The spotlight is on San Francisco this week as it hosts the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference, a high-profile summit of 21 Pacific Rim countries that is expected to bring as many as 30,000 people to the Bay Area.
Not since the United Nations Charter was signed in 1945 has San Francisco hosted such a large gathering of world leaders, and city officials are hoping the event will give the city’s image a boost.
The attention peaked on Wednesday when President Biden met with President Xi Jinping of China for the first time in a year. The closely watched meeting drew demonstrators rallying against the Chinese government and others in support of it. (There were also protests about climate change and the war in Gaza, and at least one person was arrested on Wednesday.)
Biden and Xi actually met outside the city, at a grand house and garden in Woodside, about 30 miles south of downtown San Francisco. (You can read our full coverage of the meeting here.)
U.S. officials who planned the meeting sought a location that was less hectic than the City by the Bay, one that would show respect for Xi as well as insulate him from protesters. They settled on the Filoli estate, which, rather appropriately, crosses off many squares on your California bingo card.
Filoli was built by a family that made its fortune in the California gold rush. It’s been a filming location for several movies, and now serves as a wedding venue for tech executives; the headquarters of Google, Apple and Meta are all within a 30-minute drive. (Read more about Filoli here.)
The rest of APEC is happening in San Francisco: The meetings are taking place at the Moscone Center, and President Biden is staying at the Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill.
That’s a big deal for a city that has struggled more than most to rebound from the pandemic, grappling with an exodus of tech workers and a harsh public image that includes scenes of homelessness, drug use and petty crime.
Aaron Peskin, the president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, compared APEC to the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, a World’s Fair held along the northern waterfront that he said had signaled the city’s recovery from the devastating 1906 earthquake and fire.
In other words, he told my colleague Heather Knight, there’s precedent that a big event can help San Francisco bounce back. “This is a huge opportunity, and we’ve been planning this down to the gnat’s eyebrow,” Peskin said.
Still, a few things have already gone somewhat awry. Though the city has tried mightily to show international journalists a dazzling version of the city, a Czech journalist was robbed on the street on Sunday. Assailants in ski masks rushed at him and his cameraman with guns and grabbed $18,000 worth of equipment, including a camera, lights and a tripod.
“They took my research, my time, my ideas,” said the journalist, Bohumil Vostal, correspondent for a Czech public television station. “That is why I’m angry, you know?”
Biden pressed Xi to crack down on Chinese firms that help to produce fentanyl.
The rise and fall of the world’s most successful joint venture.
Where we’re traveling
Today’s tip comes from David Hayashida, who lives in Greenbrae:
“Every year in the late fall, I look forward to the annual return of coho salmon to spawn in the Lagunitas Watershed of Marin County. Coho salmon along the Central California and San Francisco Bay Area coasts are considered endangered, and the Lagunitas Watershed is critical to their survival.
Increased rainfall over the last few years, as well as habitat restoration and advocacy efforts of several organizations, including the National Park Service, the Marin Municipal Water District and especially the Salmon Protection and Watershed Network, fortunately have made a positive impact on the fish population in the watershed.
There are several spots to observe coho salmon; my favorite is the Leo T. Cronin Fish Viewing Area in Lagunitas. The area features a half-mile trail along Lagunitas Creek that is ideal for fish viewing. The trail is wide, mostly shaded and ends at Peters Dam, which also serves as a spillway for Kent Lake above. On a cool and damp day in the quiet of the woods, seeing endangered California coho salmon making their journey upstream and spawning in the creek is a magical experience.”
Tell us about your favorite places to visit in California. Email your suggestions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We’ll be sharing more in upcoming editions of the newsletter.
I’m thinking about how Californians celebrate Thanksgiving. By the beach? With sourdough stuffing?
Email your Golden State Thanksgiving traditions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. Please include your full name and the city in which you live.
And before you go, some good news
The California gold rush may evoke images of the Old West — forty-niners flocking to the rugged landscape of Northern California in search of a shimmering prize — but for some, the mining fever is alive as ever.
In central Southern California, a few hours’ drive from Los Angeles, where amateur mining already has a foothold in the culture, enthusiasm for the old-timey hobby has grown significantly this year, and amateur prospectors are proliferating.
The journalist Amanda Ulrich reported for The Guardian last month on one such group, a nonprofit mining club called the Hi Desert Gold Diggers that’s been active for years. Excitement within California’s mining community has been especially high this year, Ulrich writes, after a winter of record rainfall helped unearth gold buried beneath the dirt. Membership has grown recently: Hi Desert, which had roughly 50 people in its ranks a few years ago, has ballooned to 160 members, in part because of online interest.
New or old, it’s that same glittering dream that keeps miners coming back. “Once I found my first speck of gold — it was just a couple tiny little pieces — that’s all it took,” Donald Perez, a longtime club member, told Ulrich. “I was hooked.”
Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Soumya
P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword.
Maia Coleman and Briana Scalia contributed to California Today. You can reach the team at CAtoday@nytimes.com.
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