While Levi’s Stadium only has capacity for 68,500 fans, over one million people are expected to converge on the Bay Area for Super Bowl weekend. Outside of attending the big game, I reached out to influential San Franciscans to find out what the weekend’s must-see attractions and events are outside of Levi’s Stadium.
Golden State Warriors president, Rick Welts, says that when it comes to enjoying the Bay Area, “You have to get down to the water. Walk to the Embarcadero, head to the Ferry Building and take a ferry to Sausalito.”
You’ll likely be hungry after all of that activity, so Welts says the other important component to visiting San Francisco is to “Eat, eat, and eat some more. If you’re a fan of seafood, there is no better place in the world to enjoy it. San Francisco’s restaurants are unmatched.” If you need a tip on where to head for great cuisine, Welts says to try Ristorante Umbria, a family-owned Italian restaurant named after the region its dishes are inspired by and located in San Francisco’s SOMA district.
Like Welts, San Francisco celebrity chef, Michael Mina’s, Super Bowl weekend itinerary largely centers around food. Mina’s RN74 restaurant partnered with the NFL to host, “On the Fifty,” a charitable dining experience benefiting the NFL Foundation.
“We had a lot of fun with the menu for ‘On the Fifty,’ creating a menu featuring high-end versions of sports food,” Mina told the Huffington Post.
For Mina, the weekend’s cooking doesn’t end with “On the Fifty.” That’s because, on Super Bowl Sunday, he’ll cook for 800 people during a private party at his Michael Mina’s Tailgate at Levi’s Stadium. Mina notes that the Tailgate’s staple of creating dishes inspired by the host cities of teams playing at Levi’s Stadium will be upheld for Sunday’s big event. In that regard, NBA MVP, Steph Curry’s wife, Ayesha, will join Mina as a celebrity guest chef. In that role, Ayesha Curry will cook a Carolina pulled-pork brunch dish, featuring buttermilk biscuits, eggs, cheddar cheese, and of course, Carolina barbecue sauce. While Ayesha’s dish is sure to be a hit, Denver Broncos fans will also get a taste of home, as Mina is flying in Colorado bison and lamb for the event.
If you can’t make it to one of Mina’s restaurants during Super Bowl weekend, the 49ers fan has a few other ideas on how you can enjoy his beloved city. “San Francisco is all about neighborhoods. You need to go into the different neighborhoods. They are all so different, but I enjoy North Beach and Telegraph Hill, which is right by the Financial District. The Mission is always fun, too.” For eating, Mina says he turns to Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, a Naples inspired pizzeria in San Francisco’s Little Italy. “The owner of Tony’s, Tony Gemignani, has won the World Pizza Championship in Naples, Italy eleven times. He’s the only American to do that. The restaurant has a very San Francisco feel to it,” Mina told The Huffington Post.
Beyond fabulous restaurants, anyone familiar with the Bay Area knows that the region is renowned for its wine. What’s less known, though, is that California wine making didn’t begin in Napa or Sonoma. Rather, the now bustling California wine industry was born in San Francisco’s SOMA district. To return to California’s original wine making roots, those not heading to Levi’s Stadium for the game may want to visit Bluxome Street Winery, an urban winery with locations in SOMA and the famed Ghirardelli Square.
“We are not sourdough or Ghirardelli chocolate, but we believe Super Bowl visitors would truly enjoy broadening their visit to include some of our wine while in our backyard,” said Bluxome Street Winery operating partner, Peter Chouinard. After enjoying wine, Chouinard suggest taking in views of the Golden Gate Bridge, riding on cable cars and even visiting Pier 39 or Alcatraz.
Wine and fine dining aside, the Bay Area has also bred many incredible musicians and bands, including Train. While Train has its own wine company, Save Me San Francisco Wine Co., the band’s lead singer, Pat Monahan, has some non-wine country ideas for Super Bowl weekend visitors. “I always recommend eating breakfast at Dotty’s True Blue Cafe and Scoma’s for dinner so you can catch a great view of seals and water wild life while enjoying a great dinner,” Monahan told The Huffington Post.
Engaging in all of these activities will likely leave you tired, but luckily, there is a clear solution to that problem in San Francisco: Good coffee. Coffee shops grace nearly every corner of the Bay Area, and arguably, none is as beloved amongst Bay Area residents as Philz Coffee. With stores scattered across the Bay Area, Philz Coffee’s director of marketing, Young Han, told The Huffington Post, “When you’re in San Francisco, you should obviously visit Philz Coffee, as we’re proud to be from here,” However, Philz isn’t the only cup of coffee Han recommends. “There is so much beauty, culture, diversity and of course, food, in San Francisco! When you’re in San Francisco you should be sure to seek out those unique experiences, like taking a night tour of Alcatraz or getting an Irish Coffee at Buena Vista,” he said.
With so much to enjoy in a city rich with culture and experiences, Super Bowl 50 is certain to leave every tourist happy with their Bay Area visit. While tourists expect much from the city, San Francisco Travel also expects to leave tourists with a lasting, positive impression.
“Hosting the Super Bowl is a tremendous opportunity for the region,” said San Francisco Travel President and CEO, Joe D’Alessandro. “We are expecting hundreds of thousands of people, both residents and visitors from around the world, to celebrate the game in San Francisco. Their spending will support jobs at hotels, restaurants, cultural attractions, shops, event venues, caterers, transportation companies and a wide variety of other businesses.”