San Francisco Travel Association

Four Bay Area-oriented apps that will help you navigate the city's weather, food scene, and undiscovered gems.

Jenna Scatena
September 28, 2015

On the surface, San Francisco may seem easily navigable: mild weather, compact neighborhoods, scenic rolling hills. But don’t be fooled—this city is riddled with microclimates and unreasonably long lines for any hot restaurant, and many of its gems are hidden in plain sight. Luckily, as a titan of the tech industry, there’s no shortage of digital wizards hacking our travel woes with handy new apps. Here are the best ones to optimize your next trip, whether they help you get a jump on the finicky climate, save time waiting in line, choose a restaurant, or discover the city’s lesser-known treasures.

Weather 411

Dilemma: It might be 75 degrees and sunny at Dolores Park, but it's 55 and foggy in the Outer Sunset. San Francisco is pockmarked with microclimates, which can make for a very unfortunate experience if you dress for warm weather in one neighborhood, only to be freezing when you reach another.

Solution: SF Climates shows you real-time temperature and cloud cover in 17 neighborhoods across the city.

Restaurant Selection

Dilemma: You’ve heard San Francisco has some of the best food and restaurants in the country, which made you giddy with anticipation. Now that you’re here, however, you’re paralyzed by the options and can’t decide where to eat.

Solution: ChefsFeed. It’s like Yelp, but instead of some anonymous nobody rating restaurants, local chefs like Daniel Patterson and Charles Phan weigh in about the spots and specific dishes they're digging now.

Time Saver

Dilemma: San Franciscans love to wait in line—so much so that it’s become an unofficial pastime. If there’s a new restaurant with the slightest interest from the city’s food-obsessed denizens, they’ll clamor to find space in a queue that wraps around the block. Unfortunately, this doesn’t bode well when you’re on precious limited travel time.

Solution: A new app called NoWait lets you see the current wait time at popular restaurants and put yourself of the wait list from your smart phone. It keeps you updated on the line’s progress, so you can arrive when the restaurant is ready to seat you.

Getting Off the Beaten Path

Dilemma: You’ve been sightseeing all day in downtown, North Beach, and SoMa, which means you’ve seen a lot of great but crowded places. You’re looking for an interesting, off-the-beaten track adventure, but don’t want to travel too far.

Solution: San Francisco Stairways will veer you from the sidewalks to explore some of the city’s 49 stairways, many of which lead to gorgeous views, hidden gardens, or have been decorated by local artists.

Jenna Scatena is on the San Francisco Bay Area beat for Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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