• Little Saigon

    Little Saigon and Tendernob

    Little Saigon and the Tendernob are two Tenderloin neighborhoods that are home to large immigrant populations and some of the best food in the city. Join us as we take you on the only food tour of this district and explore the flavors of Asia, the Middle East, and beyond!
  • The Mission

    The Mission District

    San Francisco's 1st neighborhood, The Mission District is still the heart & soul of this vibrant city. This area is so rich in culture, that we have 4 Mission food tours & 2 neighborhood walks.
  • North Beach

    North Beach

    North Beach is that rare thing -- a neighborhood that manages to be a perennial hit with tourists, and also to remain beloved by San Franciscans. It's San Francisco's Little Italy and the home of the beatniks.
  • Scenic Running

    Scenic Running

    Just a short run from the urban landscape of San Francisco's busy city streets you will find numerous trails and parks offering phenomenal views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the City Skyline and other gems.
  • Chinatown

    Chinatown

    Established in the 1840s, San Francisco's Chinatown is the oldest Chinatown in North America and the largest Chinese community outside Asia. Our food and walking tours are 2nd to none.
  • Parrots!

    Parrots!

    Wild Parrots in San Francisco? Yes there are officially at least two flocks of wild Parrots here. These Parrots have evolved into a brand new species of parrot indigenous to San Francisco.

Downtown Blogs

San Francisco concerts that changed the nation.

 BY: COLLIN BRENNAN | 9.4.2015 |

Originally this article by Collin Brennan had 5 concerts listed, I have added a couple more.

San Francisco concerts have long reflected the music of the times, but the inverse is also true: time and time again, music has revolved around whatever’s going on in San Francisco. This was most apparent in the 1960s, when bands like the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane turned the hippie counterculture into the city’s greatest export. Five decades later, we can look back and identify five concerts that changed American music forever—an inventory of five San Francisco nights that defined San Francisco nightlife.

 

The Beatles at Candlestick Park    
August 29, 1966
The San Francisco concert was their last
beatles

Nobody but the Beatles knew that this show at chilly Candlestick Park would be their last live concert performance ever. If it had been announced ahead of time, the Fab Four might have sold the place out. Instead, large swaths of seats were left unsold for the final date of their fourth and final North American tour. It was a strangely low-key farewell for the most popular rock band of all time, who occasionally paused their 11-song set to snap pictures with a camera they had brought on stage. It was the end of an era in many ways, and it paved the way for the decade’s latter half and the Summer of Love, which would take shape in San Francisco less than a year later.

 

The Human Be-In at Golden Gate Park
January 14, 1967
human

The Summer of Love actually started with this mid-winter event at Golden Gate Park, just a stone’s throw from the Haight-Ashbury district that would soon become synonymous with the counterculture. Inspired by sit-ins taking place at lunch counters, colleges, and universities across the country during the early 1960s, the Human Be-In was perhaps the first focused expression of the hippie movement. California had recently passed a law banning LSD, and everyone from poet Allen Ginsberg to psychologist Timothy Leary showed up to encourage a crowd of thousands to “turn on, tune in, drop out.” Of course, no celebration of hippiedom would be complete without bands like the Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane, both of whom found their way onto the bill.

 

Aretha Franklin at Fillmore West
March 5–7, 1971
aretha

Though people tend to associate San Francisco with the hippie counterculture, the city has long been a haven for jazz and soul. From Jelly Roll Morton to John Coltrane, musicians would flock to play the clubs on Fillmore Street, and their hundreds of legendary concerts exist now only in memory. This is not the case with Aretha Franklin’s three-night set at Fillmore West, which eventually became one of the best live albums of its era. The Queen of Soul dove right in with her hit song “Respect,” but she filled out her set with such hippie standbys as the Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” and Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” In doing so, she bridged the gap between the counterculture and modern American soul in a way that few singers had ever attempted.

 

The Band at Winterland Ballroom
November 25, 1976

Another San Francisco concert that’s been immortalized for new generations to enjoy, the Band’s farewell show at Winterland Ballroom is considered one of the greatest concerts, period. Martin Scorsese‘s documentary film The Last Waltz captured the Band in all their fading glory, but they weren’t the only ones to take the stage that night. Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, the Staples Singers, and Van Morrison were among the special guests on hand, making this arguably the most star-studded affair in San Francisco’s history.

 

The Sex Pistols at Winterland Ballroom
This San Francisco concert was their last
January 14, 1978

sexp
The Sex Pistols, one of the most influential rock bands ever, the biggest punk act to come out of England, played their biggest concert, and their last show at Winterland in SF. In just a few months Winterland would be closed and demolished, Sid Vicious would be dead in about a year, and by 1979 punk was exploding around the world, although many will say that punk died on this night in SF.
The two week tour in America, was plagued by poor planning and predictably violent reactions, the group’s bass player, Sid Vicious, paved the way toward a whole new level of decadence. During the band’s engagement in Memphis early in the tour, Vicious, now addicted to heroin, went in search of a connection and was later found in a local hospital with the words “Gimme a fix” carved into his chest with a razor. He engaged in numerous fights both on and off stage, sustaining numerous other injuries as the tour progressed.
The tour eventually culminated in the high profile gig in San Francisco, where concert promoter Bill Graham convinced McLaren that the band was popular enough to play Winterland, dwarfing any performance the band had previously attempted by far. This now legendary concert, the biggest of the group’s career, would also turn out to be the Sex Pistols‘ last. Headlining a triple bill that included local punk bands the Nuns (featuring a young Alejandro Escovedo) and the Avengers (featuring a young Penelope Houston), this night would prove to be an extraordinary theatrical event and the Sex Pistols’ final gig before a sold-out audience of 5000. Due to local demand, the Sex Pistols set was also simulcast on KSAN radio, where it would be heard live by thousands of additional listeners and would soon circulate far and wide, becoming the most ubiquitous bootleg recording of the group.
Evaluating this Sex Pistols’ performance in terms of music is a relatively pointless exercise, as the band had no desire to please the audience in terms of music, nor could they even play well in any traditional sense. The performance, devoid of pacing, range, tempo, or melody, is instead an onslaught of rage, rebellion, and release, which is relentlessly ragged throughout the set
At first it appeared the band would not do an encore,  but amidst roars for more, the Pistols return to the stage and launch into a cover of the Stooges‘ “No Fun.” This eventually culminates with Rotten hunched on the stage, screaming “No Fun!” over and over. The song comes to an abrupt halt and in his most insinuating manner, Rotten poses the question that has by now become infamous, “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” before smirking a final “Goodnight” and the band leaving the debris-strewn stage… for good.
Whether you loved them or hated them , the Sex Pistols created one of the great paradigm shifts in modern music, forever changing the landscape of the music industry.

avengers band 001

 

Metallica at The Stone
March 5, 1983

Who knew that the future of heavy metal would be born on a spring night in San Francisco? Metallica had already made a name for themselves as thrashers whose live show took no prisoners, but this date at The Stone felt different. For starters, it was their first show with new bassist Cliff Burton, who would eventually go down as the greatest metal bassist of all time. It was a prelude of what was to come later that summer on Kill ‘Em All, one of the fastest and heaviest albums in history. And—like many of the best moments in American music history—it all started on a sweaty stage in San Francisco.

Rock Against Reagan San Francisco Concerts and Demonstrations
Democratic National Convention
July 1984

The 1984 National Democratic Convention in San Francisco saw some unusual characters outside the building where the members of the party met. Among the large crowd assembled for demonstrations and marches, a man dressed as “a lobster confessed to one of the local papers that his costume was impractical for a march. ‘It’s more for standing in place and doing a little break dancing. It’s hard to be a lobster these days in the city.’” This crustacean would be one of numerous people dressed up for an “All Species parade”. Others joined the all species costumes with outfits such as “a bunch of transvestites in nun costumes [who] performed an exorcism of [the evangelical Southern Baptist pastor and televangelist] Jerry Falwell.” Along with all of these people expressing their concerns towards the America around them; the streets around the convention center in San Francisco also included “a seven-hour punk rock concert, ‘Rock against Reagan,’ featuring such artists as The Dead Kennedys.

July-1984-stage-diver-at-rock-against-racism-concert-in-front-of-Democratic-Convention

Stage diver at RAR across from Moscone Center, in what was then a vacant lot. The buildings that encircled the lot all had military personel with machine guns watching us all the time

The first presidential term of Ronald Reagan was coming to an end and in hope to prevent another term, the Youth International Party, known as the Yippies, from New York City created the “Rock Against Reagan” (RAR) tour. The group toured all across the United States from 1983-1984, leading up to the presidential election. The shows featured some of the most popular punk bands of the era including: The Dead Kennedys from San Francisco, the young trio from San Pedro, California known as the Minutemen, the Crucifucks from Lansing, Michigan, the Dicks and Millions of Dead Cops from Austin, Texas, and Reagan Youth―whose name played off of Hitler’s Youth―from New York. The tour had more than just free shows to see some of the biggest acts in punk rock, however. RAR also registered voters, presented informative films on topics such as American imperialism, political speakers, and even comedy; with the later to come popular comedian Whoopi Goldberg performing during the tour’s 1983 show at Dolores Park in San Francisco.2 As one tour spokesman shared with a Florida newspaper, the shows were also to generate “proceeds from accompanying T-shirt and art sales . . . to be used for the cause.” The “cause” in question was simple: prevent another four years of the Reagan administration.

It may have been in San Francisco, at the Democratic National Convention in July of 1984, where the punk movement reached the apex of political engagement. As the convention met opposition from numerous left wing groups outside; inside according to the title of an editorial “wasn’t a circus, but was one great show.”  If inside the convention was not a “circus” surely the show outside was. Peaceful protests went on throughout the week of the convention, however, July 19th marked a police crackdown on the crowds that amassed on San Francisco’s streets.

The day started with a march, “held by a marijuana group and members of a coalition called the War Chest, which was protesting [military-industry] business dealings of top Democratic Party leaders.” As these peaceful protesters reached closer to the convention center, they were met by police and “booked for investigation of obstructing traffic.” These criminal charges, however, were claimed to be faulty with demonstrators pleading that, “they were forced to block the street when police herded them into groups.” Hearing the calls of injustice, a “second protest march was hastily arranged to demand release of the first demonstrators and was announced at [the] ‘Rock Against Reagan’ punk music concert outside the convention hall.” As the protesting march reached upwards to five-hundred people, the crowd began marching several blocks to the Hall of Justice where the protesters from the earlier march were being held. “Chanting ‘No KKK, No Fascist USA’”―the popular slogan for demonstrators the week of the convention―and being accompanied by a “papier-mache Trojan donkey colored green and brown like Army Fatigues.” The marchers were met by a force of one hundred police officers. “Within minutes, Police Capt. Richard Shippy declared over a bullhorn that the rally was an unlawful assembly and ordered [the protesters] . . . to disperse.” By the end of the second march 369 people total had been arrested. Billy Nessen, a twenty- seven-year-old who partook in the event, was quoted saying: “There was no order to disperse.” He added that the purpose was to protest the connection between several corporations and the De[m]ocratic Party, the war machine, and South Africa.”

Police-pressure-Salvador-demonstrators-at-Hilton Polbhem1$trojan-donkey Polbhem1$wartoys-1984-war-chest-tour Polbhem1$no-more-hiroshimas-1984-wct Polbhem1$eowf-banner Polbhem1$eowf-handbill  Cops-pepper-spraying-protestors-at-anti-Gulf-War-demo-1981-downtown-SF-by-Keith-HolmesMounted-police-against-Salvador-demo-w-anti-Kissinger-sign

The outcome of the protests in San Francisco triggered an alarm for the Republicans who held their convention in Dallas the following month. Dallas prepared for a large assembly of protesters by bringing in extra law enforcement and clearing out the city’s jails. The Dead Kennedys were coming to the town where John F. Kennedy himself was assassinated! Escorting the band would be the “Rock Against Reagan” show and hundreds if not thousands of protesting punks. In addition, there were also concerns over how the pro-Reagan supporters and anti-Reagan demonstrators would interact during the week of the convention.

Republican National Convention, Dallas
The outcome of the demonstrations outside the DNC in San Francisco resulted in a large amount of arrests, but punks had been noticed by the media. Police had harassed the protestors the whole week leading up to the convention but they did not divide their spirit. The rallying of punks to join with others towards a common cause stirred up the sense that something positive may in fact come from their effort. Demonstrating against the Democratic Party’s growing connections with the military industrial complex was one thing, but they were not the head of the beast. It was the Republicans―and more importantly to the cultural rebellion of punk, Ronald Reagan―that was the prized target. Yet although the punk community showed hype towards the upcoming Republican National Convention (RNC) in Dallas, obstacles of counter-protests would prevent the same commotion that RAR stirred in San Francisco.

Before MRR even published a full story on the outcome of the events at the DNC in San Francisco, their July 1984 issue was already informing punks of the upcoming RAR show and demonstrations the following month in Dallas.

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Little Saigon Food Tour

 From San Francisco Locals Guide by Donna Riley

FARMERS MARKET

FARMERS MARKET

Explore SF

Little Saigon
DONNA RILEY on August 1, 2014 at 6:08 pm
Explore SF does the most varied tours of any San Francisco tour company that I’ve seen. When their Living Social special offer came up, I jumped at the opportunity to take their Explore SF Little Saigon tour. Dan Chew was our amazing tour guide. He has his own super website that details $10 or less meals around the world. It’s REALLY good, and Dan and I have a lot in common as we both have restaurant reviews and similar opinions of many restaurants, like Tito’s Tacos in Los Angeles and Bette’s Oceanview Diner in Berkeley. Dan grew up in Chinatown and, in fact, spent the day before on two fully booked tours of the Chinatown community. We were lucky enough to have Dan to ourselves, so he kindly switched up his tour to accommodate the myriad of tastes available in the Little Saigon area. SO, that means you need to take the tour, as Dan will always be changing and adding stuff. If you’re a foodie, you will love Dan as he is so knowledgeable about San Francisco food.

Officially designated in 2004, the two blocks of Little Saigon are Larkin St. between Eddy and O’Farrell. However, our amazing tour guide, Dan advised that, unofficially, the community goes from Polk to Leavenworth and Golden Gate and Geary. This is NOT a good neighborhood. There are homeless people and beggars and a fair bit of crime. Dan was able to navigate us away from the worst parts, but still, you’re going to see poverty and other unsightly activities. Be forewarned. Makes me wonder where the $25K per year that the city spends really goes.

Zen Yai Thai

Zen Yai Thai

Inside Zen Yai Thai

Inside Zen Yai Thai

Our first stop was Zen Yai where we ate Thai Boat Noodles. Their noodles are my featured image for this posting. Quoting Dan from his kind recap of our time together – “Zen Yai Thai – (771 Ellis Street). Thai Boat Noodles (off menu). Named after the many vendors who sell their noodles from boats plying their trade in the many waterways in Thailand. We had the thick rice noodles with sliced pork, meatballs, Chinese water spinach (Ong Chow in Chinese/Phak Bung in Thai/ Rau Muong in Vietnamese) and pork cracklings in a rich, dark broth made with beef stock, chiles, cinnamon, star anise and thickened with beef blood.” Site of the original United Nations Building.” And people, the bowl of this dish you see in my gallery was $2.50 – two-fifty!!!! The large size is $5!!!!! The soup is just amazing with a unique, spicy flavor. I had never heard of water spinach before. The stems are tubes – very nice texture and a little stronger taste than regular spinach. I’m going back to this and every place we stopped in our Explore SF tour of the Little Saigon area. Please note though, that the clientele is mostly Thai, and the specials on the wall are in Thai, not English.

We walked by Burmese Kitchen where Dan says the food is much better than Burma

Burmese Kitchen

Burmese Kitchen

Superstar, a place in the Richmond district that is impossible to get in to. Try the tea leaf salad when you go. (This is why I liked Dan so much – not only did we taste, but he was so forthcoming on his knowledge of spots we didn’t stop at. I was curious how someone who grew up in Chinatown would have such a knowledge of this neighborhood. Turns out that Dan worked at The Art Institute of California nearby, and he and his colleagues decided to try a different restaurant every day that they ventured out for lunch. And, by the way, there’s now a culinary program at The Art Institute of California where you can go to sample the students’ food on the top floor.) How cool that the Tenderloin Peoples’ Garden is so close by and apparently being fully utilized.

FARMERS MARKET

FARMERS MARKET

FARMERS MARKET

FARMERS MARKET

We went to the Civic Center Farmers Market which I keep forgetting is there. I also thought, with the homeless people so prevalent in this area, that the market would be depressing.

 

However, this isn’t at all the case. The produce is beautiful with a mostly Asian focus. Things like yam leaves, Opo squash that Dan says is great grilled with spinach and ground pork, Indian bitter melon – Indians add these more bitter melons to their stews, and lemon basil – all quite unusual products that I didn’t know about before.

We then proceeded to Saigon Sandwich, a place I’ve been wanting to try for the longest time as it is rated one of the best Banh Mi places in San Francisco. There’s always a line there. They are open seven days a week from 7am to 5pm. Those three women work really hard. According to Dan – “Saigon Sandwiches (560 Larkin Street) Special combination banh mi. Steam pork, roast pork and fanci pork pate (sic) on a crusty roll smeared with a fish sauce/soy sauce/mayo spread then topped with pickled daikon and carrots, fresh cilantro and sliced jalapeños.” This sandwich was $4.25. Their other sandwiches, not combos, are $3.25. No wonder there’s such a line!!!

 

I just loved Lee’s Sandwiches down the street,

FARMERS MARKET

Yam Greens


although we didn’t eat anything there. Filled with sandwiches and buffet items, they also have a large selection of Vietnamese and Asian products as you can see by the myriad of pictures I took when there. It turns out that they’re the largest banh mi chain in the world with over 55 stores and counting.

Dan pointed out Turtle Tower and says to order their Bun Bull Hanoi and the Cha Ha Hoi which is ground and sliced pork over vermicelli with fish sauce. In case I got that wrong and you’re going, it’s the #12 and it costs $8.50. I’m pretty sure that Turtle Tower is one of the highest rated Vietnamese restaurants in SF, at least for this Larkin location. Lers Ros is another highly rated Thai restaurant that’s close by.

Not only did we get a foodie tour, Dan was great about pointing out beautiful old buildings and classic architecture. Among them was, per Dan, “Alhambra Apartments (860 Geary Street). Built in 1913 in the Moorish style by native SF architect James Francis Dunn, the romantic penthouse and dome are where the legendary Rudolph Valentino reputedly entertained his paramours.”

Hai Ki Mi Gia is known for their braised duck leg with wonton egg noodle is well known to those in the know, now including you and me. I’ve added their storefront sign and a cloudy picture of this featured soup.

Then, it was on to A La Turca on Geary near Larkin. From Dan – “Ala Turca (869 Geary Street) Grilled kofte plate: ground meat with seasonings and spices made into patties and grilled. Served with rice and salad.” It was superb. The freshly baked bread had just come out of the oven. As it turns out, when we approached the restaurant, we ran into our old neighbor when we lived in Diamond Heights. He is Turkish, AND his wife owns the business with a partner after several years looking for good Turkish food in the city. Amazing coincidence. Jerry (as we Americans call him) is now working part time in Turkey and part time here in SF. He is truly the entrepreneur. We hadn’t seen him in 11 years. His son is now 15! Jerry kindly treated us to a wonderful a Ravani (sp?) which is not on the online menu. It’s made of corn and semolina flour with coconut and honey and a pistachio topping. It was delicious, especially when paired with the Turkish tea that Jerry gave to us.

Dan pointed out Kim Thanh for garlic roasted crab. I’ve always gone to Thanh Long way out in the Sunset district, but Dan says Kim Thanh’s garlic crab is better and way less expensive.

Castle Apartments
Other sites that one might not otherwise notice in such a strange neighborhood were, again per Dan, “Castle Apartments (823-829 Geary Street) Built in 1926, supposedly designed by Bernard Maybeck, architect of the Palace of Fine Arts. Alcazar Theatre (650 Geary Street). This Moorish/Byzantine masterpiece was originally built as a Shriner’s temple in 1917 by architect T.Patterson Ross.

Gaylord Apartments (620 Jones Street). Designed by architect H.C.Baumann, the ornate pillared Spanish Colonial Revival facade, colorful tiled steps and wrought iron covered windows look as elegant today as it did when built in 1929.”

Dan showed us this completely awesome Jones Bar rooftop spot at 620 Jones Street that one might not normally even both to look up off the street. Hard to see the entrance, this is a really cool place, especially for the younger crowd.

HIP JONES BAR

HIP JONES BAR

ALCAZAR

ALCAZAR

Our last stop was a place that you would NEVER walk into without the knowledge and advice of someone like Dan. Shalimar at 532 Jones is excellent Indian food at very reasonable prices. Dan tells us we were served “Tandoori lamb chops- Lamb chops marinated in yogurt sauce and cooked in the Tandoori oven. Shalimar chawal- basmati rice cooked in a rich stock with savory spices, brown onions and saffron. Garlic Naan”. Oh man was it good, but by this time, we could barely manage small tastes of the three. We left with a to go bag to enjoy at our Giants game that night. And, in just looking up their website, they have four locations, two in SF, one in Fremont and one in Dublin. Maybe that’s why their sign outside says they’re one of the best 50 restaurants in the country???

Go to Explore SF and book a tour. Ask for Dan if you can. I think they’re just super tours, and can’t wait for my next one!!

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This Sunday, come Explore San Francisco and create some wonderful Mother’s Day memories to last a long time.

Take Mom out for a food tour and a cruise on the Bay for only $64!
Choose any of these food tours:

  • North Beach at Night
  • Mission Vegetarian
  • Little Saigon
  • Mission District South (24th Street)
  • The Real Chinatown

Paired with a Bay Cruise on San Francisco Bay!


To make reservations or for more information, please call:415.504.3636 x 102 or email: reservations@exploresf.bizLimited number of spots available
Golden Gate Bay CruiseOperated by:

Red and White Fleet

Give her the fun day she deserves
While making memories to last a lifetime

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Prague flower shop

Prague flower shop (Photo credit: jafsegal)

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Good Samaritan assaulted after breaking up a assault at Salem Liquor Store as shopkeepers watched

Boycott Salem Liquors By: Rob Nagle | 06/18/12 8:01 PM SF Examiner Staff Writer COURTESY PHOTOS Leo Volobrynskyy before the altercation, left. He lost a tooth to a punch after he interrupted an assault Friday. A gay man who says he witnessed another man being beaten and taunted with anti-gay slurs in a Tenderloin liquor store became a Read the full article…


“Explore Pride Tours 2012”

  Gay owned and operated,Explore San Francisco is pleased to announce Pride Tours 2012. Want to see the city above and beyond the parade, festival and the clubs? We offer the GLBT community tours and sightseeing within our community but outside of the box. Food tours, walking tours, running tours, 1970s Folsom District walk, or Read the full article…