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Mobile Marketing

Making the most of your WWDC visit with @ryannielsen

Robi Ganguly  //  June 6, 2012  //  12 min read

(This is part of an email interview series we’re sharing this week in advance of WWDC. Since so many people come in from out of town to attend the conference, we thought it would be helpful and fun to get some advice from long-time attendees and SF residents about how to make the most of your trip to the Bay Area)

We pinged Tumult co-founder and SF Resident Ryan Nielsen (@ryannielsen) for his thoughts on the topic. As a long-time Apple employee and WWDC attendee, Ryan knows how to make the most of the week.

What ONE place would you say WWDC attendees from outside of the Bay Area have to go?

I’d say the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market. It’s a bit off the standard tourist path and, if it’s not foggy, offers fantastic views of the Bay Bridge and Treasure Island. It also gives a fantastic look at the “real” Bay Area – there’s a wide selection of locally grown and produced food, often you’ll see local artisans or performance artists, and San Franciscans from all walks of life will be wandering the market.

What is your favorite place to grab a drink and run into random WWDCers?

I can’t really say there’s one… The Chieftain is great just for how close it is to Moscone West; you’re almost always guaranteed to run into WWDCers hanging out there any time of the day. The View, at the top of the 4th St Marriott, probably has fewer WWDCers hanging out at any given time, but it’s aptly named – you’ll have a fantastic view of SF while you chat with those who are there. Finally, the House of Shields is a perennial “last stop” where many attendees end each night.

If you could lead a field trip for 15 WWDC attendees where would you take them?

It’s important for anyone attending WWDC to see SF outside of SOMA. With that goal in mind, I’d lead the group on a tour of SF’s many city parks.

The larger parks each have their own character and community, and helps give the visitors a wonderful sample of everything SF has to offer. I’d probably kick things off by heading south to Dolores Park. We’d then probably wander clockwise over to Corona Heights, taking them through the Castro and up to a wonderful view of the city. Then we’d head down to Alamo Square – what tour of SF is complete without seeing the Full House house? – and then work our way from Lower Haight up through Upper Haight and into Golden Gate Park. Continuing down Golden Gate, we’d go through either Sunset or Richmond and hit Ocean Beach. From there, you have to visit Lands End, with the Sutro Bath house ruins and the Legion of Honor. The Presidio and Crissy Field are next, and we’d work through the Marina into North Beach, with Washington Square Park. Finally, we’d end up at Sue Bierman Park, right across from the Ferry Plaza Market.

With this tour, the group would have seen almost all of the major SF neighborhoods, could have sampled many of the restaurants, bars and cafés in each of those neighborhoods, and would have seen almost all of the famous landmarks. Most importantly, they’d see SF as most of us living in SF see it, by hanging out in parks and wandering through the neighborhoods.

What is the best cocktail you’ve had in San Francisco and where did you have it?

Captain’s Grog – Smugglers Cove

(For cocktail locations, I also nominate Alembic, Rick House, Orbit Room, Clock Bar, Beretta, Elixir, and my personal go-to, Club Deluxe.)

Where is the best beer in San Francisco?

Toronado. (Also accepted: City Beer Store)

Have you found a coffee shop worth working in and skipping WWDC sessions for? If so, where is it?

Sightglass is probably the best place that’s close to WWDC for both working and coffee. Blue Bottle’s hard to work at, given how packed it often is, and spots in the Mission – Ritual, Four Barrel, Coffee Bar – are a haul from WWDC. If you’re willing to forego coffee and get your fix from tea, then you’d have a hard time beating Samovar Tea Lounge. It’s a fantastic location that overlooks Yerba Buena Gardens, is almost always sunny, and will often have other WWDCers hanging out.

What’s the best meal you’ve had in San Francisco and where did you have it?

San Francisco has hundreds of restaurants worth eating at, dozens that are award winning and pioneering, and a few that are the best in the world. In Japan Town, you’ll find fantastic sushi at Ino, or classic hand made cold udon noodles at Maki. The Mission has burritos (of course) but also boasts some fantastic American eateries like Maverick or Range. The French restaurants in the Marina and Cow Hollow are all wonderful, and you can’t go wrong with almost any of the Italian places in North Beach.

Choosing the best meal I’ve ever had is basically impossible… I’ve had too many phenomenal meals to call one the “best”. What I can say, however, is that I consistently look forward to grabbing a “Don Giovianni” pizza and a greyhound at Club Deluxe. I’ve never once been disappointed by Giovianni’s pizza (I’d even say it’s some of the best pizza in the country), and the neighborhood atmosphere of Club Deluxe helps complete the meal. It’s not a meal that’d earn a Michelin star, but it’s a meal that’s uniquely SF.

What’s the most fun thing you can do in San Francisco that you’d recommend to visitors?

Wander the more eclectic neighborhoods. Grab a drink at a bar in the Castro, explore the shops in Upper Haight, grab a burrito in the Mission, relax with the natives on Dolores Park, see some popped collars in the Marina, and burn your tastebuds eating a Sichuan dish in China Town.

What’s the most unique thing you can do in San Francisco that you’d recommend to visitors?

Crossing the Golden Gate – ideally by walking! – is the obvious answer. Also, check out this amazing photo of the GG bridge by Duncan Davidson

Less obvious: this city’s got character unlike any other city in the world; get out of SOMA and experience some of it.

What one thing do you bring home from SF every time you visit?

A hangover.

Thanks for sharing Ryan!

Want to see advice from other friends of ours? Check out tips from:

Ash Ponders

Jonathan Barbero

Andrew Wooster

Buzz Andersen

Justin Williams

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About Robi Ganguly

Robi Ganguly is the Co-founder and CEO at Apptentive. He is passionate about giving customers a voice via mobile. Follow Robi on Twitter @rganguly.
View all posts by Robi Ganguly >

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