Layovers have never been so much fun. In fact, you might start heading over to San Francisco International Airport (SFO) much earlier than you have to.
Accessible via Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), SFO offers all kinds of attractions under one roof: a museum, art exhibits, an aquarium, a library, music events and even a yoga studio.
What’s even better is that the fun isn’t at the expense of the environment. The first LEED Gold certified airport terminal in the United States, the building features multiple green initiatives, including: the first real-time online 3-D flight tracking noise abatement program; a Clean Vehicle and Alternative Fuel program that replaces gasoline and diesel powered vehicles with those that run on electricity and CNG; and waste recycling programs that include composting 36% of airport waste.
Before you moan and groan about the wait for your flight, take some time to explore all the fascinating features of SFO.
Breathe out all your travel stresses in the serene yoga room in Terminal 2. This 150 sq-ft blue, dimly lit, hardwood-floored sanctuary is equipped with yoga mats and a mirror for your Zen session. Namaste.
Take those earbuds off and bob your head to live jazz, pop or folk music. Featuring local artists, the “You Are Hear” program is offered on Fridays during the peak travel seasons of June to August and Thanksgiving (U.S.) to Dec 31.
Check out the locations and schedule of events.
Live from the Tropics aquarium in Terminal 1 attracts children and adults alike with animals from rainforests and a Philippine coral reef, showcased in a wall panel of three environments: terrestrial, marine and freshwater.
Whether you have only enough time for a quick bite, or you’ve worked up an appetite from all the walking between exhibits, the variety of fresh food from local restaurants is sure to sate your cravings.
In Terminal 2, you can get fresh rotisserie chicken from Tyler Florence’s R&W Napa at Napa Farms Market and sample the Iron Chef Cora’s tapas and cocktails at Cat Cora.
Travellers can also sample the Bay Area’s fresh, local and sustainable cuisine at Lark Creek Grill.
The first accredited museum at an airport, SFO Museum entertains and educates through its library, galleries and exhibits, which cover a myriad of topics.
Aviation enthusiasts can nerd out in The San Francisco Airport Commission Aviation Library and Louis A. Turpen Aviation Museum, located in the International Terminal Main Hall. The collection includes artifacts, photographs and literature on commercial aviation history with a focus on the west coast and Pacific region.
If aviation history isn’t your thing, take a stroll through the many different exhibitions across all terminals. They feature everything from Italian motorcycles and portraits of marine invertebrates to ancient arts and pop culture.
See: exhibitions and schedule.
California’s Best Wine Regions (and Where to Sip)
Sunny California beckons with world-class wines and friendly hospitality. In Napa Valley, sip some of the world’s best Cabernet Sauvignon at Stag’s Leap or Robert Mondavi. To the west, in Sonoma, taste a wide range of wines from Sauvignon Blanc to Zinfandel with stops at Ridge Vineyards and Ravenswood Winery.
Embracing the Unconventional in Oakland
Over the past 10 years, Oakland has emerged from San Francisco’s shadow. Artists, foodies, even nature-lovers now gravitate here, forming a vibrant collaborative aesthetic that is much more than the sum of its parts. Visit an art gallery, get authentic cheap eats from around the world and spend time on Lake Merritt downtown.