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San Francisco: The Unknown City Paperback – October 1, 2005

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Editorial Reviews


San Francisco: The Unknown City, is an alternative guidebook listing one-of-a-kind stores, hidden nightspots like a private karaoke room in Japan Town and offbeat tours.
Associated Press (Associated Press)

Arsenal Pulp's Unknown City books take you to places where Fodor's editors dare not go. With its offbeat, often scandalous history, San Francisco seems a prime candidate for the series. San Francisco: The Unknown City doesn't disappoint. Insiders Helene Goupil and Josh Krist escort readers on tours of the city's hidden nooks and dark crannies. Gangland massacres, multilevel sex clubs, even active opium dens and (blush) private karaoke rooms! Along the way, the good-natured coauthors offer tips on secret dining pleasures and bargain shopping secrets.
—Editors, Barnes & Noble (Barnes & Noble)

One guidebook is never enough for a single trip. Frommer's is great for pre-departure planning. Some swear by Lonely Planet or Let's Go to help them find accommodation as they travel. But LP's forte is nuts-and-bolts information, not embellishment, so it makes pretty dry beach reading. Vancouver's own Arsenal Pulp Press fills this void with its Unknown City series. The books don't advise on where to stay, how to get around, or list the top sightseeing spots. Rather, they act like a friend who lives in the city you're visiting. They tell you the really juicy stuff.
The Georgia Straight (Carolyn Ali Georgia Straight)

The Unknown City series of alternative guides provides a fine focus on San Francisco, the hotbed of alternative culture in the 1960s, and identifies neighbourhoods and places which reflect the city's hidden history and cultures. From the gay mecca Castro Street to offbeat museums, the scene of a duel camping in the city, unique studios and performing arts venues, and more, it's fairly certain much of the attractions listed in San Francisco: The Unknown City won't be listed in your standard travel guide.
Midwest Book Review (Midwest Book Review)

About the Author

Josh Krist is the publisher of InsideOut Travel Magazine, a bimonthly online travel publication that caters to the traveler/adventurer at heart. InsideOut also publishes pop-up mini-guidebooks. An avid traveler, Josh has more than ten years of editing, reporting and writing experience. He is based in San Francisco. Helene Goupil is the founding editor of Inside Out Travel Magazine, a bimonthly online travel publication that caters to the traveler/adventurer at heart. Inside Out also publishes pop-up mini-guidebooks. Helene is based in San Francisco.

Product Details

  • Series: The Unknown City
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press (October 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1551521881
  • ISBN-13: 978-1551521886
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #406,086 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By David Burgin on December 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is not a typical guidebook for the traveler. Most of those books are little more than directories of hotels, restaurants, tourist destinations and shopping areas. By contrast, this is the kind of book I could imagine even a non-traveler curious about San Francisco might sit down to read. One would probably know more after merely reading this book than after traveling to San Francisco and rushing around a few touristy areas, camera in hand. In an engaging narrative voice, the authors flesh out the locations with background details and historical context. The emphasis is less on the "must see" tourist locations that the business traveler might squeeze in after his convention is over, and more on the elements that make San Francisco the unique place that it is for those who live there. Make no mistake, practical details about the places covered are not ignored. The main text covers both these details and the bigger picture of what makes each location worth visiting. Smaller sidebar entries are like footnotes, dropping in little bits of trivia along the way. There are plenty of photos and quirky iconic illustrations ventilating the text throughout the book. Highly recommended as an alternative to the mainstream travel guides out there.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Oliver on January 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
I like the "Unknown City" series, I've used the New York and Vancouver book before. San Francisco is one of my favorite cities, and I've been there enough times to think this book couldn't tell me much. Boy, was I wrong. What I liked is that one the one hand it hit all the big highlights of all the main, and not so well known neighborhoods, but what was really neat is this "guidebook" is really a bunch of short stories--I knew there were colorful and crazy people in this city, but I had no idea that these people have been here since it first began. I really enjoyed it, and as someone how has a lot of guidebooks, this is a great book on an even greater city. Oh, and although some of the photography was just picturtes of what places (especially hard-to-find ones) looked like from the street, some of the photography was really funky and cool.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jim Petersen on May 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
San Francisco: The Uknown City is not like the big name travel guides to SF such as Fodor's, Frommer's, etc...

Instead of the typical guidebook that only recommends seeing obvious sights such as the golden gate bridge, coit tower and pier 39, The Unknown City highlights museums, bookstores, restaurants, and other attractions of the city by the bay that may not be as well known as they should be. The Uknown City makes for great reading,and lots of interesting factoids about the city are dispersed throughout. As a SF resident, I am constantly learning new and interesting facts about my city as a result of this book. I have recommended this to friends and family as a required book to purchase before their visit to SF, and all of them have later thanked me for it. If you are planning on visiting San Francisco or if you've been a resident for years and wish to learn more about SF from a different perspective, then this book is for you!
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