San Francisco

Cool Airbnbs Near SF to Book This Winter

Take a break from it all.

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

We often think that though San Francisco has so much to offer-diverse culture, outstanding food, views at every turn, and ample outdoor space-what we perhaps love the most about the city is everything that’s right outside of it. In case you’ve forgotten about the wonder that is within half an hour of the 7×7, take this list as a little nudge to start planning your next weekend escape. Live somewhere outside of SF and want to plan a fun weekend here? We’ve got a few for you as well. 

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

Serene Waterfront Home with Panoramic Views

Tiburon, California  
4 guests/$300 per night
Distance from SF: Approx. 30 minutes by car
You can’t get closer to the water unless you’re in it. This (2 bedroom, 2 bath) private waterfront home is all about the huge private deck with views of Golden Gate Bridge, Angel Island, and Berkeley Hills, but even when you’re inside, you can still take them in thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows. 
What guests say: “This was by far the best Airbnb experience I’ve ever had, outstanding hospitality from host! Game changer. I couldn’t have asked for more! Not only is the property itself impeccable and exceeded my expectations but Karen’s attention to detail, thoughtful touches and quick responses made me feel 100% taken care of and comfortable.”

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

Incredible House with Stunning Views of the Palace of Fine Arts

Marina District, San Francisco, California
6 guests/$1,295 per night
Distance from SF: In SF
This 3,000 square foot luxury (3 bedroom, 3.5 bath) home has more than one could (or should) expect in a San Francisco house, including a fully stocked chef’s kitchen, high-end everything, a private well-manicured backyard with a covered patio that houses a grill, outdoor fireplace, and dining table, a spacious deck off of the kitchen, and spectacular views of the Palace of Fine Arts, a stunning structure built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition that lights up at night. Though you likely won’t want to leave, it’s also within walking distance of the Presidio, as well as lots of shopping, bars, and restaurants.
What guests say: “Location was perfect to enjoy the SF life – food, shopping, entertainment – all within walking minutes from the house. And at night we could decompress and enjoy a beautiful fire (and glass of wine :). We could not be more thankful for this experience and we wouldn’t have changed a thing.”

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

Modern A-Frame Oasis in the Trees

Sausalito, California
3 guests/$400 per night
Distance from SF: Approximately 10 minutes by car
This unique A-frame (2 bedroom, 2 bath) cabin has treehouse vibes with two decks (one with a hammock), a living room with glass walls, a large wood-burning fireplace, thoughtful decor, a sauna, and views of Alcatraz, Angel Island, and the Bay Bridge. You’ll feel like you’re secluded in nature, but downtown Sausalito is within walking distance and SF is just a short ride (over the Golden Gate Bridge) away.
What guests say: “Joao’s house is an incredible spot. Trees swaying in the wind through windows on every wall and beautiful interiors – it feels like a perfect European pied-a-terre and should be featured in a home magazine. Highly recommend for anyone looking to live in their dream home for a while.”

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

Modern Home on the Slopes of Mount Tamalpais

Mill Valley, California
8 guests/$1,300 per night
Distance from SF: Approximately 30 minutes by car
This three-story (4 bedroom, 4 bath) home atop Middle Ridge on Mount Tam would be all about the views if it weren’t also steps from some of the best hiking and mountain biking trails in the Bay Area and a quick drive to downtown Mill Valley. There are also modern appliances, a fireplace, chef’s kitchen, and everything you need to practice yoga. Still, it’s the view from the open-air living space and most of the bedrooms that will capture your heart. You can even enjoy them while watching the sunset from the outdoor hot tub.
What guests say: “Perched high on the hillside with a broad sweeping wrap around deck, on one side you have gorgeous views of San Francisco, and on the other side the majestic tree lined slopes of Mt. Tamalpais. Relaxing on the deck feels like you are floating on tree tops.”

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

Mid-Century California Case Study House with Non-Stop Views

San Rafael, California
5 guests/$804 per night 
Distance from SF: Approximately 40 minutes by car
Case Study homes were commissioned by “Arts & Architecture” magazine between 1945 and 1966 in an attempt to get some of the country’s greatest architectes to create model homes that were both inexpensive and replicable. This (4 bedroom, 2 bath) home was designed by Beverly Thorne (who liked the challenge of building into steep hillsides) and built in 1962 and uses a steel structure to create an indoor/outdoor living experience. It’s also the only Case Study home in Northern California. Even better: You can spend the night in it and fully enjoy the history, era-appropriate furnishings, top-of-the-line appliances, and, of course, the views.
What guests say: “It was really special to stay in an actual modern case study home and the hosts have furnished it true to its era but with wonderful modern conveniences.”

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

Floating Home with Views of San Francisco

Sausalito, California
6 guests/$825 per night
Distance from SF: Approximately 22 to 35 minutes by car
You’ll literally be sittin’ on the dock of the bay watching the tide roll away at this tranquil 3,000 square foot (3 bedroom, 2 bath) floating home that’s far more luxurious (though still well-loved) than your typical houseboat. There’s a gourmet kitchen, living room with fireplace, large decks on each floor, a floating dock with a barbecue, and unobstructed views of San Francisco, the East Bay, and  Sausalito. There are also kayaks for you to use so you can paddle around and say hello to some curious seals, as well as the friendly houseboat community.
What guests say: “This home is an oasis of tranquility, in a wonderful community and close to city living. Pati’s home is spacious and very well appointed with artfully selected furnishings, very comfortable, tons of cozy blankets and a sauna to chase away any chills. You will be living ‘that dock life’ in style! We particularly enjoyed the low floating dock, where we cooked many meals on the grill and ate almost all our dinners.”
 

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

Spacious Home Near Golden Gate Park and the Beach

Outer Sunset, San Francisco, California
10 guests/$996 per night
Distance from SF: In SF
This enormous (for SF, anyway) five bedroom, 3.5 bath house is within walking distance of Golden Gate Park and Ocean Beach, and is also near public transportation, so you can easily get downtown if needed. There’s also a chef’s kitchen with 15 foot ceilings, ocean views from the master suite, and the pièce de résistance: a stylish backyard with a firepit and hot tub.
What guests say: “Shamir and Diana’s home is spectacular. It’s stylish, impeccably clean and comfortable, open and airy… and includes a hot tub and chickens! Of particular note is the charming backyard, super comfy beds and beautiful master bath. There is tons of space and it has a great floor plan-we had 7 people staying in all and everyone had plenty of room to spread out and be comfortable.”

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

Modern Victorian Close to Restaurants and Shopping

Cow Hollow, San Francisco, California
8 guests/$1,383 per night
Distance from SF: In SF
This classic (4 bedroom, 5 bath) Victorian home has been updated with modern touches and luxury appliances, and comfortable, but stylish, furniture. It also has a backyard with a firepit and a rooftop deck with panoramic views, but the real selling points are 1) how many people it sleeps and 2) the fact that it’s in a residential neighborhood, but still just a few blocks away from some of SF’s best shopping, bars, and restaurants.
What guests say: “Ingrid was a terrific host. She was extremely friendly and communicative, and the home was even better than pictured. It is very thoughtfully decorated. Feels like home immediately.”

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

Sanctuary in the Redwoods with Swimming Pool and Hot Tub

Mill Valley, California
4 guests/$914 per night
Distance from SF: Approximately 30 minutes by car
Retreat into nature at this (2 bedroom, 2 bath) mid-century home made of old growth redwood and glass that is surrounded by redwood trees and hiking trails, but is also a short drive to the bars and restaurants in downtown Mill Valley. This house is built for relaxing, and whether you want to do that by the pool, in the hot tub, lounging on the deck, or by the fireplace is up to you. Every detail of the architecture, from the brick archway to redwood everything to the glass walls is a sight to behold.
What guests say: “This is one of the most beautiful and unique properties I’ve ever been lucky enough to discover. Hidden in the trees, it feels hours outside the bay. The sauna and pool are incredible and the house is super stylish and well-appointed. If you are looking for an amazing weekend away from the city, do yourself a favor and stay here.”

Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb
Courtesy of Airbnb

Stately Home Surrounded by Beautiful Gardens

Belvedere, California
14 guests/$2,995 per night
Distance from SF: Approximately 30 minutes by car
The owner of this (7 bedroom, 7.5 bath) estate probably doesn’t want people throwing wild parties there, but if ever a house called for just that, this is it. Where to even start? Perhaps the indoor pool flanked by columns, the sauna, the hot tub, the gym with Bay views, the countless patios, the fire pits, the tennis court, the trampoline, or the bocce court? Or maybe just the truly magical grounds with all sorts of hidden nooks and delightful surprises.
What guests say: “The house was just as advertised: a beautiful ‘retreat’ so comfortable that we would have been perfectly content not to venture out. The grounds provided one delightful surprise after another: the conservatory and badminton/tetherball court, the campsite and courtyard fountain, the sculptures and chess set, the hammocks and many seating areas for reading and just watching the world go by.”

Daisy Barringer is an SF-based writer who loves nothing more than an impromptu Northern California road trip. Follow her on Instagram @daisysf to see where she’s headed next.

San Francisco

How to Celebrate Black History Month in San Francisco

Support and celebrate SF's Black community.

Courtesy of Black Joy Parade
Courtesy of Black Joy Parade
Courtesy of Black Joy Parade

Though it’s something we need to be doing every day of every month of every year, Black History Month encourages us to pay tribute to the struggles and oppression generations of Black Americans have faced, as well as their often-neglected triumphs and achievements that have helped shape this county and make it better. It’s a time to reflect on how we can do better to confront racism and oppression, which this year’s theme, “Black Resistance,” echoes. This is especially important in a town like San Francisco, where the Fillmore District was known as “the Harlem of the West” before the city displaced a vast portion of the neighbourhood’s Black community in the ’60s and ’70s. This displacement continues today, as the Black population is the only racial group that has declined in every census since 1970.

If you’re looking for ways to celebrate Black History Month, there are lots to do. Whether you want to educate yourself by attending films, performances, or conversations, share the joy at a parade or dance party, or do a little bit of it all at a drag show, here are just a few ways you can get involved and have a lot of fun while doing so:

Visit San Francisco Public Library branches for workshops, films, performances, and more

February (and throughout the year)
Library branches and online
SFPL’s “More Than a Month” celebration focuses on the theme of resistance this year. Family-friendly and adult events include film screenings, musical performances, book clubs, workshops, and more.
Cost: Free

Museum of African Diaspora
Museum of African Diaspora
Museum of African Diaspora

See art, poetry, films, talks, and more at MoAD

February (and throughout the year)
SoMa
Right now, at the Museum of African Diaspora, you can see the first and only West Coast exhibition of “The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion,” which highlights the work of 15 contemporary fashion designers “whose images present radically new perspectives on the medium of photography and art, race and beauty, and gender and power.” The museum, which has a robust year-round program and event calendar, has a slew of events to attend, including youth poetry readings, film screenings, open mic nights, book clubs, artist talks, and more.
Cost: Event prices vary; GA to visit the museum is $12 but free every second Saturday of the month

Check out films, art, reading, talks, and more at BAMPFA

February (and throughout the year)
Berkeley
There is always something interesting to discover at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA). During Black History Month, you can see films by Pratibha Parmar, “Felwine Sarr: Music, Freedom, Africa,” a conversation through music with the Senegalese writer, scholar, composer, musician, and more.
Cost: Varies

Old Skool Cafe
Old Skool Cafe
Old Skool Cafe

Enjoy menu specials honoring Black community members at Old Skool Cafe

February (and throughout the year)
Bayview
For Black History Month, Old Skool Cafe is adding the favourite meals of notable Black community members to the menu each weekend. The nonprofit, youth-run supper club helps at-risk, formerly incarcerated, and foster care youth ages 16-22 gain the skills and experience they need to succeed in various front and back-of-house restaurant roles. Bayview hero/community advocate Mrs. Dorris Vincent is first up, followed by Judge Trina Thompson, Delroy Lindo, and Mayor London Breed.

Yerba Buena Gardens
Yerba Buena Gardens
Yerba Buena Gardens

Walk beneath the Marting Luther King, Jr. Memorial waterfall

February (and ongoing)
Yerba Buena Gardens
Did you know that Yerba Buena Gardens is home to the country’s second-largest memorial to Dr. King? Visit the sculptural waterfall featuring glass panels inscribed with his inspiring words at 750 Howard Street.
Cost: Free

Attend the Commonwealth’s “Dreaming Forward: A Celebration of Black Joy, Power, and Excellence” conference

Thursday, February 9
Embarcadero
On behalf of Dr. Sheryl Evans Davis and the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, the Commonwealth Club is hosting its second annual Dream Keeper Initiative, a day-long conference/celebration/call-to-action featuring special guests, including April Ryan of TheGrio and CNN.
Cost: Free

Courtesy of Oakland First Fridays
Courtesy of Oakland First Fridays
Courtesy of Oakland First Fridays

Celebrate Black Love at Oakland First Fridays

Friday, February 10
Telegraph Avenue from West Grand to 27th Street
Telegraph Avenue transforms into a dining, shopping, and art-appreciating party on Friday, February 10, from 5 pm to 9 pm. There will be food, artist, and retail vendors and a host of Black artists, authors, and entertainment. Please note: This event was rescheduled from February 3 because of potential rain.
Cost: Free

Have a ball at an all-Black drag show at Oasis

Friday, February 10
SoMa
“Reparations with Latrice Royale” is an all-Black drag show hosted by Latrice Royale, the beloved Drag Race star who also happens to be celebrating her birthday.
Cost: $15 to $60

Dance all night and shop all day at the Afro Soca Love carnival and marketplace

Friday, February 10 ‚Äď Saturday, February 11
341 13th Street, Oakland
Afro Soca Love creates experiences that act as a “gateway to building bonds and strengthen relationships-between communities, individuals, and Africa and its diaspora.” See for yourself at the all-ages marketplace (Saturday), where you’ll find food and drink, fashion, beauty and wellness, home decor, and more. But before the shopping comes the dancing at the 21+ Friday Night Carnival, a culturally immersive music experience with music from all over the world.
Cost: The marketplace is free; tickets to the Friday Night Carnival start at $20

See a live performance of “Words That Made the Difference: Brown vs. the Board of Education”

Saturday, February 11
Unity Palo Alto
See a live theatrical performance based on the true events that occurred in the fight to end school segregation. The script draws from trial transcripts of the five cases brought together in front of the Supreme Court and Chief Justice Earl Warren’s memoirs, and the play is set in the courtrooms where it all happened. There will be a Q&A with the playwright before the performance and the cast afterward.
Cost: Free

Courtesy of San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company
Courtesy of San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company
Courtesy of San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company

Go to the I, Too, Sing America album release party

Saturday, February 11
Mission
Head to the Brava Theater Center to celebrate the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company’s album release of the music created for I, Too, Sing America, a soulful and uplifting performance that moved audiences when it debuted last year. The night includes an album-listening and sing-along party, DJs, dancing, an open bar, and more.
Cost: $40

Go on the Black Liberation Walking Tour of West Oakland

Saturday, February 18
West Oakland
Take a walk with David Peters, founder of the West Oakland Cultural Action Network, and Gene Anderson, the author of Legendary Locals of Oakland, to learn about resident voices and document sites of cultural and historical significance in the neighbourhood. Peters is a local native, and Anderson is an Oakland historian whose family has historical roots in West Oakland.
Cost: $50 ($30 for West Oakland residents)

See a screening of The Black Kung Fu Experience followed by in-person demonstrations

Sunday, February 19
Great Star Theater, Chinatown
The Chinese Historical Society of America is celebrating Black History Month and social unity with a screening of this film about how a group of African American pioneers became respected in a subculture dominated by Chinese and white men. Afterward, there will be demonstrations and talks with Sifu Donald Hamby and Sifu Troy Dunwood, who “will speak about their success as internationally recognized martial arts masters, their Chinese Kung Fu teachers, and what this practice means in relation to diversity, race and inclusion issues.”
Cost: $15

Sip wine made by Black winemakers at a free tasting event at STEM Kitchen + Garden

Thursday, February 23
Dogpatch
STEM Kitchen + Garden is hosting an afternoon wine tasting celebrating Black-owned wineries in its gorgeous indoor/outdoor space, and best of all, and it’s free to the public!
Cost: Free

Bayview Opera House
Bayview Opera House
Bayview Opera House

Attend the San Francisco African American Arts & Cultural District Gala Fundraiser

Saturday, February 25
Bayview Opera House
Enjoy an evening of talent, fashion, and community inspiration at SFAAACD’s 1st Annual Gala Fundraiser. Carla Duke, Television News Director at CBS-KPIX Chanel 5, will host the event, which includes inspiring words from keynote speaker Aniyia Williams, an artist, tech creator, and system-preneur.
Cost: $100

Attend a Black History Month & Chinese New Year Poetry Reading on Angel Island

Saturday, February 25
Angel Island
There is so much history in poetry at the Angel Island Detention Barracks Museum, which makes it a fitting location for poets Chun Yu and Michael Warr. The co-founders of Two Languages/One Community will share their poems and stories in English and Chinese, accompanied by projected images of text and photographs.
Cost: $10 to $21

Courtesy of Black Joy Parade
Courtesy of Black Joy Parade
Courtesy of Black Joy Parade

Feel the joy at the Black Joy Parade

Sunday, February 26
Downtown Oakland
This parade and festival celebrate the “Black experience past, present, and future.” Be prepared to experience “more Black joy than you ever imagined,” starting with the parade (beginning at 14th and Franklin) at 12:30 pm. The family-friendly festival follows (main entrance is at 19th and Franklin) will include 200-plus Black-owned small businesses selling food, drinks, clothing, art, and more. There will also be two stages with Black performers, including The Black Joy Choir.
Cost: Free

Take a sound bath at Grace Cathedral in honor of Black History Month

Monday, February 27
Nob Hill
Take an immersive sound bath featuring Fractals of Sound, a collective of top Bay Area musicians Egemen Sanli, Phoenix Song, and Sam Jackson, with special guest Destiny Muhammad. Together, they will create a “soundscape deeply rooted in world music,” allowing you to take a meditative journey in one of the most beautiful places in San Francisco.
Cost: $25 to $75

See Tsitsi Dangarembga and Angela Davis at City Arts & Lectures

Tuesday, February 28
Civic Center
Co-presented with MoAd, City Arts & Lectures is hosting novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga and scholar and activist Angela Davis for what’s sure to be a riveting conversation.
Cost: $36

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Daisy Barringer¬†is an SF-based freelance writer who spent many childhood days wandering around the Exploratorium. Follow her on¬†Instagram¬†to see what she’s up to now.

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