welcome to The unschool!
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW about UnSchool SAN FRAN
LOCATION - #UnSchoolSF will be hosted at The Laundry - 3359 26th Street, San Francisco - in the colorful and richly diverse Mission District. The Laundry is "an experiential space fostering creativity, connection and community." How perfect is that for the experimental knowledge lab that we are? (Spot on.) The 24th Street Mission BART Station is 2 blocks away so easy to get in and out.
TIMELINE & GENERAL SCHEDULE
We like surprises, so we don’t want to tell you *too much* about where we’ll be and what we’ll be getting up to throughout the week. It's part of our model to have space to enjoy each experience as we go through them. That said, we think it’s important to give you an idea of what the week will involve. You’ll find a very general schedule below with starting times and locations, and closing times and locations. The week is intense but fun-- be sure to get lots of sleep before you come :)
- You should plan on being in San Francisco, CA in time to start at 1PM.
Where to meet on the afternoon of Sunday April 23rd:
We’ll meet at 1:00PM at Yerba Buena Gardens - 750 Howard St, San Francisco, CA 94103. Exact meeting place will be shared a few days before we meet. Please eat something before you come and be on time!
After we have finished our initial session there, we will move to our first home base venue of the week. The night will draw to a close around 9/9.30pm in the central city. We can assist in directing you back to your accommodation at the end of the night.
You may depart anytime after 5 PM on Saturday night. That said, fellows often like to go out celebrating together afterwards and we encourage that! (Bonus: if you plan on staying a few extra days beyond that, you will have a set of new friends to hang out with!)
VISAS - TRAVELING FROM OUTSIDE OF THE US
Please check the US Department of State website to find out about visa and documentation required ASAP. We can provide program participation letters if needed.
You must have travel insurance/health insurance to participate in the program (there are some well priced travel insurance options that you can set up online, such as worldnomads. In some countries, your credit card company may offer free travel insurance so check with them too.
FOOD DURING THE WEEK
We will be providing most meals (they will be vegetable-centric) throughout the week. You can indicate any dietary restrictions or allergies on the Preferences Survey. Please fill this out as soon as you can so we can start planning the week’s menu and food adventures.
We cover almost everything you need for our scheduled activities during the days we are together. There will be a few social activities that will be pay your own way (PYOW), meaning if you want a drink or have extra food then it’s up to you.
TRAVEL PRE & POST FELLOWSHIP
- You are responsible to get yourself to and from the fellowship from your current location.
- Airport transport | For fellows flying into San Francisco:
If you are flying into San Francisco, getting into the city from the Airport is very easy with public transport and other options:
- The BART train system has stops at both Oakland (OAK) and San Francisco (SFO) airports. The last train is around midnight, so if you arrive during the day you can easily get to San Francisco or the East Bay on BART. There are ticket kiosks at the BART station that take cash or credit cards, and depending where you’re going it’s around $10. This will be the cheapest, and still very efficient, option.
- Super Shuttle is available from both SFO and OAK - depending on where you’re going it could be between $20-60.
- There is always the option to use Uber or Lyft.
- Alternatively, you can take a taxi which (approx $45-80 to downtown SF). Have your address handy or the name of the station nearest to your accommodation.
TRAVEL DURING THE FELLOWSHIP
We sort out all the travel you’ll need during the hours of the program itself. We’ll get you from place to place throughout the day and will make sure you’re able to find your way back to your accommodation at the end of the day.
You will need to get yourself to each venue in the morning and home from there at night.
During the week we will be navigating the city mostly on foot or BART. Most of our venues are centrally located or easily accessed by public transport options. Hurrah! So bring those walking shoes!
- Where to stay
- Lots of AirBNB options in the Mission & nearby neighborhoods. Several of you could share a larger place to make it more economical and fun!
- Some San Fran hostels - Apparently the Green Tortoise Backpackers Guesthouse has a great reputation in the hosteling world.
- Some hotels
- Group accommodation | If you’re interested in finding group accommodation with other fellows (so you get a lower price and get more time to bond!) please utilize this accommodation coordination spreadsheet. We have put it together but it’s up to you to action any items. The idea is you can add your name, travel dates, budget and preferences to it and together fellows can co-ordinate with others that have complementary accommodation needs. The FB Group will also be a good place to chat about accommodations.
In April, San Francisco can be cold and overcast because of its ocean proximity - don’t expect SoCal beach weather! April will be starting to warm up, but be prepared for rainy days with temperatures ranging from 50-65°F (10-17°C). Layers, and a rain coat, will be your best friend.
Mr Chilly is a local fav app that shows you the temperatures in SF’s many, many microclimates.
WHAT TO BRING WITH YOU EACH DAY
We are really into sustainability (in case you haven’t noticed) so please bring a reusable water bottle.
Dress is casual, just be smart and plan for the changing SF weather. Bring a sweater or jacket. Comfortable walking shoes will be a must.
Always vital to bring your common sense, and a great sense of adventure!
We’ll provide lots of snacks (in-line with everyone’s dietary requirements) so your brain will stay happy and nourished (in all senses of the word) during the week.
You do not need to bring a laptop on Day 1 (hint: travel light). However, if you like to take notes on your laptop, please feel free to bring it for other fellowship days/sessions.
Day 2/Monday: Bring your 'home' item to share.
COMMUNICATIONS DURING THE WEEK
In order to have a quick way to communicate between all of us during the week, we will set up a WhatsApp group so we can text and share. Please download WhatsApp to your phone before arriving. Once in San Francisco please text Vicky +1 919 360 1657 with your name and she will add you to the group. You can also call her in case of an emergency.
Our #SF Facebook group is a closed group just for the fellows, the UnSchool team and our mentors but after the fellowship you will be added to our full alumni group (which is over 200 people now). We encourage you to share the good news about the fellowship week or any pre-program content, beyond the private community. You can tag @unschools and use the hashtags #UnSchoolSF and #unschoolfellows. (The latter one connects our growing cohort of fellows from around the world!).
Things to do around San Francisco
So many things to do and see if you’ve got some spare time before/after the fellowship!
We won’t be touching too much on San Francisco’s history, so if you have time, you might like to get yourself a little more acquainted with the city before we dive into our sessions.
Quick geography primer:
The Bay Area region encompasses the major cities and metropolitan areas of San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland, along with smaller urban and rural areas. The Bay Area is the entirety of the following counties, running clockwise from San Francisco: Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Solano, Contra Costa, Alameda, Santa Clara, and San Mateo.
Silicon Valley is a nickname for the southern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area. The "valley" in its name refers to the Santa Clara Valley in Santa Clara County, which includes the city of San Jose and surrounding cities and towns, where the region has been traditionally centered. The region has expanded to include the southern half of the San Francisco Peninsula in San Mateo County, and southern portions of the East Bay in Alameda County.
Recommendations from our SF alumni & friends:
Eat & Drink
Aziza (amazing Moroccan restaurant. Awesome cocktails, etc)
Mourad (newest restaurant from the chef of Aziza)
Frances (awesome restaurant in the Castro)
Octavia (newest restaurant from the chef of Frances)
House of Prime Rib (SF institution. The martinis are amazing!)
Swan Oyster Depot (known for their shellfish and old school seafood counter vibe. Don't wait in line. Just walk in and order food to go and then find some place to eat it nearby. If they say Dungeness crabs are in season then order some whole crabs "cracked" with some cocktail sauce and go to nearby Lafayette Park and chow down)
La Primavera Stand (behind the Ferry building during the Saturday morning Farmer's market, this place makes a chilaquiles plate that is to die for. They also make delicious fish tacos. If you go to the Ferry building on a Saturday morning, you have to try it. The line goes fast so don't let that deter you.)
Tacos from La Taqueria in the Mission (it's on Mission at 25th street. These are the best tacos in town in my opinion)
Bob's Doughnuts on Polk Street (get a maple old fashioned bar and some milk and you will not regret it!)
Bar Crudo on Divisadero (they have the best crudo sampler, which is a platter of pieces of sushi-grade fish with unique toppings....so good. And the seafood chowder is out of this world)
Cocktails at the Top of the Mark (it's a bar at the top of the hotel that's known for their long list of martinis, which are overpriced for sure, but what you're paying for is the 360-degree view of SF. Don't bother going if it's foggy, but if it's somewhat clear, then it's worth it.)
Sprig - If you want a healthy affordable meal that uses local, organic, and sustainable ingredients and you need it delivered, Sprig is a good choice. Delivers “clean” ready-to-eat meals to your door in around 20 minutes.
Roaming Hunger - Shows an interactive map of all of SF’s food trucks. When you know you want to chow down on food from a truck, but you’re not sure where the closest or best one is, this app will give you a list of which trucks are where in SF, their hours, and a little description of what to expect.
Greens - Local, organic, farm to table style Greens Restaurant opened in 1979 as part of San Francisco Zen Center, which includes Green Gulch Farm and Tassajara Zen Mountain Center. Located at historic Fort Mason Center in a former machine shop, Greens overlooks the San Francisco Marina with sweeping views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands.
Nourish - 100% plant-based menu. Organic, wholesome, modern.
Seed + Salt - plant-based, organic, ethically & locally sourced, plus free of things like gluten, dairy, refined sugar, trans fats and GMOs.
Kin Khao - organic, sustainably sourced Thai food with many vegan and gluten free options.
The Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park houses an aquarium, planetarium, and natural history museum—all under one living green roof. It is a really cool building that's using all the most sustainable building materials. The living roof is awesome and there are good views from up there. They have an albino alligator, awesome fish tanks, and other cool exhibits but it's kinda more for kids unless you are going specifically to check out the building.
SF Museum of Modern Art - Make a reservation. It's just been reopened after being closed for three years while they remodeled. An awesome museum experience.
Asia SF - This is a dinner and drag show experience that’s a bit of a SF institution.
Audio Tour of Alcatraz Really quite fascinating. Takes a few hours from getting on the ferry and coming back. Definitely need to make a reservation in advance.
Pier 24 Photography - Fabulous photography gallery in San Francisco, and they have just put up a new show. The gallery is on a pier near the Embarcadero and is by appointment only.
The Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market. The best day is Saturday because that's the biggest farmers market with the most food stalls. The samples of produce, cheese, and snacks is worth it alone. There are other days of the http://pier24.org/about/week when the Ferry building farmer's market is open too so just check their website.
The Ferry Building Even if there isn't a farmer's market going on, the inside of the Ferry building is an awesome food hall with amazing shops and food stalls. It's worth the walk through it, and then maybe continuing to walk along Embarcadero towards Coit Tower.
Lombard Street (this is the curviest road in the world. People like to walk down it or drive down it. It's kind of a fast thing, but it's iconic and everyone gets a kick out of it).
A walk through the Mission - There are tons of different aspects of the Mission district that people enjoy. Walking down Valencia Street from 16th-22nd is a good walk for shopping, restaurants, etc.
A walk through the "Outer Mission" - this is walking down 24th Street from Valencia to Folsom. This is where there are a ton of great murals and graffiti and it's the "latino district" although it has gentrified in a lot of ways too.
Dolores Park - This is the park in the middle of the city that when the weather is nice everyone is hanging out in. At the South West corner of the park, which is the highest point of the park, you get the most amazing views of the city skyline. Great place for people watching and a picnic, etc.
The Castro - It's fun to walk through the Castro neighborhood especially if you want to buy whips, porn or assless pants --- definitely a novel experience. Or you can walk through it on your way to Frances or Starbelly, which are two well known restaurants in the Castro.
The DeYoung Museum - This modern art museum is across from the Academy of Science in Golden Gate Park. It's really interesting architecture and you have to check out the observation tower for more amazing views of SF.
A walk or run along the bay - walk down Marina Blvd from Divisadero towards the Golden Gate Bridge....it's a really pretty scene, and you can capture your ideal bridge photo. There's also a Dynamo Doughnuts stand near the marina park which is a great snack to snatch for the walk.
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