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Red in Chicago
05-15-2010, 07:48 PM
Going to San Francisco for vacation this year. Planning the usual touristy things to do such as Alcatraz, Napa, Fishermans Wharf, Chinatown and a trip to Yosemite. Looking for ideas/suggestions that might be fun, but not necessarily on a "top ten" things to do list. Any tips?

nate
05-15-2010, 08:05 PM
I always go to "The House of Nanking" to get my Chinese food on.

RedsManRick
05-15-2010, 08:16 PM
Coit tower is a standard tourist thing to do, but it does offer a great view of the city and is right next to Chinatown. The GF and I also had a nice picnic in golden gate park with goodies from the market in the pier..

westofyou
05-15-2010, 08:33 PM
Going to San Francisco for vacation this year. Planning the usual touristy things to do such as Alcatraz, Napa, Fishermans Wharf, Chinatown and a trip to Yosemite. Looking for ideas/suggestions that might be fun, but not necessarily on a "top ten" things to do list. Any tips?

Bring warm clothes, seriously bring warm clothes.

Chinatown, Cliff House, be sure to see the parts of Yosemite outside of the valley floor. House of Nanking for sure, Santa Cruz is a good day trip down Highway 1, Point Reyes a good one north of the city.

pedro
05-15-2010, 09:00 PM
House if Nanking is great. Let them order for you. They will not steer you wrong.

Rojo
05-15-2010, 10:27 PM
Hey, one of the ads above says "Yosemite Tours". Who's spookier? Facebook or Google?

Seriously, buy your Alcatraz tickets ahead of time, they sell out.

Yes on Nanking but the best new restaurant in the city is a soul/southern food place, Farmer Brown. Not the first kind of cuisine you associate with SF. They have a $15 breakfast buffet on Sundays.

You should do the SF-Sausalito Ferry for the views but I also like the SF-Larkspur ferry. That one's a real commuter ferry and it passes on the other side of Angel Island and so close to San Quentin you could pass a football to Charlie Manson. No exaggeration.

I'd stay away from bars in the Sunset District -- they've been murder on me.

Spazzrico
05-15-2010, 11:33 PM
If house of Nanking does Dim Sum, then go. If they don't go there and go to some great hole in the wall dim sum place.

As a kid I loved Muir Woods. If you are doing the Golden Gate anyway, just go a bit further and check out the redwoods/blue jays.

Red in Chicago
05-15-2010, 11:34 PM
Bring warm clothes, seriously bring warm clothes.

Chinatown, Cliff House, be sure to see the parts of Yosemite outside of the valley floor. House of Nanking for sure, Santa Cruz is a good day trip down Highway 1, Point Reyes a good one north of the city.

Yeah, I've been checking the forecast and didn't realize that it's quite so chilly out there during the daytime. They've been showing clips of the Blackhawks' visit to Alcatraz and everyone was wearing jeans and a sweatshirt or jacket.

I just bought some new (larger) luggage to account for both shorts and jeans.

marcshoe
05-16-2010, 12:20 AM
I bought my Alcatraz tickets well ahead of time, and that was a good thing--they were sold out when I got there.

You have most of my itinerary on your list. One quirky thing to do would be to go down to San Jose and visit the Winchester house and the Rosicrucian Egyptian museum. Both are slightly offbeat experiences.

Roy Tucker
05-17-2010, 09:05 AM
A visit to the Exploratorium is fun too.

OldRightHander
05-17-2010, 09:09 AM
Catch a Giants game. Great ball park.

KoryMac5
05-17-2010, 10:42 AM
I went to San Fran a few years ago with the wife and we had a great time. I did do China Town and it was just OK for me. Lots of shops and after awhile they all blend together, I guess I am not that big on looking for bargains. The WHARF is packed with people and more of a tourist trap. The wife and I did the Larkspur-SF ferry and it was very convenient and affordable.

I did Muir woods which was great, and we also took a tour of the Sonoma wineries. Hired a private car to take us to both places as a surprise gift to the wife. Would have loved to see the Giants but they weren't in town when I visited.

westofyou
05-17-2010, 10:45 AM
BTW when are you going?

That's a key for weather and crowds as I would be prone to avoid certain areas at certain times in the high tourist season (like the Wharf, what a waste of time)

Spazzrico
05-17-2010, 11:13 AM
One thing I just remembered is the ruins of the Sutro Baths, over on the Pacific next to the Cliff House. There used to be an old penny arcade called the Musee Mechanique, but I believe that moved to the Wharf, which is unfortunate. Seal Rock is out there as well.

westofyou
05-17-2010, 11:43 AM
One thing I just remembered is the ruins of the Sutro Baths, over on the Pacific next to the Cliff House. There used to be an old penny arcade called the Musee Mechanique, but I believe that moved to the Wharf, which is unfortunate. Seal Rock is out there as well.

Playland at the beach

http://www.lifeinthepast.com/F7/SF22.JPG

pedro
05-17-2010, 02:20 PM
I'm with WOY on Fisherman's wharf being pretty much a tourist trap.

It's good if you can branch out from the typical Union Square centered trip to SF. The magic of SF is the neighborhoods where people actually live.

Nugget
05-17-2010, 05:06 PM
Not only when are you going but how long are you going for. Muir Woods is pretty much a whole day trip and Yosemite can easily take out 2 days.

If you can take a trip down the coast to Monterey and Carmel. In an around SF take a trip over to the East Bay. Get an MUNI multitrip as you can use it whilst you're in SF.

Take a bike ride through Golden Gate Park, check out the museums and the japanese garden. Go to the old Ghiradelli factory and get a sundae.

Homer Bailey
05-17-2010, 07:35 PM
When will you be there RIC? I'm heading out to that area for the U.S. Open next month and flying out of SF on the 20th. Hope to see a few of the same sites as well.

Red in Chicago
05-17-2010, 08:46 PM
BTW when are you going?

That's a key for weather and crowds as I would be prone to avoid certain areas at certain times in the high tourist season (like the Wharf, what a waste of time)


When will you be there RIC? I'm heading out to that area for the U.S. Open next month and flying out of SF on the 20th. Hope to see a few of the same sites as well.

I'm heading out this Sunday for a week. We've got enough time to take in the touristy hotspots, as well as some of the neighborhoods.

The weather has really thrown me for a loop. Never even thought about it being only 60 degrees as a daytime high when I made the reservations.

I'll be heading out West, just as it's heating up here in Chicago. Timing was never one of my strong suits.

westofyou
05-17-2010, 10:29 PM
I'm heading out this Sunday for a week. We've got enough time to take in the touristy hotspots, as well as some of the neighborhoods.

The weather has really thrown me for a loop. Never even thought about it being only 60 degrees as a daytime high when I made the reservations.

I'll be heading out West, just as it's heating up here in Chicago. Timing was never one of my strong suits.

You'll miss the crowds, the wharf and all the "touristy" things will be pretty down, there's a day game on Thursday against the Nats, if you can I suggest you go then (it will be warmer, but make sure you have sweatshirt) If you don't get seasick I'd inquire about a whale watching trip to towards the Farrallon's.

The weather isn't bad, it's a bunch of micro changes over every hill though, so it's best to prepared, the city however is pretty much cold all the time. Go south, north or east and the weather get better, still it's spring so it's at least not raining.

Like it is in Portland.

ochre
05-18-2010, 03:12 AM
I agree on Monterey/Carmel. I'd go a bit further and check out Big Sur.

http://wells-connection.com/cpg1410/albums/ftp_up/cali-reloaded/normal_P1010335.JPG
http://wells-connection.com/cpg1410/albums/ftp_up/cali-reloaded/normal_P1010330.JPG
http://wells-connection.com/cpg1410/albums/ftp_up/cali-reloaded/normal_P1010333.JPG

westofyou
05-18-2010, 10:08 AM
I'm partial to the coast from Ano Nuevo to San Siemon, it's a big part of my life, I purchased some ice plant the other day in honor of it in fact.

RedsBaron
05-18-2010, 12:36 PM
The weather isn't bad, it's a bunch of micro changes over every hill though, so it's best to prepared, the city however is pretty much cold all the time. Go south, north or east and the weather get better, still it's spring so it's at least not raining.


The only time I was ever in San Francisco was way back in late June/early July of 1987. My wife and I loved the city, but we were surprised by the temperature. It apparently is 60 degrees year around, which would be great at other times of the year, but we felt as if we were freezing, and finally paid an outrageous price to a street vendor for a couple of sweatshirts to put on over our short sleeve shirts.

nate
05-18-2010, 12:39 PM
"The coldest winter I ever saw was the summer I spent in San Francisco." - Mark Twain (well, at least supposedly.)

westofyou
05-18-2010, 12:51 PM
The only time I was ever in San Francisco was way back in late June/early July of 1987. My wife and I loved the city, but we were surprised by the temperature. It apparently is 60 degrees year around, which would be great at other times of the year, but we felt as if we were freezing, and finally paid an outrageous price to a street vendor for a couple of sweatshirts to put on over our short sleeve shirts.

I lived in Palo Alto and it could be 90 degrees there and I'd get in my car and drive to the city, it would be 55 degrees and foggy, the key is to always have sweatshirts and a blanket lingering in your car, I don't know many folks who were thrown for a loop the 1st time they went to San Francisco in the summer.

It can work in reverse to, you can be ready for the cold and it can be outrageously hot. The hottest game I ever attended was a Wednesday day game in 2000, it was 104 degrees and just brutal.

Nugget
05-18-2010, 05:29 PM
Also you just have to have a jacket or a jumper with you even if its 80 and sunny when you leave. When the marine layer rolls in in the late afternoon temperature drops. Given you're only going for a week I would cut the Carmel/Monterey and go to Yosemite for a couple of days. If its been warm enough you may get to see the spectacular falls.

vaticanplum
05-18-2010, 05:52 PM
If you're at all into the arts, try to make it to the American Conservatory Theater if you can. One of the best theaters in the country, and the theater itself is quite beautiful. It was almost destroyed by the 1989 earthquake (they were just getting ready to begin a performance when it hit) and I think they offer backstage tours which touch on this a bit.

Tons of great little music venues in San Francisco too...you just need to check out what's playing while you're there.

NoCalRed
05-18-2010, 08:24 PM
The hottest game I ever attended was a Wednesday day game in 2000, it was 104 degrees and just brutal

I was at that game as well, had seats right behind the vistors dugout. Unbelievably hot, I had been going to games at the Stick for years so this weather caught me completly off gaurd. The ferry ride back to Larkspur was equally bad, had to stay inside the whole ride.

As far as things to see in San Francisco the California Academy of Science has just reopened about a year and half ago and is pretty nice. It had been closed for a while due to major renovations that were made because of the damage caused by the 89 quake. http://www.calacademy.org/.

Yachtzee
05-18-2010, 10:34 PM
Last time I went to San Francisco, my favorite part of my trip was just hopping on a cable car at one end of the line and taking it all the way to the other end and just enjoying the views and neighborhoods on the way.

RedsBaron
05-20-2010, 11:42 AM
Last time I went to San Francisco, my favorite part of my trip was just hopping on a cable car at one end of the line and taking it all the way to the other end and just enjoying the views and neighborhoods on the way.
Yeah, the cable cars and sightseeing is great.
When my wife and I were there in '87 we walked from Fisherman's Wharf all the way midway across the Golden Gate Bridge before our feet gave up. ;)