SOMA: All-Star Everything: Arts, Dining—and More
April 12, 2011 • Posted in San Francisco
Once known as “South of the Slot”, a reference to the cable cars running up and down Market (and the slot in the street where the cables attach), SOMA is now part of every Northern Californian’s nomenclature. Year after year, the neighborhood’s arts, dining and entertainment spots get bigger and more diverse. And, of course, all eyes were on the area last year during the SF Giants awesome run to become baseball’s World Champions.
It’s a great area to explore and enjoy by foot. Here’s a look at some SOMA art and cultural gems to enjoy morning, noon and night:
• The Mission Street California Historical Society museum galleries showcase the history of the Golden State through photography, manuscripts, posters and artwork. Stop by for a dose of Golden State heritage.
• Funded by Charles Schulz (think Snoopy) with the goal of preserving and exhibiting cartoon art in all forms, the Cartoon Art Museum is a fun spot for every age.
• Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) explores the culture, history and contributions of people of African ancestry around the world through exhibitions of contemporary artists of African descent along with captivating multimedia exhibits.
• Contemporary Jewish Museum showcases Jewish culture, history, art and ideas with nationally and internationally recognized exhibitions.
• The center of this art-filled neighborhood, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art includes works by Pollack, Warhol, Matisse, Picasso and more. The café is a great spot to grab a bite—and don’t miss the new rooftop café and garden for a mid-day cappuccino after taking in the latest exhibit.
• Since the mid-1970s, SF Camerawork has been a great spot to enjoy new photography, catch a lecture or volunteer for arts-inspired community outreach programs.
If there’s sun in the city, you can find it in SOMA and soak it in at many of the neighborhood’s outdoor spaces and gardens:
• Alice Street Community Gardens: You’ll find this serene urban garden tucked in at the intersection of Bonifacio and Lapu Lapu (in the blocks bordered by Fourth and Third, Folsom and Harrison). Its caretakers include 160+ seniors and disabled individuals from the area. Look for the 9-story painting entitled “Manila Village Mural” watching over the spring garden growth.
• The area’s two J.B. Strauss-designed drawbridges are cool to see—especially knowing that the designer went on to design the Golden Gate Bridge. Check out Fourth Street Bridge and Francis “Lefty” O’Doul Bridge before heading to the ballgame.
• The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, located at Third and Mission, hosts visual art exhibits, performances, and other events. There’s plenty for the kids — from Zeum (Fourth and Howard), an interactive multimedia bonanza and tech museum, a bowling alley, an indoor ice-skating rink and beautifully restored carousel from San Francisco’s old amusement park, Playland-at-the-Beach.
• Modeled on London’s Berkeley Square, South Park became the hub of the .com phenom in 1990s. Bordered by Second, Third, Bryant and Brannan streets—the pace is slower (and parking a bit easier) now. Check it out for coffee and sunshine.
Reinvention has always been a part of SOMA. Here’s a look at some new eats to check out.
• South recently reopened as Marlowe (where owner Anna Weinberg and chef Jennifer Puccio give us a yummy taste of South Australian).
• Other great food finds include a new lunch “pop-up”—Juhu Beach Club in Garage Café, which is the brainchild of SF-based Top Chef alum (and former Google / Charlie Café chef) Preeti Mistry.
SOMA: The Coordinates
From Market Street to the north-northwest, the Bay to the east, Townsend Street to the south-southeast and 101 to the west-southwest. The eastern edge is along the Embarcadero and In the southeastern corner where Mission Creek meets the bay, the area is known as South Beach.
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