The next time you're on the roof of a five-story building, look down at the ground, and you'll get a rough idea of just how high people climb at Touchstone Climbing. The gym's seven locations feature lead walls that rise as high as 50 feet off the ground, though height isn't the only dimension that makes the space feel immense. Each spot has at least 11,000 square feet of climbing terrain, not to mention as much as 3,000 square feet of bouldering.
To prevent newcomers from feeling intimidated by the magnitude of the environment, the gym holds introductory classes. During these sessions, participants learn the basic techniques they'll need if they want to conquer the gym's crack systems and boulder problems. The classes are also an opportunity for students to scope out the terrain features at each location, such as Diablo Rock Gym's steep prow, which juts out crookedly like a thumbs up from a dizzy ballerina. While they're at it, the visitors might notice something else: the social nature of the gym. As the San Francisco Chronicle recounts, the fact that lead climbs require two people means that climbers are constantly asking around for new partners and chatting back and forth as they ascend.
Each location also boasts a weight room, cardio machines, and a studio space for everything from yoga to spinning to core classes.
Bay City Bike's four locations in Fisherman's Wharf serve as the brick-and-mortar trailheads for bikers looking to cruise through the scenic streets and notable sites of San Francisco and the Bay Area. From each location, cyclists can ask staffers for directions to a number of scenic routes, including a path that crosses the Golden Gate Bridge and crosses into Sausalito, mountain-bike trails through the Marin Headlands, or tours of historic locales such as the Palace of Fine Arts or the famed phone booth known for letting people teleport out of Alcatraz. Those who prefer to explore San Francisco by other modes of transit can sign up with Bay City Bike for tours via Go Cars, Segways, and buses.
Did you know that, on average, 88% of the seats in a movie theater remain empty during a showing? According to The New York Times, this phenomenon really surprised Sean Wycliffe a few years back when he went to see the Oscar-winning film The King's Speech and shared the theater with only two other audience members. With all the focus on online video services, Sean realized movie theaters were being overlooked, and came up with a concept that could help movie houses fill their empty seats.
His brainchild became Dealflicks, a website that offers customers discounted tickets (sometimes with popcorn or soda) for same-day showings. Customers shop a selection of deals, each of which is specific to a particular film, theater, and showtime, and upon purchase, receive an email voucher they present at the theater's ticket counter. Dealflicks is partnered with theaters around the country, particularly independent and neighborhood venues, such as the treehouse of the enterprising kid down the street.
At Tradewinds Sailing School & Club, the American Sailing Association–certified instructors teach a diverse array of skills, from the basics of keelboating and coastal cruising to specialty work such as celestial navigation. Their intimate classes, typically capped at four students, all pair guided learning with real-world practice on the water, ensuring students truly master their chosen subject matter. Veteran sailors can bypass classes and join the sailing club, whose convenient boat-sharing program allows for trips to Sausalito, Angel Island, and other local spots.
Fewer than five years after its San Francisco debut, the Snowbomb Ski and Snowboard Festival has exploded into a multivenue event, affording NorCal-powder addicts ample opportunity to get in on a weekend of discounted winter gear and giving VIPs chances to sample locally produced beer and wine. Representatives from resorts command mountains of swag and offer tips about their slopes’ terrain and local yeti dialects. Dozens of exhibitors also show off their goods—not just winter-sports outfitters but also car companies, local restaurants, and national chains.
Though it survived six war patrols in the Pacific and an at-sea rescue of 73 POWs, the USS Pampanito is no match for the ravages of salt and wind. That’s why every seven years the San Francisco Maritime National Park Association hauls the 300-foot submarine from its perch at Pier 45 and restores it, piece by piece, to its WWII-era glory. Such meticulous upkeep and respect for original detail have earned the vessel its status as a National Historic Landmark. While the museum's crews keep the exterior free of salt erosion and smudge marks from nuzzling seals, curators use the interior as a gallery for historic artifacts that tell about the ship's accomplishments and the men who ran it. The vessel's narrow halls host the 80-man crew’s letters, memorabilia, and oral histories, as well as interactive educational programs for adults and kids. For an extended visit with history, the ship is available for educational birthday parties that offer access to otherwise restricted areas of the vessel, as well as daylong and overnight outings.
Members at Curves, a fitness center designed for women, rotate around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with female bodies and promote weight loss, strengthen bones, and increase metabolism. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage participants’ machine maneuvering and muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing momentum, the hydraulic machines use your own body weight, fitness level, and aerodynamic water bottles to create resistance that matches abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions can create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to help create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
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