San Francisco Trip, Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by mediumofmeaning, Feb 12, 2010.

  1. mediumofmeaning macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2007
    Location:
    NJ
    #1
    I'll be going to San Francisco for a week long vacation this March. I'm going to check out the highlights, of course, but does anyone who is familiar with the area have any other recommendations? I'm willing to travel by train (not renting a car) or bus an hour or so for good outdoors or photos, interesting historic sites, or other attractions to really make a great trip. (All on a reasonable budget, though.)
     
  2. Decrepit macrumors 65816

    Decrepit

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2007
    Location:
    Foothills to the Rocky Mountains
    #2
    Make sure you get down and touch the Pacific Ocean. As common as it might sound, I don't think very many people have actually touched both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
     
  3. Silencio macrumors 68020

    Silencio

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #3
    While you'll kind of be encumbered by having a car within city limits, you will actually want a rental car if you plan on leaving the city. Maybe just rent a car for a day from one of the rental car company offices downtown and drive north across the Golden Gate Bridge, take in Mount Tam, Muir Woods, Stinson Beach, Point Reyes; or drive up further north and check out the wine country of Sonoma / Napa.

    If you really want to skip the car rental, SF MUNI does have the 76 bus line that runs on Sundays across the Golden Gate Bridge to the Marin Headlands. Or you can figure out Marin County's Golden Gate Transit system.
     
  4. Peace macrumors Core

    Peace

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    Apr 1, 2005
    Location:
    Space--The ONLY Frontier
    #4
    Golden Gate Park, Haight-Ashbury district. The waterfront Wharf.

    Go straight down Market but don't get confused when you see duplicate 4th streets.;)

    Take a Charter ride to the island. There's a great photo opportunity there.

    Try to steer clear of the Bay Bridge.

    Go south on 101 past San Jose to Silicon valley. Apple,Google. They are all there.

    you can also take the caltrans under the bay to Berkeley/Oakland. Stay away from downtown Oakland at night.
     
  5. Hrududu macrumors 68020

    Hrududu

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Location:
    Central US
    #5
    Definitely take some time to stroll through China Town and little Italy. Lots of cool things to see there. For some good pictures of the city, bay, and Alcatraz, hike up to the Coit Tower. Lots of good photo opportunities up there. Also go to Ghirardelli Square and eat some chocolate and ice cream.
     
  6. bradl macrumors 68040

    bradl

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2008
    #6
    Do you like fine foods? wine? etc.?

    If so, get out of the Bay. You're only 35 minutes drive to Napa, in the heart of California Wine country. Nice restaurants there, great wine, the whole lot.

    Also, another 5 minutes from there, is the Budweiser plant, and the Jelly Belly factory. Both offer daily tours, and you can escape with free swag, and a ****load of jelly beans.

    You could even take the ferry to Vallejo, rent the car there, and make them shorter hops.

    This means crossing the Bay Bridge, or depending on where you're staying, driving 20 - 30 miles out of the way to cross the San Mateo, GG, Richmond, or Dumbarton bridges to get to the east bay.

    BL.
     
  7. Mousse macrumors 68000

    Mousse

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2008
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    Flea Bottom, King's Landing
    #7
    Last time I went to San Fran, about 10 years ago, I made a side trip to Apple's HQ.:cool:
     
  8. Tortellino macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    #8
    Money saving suggestions

    goldstar.com has discounted tickets for many events in San Francisco, including the walking architectural tour of SF, the ghost hunting tour, the Beach Blanket Babylon show (a city institution since the 1970s), the Wicked musical, etc.

    Public transport: There's BART (a regional train), MUNI (city-wide bus, light rail/metro, electric bus, and the cable cars), and Caltrain (connects to suburbs). MUNI may be the most convenient option for you. You can get a map of the city with all the MUNI routes shown, and buy a 3 or a 10 day pass that will include the cable cars, which is a pretty good deal. The cable cars are very fun on the steep hills - don't miss them! If you ride cable cars boarding lines are shorter away from the terminal stops, and ride on the back platform next to the break person. They are always eager to share fun stories.

    The best way to see Alcatraz is to take the night tour. You should book it well in advance, as the availability is very limited, and the prices are much higher if you walk-up to the pier: http://www.alcatrazcruises.com/website/buy-tickets.aspx

    The California Academy of Sciences museum in the Golden Gate park can be expensive, but on Thursday nights between 7 and 10 p.m. the tickets are discounted to $12 and they have music and drinks too. Get the tickets online to save time. As you get in first thing you should do is to get a token for the planetarium. It's the same show that's running right now in New York Natural history museum though, so if you saw that you can skip the planetarium.

    DeYoung museum across the plaza from the Academy of Sciences has one of the best collections of the Oceania artefacts in the world, and it's not something many museum display anyway, so it's worth seeing. Their temporary exhibits can also be interesting.

    Japanese tea garden next door to DeYoung is very nice. It's $5 entry, but the entrance is free on Mon, Wed, Fri between 9 and 10 a.m. It closes at 4:45p.m. in winter (till the end of Feb,), and at 6:00 p.m. starting in March.

    Asian Art museum is medium-sized, reasonably priced, not very crowded, and easily acessible. Highly recommend.

    Exploratorium is a science museum aimed at children first, but I still loved it in my 30ies.

    In terms of entertainment, Beach Blanket Babylon is pretty famous. It's a musical review where Snow White travels the world in search of a prince to marry, and encounters different characters. The specific characters are updated constantly to parody the latest political and cultural news. A San Francisco original!

    Aunt Charlie's Lounge has a drag show on Wed, Fri and Sat at 10 p.m. that has a very unique atmosphere: blue collar public, performers from young to very old (the lady with a liquid spine must be in her 70s), very friendly and relaxed if you are a straight person in a gay place. It's a small neighborhood bar.

    North Beach and Polk Gulch neighborhoods offer a lot of more mainstream nightspots.

    You can walk over the Golden Gate bridge and back, but get a pair of earplugs and be prepared to breathe stinky car exhausts.

    The Castro theater is a restored movie palace with an interesting movie program (can be found online). Definitely worth visiting if you have time. Before the show there's a guy who plays a Wurlitzer organ (but not before the second part of a double-header). The last song he plays is always "San Francisco, open your golden gate" from the movie about the earthquake, that's how you know the movie is about to start!

    The food is very diverse and can be had both very expensively and very cheap. Consult yelp.com for eateries near where you will be staying.

    Other than that just walk around the town. Financial center, Chinatown, North Beach and Telegraph hill, Haight-Ashbury, Twin Peaks, Dolores Park and Mission Dolores, Golden Gate park, Lands End, Ocean Beach and Cliff House/Sutro baths ruins are just some of very walkable neighborhoods, each with a different feel and architecture. They all can be accessed by MUNI.
     
  9. 63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Location:
    norcal
    #9
    Besides the many attractions within the city, try to check out UC Berkeley's Telegraph Avenue as it's something all have to do once if they visit the Bay Area. It can be 30 minutes with subway (Bay Area Rapid Transit) going East. If you like freaky and sub-culture, this place trumps Haight Ashbury.

    Going north, Sausalito is a pretty waterfront village and you can take the bus. It's less than half an hour away from Golden Gate Park. It's a quiet getaway that's not far from the city.

    Just south of SF by a short distance is Stanford University and the very posh Stanford Shopping Center, which the university sold a few years ago. If you like high end bling, this place has everything.
     
  10. Peace macrumors Core

    Peace

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    Location:
    Space--The ONLY Frontier
    #10
    Good points.

    The People's Park in Berkeley is an historic place. I planted one of the flowers there in 1967.

    Beware of all the burnt out old drunks there though.
     
  11. CaptMurdock macrumors 6502a

    CaptMurdock

    Joined:
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    Location:
    The Evildrome Boozerama
    #11
    Fisherman's Wharf. Great little seaside tourist trap. I think the Exploratium is right near there. The sea lions are quite noisy.

    If you like great seafood and got quite a bit of cash, I recommend Alioto's on the Wharf.
     
  12. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    #12
    I bet it feels like water.
     
  13. 63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Location:
    norcal
    #13
    I had a short stopover in Bangor, Maine but didn't get to leave the airport. I had more than a few hours so if I had wanted to I could have.

    I was in an eighth grade trip to DC, Virginia, and Maryland and never touched any ocean or lake/river.

    I lived in London for a whole college semester and never touched the Thames, but wouldn't really want to. I have no idea if it was the type of place you can swim in and not get chemical poisoning. I figured it would make as much sense taking a dip there as it would be in the waterways around NYC. I did travel along the coast in England, and meandered throughout the countryside and saw little towns all the way to Bristol and surrounding areas. Then onto Plymouth but stayed on land the whole time, but I did see the Atlantic. I had three honest chances to touch the Atlantic, and I never did.

    I am not for traveling anymore but if I get the chance to go to the east coast or Europe again, I will make a point to touch the Atlantic. Of all the things I was focusing on, touching the ocean, or connected waterway, or lake was not high on my list.
     
  14. mediumofmeaning thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2007
    Location:
    NJ
    #14
    this all sounds like great advice, thanks!

    seems there is more than enough to pack into the time we're there.

    If renting a car is the way to go, I'll probably just have to do it. I'm not a wine-drinker but my girlfriend certainly is so maybe we'll take the hike up to napa for a change. Sounds like it'll be pretty beautiful anyway.

    I'm also tempted to go down and check out apple and google, maybe she'll think it's a fair trade for me going to napa? we'll see.

    thanks everyone, for the help. really appreciate it, especially the money-saving tips.
     
  15. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    #15
    there's lots and lots to do in San Francisco without needing a car
     
  16. HitchHykr macrumors 6502a

    HitchHykr

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2007
    Location:
    Virginia
    #16
    You have to drive down Lombard Street, or at least walk it. SF is a great city and there are TONS of things to see and visit, and take warm clothes!
     
  17. DoNoHarm macrumors 65816

    DoNoHarm

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    Location:
    Maine
    #17
    there's an amazing company called modernsailing.com that will charter out sailboats or give you sailing classes. the absolute best way to tour SF.
     
  18. Silencio macrumors 68020

    Silencio

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #18
    Even if you're not a wine drinker, a trip to Napa or Sonoma would be a good idea. Beautiful country, some excellent food. Grab a picnic lunch at Oakville Grocery (Napa Valley), have a tasting at one of the wineries nearby, and grab a picnic table overlooking the vines.

    A ferry trip on the Bay is also a good idea. A short round trip to Sausalito or Tiburon will give you a taste of the water and bring you to a cute area outside the city (Sausalito is quite touristy; I prefer Tiburon TBH). If the weather is nice, take a ferry to Angel Island and enjoy a lovely, scenic hike.

    Ugh, why go to the Budweiser plant when you can stay in San Francisco and take a tour of a real brewery, Anchor Brewery in Potrero Hill? Or go across the Bay to Alameda and hit up the St George Distillery and try a flight of their vodka, whiskey... and absinthe!

    There are too many good restaurants to mention in SF. Doing a little research on Yelp is a good idea. It's hard to go wrong both in terms of good street food and high-end, $$$$ establishments here.
     
  19. Decrepit macrumors 65816

    Decrepit

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2007
    Location:
    Foothills to the Rocky Mountains
    #19
    It sure does. But it's different water. Water that a significant number of people who live in the USA have never seen. So while everybody's excited about a building or something, I just threw in something simple.

    It seems silly. But it is something that not everybody has done. I wouldn't have touched the Thames either.

    One of these days, I need to build a check list of all of the states I've been in, and get to seeing the other ones. I'm pretty sure I've been in 35 of them for some period of time thanks to cross-country drives when I was younger.
     

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