San Francisco: 10 Things to Do

9. Ferry Building

Ferry Building William Manning / Corbis
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The one good thing to come out of the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989 was the revitalization of San Francisco's waterfront. The earthquake damaged an elevated highway that cut off the waterfront from the rest of the city; the highway was torn down, opening up the area and transforming old warehouses and docks into yuppie commercial real estate. Case in point: the Ferry Building, which was originally opened in 1898, then renovated and reopened in 2003.

It's a magnificent structure on the Embarcadero, at the foot of Market Street, but the real reason to come here is the food (that, and the ferry to Marin County): There's a fabulous farmers market on Tuesday and Saturday until 2 p.m., and no shortage of great places to eat. For burgers and shakes, definitely do Gotts Roadside, Formerly Taylor's Automatic Refresher. Or, for nouveau Vietnamese, try the Slanted Door, one of the city's favorite restaurants. You can try calling ahead for a table, but I've waited 45 minutes even with a reservation. Your best bet is to eat at the no-reservations bar. Order the shaking beef and the delicious rum cocktail made with essence of clove and fresh nutmeg.

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