a tiny bit more predictable, and when the Bay Area gets like that you just have to make the most of that opportunity.…

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10 Best Things To Do In SF In August

July 25, 2023

August is a great month to be in San Francisco, it’s usually warm (most of the time), the weather’s just a tiny bit more predictable, and here in the Bay Area you just have to make the most of those opportunities to get OUT there. There are always a lot of events going on in…

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10 Best Things To Do In SF In July

June 24, 2023

July marks street fair season in San Francisco, with a lot of outdoor events and concerts, such as the Stern Grove Festival. There are always a ton of things happening in the Bay Area during the summer and the onset of high Summer means that there are even more fun things to do in the…

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10 Best Things To Do In SF In June

May 26, 2023

June marks the official beginning of Summer and it’s also LGBTQ+ month, so SF Pride has to take (ahem) pride of place in our line-up of the best things to do in SF in June. Nevertheless, there are plenty of other good options for events and activities in the Bay Area. From street festivals, to…

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10 Best Things To Do In SF In May

April 26, 2023

With the advent of May Spring slowly starts to turn into Summer. This is a great time to be in San Francisco as the days get warmer and longer, and there are some really cool events happening in San Francisco this month. There’s Cinco de Mayo, the Bay to Breakers run, Giants games and Carnaval.…

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