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Free "treat tastings," bike tours, pub crawls, and more at the SF Fisherman's Wharf Hostel

Ever wonder who serves the best Bloody Mary in San Francisco? Or where to go to see the best free view? How about where the weirdest fish store is located? Well wonder no more, because guests of the San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf Hostel can ask all these burning questions, and more, to Mel Hackett, the dynamic hostel activities coordinator with a penchant for graphic design, handmade jewelry, Mexican food, and Swedish pop.

A native of Minnesota, Mel moved to the city to attend the University of San Francisco and, with the exception of a year living in Sweden and traveling around Europe, she hasn't left. She loves traveling, and showing off San Francisco to travelers.

Zeitgeist, in case you were curious, is her pick for the best hot and spicy weekend cocktail in the city. The bar is famous for its outdoor beer garden, and it's also a frequent stop on the Mission District Mixed Bag tour that Mel leads with Jesse on Saturdays. A great libation to quell a hangover, their Bloody Mary is almost as famous as their beer selection.

Mel's a self-described jack of all trades, and has a wealth of knowledge about everything from where to get great Mexican food (answer: Tommy's) or how to, say, make a cocktail ring out of a recycled wine bottle! She's also a fan of the outdoors, which makes her a perfect fit for the picturesque Fisherman's Wharf Hostel, with its prime location in a National Park! Mel likes to bike, rock climb, and hike, and she leads a weekly bike tour over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Her latest activity is called SF Treats. Meet Mel in the guest lounge on the first and third Tuesdays of the month to try a rotating sample of local edibles that will give you a flavor of San Francisco -- and best of all it's free! She mixes Boudin bread with TCHO chocolate and Awesome Bars with See's Candies suckers; it's a smorgasbord of delicious local snacks.

"I have a degree in entrepreneurship and I'm very interested in the role that local business plays in the community," says Mel. "Supporting local food is important to me." She also wants to help guests experience authentic San Francisco culture, and food is important to our way of life here.

If you prefer a self-directed tour or activity, Mel also gives great advice on fun things to do and see in San Francisco. If you want a scenic tour without wheels, she has a great recommendation for the best power walk through San Francisco. Her route begins in the Inner Richmond, cuts through Golden Gate Park, and ends at Corona Heights -- a neighborhood between the Castro and Haight-Ashbury with the best views in the city. (There's also a scenic stairway in that part of town.)

Mel's "must do" list also includes the (totally bizarre) fish specialty store in the Inner Richmond. A little out there, yes, but an ordinary tourist excursion? Definitely not.

If You Go 

Stay at the San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf Hostel, and meet Mel Hackett, the activities coordinator who knows her way around a craft table, a road bike, and a fish store.