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Alternative areas in Los Angeles and San Fran..?

Travel Forums North America Alternative areas in Los Angeles and San Fran..?

Last Post This thread is marked as being about San Francisco
1. Posted by dairo (Budding Member 4 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Hi there

Is anyone able to tell me the 'alternative' areas of LA and San Fran? I.e. quirky shops, cafes, pubs, live music. I heard Mission District in San Fran is alternative???

Also travelling to Seattle, NYC, North Carolina, Nashville, and New Orleans.

Suggestions welcome !!!

2. Posted by Cyberia (Travel Guru 1851 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Santa Monica in LA. Horribly modernised but still a bit of a hippy hangout.

Pier 39 area in SF. Don't miss Chinatown on a Sunday morning.

3. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 2012 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

If you like quirky, you need to include Portland, Oregon in your itinerary (the Weird City). I love weird too, and just returned from another weird one - Tbilisi, Georgia.

Pier 39 weird? - no way Jose, P39 is tourist central as is the rest of SF's Fisherman's Wharf - nothing but plastic junk and bad seafood (locals avoid it like the plague).

As a former San Franciscan, for weird/offbeat you definitely want the Mission (try the fabulous Mission Burritos), the Castro (men + men) and Haight Street/Golden Gate Park. Try the nude beach at Land's End too. You just missed one of the strangest events - Halloween in the Castro. If you come in mid-May, be sure to include the Bay to Breakers marathon (party scene with runners in costume or 'au naturel'). Cross the Bay w/BART and see the rich hippies and students in Berkeley.

If I were you, I'd just totally avoid LA - just a large parking lot with malls and cars and abandoned houses. The closest thing to weird is Venice Beach below Santa Monica.

Yes, 'Nawlins is very weird indeed!

[ Edit: Edited on 09-Nov-2011, at 10:53 by Daawgon ]

4. Posted by dairo (Budding Member 4 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Thanks for the posts.....

5. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 2003 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

If coming to San Fran, considering going down to Santa Cruz for "First Night - Santa Cruz" on New Years Day evening.

In Seattle, the two areas are (1) just inland from all the major fish restaurants on the north end of downtown, and (2) West Seattle--which is actually kind of southwest of town--out near Alki Beach and just inland from there on the hill. The last time I was there they had some major belly-dancing competitions in the park there every other weekend with about 400 contestants on a regular basis.

[ Edit: Edited on 10-Nov-2011, at 10:57 by Calcruzer ]

6. Posted by travelersdigest (Budding Member 7 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

The alternative areas in San Francisco, well let's see... The Mission is a great place to hangout. The bars around 16th street are particularly cool. There's also some interesting vegan restaurants in the Mission such as Gracias Madre and Weird Fish. The Haight is still an interesting place for alternative people, and there are bars and cafes all along Haight St. You should also think about checking out Oakland. If you are looking for something really alternative you can go see the Occupy protesters. Stepping down from that, you can visit Berkeley where there are tonnes of quirky bookstores and restaurants.

7. Posted by dairo (Budding Member 4 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

That sounds great travelersdigest ! I have mapped these places on google maps and not too far from each other !
Any particular coffee shops or pubs that you would suggest :-).

8. Posted by dakota1td (Budding Member 2 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Rico's Diner in Oakland is a vegan diner, so that's interesting. Cafe Tibet in Berkeley has pretty good Tibetan food.

There are lots of alternative pubs and bars on Haight St between Filmore St and Steiner St.

Oh you have to check out the City Lights bookstore in San Francisco, it's the bookstore that made the Beat Generation famous, Kerouac, Ginsberg, and all of them. Near to City Lights is the Saloon, in North Beach, a pretty crazy blues bar.

In the Mission, the Sycamore is a pretty sweet bar for grabbing a bite or sitting in the garden. It's on Sycamore st (more like an alleyway) and Mission and just across from Weird Fish and Gracias Madre. For other places in the Mission, you'll find lots of places on 16th street in between Mission and Guerrero.

Hope this helps!

- Dakota

[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]