Many business people come to San Francisco in spring for its many technology events, but visitors can also explore the rich culture and scenic beauty of the destination during their trips.
Spring is a busy time of year for the technology industry in San Francisco. The Bay Area is host to a wide variety of conferences, fairs and events from April through June, from the annual RoboGames conference to the Napa Summit, attracting millions of business travelers during the season. While people come to learn about innovations and meet new faces in the industry, these events tend to leave you with plenty of free time in the evenings. It may be tempting to retire to the comforts of a San Francisco International Airport hotel, but the world-class metropolis is deserving of an exploration. If you're visiting the area for business this spring, check out some of these attractions during your downtime in the City by the Bay:
Explore the Gardens
Fog City is known for its scenic beauty, and that loveliness is enhanced in spring when the flowers and greenery illuminate the metropolis with vibrant colors. You'll find some 40 community gardens, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and a renowned flower market, which provide a pleasant and peaceful escape from the stuffiness of business meetings and conferences. One of the most delightful spots to visit is the San Francisco Botanical Garden, a lush landscape that spans 55 acres and serves as home to 8,000 different types of flora. April and May are when the many of the blooms are at their fullest – expect to see everything from poppies to meadowfoam. Take some time to walk along the redwood trail, a path that takes you through a grove of trees dating back 100 years and more, and stop by the site's Helen Crocker Library to see the season's art exhibit. Visitors can walk the grounds themselves or sign up for a guided garden tour or birdwalk.
Make an Escape to Alcatraz
One of the Bay Area's biggest tourist attractions is Alcatraz, the infamous and now defunct penitentiary that's served as the first military prison in the country and has been the subject of much controversy. Along with being on disputed land (Native Americans long fought for the island on which it was located), it was known for its harsh conditions and famous inmates, which included gangsters such as George "Machine Gun" Kelly and Al "Scarface" Capone as well as historic figures including Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. It attracts a million people every year and lets visitors take an audio tour of the site that gives you a peek into everyday life within its confining walls through interviews with some of its old prisoners and guards.
Go to a Spring Festival
There's more to San Francisco in spring than just technology. The city is also home to a plethora of cultural events, welcoming vacationers and business travelers to take part in the festivities. The How Weird Street Faire takes place May 4 in 2014 and showcases a range of electronic music acts on 10 stages lining the streets of downtown. On May 18, runners take over the city for Bay to Breakers, the oldest running footrace in the world. Visitors can take part in the 12K race by signing up in advance or simply stand on the sideline and cheer the marathoners on as they pass by. Other annual events include the Cinco de Mayo celebrations at Mission Dolores Park and the San Francisco International Film Festival, held from mid-April through early May at various theaters across the city.