Outer Sunset…it’s horrible…leave it for the locals!

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photo 1 (1)When I think of the Sunset I think too far, always cold, and always foggy.  Here is a picture of me being proven wrong.

The picture sums up the extent of my common misconception but allow me continue anyway. Wes, the guy with the hat, is the manager of a Palo Alto bar called Nola (Nola happens to have the largest collection of folk art west of the Mississippi, but that’s a story for another time).  He  and I became friendly, but it wasn’t until months later when we leveraged Mark Zuckerberg’s company that we discovered we went to school together at Indian Mountain School when we were much younger. Wes wanted to become a Nomaders Local Hero and invited me up to his neighborhood to show me the “real” Sunset district of San Francisco.
I’ve put together a little phototour for you, but nothing beats getting in touch with Wes or another local hero yourself…let us know what you discover!
To start your day in the Sunset off right, Wes recommends stopping by Java Beach for a killer breakfast sandwich and then having coffee perched at Trouble Coffee (although if you aren’t in a sandwich mood, we’ve heard Trouble’s toast  is actually phenomenal)
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Java Beach

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Trouble Coffee

Outerlands is famous for their brunch (and the long line you’ll have to wait in to get a table for it) but is wonderful for cocktails or food any time of day!

Places are made by people – nomaders.com

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We Built This City (by shoveling mulch)

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careful with that!

A handful of Local Heroes got together with San Francisco Recreation & Parks volunteers to do a little yard work. It turned out to be very rewarding!  Okay, that doesn’t sound very original, does it? Truth is, it was way too hot and sunny for the freckly guy you see holding the pitch fork up.  However, Nomaders philosophy stands true…places are made by people.  Everything we do here comes from a deep love for and commitment to the communities we belong to and it’s important to us that our favorite places continue to provide joy, inspiration, adventure or even just a shady spot to rest for locals and visitors for years to come. We worked alongside great crew of SF residents including employees of Trumark who are building a local condominium. Trumark was the host of this event and were so kind as to give away t-shirts and serve the volunteers a delicious breakfast and lunch! You can see from the pictures below that after our work we had a great time and meet some amazing people.

These ladies earned a little rest in the sun!

These ladies earned a little rest in the sun


when it’s too hot for cornhole, it’s just too hot

So- are you feeling inspired?  Think about the places and organizations that make your city great: public parks, animal shelters, community gardens.  Why not connect with your friends,  neighbors or even other local heroes and visitors and put in some time volunteering with them!
Many thanks to Kimberly Kiefer, Esteban, Mike our park manager, and most of all Xavier the hardest worker of the day. Oh! …and Safeway for letting us use the restroom…and Neutrogena for protecting us.

Thor- our very own Super (Local) Hero!

Here’s a crazy story, that sums up what I love about Nomaders and the belief that Places are made by people! A friend of mine and Local Hero for Woodside, CA - Jason Seed and I were on CalTrain on our way from San Francisco to Palo Alto and met a friendly Dane named Torbjørn C. Pedersen, affectionately known as “Thor”.
Thor, we learned, is in the middle of setting a world record.  He will be the first person to leave home and not return until he visits every country in the World without the use of flight. You can engage with him, follow him, and learn more at Once Upon a Saga.  Thor showed me that he truly embodies the Local Hero spirit when he declared his belief  that “A stranger is a friend you’ve never met before” and boy are these “strangers” making an impact on him. Jason and I took pictures with him, said our goodbyes, and we headed our separate ways. 
A few days later while talking with the San Francisco International Hostel about Nomaders.com I met one of their guests – Sara, an Australian visiting the US for a year and in the process of moving to Los Angeles. During our conversation I told her the story of meeting Thor.
Her eyes lit up, “I’ve been exploring the city with him this past week.” As she pulled out her phone and started flipping through pictures of them checking out San Francisco - from major attractions and local haunts – I couldn’t help but smile from ear to ear.  It is so exciting to see firsthand to see people begin to frame ideas of travel, tourism, and experience itself in new ways and to know that we’re a part of it.
Thor, from the passionate team at Nomaders and all of our amazing Local Heroes, thank you for everything.
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Summer in the city…local heroes share their Big Apple Tips

June’s “Tips of the Month” come from some of our New York City Local Heroes.  Here, they share their favorite summer activities both in and out of the Big Apple…

Claire Fallon claire- What do I like to do on weekends during the summer? Get the heck out of the city. East Hampton is perfect to venture to very easily on the jitney or the LIRR train (which I prefer). It can be crowded with a bunch of people ready to rage during the weekends at places just like clubs in the city–only with more obnoxious outfits. I prefer to hang in and cook with friends. There are beautiful trails in Montauk or in the Walking Dunes between Montauk and East Hampton. Don’t forget the bay side of the south fork–it’s so quiet and calm you’ll forget you’re only a few hours outside of Manhattan. If I can’t seem to get myself together in time to make a train on Friday night, I’ll stay in Brooklyn but am sure to find the ocean somewhere. I either take the train to Rockaway Beach or find a friend with a car. It’s very nice surf town that reminds me of where I grew up, in Ocean City, NJ–only with more hipsters and better tacos.


Ian Fraser - Rent a bike (or jump on a Citi bike) and head out of Manhattan over the Queensboro Bridge. Take a ride South through Queens to Brooklyn. Following cycle paths most of the way you’ll pass through several diverse neighbourhoods. The route takes you through hip Long Island City, Greenpoint and Williamsburg, and over the Polaski Bridge for some great views of the city. On the weekends in the Summer, stop off at the Smorgasbord Food Festival for some tasty bites. There are numerous bars and cafés along the way to stop, drink and people watch.



Drew DeRisi - It’s summer time and as the city heats up the natives get restless. If you are visiting NYC this summer you might find that the city seems to be a little less congested and a bit more tranquil. This is because the locals have departed the concrete jungle to play, as many NYker’s refer to it as, in the “country” (or as it is really named- Long Island). When you visit our lovely city this summer you will find it much easier to hail a cab or get a reservation at a popular restaurant. The doormen of NYC’s hot spots might even let you negotiate entrance (1 bottle or 2). Whatever your plans, whether it be a music festival at Governors Island or treating your taste buds with lip-smacking summer food events be sure to come prepared and ask your Local Hero for advice. I am sure they will be happy to help you.


Summer always feels too short, so what are you waiting for?  Connect with Drew, Ian, or Claire and get adventuring! (www.nomaders.com)

San Francisco Reminds Us Never to Judge a Book by Its Cover!

Here’s a great story from one of our local heroes, Paul!

A few weeks ago when my friend Kip Brennan was visiting from Los Angeles we decided to meet up with a San Francisco local hero.  When Kip and I first laid eyes on the bar our local hero Kathy brought us to, we were skeptical at best.  After all, San Francisco recently made the top 10 list of cities with the “highest bar density,” in the U.S. so it’s not like we were dealing with a lack of options and yet here we were, standing outside of The Saloon in North Beach; it looked divey, kitchy, and old. 

In fact, once we ventured inside, I learned that The Saloon has been open since 1860, making it San Francisco’s oldest watering hole.  The bar has survived two major earthquakes and several fires!

Don’t forget to stop at an ATM!

After my little history lesson, it didn’t take long to start to appreciate some of the quirkier charms of the bar like the handwritten “CASH ONLY” sign and the two-story bathroom, but it was the band that really won me over.  It was 4pm on a Wednesday afternoon and set up on the stage was one of the best bands I’ve ever heard playing in a bar.  It was three guys covering Johnny Cash and other classics and they were amazing.  I was shocked to learn from David, Kathy’s husband, that these live performances are an every day occurrence.


Unfortunately, as San Francisco draws more and more visitors and newcomers seeking what’s trendy or a safe bet, serendipitous afternoons like these are becoming harder to come by.  Many of San Francisco’s historic neighborhood bars have been forced to close due to rising rents and gentrification.  As they disappear, they take with them pieces of our city’s history; The stories that live in the floorboards or in the memories of the regulars that have been coming in for a cheap beer and some good music every afternoon aren’t ones you’ll hear in any museum.

To me, this adventure demonstrates just how significant or local heroes really are; Kathy reminds all of us- tourist, transplant, or native alike, how rewarding it can be to stop out of our comfort zones.  So go ahead, get in touch with Kathy and have your own local experience at The Saloon!

We can't wait to go back!

We can’t wait to go back!