They’re all gonna laugh at you

Besides the double decker bus tours…here are reasons you might get a few locals shaking their heads at you in these cities…

Hidemi for Los Angeles, CA

Celebrity Maps (where celebrities live), Going to Hollywood period – you won’t find any stars there, not ones in person at least. Even Runyon Canyon is a bit ridiculous after  the show The Hills. Venice is great, Venice beach is a nightmare.



Runyon Canyon Park

venice-beach-peopleJustin for New York, NY

Anything around Times Square aside from going to shows. Giving taxis an address rather than a cross-street (e.g. saying “30 E 10th St” rather than “10th St and Broadway”) So different from London.  I remember staying on some tiny street in Knightsbridge once and getting in a random taxi at 2:00 in the morning, saying “10 Kinnerton St”, and he’d know exactly where it was and how to get there. Impressive.

ny-taxiBrian for Dublin, Ireland

Don’t order a car bomb…anywhere in Ireland. Temple Bar is full of tourists. The Blarney Stone – I’ve never even seen the stone even though half my family live in Blarney.




Jeff for Honolulu, HI

We avoid Waikiki like the plague. Overpriced restaurants and shops, zero parking and way too crowded. Actually the only time I ever go to Waikiki is to pick up friends who are visiting from out of town.

Tourists enjoy the sun on New Year's Day on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii

Drew for New York, NY

Have fun waiting in line at the Empire State Building, boating to the Statue of Liberty, or anywhere within a block of Time Square.

New York Times Square



Inyoung for Seoul, Korea

Many visitors take a cruise ship on Han River. Locals would rather have a picnic by the river; and the most popular picnic food is chicken & beer! Visitors go up to the observatory at 63 Building. It used to be the tallest building in Seoul. But as a local, I would rather eat at a restaurant in that building than go to the observatory. And if it’s scenery you want then I think Namsan Tower is much better. Also, Insadong and Myoungdong is full of people visiting. Both are very popular neighborhoods in Seoul both for locals and visitors, but it’s getting more touristy. It has many shops and restaurants, but there are better places all around the city.



IMG_4088Brian for Palo Alto, CA

There’s a whole group of restaurants and bars that locals wouldn’t ever go to, example: The Cheesecake Factory. Most locals would never even drive down University Ave — they’d take side roads to avoid traffic.

IMG_9530Jack for Denver, CO

16th Street Mall – it’s terrible.


Claire for New York, NY

Times Square, Chinatown, the line at Grimaldi’s



Krista for Dallas, TX

JFK Grassy Knoll. For sure. Its so hard for Dallasites to be characterized by the awful time in our history and all people want to see is where Kennedy was shot.


Caroline for New Orleans, Louisiana

Bourbon St. Bars…I’d recommend going to Frenchman St. to hear local music instead. Tourist trap restaurants like The Gumbo Shoppe or spending money on cheesy souvenirs and t-shirts instead of exploring local boutiques.



Paul for San Francisco, CA

Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square, Cable Cars…I just don’t understand why you wouldn’t prefer to check out Sight Glass, Hayes Valley, NoPa, Ocean Beach surfers, Trou Normand, Delores Park or any number of innovative things happening here.



VanCity – From Zero to Hero

2Sometimes there are no Local Heroes :( like in Vancouver a few weeks back. This didn’t stop me from making my own Local Heroes though…here is my story…
I arrived at 10:00 AM and went to the Lowden Hotel, a nice boutique property with a great view. I asked for a map and avoided their recommendations…instead I started walking down the street and talking to strangers. The second person I talked with was hurrying by on his phone, so I matched his pace. I quickly found out he was an entrepreneur like me (CEO of MobSafety) and he said he’d take me to an amazing local coffee shop…it was on the way to his meeting. Half a block from Revolver Coffee I saw a line out the door of Meat and Bread and asked, “Is this a good place for a quick sandwich before my coffee?” He replied, “That place is amazing.” Local Hero #1 – Nick Murray! Both Meat & Bread and Revolver were AMAZING!  After my coffee I went to Kit and Ace to pick up my fiancé. Kit and Ace is the new technical luxury clothing line from the original Founders of lululemon. We walked a bit and found Local Hero #2 – a guy herding his kids into his Tesla. I felt like I was back in Silicon Valley with the cars you see around Vancouver. He recommended a rooftop bar and restaurant for dinner where we met Local Hero #3 – Sam Bailey. Sam was the best and took amazing care of us at the bar…actually this comment rings true for all of the staff at Black+Blue.
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I spent most the morning working although I did poke out for a coffee at a place the concierge recommended. Caffé Artigiano wasn’t much, but Local Hero #4 did recommend a nice italian/ pizza lunch which I went to a few hours later. Nicli Antica Pizzeria was a goldmine where I found Local Heroes #5 & #6 – both servers who told me about their neighborhoods, Mount Pleasant and Strathcona. This information fed the weekend. I had left overs which I brought to the girls at Kit and Ace before heading out on a big loop by foot. I went northwest and then back through the West End towards Yaletown. I was enjoying Yaletown Gelato when I bumped into Local Hero #7 – Parmis. She offered me a free App (to eat), for downloading an App (on my mobile)…I agreed and got to meet a friend of hers, Local Hero #8 – Chad Mathew. It’s always better when you get an opportunity to listen to others stories and understand their daily life. Parmis used to work at a Spokes Bike Rental and totally hooked me up with a bike for the next day too!
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photo 4I left them and hit a few places recommended by the girls at Nicli while on the way to meet my other half for dinner. They recommended: The UnionThe KeeferMatchstick Coffee, and Bao Bay where we had dinner and met Local Hero #9 – Bar Manager, Derek Granton.
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photo 2They also recommended Caffé BrixtonHarvest Community Foods and Pazzo Chow Italian Market which I didn’t make it too.
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photo 2photo 1photo 3photo 4photo 1photo 3FRIDAY
Up early I took a beautiful ride around Stanley Park and down around the south sea wall before hooking a right up towards Mount Pleasant where I met Local Hero #10 – Owner of Radicle Juice. After a smoothy he told me about a great coffee and donut at Forty Ninth Parallel and a brewery called 33 Acres. I went to both and I highly recommend them, 33 Acre even had a Community Pizzeria truck out front! I headed to drop the bike off and check into our new hotel before getting ready for dinner with some old friends at Rodney Oyster House in Yaletown.
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The Mrs. and I decided to take free bikes from the OPUS Hotel, where I highly recommend staying if you want to be near “the fun.” What I don’t recommend is heading to Granville Island – unless, of course, you are completely against authentic local experiences. We escaped quickly after a mediocre coffee at AGRO Café and hit Go Fish for lunch. It wasn’t fabulous either, but there is something nice about seafood on that water that is forgiving. We then set out to burn off our Fish n’ Chips by riding up the hill to Kitsilano, a neighborhood I’m told is super local and cool. We saw the original lululemon store, went to Forty Ninth Parallel again, and finished by unsuccessfully scrambling to find a toddler sized Herschel back pack for our friend’s daughter. Herschel is all the rage in Vancouver now…so are Birkenstocks, but lets not go there. “We are late!” …back down the hill to check out and head to the suburbs for a birthday party….
photoWe made our flight the next day, so that’s pretty much where it winds down. Feel free to contact these Local Heroes who have recently visited or live in Vancouver - ParmisPaulKevin.

Take back SF event @ 111 Minna

You haven’t had happy hour in San Francisco until you’ve been to 111 Minna Gallery. We had our Nomaders Local Heroes monthly Take back San Francisco! event while they were hosting Sketch Tuesday‘s. This event had great music and killer art produced right in front of you with an opportunity to interact with local artist.

Please get Local Heroes together and Take back your city! Contact us with any questions on how to get an event going.

Here is one painting of a painting being painted...

Painting of a painting being painted…

Nice bandana Mike! Turn around Elaine ;)

Nice bandana Mike! Turn around Elaine ;)

This was one of our favorites - 4 pieces from William Arvin, super cool William!

This was one of our favorites – 4 pieces from William Arvin, super cool William!

San Francisco’s Best Coffee Shops by top Local Heroes

The Mill by Jill

I love The Mill for the people watching, stunning setting, and of course, the incredible toast! The scene is always bright and bustling – and the smell of coffee and freshly baked bread will keep you there longer than you intended…

Steep Brew by Kevin

I love steep brew because they have the best bartenders, microbrews and iced coffee. If you have kids you’ll have to try this place. Super kid friendly with high chairs, room for strollers and lots of delicious food. If you don’t have kids, my wife likes Front for a real taste of “Portlandia.”

Jane by Brian

I love Jane on Fillmore because it is a very comfortable place to enjoy a great coffee beverage made by their specialists. It’s no chain like Starbucks or Peets. They have fantastic pastries and breakfast foods.

Four Barrel by Mike

Four Barrel has the ambiance, the attitude, and the coffee to back it all up to rate as one of the best cafe’s in San Francisco. Upon entering you immediately check your coolness level with the Outdoor bike hangers to the kitch wood on wood decor. Looking up, four wild boar heads oversee the order line as if to dare you to get things wrong. “Cappuccino…with or without home brewed chocolate bars”. Now mind you, I’m a coffee, cream and sugar guy. This has to be the first time I sipped this delicate deep aromatic drink without the addition of anything…not even the chocolate version. So for L.A. attitude, San Francisco tattoos, and a woodsy fun to see and be seen spot…head on over to Four Barrel.

Blue Bottle 1photo 2Blue Bottle by Nate

Blue bottle is great coffee, every cup is made to order with great care. The capuccino from blue bottle is amazing, but the real gold star on the menu is the affogato; a fresh shot of espresso poured over a bowl of honey flavored ice cream. They also have great brunch food which shouldnot be overlooked!

DSC03635Coffee BarCoffee Bar by Anne

I love this place because I love chocolate and coffee and can choose between two local chocolate producers — Guittard and Recchiuti — for my caffe mocha. They also have a grab and go coffee for $2.00 if you’re in a hurry. Finally, I don’t really like pastries, but the Kouign Amann by Starter Bakery in Oakland, is not to be missed.

MA-VelousMA•Velous by Jason

As an aussie I am very particular about my espresso, the team at MA get it right every time and they are always happy. Perfect spot for a quick catch up or meeting.

IMG_3852Maybe @ SightGlassSight Glass by Eugene

It’s one of my favorite for ambiance (modern and clean), but definitely my favorite coffee. As a surgeon I have to put quality of work first and Sight Glass takes the cake. You walk in and to the left there are bikes hanging from the wall…I recommend not hanging your dog, but some folks tie leashes to the bike hangers. On the right there is a massive coffee roaster, a real treat when its running. The staff are great and all very passionate about their craft. One of the investors is Jack Dorsey, Founder of Twitter and Square. Go here and let me know how you like it on Nomaders. I’ll let you in on a little local secret…before you order, go upstairs…it’s not just people working.

Contraband by Abby

I can’t decide what I like more about Contraband- the coffee or the empanadas. The staff is friendly, there is always plenty of seating, and great tunes playing! Oh, did I mention the empanadas rock

Screen Shot 2014-07-07 at 8.32.03 AMRitual Coffee Roasters by Anne @anne_elizabeth

Ritual’s flagship location is in one of my favorite areas of SF, on Valencia St. in the Mission. It’s obvious from one sip that they are masters of the art of coffee – the flavor is sweet, rich, and possibly life-changing. I particularly love their cold brew over ice on a hot day! I also have a thing for the macadamia almond latte at Saint Frank.

Trouble Coffee by Wes

The absolute best thing about Trouble Coffee in the Outer Sunset is the sheer simplicity of it. Very small, phenomenal coffee, out of this world cinnamon and sugar toast, and friendly service! Having a cool place to sit on the street and look at the ocean doesn’t hurt either. Totally recommend starting your adventure in the Sunset at Trouble!

photo 3photo 2Coffee Cultures by Paul

Simple Financial District gem surrounded by every chain in the country. I feel bad for the tourists and suburban business folks who find comfort in the familiar as I sit in Coffee Cultures window or out side on those rarely warm days drinking a truly well balance cappuccino. You might also go for the raspberry muffin…trust me! Here you will find a healthy mix of entrepreneurs because just upstairs is one of San Francisco’s leading Technology Campus’s – Rocket Space.

Reveille Coffee by Hidemi

Excellent coffee CHECK. Killer space with outdoor seating CHECK. Kale salad CHECK. Get the Kale Salad!

Honorable mention to Philz. Philz is one of the best cups of coffee you’ll ever have, but this post is more about espresso machines…plus we don’t have a Local Hero for you Phil :(

Watch Out for the POPO(S)!

photo 3 (2)Have you ever heard of POPOS? I hadn’t either until our Local Hero, Anne, took me to one for our first meeting. P.O.P.O.S = Privately Owned Public Open Spaces. “1985 Downtown Plan [San Francisco] created the first systemic requirements for developers to provide publicly accessible open space as a part of projects in C-3 Districts. The goal was to “provide in the downtown quality open space in sufficient quantity and variety to meet the needs of downtown workers, residents and visitors.” - SF Planning Department 

Many of these buildings don’t want to sacrifice the space for this; which, is great for us, because it means that they get clever…many POPOS are absolutely beautiful rooftops that most locals don’t even know exist. I took a fellow Local Hero, Sofia, to check out a few of my favorites. Contact either of these Local Heroes if visiting San Francisco!