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The San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau can mail you brochures, maps, and festivals and events listings. Once you're in town, you can stop by the bureau's information center near Union Square. Information about the Wine Country, redwood groves, and northwestern California is available at the California Welcome Center on Pier 39.

The Berkeley Convention and Visitors Bureau provides an extensive events calendar and detailed suggestions. The Oakland Convention and Visitors Bureau also has an informative website; click on the "Visitors" link to download the free 60-page guide or have it sent by mail. For information about Marin County and the state and national parks within it, visit the Marin County, California Visitors Bureau in San Rafael or online at www.visitmarin.org.

The California Travel and Tourism Commission provides free visitor information and itinerary planners for the entire state.

Contacts

San Francisco Visitor Information Center (Hallidie Plaza, lower level, 900 Market St., at Powell St., Union Square, San Francisco, CA, 94102. 415/391–2000 TDD. www.onlyinsanfrancisco.com.)

Metro Area

Berkeley Convention and Visitors Bureau (2030 Addison St., Suite 102, Berkeley, CA, 94704. 800/847–4823 or 510/549–7040. www.visitberkeley.com.)

Marin County, California Visitors Bureau (1 Mitchell Blvd., Suite B, at Redwood Hwy., San Rafael, CA, 94903. 415/925–2060 or 866/925–2060. www.visitmarin.org.)

San Jose Convention and Visitors Bureau (408 Almaden Blvd., at Balbach St., San Jose, CA, 95110. 800/726–5673 or 408/295–9600. www.sanjose.org.)

State

California Travel and Tourism Commission (Sacramento, CA, 95812. 877/225–4367 or 916/444–4429. www.visitcalifornia.com.)

California Welcome Center (2nd level, Pier 39, San Francisco, CA, 94133. 415/981–1280. www.visitcwc.com.)

Online Resources

This comprehensive website, www.sanfrancisco.com, contains links to local restaurants, cultural institutions, and even government agencies in and around the city.

For local politics and news, there's the online presence of the major daily newspaper, www.sfgate.com as well as www.fogcityjournal.com. Current arts and cultural events are detailed on the extensive events calendar of www.sfstation.com or the San Francisco Chronicle's online entertainment pages, www.sfgate.com/entertainment.

For more cost-conscious, on-the-pulse guidance, visit sf.funcheap.com. You can browse articles from San Francisco Magazine, a monthly glossy, at www.modernluxury.com/san-francisco. The annual summer issues on "bests" (restaurants, activities, and so on) are handy overviews. SF Weekly's site, www.sfweekly.com, makes for good browsing.

Where's the Wi-Fi? Click on www.wififreespot.com to see where you can log on in the Bay Area for free.