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Travel advice request - SF/bay area

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by RS, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. RS


    Aug 27, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    Looking at San Fran / San Jose as a possible vacation spot in the next couple weeks. Recommended travel routes, places to stay, and best things to see/do?

  2. SoComSurfing

    SoComSurfing Mercedes Benz Superdome. S 127. R 22. S 12-13.

    Feb 15, 2002
    Mobile, Al
    Interested in this as well. Going out that way next week for 7 days, and while we have most of the week planned, we're always open to suggestions.
  3. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    Depends on what your interests are. Hiking? Wine tasting? Fine Dining? Live music? etc
  4. RS


    Aug 27, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    All that sounds good.
  5. slobake

    slobake resident ... something Supporting Member

    Hiking? If you want to see an awesome redwood forest head up to Muir woods in Marin. Don't go in the front gate unless just want a short walk with a lot of other people through the redwoods over paved trails. Otherwise look for a trailhead that starts off of the overflow parking lot. It goes through a meadow and over a stream (if there is any water this time of year) then it heads up over a ridge with beautiful views of San Francisco and the Bay. Look for hawks and other wildlife up there. Follow a the signs on a fireroad for a couple of miles and then start a series of switchbacks down into the redwood forest. If you can take some time to not talk and just listen. I love hearing the breeze rolling throught the trees, woodpeckers tapping, birds singing and squirels chirping. Look for large yellow slugs on the ground called bananna slugs. The can get around ten inches long.
    Plan to spend two or three hours hiking and 30 minutes to an hour driving from San Francisco depending on traffic. Wear sturdy boots, bring water and binoculars if you have them. Bring a fleece or other warm top even if it is a warm day, it can get chilly pretty quick in the woods. Prepare to encounter muddy trails on your way down into the woods.
    The trail will lead you down through the woods and out the main gate.
  6. slobake

    slobake resident ... something Supporting Member

    There is a potential BART strike. BART is our local subway system. I hope it doesn't happen or it is all worked out by the time you get here. If you do drive downtown it's better to fork over the bucks at a lot than play tag with the meter maids. It's very likely you will get a $70 or more parking ticket or worse still get towed away if you park in the street. Downtown San Francisco can be a hostile place for cars and drivers. A tow away will cost you about $500.00.
    There is a garage at 5th and Mission that you could park at for maybe $20 a day. It could be more I don't know. That one is close enough to most downtown areas to walk. There are also cheaper lots in outlying areas.
    Stay away from a neighboorhood called the tenderlion at night. You will nose will tell you when you are there by the smells of roasted herb mixed with urine. If you see a lot of drug addicts hanging out you are in the tenderloin. Always be aware if your surroundings, don't flash yourIPhone or Ipad in busy areas. Don't leave anything of value visible in your car. Put it in your trunk when you start your trip if you don't think you will be carrying it.
    All of this is not as bad as it sounds. Just preparing you for the worst case scenario and advising you to pay attention.
  7. Baer


    Jul 8, 2008
    Getting down to basics, San Francisco is about views and food. Sure, there are museums and a limited music scene, theater, and shopping, but they're not unique to San Francisco.

    Try to stay somewhere downtown like Union Square or the Financial District. Nob Hill would also be good (bring lots of money).

    Restaurants we can recommend:

    Zuni (get the chicken with bread salad for two – best roasted chicken in SF)
    Café Jacqueline (all the entrees and desserts are soufflés – cozy and romantic)
    Park Tavern
    Slanted Door

    I’ve attached two maps which I had prepared for other visitors, one of SF and one of the Marin County Headlands directly across the Golden Gate Bridge. This was for a person with a car and who had only a couple days in SF.

    On the SF map, there are red and blue items marked. The red items are for a driving tour, and the blue items are for walking around. That’s not to say you wouldn’t want to walk around at some of the red item stops.

    A. (Ignore A)

    B. The Top of Twin Peaks. Great view of the northern and eastern half of the city.

    C. Golden Gate Park – the Concourse Area. The DeYoung Museum and Academy of Sciences along with the Bandshell.

    D. Golden Gate Park – Stowe Lake. All man-made (as is all of Golden Gate Park)

    E. Sutro Gardens and Sutro Baths. Walk through the gardens to the back for great views of Ocean Beach and the western end of GG Park.

    F. Fort Point. Below the south end of the GG Bridge. Coldest and windiest place in the City. Don't wear a short sleeved shirt and shorts to visit Fort Point.

    G. The Presidio. Great views at the top corner of the military cemetery.

    H. The Palace of Fine Arts. One of the most scenic sites in SF.

    I. The Marina. Great views of the GG Bridge and Alcatraz. Alcatraz is an interesting trip if you are here for more than just a couple days.

    J. Lombard Street – the Crooked Section. Drive down the crooked cobblestone street with a nice view of Coit Tower.

    K. Coit Tower. More great views of the north side of the City as well as views of the Bay’s islands and Berkeley (across the Bay).

    Now, the walking suggestions:

    V. and W. The park around Fort Mason and Ghirardelli Square is a great place for a walk. You can continue on through Fisherman’s Wharf to Pier 39. This is within easy walking distance of your hotel. May be a good Sunday morning walk if the weather cooperates.

    X. Washington Square. The heart of North Beach which is also a reasonable walk from your hotel.

    Y. The Ferry Building. Nice, but lower priority than most of the other items on the list.

    Z. Union Square. The heart of the shopping area. You can take either the Hyde Street or Mason Street cable cars from the north end of the City (where your hotel is) to Union Square. A word of caution about the cable cars – the lines to get on the cable cars at the end points are generally very long. Often you can get on more easily a few blocks away, but not always – it’s a gamble.

    Have fun.

    Attached Files:

    • SF.JPG
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    • Marin.JPG
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  8. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    My brother used to be the head chef at Cotogna and prior to that was the sous chef at its sister restaurant Quince, which is also amazing though more upscale and pricier.

    Seven Hills is another good one in the Nob Hill area, especially if you like Italian food.

    I also highly recommend a day trip out to wine country. Napa is great but personally I prefer the Sonoma area. I can give quite a few recommendations for wineries & breweries if you venture that way.

    Too bad the Giants season has ended. AT&T Park is a great place to see a game if you like baseball.
  9. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Slobake's house. Gotta be a national landmark or something. :bag:

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    I live here and I found these suggestions helpful, thanks! :)
  11. slobake

    slobake resident ... something Supporting Member

    It's not on the map :D

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