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The Ultimate Guide to Hosting Family and Friends in SF

san francisco visitors

Image courtesy of limitstogrowth

If you're staying in the city and hosting family and friends over the holidays, you'll need plenty of ideas to entertain them. Playing tour guide in San Francisco is fun because you get the opportunity to do touristy things that you wouldn't normally do as a local (Alcatraz! Cable cars! Fisherman's Wharf!). However, the pressure to pack the quintessential experiences into just a few days can be overwhelming. We're here to help. 

Start at the very beginning with 

The Big To-Do SF

where you will find a list of 100 things to do before you die in San Francisco. It's broken down into activities by morning, afternoon, evening, and night, kind of like Choose Your Own Adventure. For first-timers to the city, I would personally suggest a 9-10-30-46-91 kind of day. If you need even more to choose from, visit the older Big To-Do from a few years ago.

All of these activities will require fuel, so be sure to intersperse the action with food and drink. Visitors will be expecting nothing but the best in the foodie epicenter that is SF, so a good place to start is

The Big Eat 2013

where you'll find 100 of this year's must-try dishes on SF menus. If you're dealing with picky people and need more choices, try the Big Eat 2012. For the vegetarians in the group, consider

The Big Veg

in which your guests can pore over 50 delectable veggie dishes. If dessert is the deciding factor in where to eat, you'll need

The Big Sweet

which is a slightly older list but still has tried-and-true sugary delights (be sure to call the establishment first). If the sticker shock of SF menus is too much for your out-of-town guests, then consult

The 10 Best Under $10 

lists. Broken down by neighborhood, there are numerous appetizing options that have been through a boni fide taste test and fall within any budget. And any guest to SF usually requests sushi and 

7 Top Sushi Spots Around San Francisco

will give you something to think about other than your personal favorite. Brunch will obviously be part of your agenda, and though the undeniable darlings will most likely have a (slightly) shorter line (we're talking about you, Brenda's), be sure to reference

11 Under-the-Radar Brunches

Perhaps you have an aspiring college student in the mix or maybe your out-of-town guests feel the city is too big, too crowded, too noisy, or too under-construction, and that's when you should take the cue and head east using

50 Things to Do in Berkeley or 50 Things to Do in Oakland 

as your guides. Again, the list is split into day and evening because anytime is a good time to head across the Bay on BART or over the brand new sparkling Bay Bridge

If you've exhausted all pursuits within the city limits and immediately beyond, take a day trip or overnight north. To help with your plan, enlist the assistance of

50 Things to Do in Wine Country

in which we divulge insider secrets to exploring Napa and its neighbors. 

Once you're sapped of all energy and accomplished more in four days than you've done in the past six months, give your self a pat on the back. Congratulations! You've survived another visit from your doting, dysfunctional family (or friends). Life can now go back to normal. Now go buy your self a drink. May we make a few suggestions?