20 Things We Can’t Wait to Do in and Around the Bay Area in 2022

Everything we'll be eating, doing and exploring once the current mishegas has subsided

January 4, 2022 1:57 pm
A view of the Transamerica Pyramid and Downtown San Francisco
A view of the Transamerica Pyramid and Downtown San Francisco
Jared Erondu/Unsplash

The last 20 months have been a mess — for many people, a cataclysm of grief, anxiety, and upheaval. 

When we first started talking about how we’d like to end the year, editorially speaking, we decided we wanted to look forward — to happier, easier days (and later, livelier nights). Most of all, to spending our days out and about in the city we love, seeing what the world has to offer, without worry. 

We will [try to] maintain that optimism, whatever is trending on Twitter. There’s no going back to February 2020 — but some day soon, things are going to break, for the better. Here’s what we’ll be doing. 

1. Go meet a stranger at the 500 Club, still our favorite dive bar on the whole West Coast. (No website, really; rest assured, they’re still at 500 Guerrero Street.) 

2. Go meet a possibly fancier stranger chilling at Villon, still our pick for best rooftop bar in the city.

3. If you like that stranger an exceptional amount, consider showing them your room at the Proper (right below Villon), if for no other reason than to discuss the excellence of Kelly Wearstler’s classy-monochrome interior design genius. 

4. Make some new friends après ski at Basecamp’s Hideaway Bar — or take the party outside, to the fire pits. 

5. Negotiate not bumping into a stranger in the ever-crowded corners at William Stout, our choice for the best bookstore in S.F. that’s not the Green Apple. 

6. Gather up your favorite former office-mates for some IRL time and a day poolside at Hotel Nikko

7. Obvs, when the weather goes supersonic, take that same group up to Dr. Wilkinson’s for a long weekend lounging around the two giant, mineral spring-fed pools; NGL: this was our favorite weekend outing of the summer.

Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs and Mud Baths
Dr. Wilkinson’s Hot Springs and Mud Baths
Katie Newburn

8. Gather up the fam for a guided tour of the Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial, which is extremely complicated (it requires reservations two weeks in advance, submitting your driver’s license for review, and pick up from the John Muir NHS in Martinez) but worth it for the deep dive into a largely unknown but heartbreaking chapter in California history. 

9. It’s not too late to register for this year’s Bay to Breakers (May 15), truly one of the best days on our calendar — including as a “centipede,” which some of us know is a group of 13-15 runners attached to each other by “a bungee cord, or any other safe mechanism.” 

10. Stand in line for as long as it takes for a seat at the always-crowded counter at Swan Oyster Depot

11. We’re tired of recommending the most isolated trails — next year, we’re headed back to the tried and tested: John Muir, Cardiac Hill, Mount Tam, all the hits, none of the dross. 

12. New Jersey’s best non-Bruce Springsteen-related band is coming to town for the weeklong extravaganza of art and music that is the Noise Pop festival. We’re hoping to get sweaty with everybody else as Titus Andronicus plays The Monitor — the best indie rock Civil War concept album of all time. (Seriously, see you there on Feb. 21, this is absolutely non-negotiable.) 

13. For the moment — and literally, for this moment; who knows what will happen next — the Chinese New Year parade is a go. Either way, join us in celebrating the Year of the Tiger at R&G, Anthony Bourdain’s favorite SF Chinese place. (See him check it out here.) 

14. Back to Archimedes!!! And if you’ve already been, try Onsen, with its 104-degree communal tub, cold plunge pool, a steam room and a redwood sauna. It’s mostly co-ed, with single-sex, swimsuit-optional sessions once per week. 

A hot tub with burning sage at Archimedes Banya
A hot tub with burning sage at Archimedes Banya
Archimedes Banya

15. If you’ve got kids in town or in tow, the historic ships at the foot of Hyde Street — including Balclutha, an 1886 built square rigged sailing ship — are wonderful. (Note: Due to not only the pandemic but flood-happy king tides, the visitor’s center is closed for now, and the ships are intermittently open to the public; check the National Park Service for updates.)

16. Humboldt Bay oysters, wild Alaskan salmon with winter fennel marmalade, and the Lux martini at Miller & Lux — before joining 18,063 other people at the Chase Center. 

17. In-person workshops at the San Francisco Center for the Book are back — just a small, lovely thing, well deserving of our time. We’re choosing between botanical printing and Korean paper making.

18. There’s something super joyful about outdoor ice skating, just bundle up even if it’s temperate (it’s for bruising, not warmth). (Through Jan. 17)

19. If you’ve moved on from pandemic baking but still just want to do some regular, non-pandemic baking (the dream), a reminder that Chad Robertson’s Bread Book just came out last week.

20. A Fire Bowl  “serves 2-4” and is (a) full of “rum, vodka, and gin with cranberry and your choice of fruit wild berry, strawberry, peach, or passion fruit” and (b) comes in a “large volcano tiki bowl” and (c) we’ll be ordering ours as soon as this mishegas is over. 


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