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Subject: San Francisco Gaming/geek touristry rss

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Mark Crane
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Orem
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Heyo,

I will be in San Francisco Wednesday to Saturday of this week and was wondering if there are game shops worth visiting. Or anything else super cool in the city that I should check out. I've been to SF 2-3 times in the past, and I'm a big fan of the Exploratorium, Alcatraz and Moma. I'd really like to find something like a museum of "welded, kinetic art that looks like it came out of Terminator Salvation." Anyway, I have been too busy to plan much, and I'll be at a conference a lot of the time, but thanks for any suggestions.
 
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Allison dlr
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Games of Berkeley (obviously, in Berkeley) is probably the most well-established game store in the area. I think there's also a game store somewhere on Divisidero (?), but I haven't been. A little south of SF in San Mateo, there's Gator Games, which is a tiny cramped store - they focus on miniatures, but there's gargantuan stacks of board games right out front. I don't know if that place would really be worth a trip out of the city for though.

The Exploratorium is always fun, but the new California Academy of Sciences also opened in Golden Gate Park recently. I hear their walls are insulated with recycled denim. It does get crowded on weekends, so I haven't been there yet, but I hear it's great. Next door to that is the DeYoung Museum, which is modern art, has some pretty funky stuff in there. They also have an observatory you can go up to for free = great views of the city, especially since it's supposed to be nice weather this whole week.

If you're looking for cheap eats, the food emporium in the Westfield shopping center on Market street is really awesome. Seriously, best upscale-y food court ever. And you can watch all the other tourists rush by as you eat
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Ezra Denney
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The gamestore on Divisadero is Gamescape, and it is a great local store for the City. Games of Berkeley is nice, but cluttered and much more a role-playing store. For my money, the best boardgame store in the Bay Area is Endgame (www.endgame-oakland.com) it's right off the 12th street Downtown Oakland BART station.

As soon as you said welded kinetic art, I thought of the Crucible (http://www.thecrucible.org). It's really more a performance space and teaching hall than a museum, but they do all sorts of cool stuff there.

Some lost treasures in SF (the town I love) the Cable Car museum in between Russian Hill and Chinatown is great. You can actually see the cable that runs all the cable cars in the City. If you like comics, the cartoon art museum (http://www.cartoonart.org) is very cool, and right around the corner from MOMA. One last geeky/sciencey thing that I love, but would definitely require a bit of a trek (since it is in Marin) is the Bay Model. The SF Bay model (http://www.spn.usace.army.mil/bmvc) is a working hydraulic model of the SF Bay Area. The Army Corps of Engineers built it to study the tidal movements and currents. It's over 1.5 acres long! It really is incredible to see.

Welcome to the best place on Earth, and I hope you get to see some cool stuff. Heck, I didn't even get to mention things like eating indeterminate animals in Chinatown, or seeing Milk at the Castro Theatre, or great local improv at Bay Area Theatresports, or our local rollerderby teams.
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Gabe Alvaro
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I don't know much about what's actually available in the city of SF in terms of gaming so I'll let one of its natives tell you about that. But I can tell you about what's available the East Bay. It's just a short 15-20 minute BART (subway/lightrail) ride from downtown SF. And taking BART somewhere is a Bay Area experience in itself.

If you are looking for a game night on Wednesday night I would highly recommend EndGame in Oakland. It's a great store, probably the best in the entire Bay Area. It's just 15 minutes from Powell Street BART station in downtown SF.

If you are looking for a game night on Thursday I would recommend our own group, the Berkeley Board Gamers, who meet every Thursday at store in Berkeley called Eudemonia. It's located just 3 blocks from the Downtown Berkeley BART station, so it's easy to get to after a 25 minute trip on BART. Also in the Oakland/Berkeley area are Games of Berkeley and It's Your Move, both are game stores. GoB is very easy to get to.

There are other stores in the city

craniac wrote:
I'd really like to find something like a museum of "welded, kinetic art that looks like it came out of Terminator Salvation."

Hmmm, not sure. I've seen this place called The Crucible that is a welding/art collective that does these annual fire shows, but not sure if that's what you are looking for.
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Gabe Alvaro
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almo1705 wrote:
If you're looking for cheap eats, the food emporium in the Westfield shopping center on Market street is really awesome. Seriously, best upscale-y food court ever. And you can watch all the other tourists rush by as you eat
It's upscale, it's cheap. Sounds like a paradox, but it's true. Of course "Cheap" is relative term when you are a tourist in SF, but I would second this recommendation. Good place to go for that.
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Mark Crane
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I have to run off and teach so I will respond more later but these are great suggestions!
 
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Joel Burton
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Gamescape is the store located at the corner of Haight and Divisidero. It's large, decently organized, and stocked full of Euros and other types of games: http://gamescapesf.net/. If your time allows, perhaps the best game store in the area is Endgame, in Oakland (easy to get to, but about 30 mins from the city by public transit): http://endgameoakland.com/

There is an excellent game night on Friday nights at a cafe in town: http://www.sfgames.org/.

If you've been to SF before and done the "first few time" things (Alcatraz, MOMA, etc), some good additional tourist things to do in the city:

- the city's Asian Art Museum is world-class, fascinating, and located downtown, right next to city hall.

- the Valencia Street corridor (Valencia street in the Mission, between 16th St and 20th St) has lots of interesting shops, edgy retail, and excellent bars and restaurants. If we had a museum of twisted metal things, it would be here. ;)

- there's an explosion of new urban lifestyle stuff (bars, restaurants, stores, interesting things) in the Hayes Valley area (very close to downtown); this is a new development over the past few years. Good for walking.

Have a great trip!

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norman rule
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craniac wrote:
Or anything else super cool in the city that I should check out.

Probably not in your budget, but there's a sightseeing airship now based in the San Francisco area. Definitely geek touristry! Even if you don't take a flight, you might want to look in to it. They may give tours of the facility, of you may catch sight of it while it's in flight.

http://www.airshipventures.com/

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Darren Hron
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craniac wrote:
Heyo,

I will be in San Francisco Wednesday to Saturday of this week and was wondering if there are game shops worth visiting. Or anything else super cool in the city that I should check out. I've been to SF 2-3 times in the past, and I'm a big fan of the Exploratorium, Alcatraz and Moma. I'd really like to find something like a museum of "welded, kinetic art that looks like it came out of Terminator Salvation." Anyway, I have been too busy to plan much, and I'll be at a conference a lot of the time, but thanks for any suggestions.

I just have to ask. I'm sure there are hundreds of conferences in SF this week/weekend but any chance it is 4 C's?
 
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Chris Ferejohn
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Folks meet up at Muddy's (a cafe) on the corner of 24th and Valencia every Friday night to play games. New folks always welcome there (I probably won't make it this Friday because we're going out to dinner with my wife's grandmother - though I might make it afterwards).

Gamescape is a pretty decent store, so you could check that out.

The Crucible is indeed a good spot to try to check out some funky post-apocalyptic art. If you are looking for off the beaten path/counter-culture art, you should peruse the Squid List:
http://laughingsquid.com/squidlist/events/

A bit of a mixed bag, but there are some interesting events that show up on that list, and they are usually fairly inexpensive.
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Gabe Alvaro
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mrorwell wrote:
craniac wrote:
Or anything else super cool in the city that I should check out.

Probably not in your budget, but there's a sightseeing airship now based in the San Francisco area. Definitely geek touristry! Even if you don't take a flight, you might want to look in to it. They may give tours of the facility, of you may catch sight of it while it's in flight.

http://www.airshipventures.com/
And this just moved here recently. A whole lot of people in the Bay Area have probably yet even to try this. I know I want to at some point. But at $495 for an hour it's a tough sell for me at the moment. Now if I could get the suits to pick up the bill...
 
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Mark Crane
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I'll just take the blimp from the airport to the hotel and apply for reimbursement...
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norman rule
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craniac wrote:
I'll just take the blimp from the airport to the hotel and apply for reimbursement...

Let us know how that reimbursement thing goes!
 
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