San Francisco

The World’s Best Candy Stores

This store is as close as you can get to a real-life Willy Wonka experience without wrangling some umpa lumpas and opening a shop yourself

Travelers with a sweet tooth weakness, do not proceed any further in this post. What follows is Spot Cool Stuff’s selection of the 6 most interesting-looking, diabetes-inducing candy stores. A trip to any one for these shops (well, except for the last one) is likely to result in a sugar overdose. Ye be warned.

Note: These are all primarily candy stores. We’ve reviewed our favorite chocolate stores in a separate post.

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Exploring SF’s Interactive Exploratorium

At most museums exhibits are behind glass cases and velvet ropes and DO NOT TOUCH signs. Not so at the Exploratorium, San Francisco’s interactive playhouse dedicated to the science of psychology and perception.

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Eating In The Dark

Here’s a restaurant theme you didn’t see coming: darkness.

The concept of purposefully eating in complete pitch-black dark originated with Jorge Spielmann, a blind clergyman from Zurich. When guests ate dinner at the Spielmann house some would wear blindfolds during their meal to show solidarity with their host and to better understand his world. What Spielmann’s sighted guests found was that the blindfolds heightened their sense of taste and smell and made their dining experience more enjoyable. That gave Spielmann the idea to open a dark restaurant, which he did in 1999.

Today you can stumble into dozens restaurants around the world where that question made famous in an American commercial in the 80s — Where’s the beef? — takes on a whole new meaning. Most dark restaurants employ blind waiters, offer a single set menu, and ban anything that could give off light (like cigarettes, cell phones and cameras) from the dinning area. All of them also have normally lit bathrooms though you’ll need to ask your waiter for help in finding it.

Here’s our illuminating look at some of the world’s dark restaurants:

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The Most Fun Hotel In San Francisco

Spot Cool Stuff strives to be objective in all our reviews. That’s nearly impossible for us when it comes to the Hotel Triton. This fun, boutique hotel at the edge of San Fancisco’s Chinatown has a special place in our heart. In our early adulthood we spent many nights here while working on a consulting project. It was the first high design hotel we stayed at and our home base for exploring the city by the Bay.

Thereafter our travels did not take us back to San Francisco for six years. When we returned we decided to stay at the Triton again. After we checked in we found a handwritten note in our upgraded room that read: Where have you been for the last six years? We’ve missed you!

How can you not love service like that!?

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San Francisco’s Whimsical, Luxurious Hotel Monaco

Where serious whimsy meets serious luxury, the Hotel Monaco is a decadent, silly place ideal for fun-loving sorts who don’t mind smaller rooms and the lack of an all-out gym. All the rooms in the renovated 1910 Beaux Arts building have loads of character and include canopy beds draped in romantic fabrics and stripes. Trompe l’oeil murals, such as the cloudscape in the lobby, add a touch of magic to the hotel’s public spaces.

Most hotels would have stopped there, but the Hotel Monaco goes far beyond with dozens of tiny flourishes, such as yoga accessories, Frette robes, Aveda bath goodies, and even a goldfish of your very own for the duration of your stay. Pop down to the living room in the morning for free coffee, and in the afternoon for fresh cookies. Return later for wine, cheese, a tarot reading, and a neck rub. Take the hotel’s complimentary town car to one of the nearby shopping areas. Or free your inner rock star in the Grace Slick Suite, packed with original artwork and memorabilia from Jefferson Starship and Jefferson Airplane.

BOOK | READ San Franciscos Whimsical, Luxurious Hotel Monaco | FLY THERE
 San Franciscos Whimsical, Luxurious Hotel Monaco

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