• AAO 2019: Inspire!

    Moscone Center, San Francisco
    October 12 - 15

    Be inspired by the natural beauty of the Pacific Ocean and the Bay, the majesty of the Golden Gate Bridge and Coit Tower, and the convergence of ophthalmologists from around the world at AAO 2019.

    Find Your Inspiration

    Watch this short video to see how your friends and colleagues are inspired by the Academy’s annual meeting.

    Getting There and Getting Around

    View travel information. Once you are in town you must experience the famous cable cars and street cars. These vintage cars bring riders to Fisherman’s Wharf, Union Square, the Castro district, Chinatown, Nob Hill, Jackson Square, North Beach, Telegraph Hill, Coit Tower and more.


    There is always something to do, see or experience in San Francisco. Learn more about the neighborhood that surrounds Moscone Center and what is happening there. 

    Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
    Oct. 4 - 6, Golden Gate Park
    Love free music? Come to the Bay Area early to experience an eclectic three-day music festival that is a local tradition.

    Yerba Buena Night
    Oct. 12, 5 – 9:30 p.m., Jessie Square
    Experience an evening of free performance and visual arts, located within walking distance of Moscone Center.

    Italian Heritage Parade
    Oct. 13, 12:30 p.m.
    Since 1869 the Italian Heritage Parade has helped to celebrate the accomplishments and culture of all Italians and Italian-Americans. The parade begins at the foot of Jefferson and Powell Streets in Fisherman’s Wharf, proceeds south through North Beach on Columbus Avenue and ends in Washington Square in front of Saints Peter and Paul Church.

    San Francisco Fleet Week
    Oct. 6 - 14
    An annual public event that honors the contributions of the men and women of the United States Armed Forces, Fleet Week is made up of dozens of events and tours taking place throughout the day.


    The San Francisco Bay Area music scene truly inspires. From intimate settings to symphony halls, visit these fabulous venues:

    San Francisco Opera
    While you are in town take in Mozart’s comedy Le nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro).

    SFJAZZ Center 
    This amazing space is a music venue, a laboratory, a school and a destination.

    The Fillmore
    Known as the place to hear music in the 1960s, The Fillmore actually opened in 1912. It remains a wonderful place to catch the best musical acts in town – and to eat free apples.

    Great American Music Hall
    Built in 1907, the Great American Music Hall is a venerable institution as well as a contemporary venue featuring a wide variety of musical acts.


    The Academy encourages attendees, including their spouses and guests, to explore San Francisco. The Academy is no longer offering a specific tour program.

    The San Francisco Visitor Information Center (VIC) is ready to help you with attraction tickets and tours. Email requests to vicleads@sftravel.com or visit the VIC in Moscone Center, South, Lobby.

    You can also find many tours online through Viator or peruse TimeOut San Francisco's list of the 12 Best San Francisco Tours. Ready to step back in time? Try Emperor Norton's Fantastic San Francisco Time Machine where "Emperor Norton" himself leads you on walking tours of San Francisco.

    Alcatraz and Adventures on the Bay

    Alcatraz, part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, is not only an infamous former federal prison. It has a rich history both before and after Al Capone's stay on the island. If you would like to visit Alcatraz you will need to book ferry tickets. Alcatraz frequently sells out in advance so book your tickets early.

    Can't get to Alcatraz? You can explore the entire San Francisco Bay by ferry:

    • The San Francisco Bay Ferry provides services from the San Francisco Ferry Building and Pier 41/Fisherman’s Wharf to the cities of Alameda, Oakland, Vallejo and South San Francisco.
    • The Golden Gate Ferry runs between the San Francisco Ferry Building and the cities of Sausalito and Larkspur.
    • The Blue & Gold Fleet provides ferry services between Pier 41 (adjacent to Pier 39) and the cities of Tiburon and Sausalito. In addition they provide cruises and ferries to Angel Island.

    There are also many day and evening cruises available to enjoy the bay:

    Find reviews of cruises and bay tours at TripAdvisor.


    San Francisco has many world class art, science and fun museums for the whole family throughout the city. You can even find your inspiration within walking distance of Moscone Center:

    Read U.S. News and World Reports' list of 6 Can't-Miss San Francisco Museums


    Did you know that 57 restaurants in the Bay Area have earned one or more of the prestigious Michelin stars, which recognize restaurants and their chefs for providing “exceptional cuisine”?

    In fact, San Francisco has more three-starred restaurants than New York City. One of these restaurants, Atelier Crenn, is headed by chef Dominique Crenn. She is the first female chef in the United States to earn three stars. Seats are limited at these high-demand restaurants and reservations are a must.

    You can review Zagat's list of the 50 best restaurants in the City, then make a reservation with Open Table.

    The San Francisco Visitor Information Center (VIC) is also ready to help you with restaurant reservations. Email requests to vicleads@sftravel.com or visit the VIC in Moscone Center, South, Lobby.


    San Francisco is both eclectic and traditional, equally a home to classic and counterculture. Nowhere is it more evident than in the stores surrounding the Moscone Center and official Academy hotels. Be sure to carve out some time to check out the deals and steals in these shopping districts:

    • Westfield San Francisco Centre: This multi-level shopping center in walking distance from Moscone Center contains many eateries and stores including Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Michael Kors and Coach. It is even open late.
    • Union Square: THE downtown shopping area. Home to Macy’s, Sak’s and Nieman Marcus, among many others.
    • Grant Avenue: Grant Avenue starts at the famous Union Square and leads you through Chinatown, all the way to North Beach. Along the way you can find trinkets at stores like the Canton Bazaar, bakeries with a variety of sweets, musical instruments from across the globe and so much more.
    • Fillmore Street: A beautiful shopping destination where you will find cafés, restaurants, brand names and local boutiques. The shopping district runs from The Fillmore music venue on Geary Boulevard, up to the magnificent homes of Pacific Heights on Jackson Street.
    • Ferry Building Marketplace: Located along the Embarcadero where Market Street meets the bay, the Ferry Building is both a working transportation hub for ferries and a space committed “to the artisan food community.” You can sample local produce and wine, as well as take in an author’s talk in the bookstore and dinner on the water.
    • Pier 39: Fun for all ages, you are sure to find the perfect San Francisco souvenir on the pier. Don’t miss the sea lions lounging in the sun!

    Find more information about the best shopping in San Francisco from Trip Advisor.

    Enjoy the Whole Bay Area

    San Francisco is more than just the City by the Bay — it is part of the nine-county Bay Area, stretching from vineyards in Sonoma County to past San Jose, the third-largest city in California. You can travel along the coast then take a hike into the mountains.  Come a few days early or remain a few extra days after AAO 2019 to explore the entire region:

    See the excursions recommended by Lonely Planet.


    October is one of the best months to visit San Francisco. Fall is typically the warmest time of year with an average high temperature of 70°F (21°C) and an average low of 55°F (13°C).


    San Francisco is in the Pacific Time Zone. In October, the Pacific Time Zone is -7h UTC/GMT.