Discover San Francisco | AIChE

Discover San Francisco

We all know that San Francisco has a lot to offer - from its rolling hills and cool foggy mornings, to world-famous landmarks as the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, just to name a few. With the help of our volunteers and staff, we've pulled together a list of some of our top picks for you to...

We all know that San Francisco has a lot to offer - from its rolling hills and cool foggy mornings, to world-famous landmarks as the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, just to name a few. With the help of our volunteers and staff, we've pulled together a list of some of our top picks for you to explore while attending the Annual Meeting. We'll be updating this page often, so be sure to check back for updates.

Discover San Francisco from the Bay Area and Beyond

Click on the pictures below for recommendations of activities and restaurants near the conference venue and around the Bay Area.



The site of the first Pacific Coast lighthouse, Alcatraz is known for its time as a federal prison from 1934-1963 during which it housed the most infamous and notorious criminals of the era.

Cable Cars

San Francisco's famous cable car system was named a national historic landmark in 1964. You can take a ride through history to get to other landmarks or just to enjoy the ride.

Coit Tower

Coit Tower is the perfect place to take in the beuaty of San Francisco. From up atop Telegraph Hill, take in the Bay Area and enjoy the art inside the tower.

Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco's most famous landmark. The Golden Gate's 1.7 mile span is known for its distinct orange color and has pedestrian lanes on either side, so you can drive, walk, or bike across the historic traverse.

San Francisco


What to do:

  • Chinatown Gate at the intersection of Bush Street and Grant Avenue, the "Dragon Gate" stands to welcome all to the Chinatown area.
  • Golden Gate Fortune Cookies experience one of the few places left you can find fresh, handmade fortune cookies in the country.
  • Portsmouth Square considered by some as "the heart of Chinatown," the square is a historic site where you can view statues, markers, and plaques to enjoy the beginnings of San Francisco's Chinatown.

What to eat:

  • Chinatown Restaurant "Chinatown Restaurant serves Traditional Chinese Cuisine, Northern Chinese Specialties, as well as Spicy Szechuan Favorites."
  • Golden Gate Bakery come enjoy the acclaimed egg tarts along with many other baked treats.
  • Hong Kong Clay Pot Restaurant "clay pots soaked in water cook & steam many of the dishes at this Chinese lunch & dinner spot."
  • House of Nanking "hustle and bustle" exemplifies the dining experience at teh House of Nanking, where you can find authentic Chinese cuisine that's "worth the wait."
  • Z and Y Restaurant find authentic Sichuan and Northern Chinese cuisine served at Z and Y.

Fisherman's Wharf

What to do:

  • Aquarium of the Bay is a public aquarium focused on the local aquatic animals of San Francisco, dedicated to the conservation of San Francisco Bay.
  • Pier 39 features numerous seaside sights such as sea lions, waterfront dining, street performers, shopping, and more.
  • San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park experience the sights, sounds, and stories of Pacific Coast maritime history through the historic ships, Aquatic park, and the maritime museum.
  • The San Francisco Dungeon features live action, 360° sets where visitors experience guided shows of historic events.
  • Musée Mécanique is one of the world's largest privately owned collection of coin-operated mechanical instruments and antique arcade machines.

What to eat:

  • Alioto's one of San Francisco's oldest resaurantswhere you can find fresh seafood and Sicilian style courses.
  • Boudin at the Wharf come enjoy the original San Francisco Sourdough at the Bakery, Bistro, and Museum of Boudin.
  • Buena Vista Cafe easily reached via cable car, the Buena Vista Cafe is where you can find world famous Irish Coffee and more.
  • Cioppino's as is it's namesake, come enjoy the cioppino at the Italian eatery at the wharf.
  • Fog Harbor Fish House features "100% sustainable seafood" and a direct view of San Francisco Bay so you can enjoy the sights and tastes of San Francisco.
  • Gold Dust Bar & Piano Lounge for a more laid back experience, come enjoy cokctails and oysters at the Gold Dust Lounge.
  • Pompei's Grotto is a family-owned trattoria serving fresh breakfast, lunch, and dinner since 1946.
  • Scoma's serves premium crafted cocktails and award winning wine to pair with the fresh caught seafood caught by local fishermen for a classic seafood dining experience.
  • The Franciscan Crab Restaurant serves it's namesake Dungeness crab among other seafood favorites to provide a "panoramic seafood dining experience" with it's huge windows and nautical stylings.

Mission District

What to do:

  • The Chapel is a live music venue, restaurant, and neighborhood bar located in the heart of the Mission District.
  • Valencia Street "is a truly unique district of San Francisco where fashion, food, and the spirit of independent design thrives. The merchants of Valencia endeavor to combine our voices and views toward the goal of maintaining the unique identity and independent spirit of the neighborhood."

What to eat:

  • Bar Tartine offers a menu "that is a celebration of diverse traditional flavors presented with a modern, post-regional generosity." Enjoy innovative and enteresting food made from fresh, local produce.
  • Dosa offers authentic South Indian cuisine and a casually refined atmosphere, which come together in an "exciting dining desitnation in the vibrant cultural hub of the Mission District." 
  • La Taqueria boasts "the Best Tacos & Burritos in the Whole World" offering authentic Mexican eats with their famed traditional-style, rice-free burritos.
  • Loló "is a family-owned restaurant that offers non-traditional and uniquely inspired Mexican food, utilizing local ingredients." 
  • Samovar Tea is the place to go when you're looking for tea and a quick bite. Samovar offers a wide selection of organic, single origin teas alongside artisan toast & eggs and other sweets.

Bay Area

Berkeley (12 miles/19 km)

What to do:

  • Aquatic Park "provides a wide range of recreational opportunities, including bird-watching, boating, hiking, and the "Dream Land for Kids" play area, as well as a habitat for bird and aquatic life."
  • Berkeley Art Museum & Pacific Film Archive is the visual arts center of the University of California, Berkeley, run with the "mission to inspire the imagination and ignite critical dialogue through art and film."
  • Berkeley Playhouse produces experiences that aim to fully engage both the performers and audience.
  • Berkeley Rose Garden "is a regional destination with its 1,500 rose bushes and 250 varieties of roses, along with breathtaking views of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge."
  • Lake Anza is located in Tilden Regional Park. Enjoy the scenic park views on hiking trails around the lake, through the Botanical Garden, or through a simple stroll through the park.

What to eat:

  • Acme Bread Company is considered a pioneer of artisan bread and baking, offering breads of all sorts for your enjoyment.
  • Artis provides live roasted, fresh brewed coffees using their sustainablly sourced coffee beans to cater to your coffee needs.
  • Cheese Board Collective is a 100% worker owned business which offers over 400 types of cheeses to choose from. Pizza and daily lunches can also be found at their pizzeria next door.
  • Chocolatier Blue creates chocolates from fresh, specially selected ingredients to provide a treat with no artificial ingredients or preservatives.
  • Epicurious Garden "shares the same vision as the famous Greek philosopher Epiciurious to pursue pleasure and happiness around food and gardens." Here you can find a variety of gourmet take-out to satisfy any craving.

Oakland (10 miles/16 km)

What to do:

  • Cafe Van Cleef offers craft cocktails and live music in an environment that intrigues through the art and knick-knacks that line the walls.
  • Lake Merritt is home to the oldest designated wildlife refuge (1870) in the United States. A unique combination of man and nature in the heart of Oakland.
  • Oakland Museum of California aims to "inspire all Californians to create a more vibrant future for themselves and their communities." Featuring exhibitions and galleries highlighting California, Oakland, and community art.
  • Oakland Zoo offers animal feedings, rides, and areas of interest including the African Veldt, African Savannah, Wild Australia, and Rain Forest areas.
  • Paramount Theatre is a splendid Art Deco theatre which plays home to the Oakland East Bay Symphony and features shows of all types year-round.

What to eat:

  • alaMar is an American seafood restaurant whose "ever evolving menu, reflecting locally-sourced and sustainable ingredients, is made to share over conversation and laughter with friends."
  • Bocanova a Pan-American restaurant that "celebrates the foods of the entire hemisphere, while acknowledging their connection with the cuisines of the Mediterranean and utilizing the treasure trove of products available to us in Northern California."
  • Commis this two Michelin star restaurant provides a fine dining experience through elegant and creatively complex seasonal dishes.
  • Flora is an Art Deco restaurant and bar offering crafted cocktails and reinvented American classics.
  • Forge offers a relaxed and fun dining experience, with unique pizza, wine and cocktails.
  • Homeroom is the mac and cheese destination. Providing a wide variety of calssic and creative mac and cheeses dishes with the freedom to customize sides and toppings as you wish.
  • Tribune Tavern is located beside the Oakland Tribune Tower, "offering a menu of classic cocktails, craft beers, over 100+ Californian wines, and a Northern Californian spin on British pubstyle fare expertly prepared from local ingredients."

San Jose (51 miles/82 km)

What to do:

  • Alum Rock Park is one of California’s oldest municipal parks. With 740 acres, the park allows many outdoor leisure activities such as hiking, jogging, bicycling, and picnicking.
  • Japanese Friendship Garden serves as a symbol of the “Sister City” relationship between Okayama, Japan and San José. Enjoy nature in the tranquility of the garden.
  • Kaleid Gallery "Over 90 fine artists and designers from the San Jose area make use of a 6,000 square foot retail space with individual exhibits that include painting, sculpture, photography, ceramics, glass, jewelry and textile art."
  • Lick Observatory is located on the summit of Mount Hamilton. Enjoy exhibits, talks, the gift shop, and a view of the Great Lick Refractor.
  • San Jose Improv is a comedy club where you can find entertain and eats for a night of fun.

What to eat:

  • Dakao enjoy a quick bite at this Vietnamese restaurant. There is a sandwich section and a restaurant section, so whether you want an order to go or to sit and enjoy, Dakao has you covered.
  • Dry Creek Grill highlights its steaks, barbeque, and burgers in an "upscale yet relaxed" environment.
  • Le Papillon fine French dining, offering upscale meal choices from tasting menus to prix fixe meals.
  • The Table "is an urban neighborhood restaurant focused on seasonal ingredients, hand-crafted cocktails and progressive wines." Offering contemporary American food, paying tribute to the cultures of the valley and the local farms and ranches.
  • Zeni Ethiopian Restaurant offers traditional Ethiopian food with "the most welcoming atmosphere," highlighting the bonds of friendship that we share at the plate.
  • Zona Rosa authentic Mexican food in a Hacienda style dining room with a promise to "treat you like family."

Further Afield

Muir Woods (16 miles/26 km)

Take a hike through the famous Redwoods of California.

Napa Valley (46 miles/74 km)

Spend the day in Napa Valley and take in the serene countryside and acclaimed wines of the area.

Sonoma County (43 miles/69 km)

Enjoy the NorCal highlights of Sonoma's wine region, state & regional parks, resorts & spas, and the rugged coast range.

Yosemite (210 miles/338 km)

Take in the beauty of nature in Yosemite National Park, 1,200 square miles of valleys, meadows, and wilderness.