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Author Topic: San Francisco  (Read 995 times)

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Offline Old Forester

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San Francisco
« on: February 28, 2014, 11:24:27 am »
We are going to be in the San Francisco area towards the end of March and because of some travel plan changes we will have one day during week to look around.  Does anyone have any suggestions for a one day excursion in the San Francisco area?

Offline BradMarks

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Re: San Francisco
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2014, 04:31:12 pm »
Rent a car, drive north and tour the Redwoods (and wine country).  Or, visit Alcatraz. Or Fishermans Wharf. Or....possibilities are endless!

Offline Magicman

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Re: San Francisco
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2014, 09:15:20 pm »
A bus tour is an easy way to see the highpoints because with only one day that is about all that you will see anyway.  One good thing is that the tour bus driver is continually talking and giving you highlights that you would never discover on your own.
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Offline SLawyer Dave

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Re: San Francisco
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2014, 02:46:35 am »
My wife and I love going down to the Bay Area at least a couple of times a year to hang out and explore.  Depending on your interests, there are so many things to do.

One of our favorite excursions is hitting Fisherman's Wharf.  The thing to know about Fisherman's Wharf in S.F is that Pier 39 is advertised as the center and place to be, (though I and my wife disagree with this).  While the whole district is very "touristy", Pier 39 is only that.  It can be fun to go through, but other than buying some over priced mementos, it doesn't hold that much interest for us.  However, if you keep going west on the Embarcadero until it ends, (it turns slightly and turns into Jefferson Street), you will wind up in one of our favorite areas.  Look for the Boudin Bread works on the right hand side.  Lots of parking around it.  Boudin has been using the same sour dough starter for over a hundred years.  It is real S.F. Sour Dough bread.  Our favorite is actually the Volcano Bread, (but you have to get there early in the day before they sell out of it).  It is their sour dough, that has Asiago Cheese and Garlic baked into it.  Add some butter and you have a complete meal.  They also have a very nice restaurant upstairs and a pretty interesting museum.

All around Boudin are sea food restaurants, tourist stores, museums, art galleries, and just walking around people watching and window shopping is a lot of fun.  You can go on boat tours, pedicab tours, and even amphibious vehicle tours.  One of the best sea food dinners I ever had was at Alioto's which is right around the corner from Boudins.  Walking further west along Jefferson Street, there is an old brewery on the left hand side that also has some real nice restaurants and stores.  Continuing further west, Jefferson Street will end at the Aquatic Park.  Lots of historic ships that you can tour.  Beautiful views of the Bay, and both bridges.  On the upper side of the park is a Cable Car turn table where you can watch how they turn the cable cars around to head back up Hyde Street.  You can also catch a ride on one.  All around the park, you will find street merchants selling all kinds of crafts and goods.  Immediately across the street from the park to the south is Ghiradelli Square where you can indulge your chocolate cravings. 

While I love the Redwoods and Wine Country to the North of the Bay Area, (most of my family still lives in that region), if you only have a day, then you will spend almost all of that time just driving if you head up there.   It is beautiful country, but really you need at least a couple of days to be able to stop at some wineries, talk to the hosts, and enjoy the entire adventure, (IMHO).  So I would recommend keeping a little closer to San Francisco and try to figure out what will interest you the most. 

Hope that helps.  If you have any specific questions, please don't hesitate to post or PM me. 

Dave 

Offline Old Forester

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Re: San Francisco
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2014, 01:07:48 pm »
Thanks for all of the information, sounds like we can definitely find some great tings to do.

We need to be staying somewhere near the airport for an early flight out the next day, any suggestions on motels close to the airport?

Offline SLawyer Dave

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Re: San Francisco
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2014, 05:04:59 pm »
If it is SFO, (as opposed to Oakland), then yes.  We always stay at the Best Western, Grovesner Hotel right there at SFO.  Free parking, clean rooms, decent prices and a nice complimentary buffet style breakfast, (eggs, bacon, sausage, gravy, potatoes), plus rolls, bagels, cereal, etc.  You can also talk to them about leaving your car on their lot while you are gone on your trip if that is necessary too.  We are staying there both the night before, and the night we get back from Hawaii in April, and because of that, we can leave our car there for free.

Offline kilgrosh

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Re: San Francisco
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2014, 09:39:29 am »
After living in the East Bay for 7 years, I have given a lot of one-day tours to friends and family visitors. Since you are staying down by the airport, which is 25 minutes outside the city, I would leave my car at the hotel and take BART into the city. Take a 9am-ish train and get off at Market Street/Ferry Building.

Walk towards the Ferry Building. It has a nice museum and some shops. There are also some nice photographers that sell great photos of SF out front. Plan on 30 minutes.

After the Ferry Building, walk west along the Embarcadero (thats the main street along the wharfs). Go to Pier 31 (?), which is about 10 minutes walking, and get the ferry to Alcatraz. Pre-purchase your tickets (http://www.alcatrazcruises.com/) and enjoy the walking tour of the prison. Plan on two hours.

Once back at the Embarcadero, keep walking west. You will come to Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf. Stroll through the shops, make sure to look at the seals (you can hear them), and look at the Golden Gate Bridge. Plan on an hour.

Grab a Clam Chowder Bread Bowl from Boudin's. Some of the best in the city! It will be chilly and damp this time of year so grab a seat by the windows and people watch. Speaking of which, bring a rain coat or windbreaker. The Bay is 55 degrees year round so the wind is very crisp. After lunch, walk up to Ghiradeli Square and share a Cookie Bottom Sunday. Buy some chocolates and enjoy the free samples. Plan an hour.

Continue up the hill and hop on the Cable Car (buy a day pass). The cable car turnaround that David mentioned is pretty neat but the lines are really long to get on the car so I suggest to walk two or three blocks and board there. Make sure to get on the line that goes past Lombard Street. In fact, a simple walk up the hill and you will be at Lombard Street. This is the famous  winding street. Plan on an hour, including the walks and photo ops.

Don't travel too far on the Cable Car. Coit Tower is nearby and its worth the visit. ITs an old fire watch tower and you can see the city from the top. The problem is the elevator rarely works and its a lot of stairs. From here you can see the Golden Gate, Fort Mason, and most of the city. Plan on an hour.

Go back to the Cable Car. Get on the Fell Street/Market Line heading towards Market Street. Enjoy the ride! If you have the engery, stand on the edge near the inside of the street and slap high fives to the other cable car coming at you.

Now you have done a full loop and spent about 7 hours walking, riding, and eating through the city. Take a cab to Green Street & Van Ness Street. This is Little Italy of SF. Relax. Enjoy a coffee at an outside table cafe. Plan on being here as long as you need to rest. The sun will be going down soon and you haven't eaten in about 5 hours. Go to one of the local restaraunts and enjoy a nice meal. The Stinking Rose is famous but crowded. After dinner, take a cab to the nearest BART Station and catch a train to SFO.

It takes about 12 hours to complete this tour but you hit every major spot in the city. You will sleep like a baby and be fully refreshed for your flight home. Oh, and pack before you leave...you will be really tired!
What about the Golden Gate Bridge, you ask? Its not that easy to get to on foot and walking across takes several hours. Tak some nice photos from Pier 39 instead.

I hope this helps!
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