If you're researching from afar, here are several websites that can help you do some of your planning about contemporary events taking place in the "cool grey city of love."

SFGate – The online arm of the San Francisco Chronicle, the major newspaper of the city. A great source for local news, movie listings, searchable restaurant reviews, including The Chronicle 100 top restaurants, Bargain Bites, etc.  Look for " 96 hours" for upcoming entertainment, museum, gallery and performing arts listings.

San Francisco Magazine’s website and special features on the city.

SFWeekly – The online version of the San Francisco Weekly, one of two weekly alternative newspapers. Contains information about concerts, gallery openings and events in San Francisco.

San Francisco Guide - Explore San Francisco travel itineraries, attractions and activities. Create customized itineraries and book online. 

San Francisco Bay Guardian - The online version of the San Francisco Bay Guardian, the city's first alternative weekly newspaper. Contains information about concerts, gallery openings and events in San Francisco, as well as investigative reporting on the city.

Schmap San Francisco Guide - A free & funky Web 2.0 kind of downloadable guidebook featuring dynamic maps (that you can zoom around on with your mouse & print out), thousands of directory listings, playable tours, restaurant reviews, photos, etc.

San Francisco Citysearch – Dining and entertainment guide and review site. 

SF Station – listings for local attractions, bars, restaurants etc.

Books to help you get in the mood

"The San Francisco Century: A City Rises from the Ruins of the 1906 Earthquake and Fire," by Carl Nolte, a San Francisco native and San Francisco Chronicle reporter. After Herb Caen, Nolte is probably the city's quintessential journalist, as inextricably linked with San Francisco, its history and traditions, as no other.

A good solid guidebook for visiting San Francisco and Marin County is the Golden Gate Trailblazer: Where to Hike, Walk, Bike in San Francisco and Marin. It includes the ferry system, all the coastal trails and is written by San Francisco natives.

Recommended Viewing

It has been said that all cities have their secrets, but none are a dark as San Francisco’s.  To get a feel for the mystery associated with this fog-covered town, and its halo-ed streetlights and dark alleys, watch any of the classic “noir” films that took place in the City by the Bay.  The most famous are The Maltese Falcon, starring Humphrey Bogart, and Vertigo, directed by Alfred Hitchcock.  Other great movies shot in the San Francisco include: Bullitt, featuring Steve McQueen’s famous -- and improbable -- car chase over the city’s hills; Dirty Harry, staring Clint Eastwood; The Game, with Michael Douglas; and the classic, D.O.A. Don't forget Pacific Heights. On the small screen, one generation loved the hard-boiled cops in The Streets of San Francisco. The next watched hard boiled cops a la Nash Bridges.

Last but certainly not least, stop by  the TA forum for San Francisco and check in with the Local Experts and fellow travelers for the latest info on The City.