03/07/14 2:00pm

HalcyonaireOakland’s Halyconaire plays dark country rock that channels both the intensity of the Bay Area and the loneliness of vast desert landscapes

Welcome back to Untapped Cities’ Listen series. Today, we profile Oakland-based band Halyconaire, one of the most interesting bands performing in the Bay Area scene right now.  Writing dark country rock that evokes the solitude and eerie, expansive beauty of the Southwestern deserts, they are a band that is keenly attuned to the natural and manmade influences of their environment.

After recently relocating to Oakland from the San Diego suburb of Escondido, CA, Halcyonaire’s singer and songwriter Chris Damien talked to Untapped Cities about the the song that tells the story of their migration, the outdoor performance space they would love to build, and the taco trucks where you can find a member of their band on any given day.


02/24/14 2:00pm

Welcome back to Untapped Cities’ Listen series. Today, we profile San Francisco based Mikal Cronin, who has been getting widespread recognition for his skillfully crafted, smart, catchy power pop. Here, he shares about his dream music venue, feeling overwhelmed in the city, and where to get the best piece of Ninja Turtle style pizza in San Francisco.

UC: How does San Francisco influence your music?

MC: I feel like San Francisco is a very interesting place culturally and artistically, and obviously has a lot of history of creative people. Now, there is so much of everything in a relatively small area and it feels like the environment changes almost from street to street. (more…)

02/12/14 2:00pm

Like many cities, San Francisco has its secrets, some of which have long been enjoyed by locals and tourists alike, and others that require a little more digging. From a park with incredible views to obscure swimming holes, here are five of the San Francisco Bay area’s lesser known attractions to satisfy the urban explorer within you.

For Views: Mount Tamalpais State Park

mount tamalpais-mount tam-park-san francisco-marin-brennan ortiz-untapped citiesView of the Marin Hills and the San Francisco Bay as seen from Mount Tamalpais State Park. Photo via Leor Pantilat’s Adventures.

Mount Tam (as many San Franciscans call it) may not be in the city’s center, but this is exactly why the mountain’s stellar views and general whereabouts are somewhat more obscure to the average park goer. Just north of the Golden Gate in nearby Marin County, Mount Tamalpais State Park offers visitors an abundance of redwood groves and oak woodlands along with over 50 miles of hiking and bicycle trails.  (more…)

01/11/14 9:30am

Tracy Zhang Untapped Cities contributor profile

This week we profile Untapped contributor Tracy Zhang, a travel photographer who has taken us to San Francisco’s Chinatown, the Avatar mountains in China, Copenhagen, Budapest and shown us how to eat like a local in San Francisco.

What’s your “day job”? 

I work in marketing for a tech company in the Silicon Valley, which means I help promote our products and get people to try it.

What’s your favorite Untapped spot in your city? 

There’s this pie shop in my neighborhood that I’ve written about called Chile Pies. I was never big on pies but I love going there. They have such soft crust, savory fillings, and this great green chile sauce that is served on the side. Makes for a great afternoon snack.


01/08/14 1:00pm


San Francisco boasts the largest Chinatown outside of Asia and the oldest Chinatown in North America. Since its establishment in 1848, Chinatown has played an influential role in the history and culture of San Francisco, drawing more tourists each year than San Francisco’s iconic Golden Gate Bridge.We enlisted the help of Ryan Russo, founder of Walk SF Tours to show us the history of Chinatown and the Chinese community in San Francisco. To truly understand Chinatown and its significance to San Francisco, we must look past the red lanterns and dragon sculptures, and delve into the history of the area and the people that live there.


12/03/13 2:00pm


San Francisco boasts delicious and ethnically diverse cuisine, with the Mexican influences in the Mission district, the dim sum spots in Chinatown, and the Italian flavors of North Beach. But lately, there is another San Francisco neighborhood that has been on our culinary radar – North Panhandle. To find out the must-visit food spots in the area, we went on the NoPa/Alamo Square food tour with Gourmet Walks where their food experts introduced us to the local favorites in the neighborhood. Here are some local highlights to check out: