Even if you're not a devotee of haute couture, the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit at the de Young Museum is an opportunity to almost rub shoulders with the gorgeous Gaultier gown worn by actress Marion Cotillard at the 2008 Academy Awards (180 hours in the making) or one of Madonna's many corsets.
There's no dress code for the exhibit which runs through Aug. 19 but you'll honor the mood by sporting something more stylish than Crocs and a backpack. Your best ballet flats (for comfort) and jeans will do.
Make your whole visit stylish, while you're at it. And make it a full day or a weekend.
In the museum gift shop, grab one of the $25 T-shirts with Gaultier's illustration as a souvenir.
We tapped Laurie Armstrong, director of media relations for the San Francisco Travel Association, for ideas for a Gaultier- inspired visit.
"In San Francisco, everything is so compact. You can stay close by (the de Young) or stay downtown and still not have to drive," she said. "So if you're in an artsy, fashionable mood, which is perfect for this exhibit, you can match that with places to eat and shop and stay."
She suggests strolling the neighborhood of Irving Street and Ninth Avenue, or as the locals call it "Inner Sunset."
"It's very charming, with a thriving street scene and cool nightlife," Armstrong said. "A great place to knock around."
She recommends eating in neighborhood restaurants. While in San Francisco, Gaultier was spotted noshing at the Foreign Cinema (2534 Mission St.) with its industrial-chic setting and a menu that combines film with food.
Or try the noisy, crowded but rocking House of Nanking (919 Kearny St.) for Chinese fare.
Shopping? Don't limit yourself to the retail adventure in Union Square. The "other" Union Union Street offers an edgier fashion bent, as does upper Fillmore Street and Hayes Valley.
Hotel Palomar: 12 Fourth St., www.hotelpalomar-sf.com, (866) 373-4941
Hotel Triton: 342 Grant Ave., www.hoteltriton.com, (800) 800-1299
W Hotel San Francisco: 181 Third St., www.starwood hotels.com, (800) 828-6544
Clift Hotel: 495 Geary St., www.clifthotel.com, (415) 775-4700
Swankety Swank: 289 Divisadero St., (415) 932-6615, www.swanketyswank.com
Urban Bazaar: 1371 Ninth Ave., (415) 664-4422, www.urbanbazaarsf.com
Favor & Hotcakes (super fun jewelry): 2420 Polk St., (415) 563-2741, www.shopatfavor.com
www.511.org: This is a great transit trip planner. Look up where you are and where you want to go. You can build a route based on how much you want to walk, factoring in both BART and the Muni (municipal railway).
www.sanfrancisco.travel: Everything you need for activities beyond the museum, including 10 Things Not To Miss in San Francisco.