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If you’re not alive, San Francisco will bring you to life.” – William Saroyan

A wise man was our William. Throughout my many travels I still conclude that no city has affected me quite as much as San Fran. There was just something about it that made you feel alive. I still believe it is unlike any other city in America. With all that in mind, the Atland Dispatch takes a look at what’s coming up for the city in 2023 and picks out some of the highlights of 2022.

San Francisco is globally renowned for its continuous reinvention, and 2023 is set to be a year, unlike any other thanks to a myriad of new openings and anniversaries, from new hotels and restaurants to groundbreaking art exhibitions popping up across the city. 2022 saw the Golden Gate City welcome a host of new properties, including 1 Hotel San Francisco and The LINE, along with delicious culinary offerings and the non-collecting art museum, ICA. 

1 Hotel San Francisco

Anniversaries for 2023

The War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco celebrates its 100th anniversary

The War Memorial Opera House designed by Arthur Brown Jr. is a visual diamond in San Francisco’s architectural crown and one of the most historic landmarks in the city. 2023 marks 100 years since the opening of the magnificent 3,146-seat Beaux-Arts building, home to the iconic San Francisco Opera and San Francisco Ballet. Under the exciting new leadership of Music Director Eun Sun Kim, the 2023 season is set to be even more captivating. Performance highlights include La Traviata Encounter from November through December, and a showcase of Diego Rivera’s El último sueño de Frida y Diego in June 2023, exploring themes of his love for his wife Frida Kahlo. 

The War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco

90th anniversary of the San Francisco Ballet

2023 will mark the 90th anniversary of the San Francisco Ballet, the country’s oldest professional ballet company. Celebrating in style, the season will commence in January with, the group’s first new-work festival since 2018, featuring ballet performances by a combination of new-emerging, and well-established choreographers from around the world. Overseeing this season is Tamara Rojo of the English National Ballet, who became San Francisco Ballet’s new artistic director on 1 December 2022. This exciting news sees the ballet appoint its first new artistic director in 40 years and the first female to lead the institution.

2023 marks 60 years since the closure of the infamous Alcatraz prison

Following 29 years of operation, San Francisco’s infamous Alcatraz prison closed on 21 March 1963. 2023, therefore, marks the 60th anniversary of the prison’s closure and 60 years as one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions.

The world-famous Alcatraz Prison

The site welcomes 1.5 million visitors a year and has been the setting for a host of iconic films. Visitors can catch a ferry from Fisherman’s Wharf, day or night, and take a guided audio tour around the prison, following in the footsteps of former prison guards and inmates. Visitors will hear fascinating accounts of its most notorious convicts, including gangster Al ‘Scarface’ Capone and murderer Robert ‘Birdman’ Stroud, and experience a chilling walk-through of hidden spots used for famously attempted escapes.

NEW IN 2023

Japanese Inspired Hi-Fi Bar, Yokai to open in SoMa in early 2023

Japanese-inspired hi-fi bar Yokai is set to open in San Francisco’s SoMa neighbourhood in early 2023, as a collaboration between Chef Marc Zimmerman and serial Tech Entrepreneur Ben Jorgensen. Located at 545 Mission Street, the 60-seat restaurant and cocktail bar will be within walking distance from Salesforce Park and its sister restaurant, Ittoryu Gozu.

SoMa neighbourhood

Inspired by Japan’s after-work social culture and with its name meaning ‘spirit’ in Japanese, the menu will serve delicious sharing plates, such as slow-roasted Wagyu neck and steamed Japanese sea bream, along with an extensive whisky and cocktail menu. A vintage McIntosh sound system and extensive vinyl collection will complement its stylish, pre-prohibition décor of soaring ceilings and exposed brick.

San Francisco to open brand-new waterfront neighbourhood, Mission Rock in 2023

San Francisco will welcome the new 28-acre Mission Rock development in the second quarter of 2023. A collaboration between the San Francisco Giants, renowned developer Tishman Speyer and the Port of San Francisco, the project intends to create an entirely new neighbourhood and community. Plotted just across the water from Oracle Park, the development will feature a five-acre waterfront park, rental homes for all income levels, inspired parks and open spaces, and retail and innovative workspaces, including Visa Inc.’s global headquarters. Forecasted to open in 2023, Mission Rock will be a living embodiment of the future of San Francisco. 

Mission Rock

San Francisco’s music scene

With busking in Golden Gate Park, music festivals, and a resurging indie music scene, San Francisco is moving to the beat of its own drum. To elevate the city’s music scene further, Music City San Francisco is working on an $11.6 million incubator for musicians and music lovers. The five-story hospitality complex comprises 36 budget-friendly rooms and the San Francisco Music Hall of Fame, a collection of 91 multimedia photo installations honouring San Francisco music legends. In early 2023, Music City will unveil three transformed floors, featuring 23 sound stage/rehearsal rooms capable of live-streaming and recording, four dynamic music venue spaces, a music education program for emerging artists, and a bar and restaurant.

Central Subway extension..don’t pretend you’re not excited by that

To help commuters and visitors access everything San Francisco has to offer in a convenient and stress-free way, the Central Subway Project will extend the Muni Metro T Third Line through SoMa, Union Square, and Chinatown. The Central Subway opened on 19 November 2022 with a weekend-only service plan between Chinatown-Rose Pak and 4th/Brannan stations, with the service increasing to seven days a week in January 2023. By connecting downtown and the existing T Third Line route on 3rd Street, this new project will help city-goers get to Dogpatch, Mission Bay, and Chinatown in a faster and smoother way.

China Town San Francisco

A look back at 2022

2022 has been an exciting year for San Francisco, with the launch of a colourful range of new hotels and art exhibitions, and an ever-expanding diverse culinary landscape, boasting the most Michelin-starred restaurants in California. The sustainably-focused 1 Hotel San Francisco and contemporary The Line SF opened their doors to an influx of travellers, eager to return to the city after a two-year pause.

True to the city’s reputation for diverse offerings of food and culture, sustainable seafood restaurant Ancora opened in the Mission District, serving daily caught produce in a unique partnership between chef and fisherman. La Cocina Municipal Marketplace, the city’s first female-led food hall, was named by San Francisco Chronicle as one of the Top 25 Restaurants in the Bay Area in 2022. The 7,000 sq. ft space in the Tenderloin district serves a variety of world flavours, from Nepali and Creole to Senegalese.

San Franciso Museum of Modern Art

The city’s art scene also flourished this year. The world-class San Francisco Museum of Modern Art showcased the largest and most in-depth examination of Diego Rivera’s work in over 20 years, and the groundbreaking, non-collecting Institute of Contemporary Arts opened its doors on 1 October in the vibrant Dogpatch neighbourhood. San Francisco’s compact 49 square miles of trails and breathtaking scenery also welcomed 14 acres of new national parkland with the opening of the Presidio Tunnel Tops in July.

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