Super Bowl tourist guide: Fun activities for February

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By Elizabeth Xu
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Ah, San Francisco in February—the time for beaches, sun and more beaches, right? Maybe some days, if you wear a light jacket. Other days the city gets some much-needed rain, so you'd better plan a few indoor activities, too. Whatever the weather there's still plenty to do, indoors and out, and winter's a great time to visit because there are generally fewer people around.

Here are five San Francisco activities you shouldn't miss in February:

Check out a sea lion or two (or 50)
Late summer to late spring is prime time for spotting Pier 39's famous sea lions. There's always plenty of action going on, so whether a few sea lions are fighting or one is just being particularly vocal, you're guaranteed some type of entertainment.

Celebrate the New Year in Chinatown
As the oldest and largest Chinatown in the United States, this one celebrates Chinese New Year in style. Some of the activities you could see includes a festive parade, the Miss Chinatown U.S.A. pageant or a street fair. Of course, the dates of celebration vary so be sure to see if they align with your travel dates. If not, you can still visit and enjoy eating fantastic Chinese food and learning about the culture.

Visit the Golden Gate
Yes, February can be a little chilly, rainy and windy, but that shouldn't stop you from visiting the Golden Gate Bridge. Whether you take a quick drive across or stop and stay a while, it's hard to imagine not taking at least a peek at this icon. Consider visiting later in the day when there's less likely to be fog obstructing the view.

Have an inside plan
San Francisco is known for its gorgeous views and outdoor activities, but there's plenty to do indoors, too. Keep a couple of these places in mind on the days rain just won't seem to let up.
Art lovers can head to the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, which offers both Asian art and Asian dining in their café. Located in Golden Gate Park, the California Academy of Sciences has plenty of educational exhibits of kids and adults, including an earthquake simulator. You should also consider a visit to San Francisco City Hall, which is likely much more fancy than the one in your town, and even offers public tours on weekdays.

Head to The Rock
Summer is probably the time to see Alcatraz Island at its prime, but that's also when it's most crowded. February will offer fewer people and ferry tickets that aren't all booked up 90 days in advance. Dress for the weather, and if you're concerned about the cold know that the ferry offers indoor seating.

Elizabeth Xu is an Ohio-based freelance travel writer. She recently called the San Francisco Bay Area home and loved exploring the city to discover its secrets. Follow her travels @ElizabethMXu.

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