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14 of the best things to do in San Francisco during Dreamforce

At Dreamforce, Salesforce’s annual conference and meeting of the minds, you’ll hear the world’s most renowned business leaders and entertainers speak. You’ll also enjoy incredible musical acts, insightful sessions, networking, and learn the newest cringeworthy — we mean, inspirational — development AI has to offer.

But you’re probably wondering, what are the best things to do in San Francisco after (or in between) a day of learning at Dreamforce? Some might even play hooky if there are no particular sessions or meetings you’re part of on a given day. (Don’t worry; we won’t tell!)

We’ve got some great sight-seeing recommendations for your downtime that will help you make this Dreamforce one to remember.

woman standing infront of a wall mount painting

Close to Dreamforce: Museums and a unique park

Looking for somewhere interesting to spend your time that’s also close to the conference? Here are some nearby spots to check out:

  • SF MOMA. San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art is a three-minute walk from the conference (can’t get much closer than that). SFMOMA is a unique, vertically oriented seven floor museum of modern and contemporary art that houses a mix of painting, sculpture, photography, design, and media arts in an LEED Gold-certified building.

    The museum is open late on Thursdays (till 8 p.m.), and tickets cost $19 for young adults and $25 for those 25 and older.

  • The Contemporary Jewish Museum. About a six-minute walk away, the Contemporary Jewish Museum is an inclusive, welcoming space. A non-collecting institution, it always has a rotation of thought-provoking exhibitions available to see. Insider tip: The corned beef and pastrami sandwiches at Wise Sons Delicatessen in the museum are excellent.

Museum days and hours are a bit limited (open Thursdays through Sundays till 5 p.m.), and tickets are $16.

  • Salesforce Park. An urban oasis elevated 70 feet above the transit center, Salesforce Park stretches four and a half football fields long. The park features walking trails, a fountain, and an amphitheater.

    Home to 600 trees and 16,000 plants arranged in 13 different botanical feature areas, the park helps filter exhaust in a crowded city, which aids air quality. Perfect for a meditative walk, the park is open until 9 p.m. every day.

painted ladies houses photo

San Francisco Landmarks

Every city has its landmarks, and San Francisco (“SF” is acceptable, but under no circumstances should you ever say “Frisco”) is no exception. These locations are more time-intensive so plan on dedicating at least two to three hours to check them out:

  • Ferry Building. The Ferry Building marketplace sits at the end of Market Street right on the bay’s edge. It first opened in 1898 and true to its name still is the port of entry for those commuting into San Francisco by ferry. Fun fact: The Jotform office is located across the street.

    The Ferry Building also plays host to a farmer’s market and a world-class marketplace of shops, restaurants, and boutiques that include Acme Bread, Heath Ceramics, and Humphry Slocombe ice cream. Open till 8 p.m. every day, it’s about a 20-minute walk from Dreamforce.

  • The Painted Ladies. The iconic, Queen Anne style houses featured in numerous film and TV productions, such as Full House, The Five Year Engagement, and Mrs. Doubtfire, present an elegant foreground to the city skyline. Located across the street from Alamo Square park, take a picture from the elevated park grounds to see the city backdrop. About a 20-minute drive from the conference.
  • San Francisco Chinatown. This Chinatown happens to be the oldest one in North America. There are many things to do, eat, drink, and see in the area, including the Chinese Historical Society of America Museum and the longstanding Li Po Cocktail Lounge.

Did you know?

San Francisco has great public transportation so you won’t need to Uber or Lyft everywhere. First, check the BART and MUNI routes to see if they can get you where you’re going. And for those who love nostalgia, a ride on San Francisco’s cable cars can be an attraction of its own.  

close up shot of a person holding burrito

Feed your hunger after Dreamforce

Well known for its food, SF has a hefty number of Michelin starred restaurants every year. But fine dining aside, there are a bunch of just damn good places to eat. With the volatility of the restaurant business, the best way forward is by looking at popular neighborhoods:

  • The Mission. Long home to taquerias and authentic Mexican food, the Mission also offers a dizzying array of bakeries (Tartine anyone?), food trucks, and creative cross-cultural takes on traditional dining.
  • North Beach. In North Beach you’ll find some of the city’s best Italian food (it’s where many Italian immigrants settled) and great bars with a history all their own.
  • Union Square. Not only is Union Square home to numerous shops and stores, it has plenty of restaurants for those who need to fuel up after scoring their treasures.
  • SFO. Yes, we’re recommending San Francisco’s airport. For food. Look, this is good news for those flying into and out of the city for Dreamforce. And San Francisco International Airport was named best U.S. airport for food by Food & Wine magazine readers.
golden gate bridge in san francisco

Extended weekend warriors

Coming all the way to San Francisco for a conference means many folks will (rightly) make a mini trip of it. There are many things to do within a three-hour drive of SF. Here are just a few:

  • Alcatraz tour. Seeing “The Rock” is a must for the history buffs among us. Day and night tours are offered (but be sure to book in advance).
  • Golden Gate Bridge. Visitors can walk across or rent a bike to ride across the iconic bridge.
  • Wine country in Napa/Sonoma. Spending an extended weekend to explore some of the world’s best wine and beautiful country is an easy choice. This time of year is perfect for a visit.
  • Lake Tahoe. About a three-hour drive from San Francisco lies beautiful Lake Tahoe. Go for some of the best hiking, paddleboarding, kayaking, or just relaxing by the beach.

Conclusion

Whether it’s your first time visiting the San Francisco Bay Area, or you’re returning for the umpteenth time, having some Dreamforce downtime recommendations is a must. We hope this list saves you some time and points you in the right direction for cool things to do.

Photos by Abigail Sylvester, Bara Cross, Gonzalo Mendiola, Tae Fuller, and Pixabay

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