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What to do on a Rainy Hostel Day, No Matter Where You're Staying

So, you finally come out to California for your sun-filled, beach-tastic vacation, and what happens? It decides to rain. It's nothing personal: the Northern California weather can be indecisive, with warm snaps in the winter and rain storms pretty much any time. The good news is, the rain isn't always here to stay. And the better news is, even when it's cats and dogs outside, there are still plenty of ways to experience everything that makes Northern California special.

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. 

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

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