If you're going to San Francisco, you'll definitely want to take along a copy of the sleekly hip RealCity/San Francisco by Kristine Carber et al. This compact guide, which promises to put you ahead of the crowd, is written by locals and logically organized into four sections: a city primer that gives an overview of San Francisco and Bay Area lifestyles, top attractions and major events; eight themed chapters of listings covering eating, shopping, drinks, sights and stays (and cross-referenced to maps); a handy street finder; and indices. Artful four-color photography adds further interest to the tell it like it is text and amusing, informative sidebars. And you'll be up to speed on real-time San Francisco because RealCity/SF is linked to a website that keeps careful track of what's hot and what's not in the City by the Bay. RealCity guides are also available for Chicago and New York.

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