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San Francisco Carnaval: Memorial Day Weekend

As a San Francisco resident for over 10 years, I’ve learned that holiday weekends in the city are a real treat. Locals flee town for the mountains, national parks, and points south, leaving the restaurants and parking spaces to the rest of us. If you’re coming to the city as a tourist for Memorial Day weekend, I highly recommend you get out to some of the more residential neighborhoods, like the Mission District, to see and experience some of the best culture, nightlife, and food the city has to offer.

The Mission District is a neighborhood of vibrant murals and cutting-edge restaurants, where Spanish and English are spoken side by side. During the Saturday and Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, each year a Carnaval festival takes place showcasing the cultures of Central and South America along with Africa and the Caribbean, and complete with a massive parade and dancing in the streets.

4 Fresh City Breaks for Fall

Getting back to nature can be nice, but it’s so very, natural. Sometimes, you just want to be among the made-up people fresh from the salon, dance up a fine sweat in a late-night club to your favorite music and several strobe lights, sleep late and wake up to a room-service champagne brunch followed by a day of shopping for novelties you’d just never be able to find back home. You want the thrill of a crowd and the bustle of a busy sidewalk and more than just a minute to mingle with the movers and shakers.

Right now is a great time to find bargains on fall city breaks, especially if you’re willing to package your Flight + Hotel together. Below, you’ll find a list of four cities fresh with possibilities for how to spend a day during your next metropolitan escape.

Alcatraz Island: Doing Time at The Rock

Traditionally, I haven’t been the most mainstream traveler. I hang back from the crowds, hunt out hole-in-the-wall diversions, and generally do what I can to skip the tourist hot-spots. Which means that after three years of living in San Francisco, the closest I’ve gotten to a tour group is shouldering through one on my way to work. So I’ve come up with a new travel mission: to tour San Francisco so thoroughly that I can point to Coit Tower in my sleep. And the natural starting point of such an expedition is Alcatraz Island, America’s sixth most popular tourist attraction.

The Traveling Dieter’s Dilemma

Does being on a strict diet hold you back from truly experiencing another culture? It’s a good question, and–as a vegetarian–it’s one that’s been dogging me on my travels as of late.    On his Travel Channel show No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain’s philosophy maintains that digging fork or fingers first into the local cuisine is the best way to understand what a place is all about.

Stay in San Francisco For a Buck a Night. Yes, Seriously.

Look, we all know about the state of the economy right now, right? I mean, unless you’ve been living in a cardboard box under a bridge for two years—a cardboard box under a bridge that doesn’t get CNN, mind you—you’re probably fairly aware that we’re waist-deep in a recession.

You know what, though? It’s still an amazingly good time to travel. Right now, you can find all sorts of deals you’d never have been able to find this time last year—or even this time six months ago. There are hotels from $22 a night in Las Vegas, for crying out loud!

And one hotel is San Francisco is taking it even further. Would you believe me if I told you that you could stay in the City by the Bay—in rather fancy surroundings, even—for a buck a night? Because it’s true.