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Made in the Bay: The Best Local Sweets for Valentine's Day (or Any Day)

Whether you love the day or hate it, we can all agree that Valentine's Day is good for at least one thing: an excuse to indulge in all things sweet and gooey, chocolate-covered and caramel-smothered. And this February 14, whether you're with a special someone or rockin' it single style, San Francisco has no shortage of ways to make the day a little sweeter. 

Point Reyes: How to save and splurge in a seaside foodie haven

Being in the hostelling business, we’ve heard all manner of travel philosophies over the years. Every traveler, it seems, has his or her own reasons for staying in a hostel: some like the social aspect; others love having kitchens on site; still others like to keep costs low so they can stay on the road longer. But there’s another kind of hosteller, too: the savvy traveler who wants to save on accommodation while splurging on activities.

Warm Up Your Winter at Our Staff's Favorite Hideaways

Winter in Northern California means cool, bright days and crisp, chilly evenings. It also means always having a great excuse to duck into someplace cozy for a pick-me-up. From fire-lit bars, to brick-oven-warmed bakeries, to restaurants chock-full of cozy ambiance, we asked the staff at our seven Norcal hostels for their favorite local spots to warm up. Read on for their picks, and get ready to settle in for the winter.

Minimal time, maximum impact: drop-in volunteer programs in our national parks

There are a number of things I find myself feeling grateful for this morning: my body's unprecedented cooperation with actually getting out of bed when the alarm went off, despite the heavy darkness outside my bedroom window; the clear passage to the counter at my favorite coffee shop, free from its usual crowds in the still-fuzzy first light of day; and the perfectly timed arrival of the 49 bus, which takes me from the Mission, the San Francisco neighborhood I call home, to Fort Mason, the little national p

Stranger than Fiction: Emperor Norton's Enduring San Francisco Legacy

Once upon a time, in the City by the Bay, there lived a great emperor. He wore a long, Napoleonic coat topped with epaulets, carried a saber, and was saluted by an adoring public everywhere he went. He regularly attended governmental meetings, tried to abolish congress, and made written proclamations decrying everything from racial injustice to those who would dare call his city "Frisco." 

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