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2012 ASCB Annual Meeting

Local Area Information

San Francisco is one of the top tourist destinations in the United States; famous for scenic beauty, cultural attractions, diverse communities, and world-class cuisine. San Francisco’s landmarks include the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz, Chinatown, Union Square, and North Beach.

Located at the edge of the city’s dynamic South of Market district, the Moscone Center is just four blocks from Union Square, the City’s vibrant shopping district and the Powell Street cable car station to Nob Hill, Chinatown, and Fisherman’s Wharf. Bay Area Rapid Transit system (BART) and Muni Metro stations are within two blocks. Delicious restaurants are everywhere.

For more information about San Francisco, or other nearby pleasures in Northern California, visit the ASCB San Francisco Travel Website.


San Francisco is a city with temperate, though unpredictable, weather. You should bring layers of clothing and be sure to have a sweater, jacket, or coat as well as an umbrella. Average temperatures in December range from a maximum of 57°F / 19°C to a low of 46°F / 7.77°C. The average rainfall is 3.5”/ 9 cm.

To get a more timely sense of the weather, visit the weather page on SF Gate, a local news source for the Bay Area. You will find information about current conditions, as well as a five-day forecast.


The average restaurant tip is 15-18% of the total check and is not included in the check. The average taxi tip is 15% of the fare. And airport and hotel baggage handlers should receive $1 per bag.

Sales Tax

The sales tax is 8.5%; hotel rates in San Francisco do not include a 14% occupancy tax, a 1.5% Tourism Improvement District (TID) assessment fee, or a $0.25 per day commerce tax, subject to change.


Smoking is permitted only in designated smoking areas. It is illegal to smoke tobacco products in any public gathering space in California, including parks, restaurants, bars, stores, and office buildings.

Safety Tips

Walk “smart” when you leave the Moscone Center:

  • Know your destination and the best way to reach it.
  • Travel along sidewalks in lighted areas at night, and don’t walk alone.
  • Establish a “buddy” system with another attendee.
  • Share schedules and check up on each other periodically.
  • Build your awareness of unknown surroundings by reviewing local information.
  • Secure your laptop computer, which is an attractive, easy target for thieves.
  • Women can wear jackets with pockets instead of carrying a handbag that might get lost or stolen.


The City’s Outdoor Warning System is designed to alert residents and visitors of San Francisco about possible danger. Specific emergency announcements can be broadcast over any one of the 65 sirens which are located on poles and on top of buildings throughout all neighborhoods in San Francisco, Treasure Island, and Yerba Buena. They are tested at noon every Tuesday.

During the weekly test, the siren emits a single 15 second alert tone, similar to an emergency vehicle siren. In the event of a disaster, the 15 second alert tone will sound repeatedly for 5 minutes

If you hear the siren at a time other than its regular test on Tuesday at noon:

  • Stop what you are doing.
  • Stay calm.
  • Listen for possible voice announcements.
  • Turn on the radio or television, (such as KCBS 740AM, KQED 88.5 FM) for important information provided by the City.
  • Avoid using the telephone. Do not call 9-1-1, unless you have a life-threatening emergency.

What to do in an earthquake?

If you are indoors when shaking starts:

  • “DROP, COVER AND HOLD ON.” If you are not near a strong table or desk, drop to the floor against an interior wall and cover your head and neck with your arms.
  • Avoid windows, hanging objects, mirrors, tall furniture, large appliances and cabinets filled with heavy objects.
  • Do not try to run out of the structure during strong shaking.
  • If you are downtown, it is safer to remain inside a building after an earthquake unless there is a fire or gas leak. There are no open areas in downtown San Francisco far enough from glass or other falling debris to be considered safe refuge sites. Glass from high-rise buildings does not always fall straight down; it can catch a wind current and travel great distances.
  • If you are in bed, stay there and cover your head with a pillow.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • If you use a wheelchair, lock the wheels and cover your head.

If you are outdoors when shaking starts:

  • Move to a clear area if you can safely walk. Avoid power lines, buildings and trees.
  • If you’re driving, pull to the side of the road and stop. Avoid stopping under overhead hazards
  • If you are on the beach, move to higher ground. An earthquake can cause a tsunami.

Once the earthquake shaking stops:

  • Check the people around you for injuries; provide first aid. Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger.
  • Check around you for dangerous conditions, such as fires, downed power lines and structure damage.
  • If you have fire extinguishers and are trained to use them, put out small fires immediately.

If you are trapped in debris:

  • Move as little as possible so that you don’t kick up dust. Cover your nose and mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.
  • Tap on a pipe or wall so that rescuers can hear where you are. Use a whistle if one is available. Shout only as a last resort.

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