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San Francisco is never the same, but it’s always San Francisco

April 22, 2014 Destination North America No Comments Email Email

San Francisco is changing and evolving every day, but the reasons that millions of visitors leave their hearts there never change.   A look at some of the events and attractions available this spring illustrates the San Francisco Travel Association’s new theme, “Never the same.  Always San Francisco.”

Through May 25, the Asian Art Museum presents Yoga: The Art of Transformation, the first major art exhibition to explore yoga and its historical transformation over the past 2,500 years through more than 130 rare and compelling artworks. Millions of people around the world practice yoga to find spiritual insight and improved health. While many are aware of yoga’s origins in India, few may know about its philosophical underpinnings or its fascinating history over thousands of years. Yoga: The Art of Transformation goes beyond postures and delves into how yoga has evolved into a global phenomenon through an exploration of its visual history. Borrowed from 25 museums and private collections in Europe, the U.S. and India, the artworks featured in the exhibition date from the 2nd to the 20th centuries. Images ranging from benevolent deities and gurus to Tantric goddesses and sinister yogis reveal how yoga practices—and perceptions of them—have transformed over time and across communities.   Learn more at http://www.asianart.org/exhibitions_index/yoga.

Not into yoga?  The Asian Art Museum holds one of the most comprehensive collections of Asian art in the world.   Spanning cultures from Turkey to India and China to the Philippines through 6,000 years, the collection provides a panorama of Asian art and culture. Artworks on view range from tiny jades to monumental sculptures, and include superb paintings, porcelains, arms and armor, furniture, textiles, and bronzes.

An architectural masterpiece itself, the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park never ceases to inspire with it breathtaking views from the ninth-floor observation level or its collection of more than 27,000 works of art.  It is renowned for its holdings in American art of all periods, including painting, sculpture, decorative arts, and works on paper; the art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas; and costumes and textiles representing a wide variety of Eastern and Western traditions.

The newest exhibition, Modern Nature: Georgia O’Keeffe and Lake George, organized by The Hyde Collection in association with the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, brings 55 paintings on view only through May 11. This is the first major exhibition to examine the body of work that Georgia O’Keeffe (1887‒1986) created based on her experiences at Lake George in upstate New York. From 1918 until 1934, O’Keeffe lived for part of each year at the 36-acre family estate of Alfred Stieglitz (1864‒1946) on Lake George in New York’s Adirondack Park, situated near Lake George Village along the western shoreline.   During this highly productive period she created more than 200 paintings in addition to sketches and pastels, making her Lake George years among the most prolific and transformative of her seven-decade career. This period coincided with O’Keeffe’s first critical and popular acclaim as a professional artist, helped define her personal style, and affirmed her passion for natural subject matter prior to her well-known move to the Southwest.  Learn more at www.deyoungmuseum.org/okeeffe.

While most visitors to San Francisco have probably seen the sea lions lounging at PIER 39, the new the Sea Lion Center at the north end puts the playful pinnipeds in a whole new perspective.   The Center is a free nature center where guests can learn about the world famous California sea lions that inhabit the docks on the northwest side of the PIER.  Operated and managed by Aquarium of the Bay, the Sea Lion Center overlooks PIER 39’s K-Dock, the usual hangout of these charismatic mammals that mysteriously made this their home in January 1990, shortly after the Loma Prieta earthquake. The Sea Lion Center features interactive displays, educational videos, fascinating presentations and one- on-one interactions with naturalists. Guests can touch real sea lion artifacts including pelts and skulls, and size themselves up next to a life-size sea lion skeleton. For information visit www.aquariumofthebay.org.

Sea lions aren’t the only ones having fun in the water at the PIER.   Passengers on Bay Voyager, a 28-foot custom RIB (rigid-hulled inflatable boat), get a unique tour of historic landmarks, ecological sights and sounds, and stunning landscapes of San Francisco Bay.  Learn more athttp://bayvoyager.com.

Additionally, Blue & Gold Fleet’s popular Bay Cruise Adventure and Escape from the Rock cruises will feature a new multi-language audio tour, available mid-July 2014. Tours will be offered in English, Spanish, Mandarin, Italian, French, Japanese, Korean, German and Taiwanese.  Learn more at www.blueandgoldfleet.com.

Seeing the city’s landmarks and neighborhoods from the open top deck of Bus Tours’ hop-on/hop-off tour is almost like seeing them for the first time.  The tour stops at 20 major sites and attractions around the city, including crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. The entire loop is 2.5 hours but passengers can get on and off the bus at any of the stops around the city, explore the personalities of the various neighborhoods and discover hidden gems alongside the city’s famous icons.  Learn more at www.bigbustours.com.

In May,  a bit of San Francisco will be seen throughout  the most scenic regions on the west coast as Amtrak’s Coast Starlight train will be wrapped in a scene of San Francisco‘s famous cable car on the train traveling its north-south route.  Amtrak is offering a 15% discount from select trains in the west (Coast Starlight, California Zephyr, San Joaquin and Capitol Corridor)  to San Francisco through May 31, 2014. To book a trip, visit www.sanfrancisco.travel/AlwaysSF.

In partnership with Booking.com, San Francisco Travel offers special deals on a wide variety of hotels in and around San Francisco.  Reservations can be made with confidence at www.sanfrancisco.travel.

The San Francisco Travel Association is the official tourism marketing organization for the City and County of San Francisco. For information on reservations, activities and more, visit www.sanfrancisco.travel or call 415-391-2000.  The Visitor Information Center is located at 900 Market St. in Hallidie Plaza, lower level, near the Powell Street cable car turnaround.

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