Trip Tips: Navigating San Francisco's startup scene

Fri Jan 16, 2015 12:10am EST
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By Christina Farr

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - If you've ever dreamed of starting the next billion-dollar company, look no further for inspiration than San Francisco, home to thousands of technology businesses from Twitter to Pinterest.

Visitors can get a taste of the booming startup scene, particularly in neighborhoods that are popular with tech workers like the fast-gentrifying South of Market, or SoMA.

In the highly competitive tech world, security is of paramount importance so most offices aren't open for public tours. But visitors can get close to the buzz at a handful of coffee shops and bars popular with the top venture capitalists and entrepreneurs.

Sip a soy latte at The Creamery (685 4th Street), in the heart of SoMA, where rumor has it Microsoft's $1.2 billion acquisition of Yammer was leaked to the press after some Yammer employees were overheard gossiping.

Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter and Square, recently made an investment in nearby Sightglass Coffee (270 7th Street) -- some believe for the opportunity to observe digitally savvy San Franciscans in their most natural habitat.

Not far away, community workshop TechShop (926 Howard Street) offers an arsenal of tools for budding hobbyists and entrepreneurs to make virtually anything.

TechShop is one of the birthplaces of the "Maker movement", a do-it-yourself, tinkering renaissance that is sweeping northern California and Europe. Visitors can request a free tour to see the machinery, including 3D printers and a metal shop (every half hour, from noon to 9 p.m.).

Here are some other things to do in and around San Francisco, based on the inside knowledge of Reuters, whose 2,600 journalists in all parts of the world offer visitors the best local insights.   Continued...

People gather at Sightglass Coffee in the South of Market (SoMA) neighborhood in San Francisco, California January 14, 2015. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith