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Looking for a unique, off-the-wall (or, more accurately, on the bridge) setting for this year’s holiday photo? The Golden Gate Bridge, which celebrated its 75th anniversary in May, has added a seasonal twist to its green screen Photo Experience, which lets visitors pose for a photo that appears to be from atop the bridge’s mighty cables or a 746-foot-high tower.
In other words, a holiday photo that’s anything but ho-ho-hum.
The Photo Experience, which is offered in the Round House building at the southern entrance of the bridge, provides a variety of props, including Santa Hats for the little ones, strands of lights, and, my personal favorite, that swirly topper as shown on the lovely lady in the photo to the left. Visitors can bring their own props too but are encouraged not to wear green, as they’ll become invisible in the green screen.
I experienced the Photo Experience when it was first launched, and though the $20 fee for two 5×7 photos ($10 each for extras) seems a tad steep, it pretty much guarantees a memorable photo that will be talked about long after the holidays are over. Read more
The City by the Bay is also known as a second home to many business travelers, with a huge swath of conventions and events hosted in San Francisco each year. It’s also ludicrously pricey, almost always “chilly” to visitors from the south, and packed full of amazing opportunities for enjoyment… if you know where to look. In an effort to get you outside of the boardroom and into the wilds of SF, we’re offering up two restaurants, two attractions, and one bar that you can hit with just a few extra hours between meetings.
While San Francisco is busy enough to offer a smattering of convention center options, Moscone West is undoubtedly the king of the city. Thankfully, the Mission Bay Conference Center and Fort Mason Center aren’t too far away, so even if you find yourself at one of those, these recommendations will still apply – albeit with a little more legwork. Just a few blocks away, you’ll find the Hilton Union Square. Chances are, it’ll be a recommended hotel for you to stay at if you’re spending most of your time at Moscone. Beneath, there’s a place called Urban Tavern, and while the hours are a little weird, the food is superb. It’s a pretty laid back place, and the prices are really reasonable for downtown San Francisco. I rarely recommend hotel eateries, but this one is a cut above. Read more
Sadly, you can’t do the real thing, but thanks to a new green screen photo experience – just one of the offerings unveiled today, leading up to the Golden Gate Bridge’s 75th anniversary celebration over Memorial Day weekend – you can pose for a photo that makes it looks like you did. (Yep, that’s me at the right, and I gleefully fooled my husband and parents – though they did notice that my hair, mysteriously, wasn’t blowing around.)
In addition to the Golden Gate Bridge Photo Experience ($20), which is ideal for San Francisco’s famously foggy days, new developments include the Bridge Pavilion, a 3,500-square-foot eco-friendly building that serves as a visitor center and gift shop with beautiful bridge-themed design and memorabilia; personally guided tours on the bridge, including the first-ever night tours; and much-needed enhancements to trails and signage around the southeast toll plaza. Read more
San Francisco’s Presidio, a 1,500-acre former military base, serves as a woodsy urban sanctuary, a must-do for military buffs, and an actual neighborhood for a few lucky San Franciscans. But with the recent opening of its first hotel, the Inn at the Presidio, this under-the-radar gem can also become the home away from home for visitors to the City by the Bay.
Officially opened on April 1, the inn features 17 suites and five guestrooms in a beautifully restored historic building, ranging from $195 (just three rooms offered at this rate) to $350, with most featuring soaring ceilings, a fireplace, and spacious bathrooms. Rates also include a free wine and cheese reception every evening, a continental breakfast, and Internet. Read more
Next time you pass over the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, you should be sure to wish it a happy birthday – the bridge is 75 years old this year. While the official celebration won’t be held until Memorial Day weekend in May, the anniversary comes with a full year of events that start this month. 75 community tributes from art galleries and films to dances and hikes, inspired by and featuring the bridge, will take place in the Bay Area throughout the year. (This month will bring an exhibit at the Marin History Museum entitled The Golden Great Bridge – An Icon that Changed Marin and feature the story of the bridge and how it fundamentally altered Marin County.)
The main event, though, is the Golden Gate Festival on May 26 and 27. The free community festival will span the waterfront from Fort Point to Pier 39, and venues include the Marina Green, Crissy Field, and Fisherman’s Wharf, among many others. Expect art, self-guided walks, bike trips, historical displays, music, films, and more, including a firework display to mark the end of the festival.
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