San Francisco is my favorite business travel destination. Over the years, I've been fortunate to have spent many days, nights, and evenings there, as well as tacking on a weekend day or two at the end of a business trip. Here are my 5 tips for making the most of your Oracle OpenWorld experience. Keep in mind--IMHO--San Francisco is like Paris: you'll have the best time if you're not afraid to "act like a tourist". The city is accustomed to it and wouldn't expect anything else.
1. Use the Oracle OpenWorld Schedule Builder to, um...er...build your schedule.
The Oracle Accelerate team has put together additional resources to help you plan your experience. Check out our Oracle OpenWorld page and make sure you consult this "Focus on Oracle Accelerate" guide when building your schedule.
2. Have lunch in China Town
Just a short walk from the conference...take a break from all those technology conversations and immerse yourself in a different world for an hour or two. Return to the conference with your hunger satiated and your mental cache cleared.
3. Ride a bike over the Golden Gate Bridge
OK...this one takes a little ambition but it's my absolute favorite San Francisco experience. Catch a cab, a trolley, or a bus to Fisherman's Wharf and rent a bike from Blazing Saddles. It's just 8 (mostly) flat miles (~1 hr) across the bridge to Sausalito. From there you can 1) just ride back to your starting point, or 2) make a more challenging detour up the Marin Headlands, or 3) catch a ferry back from Sausalito, or 4) my favorite--continue on another 8 flat miles to Tiburon. Have an appetizer and a drink before riding the ferry back, slipping past Alcatraz where you might--like me--catch a glimpse of ghostly shadows dancing in the backlit windows
4. Sip a cocktail at Vesuvio
Stuff a copy of Kerouac's, "On the Road", in your bag and read a few chapters on the plane. Then, after a great Italian meal in North Beach, walk just a block south on Columbus to this beat-generation hangout. Indulge in conversation with locals and travelers from all over the world. Peruse the 60's photos in dimlit corners and the soliloquies on the alley walls. Buy a book at City Lights. When your brain is full, catch a cab back to your hotel or cut back to Market Street via Chinatown.
5. Don't miss the Oracle Appreciation Event on Wednesday night
At this point in the week, you might be inclined to opt out of the festivities early. But the Oracle team makes this event a no-brainer. And, c'mon...what will your friends say if you tell them could have seen The Black Eyed Peas, Don Henley, Steve Miller Band, Montgomery Gentry, The English Beat, and Berlin all in one night, for free, drinks and food included, free transportation to and from...and you chose room service, the honor bar, and The Cake Boss re-runs.
That's it--my Top Five Tips. The way I look at it--this is San Francisco, not <fill in the blank> where you had to go to that stupid <fill in the blank> conference last year. Indulge yourself. Have a little fun and recharge your batteries.
As always, the opinions expressed here are my own and do not reflect that of Oracle Corporation