It's rare for a metropolis to compete with its suburbs for visitors, but the view from any of San Francisco's hilltops shows that the Bay Area's temptations extend far beyond the city limits. East of town are two energetic urban centers, Berkeley and Oakland. Famously radical Berkeley is also comfortably sophisticated, while Oakland has an art and restaurant scene so hip that it pulls San Franciscans to this side of the bay. To the north is Marin County, the beauty queen, with dramatic coastal scenery of breathtaking beauty and chic, affluent villages like Tiburon and Mill Valley.
- Bite into the "Gourmet Ghetto" Eat your way through this area of North Berkeley, starting with a slice of perfect pizza from Cheese Board Pizza (just look for the line).
- Find solitude at Point Reyes National Seashore Hike beautifully rugged—and often deserted—beaches at one of the most beautiful places on Earth, period.
- Sit on a dock by the bay Admire the beauty of the Bay Area from the rocky, picturesque shores of Sausalito or Tiburon.
- Go barhopping in Oakland's hippest hood Spend an evening swinging through the watering holes of Uptown, Oakland's artsy-hip and fast-rising corner of downtown.
- Walk among giants Walking into Muir Woods, a mere 12 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge, is like entering a cathedral built by God.