San Francisco: A city with two sides

September 20, 2018

In VENOM, one of Marvel’s most enigmatic, complex and badass characters comes to the big screen this October. TravelSupermarket, in collaboration with Sony Pictures, invite you to explore Eddie Brock’s hometown and experience duality like never before.

Set in San Francisco, the film wrestles with the idea of duality and the age old super hero quandary of good vs evil.

Ahead of VENOM’s release, we visit the city that provides the backdrop for a unique story of duality, to explore the two sides of San Francisco: night and day.

San Francisco by day

Channel the Life Foundation at the Exploratorium

If there’s anywhere in San Francisco you’d half expect to discover a Symbiote lifeform it’s the Exploratorium, an interactive laboratory that allows visitors to explore the weird and wonderful of the world through art, science and perception.

Admittedly, you’ll find the hands-on experiments here geared more towards education than evil; but you can always pretend, if that’s what you’re into.

The museum is split by topic into a number of galleries, some of which – Human Behaviour, and Living Systems, for example – could have inspired the Life Foundation’s dark experiments – Is that a fruit fly you spy beneath the Microscope Imaging Station, or alien super slime? You be the judge.

For a unique spin on the museum, visit at night; the After Dark series includes 650 interactive exhibits. 

The Golden Gate Bridge

An icon of engineering and one of San Francisco’s most recognisable symbols, the Golden Gate Bridge features throughout VENOM.

No surprises then that the bridge is also one of San Fran’s premier tourist attractions. Bike tours have become a popular way to see the bridge up close, and you can appreciate its 2,737-metre length, by riding along, learning about its storied history as you go. Several operators lead tours from the city.

To see the bridge from afar, there are multiple viewpoints dotted across the city and its surrounding area. Fort Point National Historic Site, Baker Beach, Crissy Field, the Golden Gate Overlook and, a little further afield, Lands End Lookout, are among the most popular.

The great outdoors of San Francisco

If you need some place to escape the voices in your head (or embrace them!), the Muir Woods might just do the trick. Just north of San Francisco, this 554-acre expanse of protected park is home to a peaceful primeval forest of towering redwoods and a diverse collection of flora and fauna.

Closer to the city centre, you’ll find Golden Gate Park, an enormous urban greenspace – it’s even bigger than Central Park – that covers over 1,000 acres in San Francisco.

Notable attractions in the park include the Conservatory of Flowers, Japanese Tea Gardens, the De Young Museum of fine arts and the Academy of Sciences, a huge natural history museum. On the park’s western boundary, it is bordered by Ocean Beach, a long, wide expanse of sand popular with surfers.

The Presido, in the north of the city, is another huge park, known for its hiking trails, beaches and a former military post. It’s also famous for its connection to the Golden Gate Bridge, which crosses the mouth of the San Francisco Bay at Fort Point.

San Francisco by night

See San Francisco’s dark side at Alcatraz

Steeped in notoriety, nowhere quite embodies the dark side of San Francisco like Alcatraz. Between 1934 and 1963, “The Rock” was considered to be the ultimate, inescapable prison and was home to some of America’s most vicious, dangerous criminals.

Now empty, the Cell Block stands as an eerie reminder to the evil souls who once called this island prison home. Learn the stories of notable residents such as Al Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly and Robert Stroud, AKA, the bird man of Alcatraz.

For the ultimate experience, why not visit the island at night?

Embrace the city’s diverse nightlife

As darkness falls on San Francisco, the city’s epic nightlife takes over. Many of the city’s main districts have their own distinctive vibe, from the swanky bars of SoMa, to Mission’s no frills dives, to the vibrant LGTB scene of the Castro District.

To get right into the thick of the party, the incredibly popular North Beach takes some beating. It gets so busy here that revellers often spill of bars and clubs onto the street to keep the night going. 15 Romolo is Time Out’s pick, while local website SF Eater points to Kennedy's Irish Pub & Curry House.

Union Square, meanwhile, is the city’s hub for live music and dance clubs. Biscuits & Blues has been named the number one blues club in the US, while The Starlight Room, perched high up on the 21 floor of the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, offers some of San Fran’s best views.

Eat for two

After causing all that carnage and chaos, you can bet Eddie and Venom worked up quite the appetite between them. Luckily, if you’re in the mood for gorging on comfort food, San Francisco is the city for you.

With a fusion of different cultures and a dynamic young population, it has become one of the United States’ most celebrated foodie cities.

From its famous dollar oyster happy hours, delicious dim sum and tasty Cioppino sea food stew to a Joe’s Special scramble and sourdough bread, you will not go hungry in this city.

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