If you mention to friends that you're headed to a convention at the Cow Palace, they'll probably suggest all kinds of San Francisco Bay Area excursions. The wine country tours of Sonoma and Napa are always popular, and the coastal hiking in Point Reyes National Seashore offers plenty of exercise to shake off the rust from those long meetings. Hopping on BART can take you across the bay to the college town fun of Berkeley or for lunch at all the new restaurants popping-up in revitalized Oakland.
But don't feel you have to head far north or east from the Cow Palace to find the best attractions in the Bay Area. If you head south instead, you'll find the dramatic coast of San Mateo County has all kinds of sights to offer. For example, an unforgettable day would include the gorgeous drive down Highway 1 through the brand new tunnel, with a stop for a Pacific view at the Montara Lighthouse and a day of shopping, eating and sightseeing at lovely Half-Moon Bay. If you don't have that kind of time away from your conference, consider a quick drive to nearby Pacifica and whale-watching right off of Mori Point.
If you're in town near the Cow Palace and need a break - and don't want to get stuck in the traffic on the Golden Gate or Bay Bridge - skip the traffic and the tolls by checking out our list below.