Most people who have visited San Francisco know Alcatraz, the famous prison island where history’s most notorious criminals were locked up. But other islands in the San Francisco Bay also deserve their share of the attention. Treasure Island, an artificial island northwest of the city centre built for the World’s Fair in 1939, is one of San Francisco’s least discovered neighbourhoods.
The unique view of San Francisco’s skyline is one of the best reasons to visit Treasure Island. Another is the huge flea market, Treasure Island Flea, which takes place the last weekend of every month. Last but not least: Treasure Island is California’s smallest wine region with no less than 15 wine producers within an area of just over two square kilometres.
The wine. Urban wineries are popular in San Francisco and Treasure Island is ahead of the game. There are 15 urban winemakers at Treasure Island – partly because the island’s climate is well-suited for wine production. Most urban wineries are open on weekends, and many are concentrated in the two cooperatives Treasure Island Wines and Bodega Wine Estates.
Sottomarino Winery has just opened the island’s most unique tasting room in a submarine-like room that was used for military exercises during WW2. Funnily enough Sottomarino means ‘submarine’ in Italian. The owners’ vision is to create authentic Italian wines in the middle of San Francisco. There are tastings every Saturday and Sunday from 12-5 PM.
Treasure hunt. Last weekend of every month the flea market on Treasure Island attracts up to 15,000 vintage treasure hunters in search of vintage finds, rare LPs, and old porcelain. Food trucks selling everything from mini burgers to Indian street food are lined up. There is also live music, scavenger hunts for adults, and fun activities for children.
The World’s Fair. There is not much left on the island that bears witness to the World’s Fair in 1939, but the exciting Treasure Island Museum offers a good insight into the island’s fascinating history. The museum is housed in one of the original buildings from the 1930s, and the beautiful Art Deco lobby gives a sense of how impressive the exhibition once looked.
Concerts. Treasure Island Festival is held every year in October with the San Francisco Bay and the city’s beautiful skyline as a backdrop to world-class pop music concerts. This year, the festival takes place on the 18th and 19th of October, with OutKast, Janella Monae and even Danish MØ as part of the line-up.
Area: 233 hectares (2.33 square kilometres)
Getting there: The easiest way to get to Treasure Island is by car. Bay Bridge connects the island to the city. It is also possible to take bus 108 from the centre.