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2nd Trip to SF Booked... Please Help with Ideas for New Things to See/Do!

2nd Trip to SF Booked... Please Help with Ideas for New Things to See/Do!

Mar 23rd, 2009, 06:54 AM
  #1  
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2nd Trip to SF Booked... Please Help with Ideas for New Things to See/Do!

Hi everyone!
At the end of April, my sister and I (we're both in our early 40s) are returning to SF for another long weekend (we've decided it'll be an annual sisters trip!) Last year we saw and did SO much. This time we're renting a car (so we can explore north of the city) and will also spend time within the city. I'd love some suggestions to fill one full day... it'll be great to dig a little deeper, since we did so much last trip. Here's what we already saw & did last year:

rode cable cars
wharf, pier 39
coit tower, filbert steps
north beach
chinatown
union square
Beach Blanket Babylon
Glide Memorial Church
SFMOMA
Haight-Ashbury
rode bikes from wharf, across GG Bridge to Sausalito (ferry back)

We like to be on the move when we travel, and do lots of stuff. I have some of the trip figured out, but would love some other ideas:

Day 1 (Friday) : arrive airport lunchtime, pick up rental car -- drive to (???) Golden Gate Park. We think we'd like to see deYoung Museum, Japanese Tea Garden, a little of AIDS Memorial Grove. (Maybe enough for this first day since we'll be coming from east coast.) Other suggestions? Dinner at "Millennium" hopefully! (I'm a vegetarian and they were closed for a private party last trip.)

Day 2 (Saturday) : drive up and see Muir Woods and Point Reyes. (All logistical suggestions welcome.)

Day 3 (Sunday) : Help! I know we definitely want to visit the Ferry Building. After, I was thinking to take the F streetcar out to the Castro for a bit (we definitely want to visit the area at least briefly). I thought about seeing the Mission District afterwards, not sure. Walkable from Castro? Worth it? Is there a concentrated area of shops, etc. we could walk? (There's a store I'd like to visit that's listed as being on Valencia between 25th and 26th.)

Please help with other suggestions of cool stuff to do that last day -- with or without the car. We're staying at the Hotel Triton (Bush & Grant) and will have valet with in/out privileges (yes, expensive, but we got a great deal on the room, so...) We like colorful areas with funky shops, cafes and restaurants, offbeat stuff, bookstores, etc. We're not interested in "mainstream" retail places 'cause we live in large metropolitan area with most of this. I don't think we'd be interested in the Exploratorium or doing another museum (besides deYoung).

You'll notice we did not visit Alcatraz -- I don't think we'd be into this, but if anyone thinks it's a must-see, let me know what you think!

Thanks so much, in advance!
Carol
CarolM is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 07:01 AM
  #2  
yk
 
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I'm sure the SF locals will have a lot more to offer than I, but I want to point out that the biggest Farmers Market day at Ferry Building is held on Saturdays. It's fantastic just to wander around and see (with free tasting) of all the fruits, cheeses and everything else.
yk is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 07:02 AM
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Hi CarolM - If you want to do the Ferry Bldg, Sat am is the best time when the outdoor market is there. On the other hand, that takes away from 'all day' activities like Muir Woods. Why not do the all day trip on Sunday. See my TR from Oct with the drive up north. We had a great lunch then at Nick's Cove overlooking Bodega Bay. I would start out very early to arrive when Muir Woods opens because of the w/end crowds. And don't miss Muir Overlook (north of the woods).
Centralparkgirl is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 07:04 AM
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If you drive to GG park, afterwards drive through Pacific Heights - stunning homes and views; it's on your way downtown. Another thought, if you do the Ferry Bldg Sat am, you will have trouble parking in GG Park imo.
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Mar 23rd, 2009, 07:47 AM
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thanks yk and cpg,

I thought about the whole saturday morning thing -- I might switch the days, but since Muir Woods and Pt. Reyes are of most importance to us this trip, I have a "thing" about always doing the most important stuff first (in case of bad weather, unexpected things... you know?)

about GG Park and parking, I was wondering if it's possible (mid-afternoon on a Friday) to find a spot in a garage near the park, and go straight from the airport to GG Park (instead of checking into the hotel, then making our way there via public transportation). Seemed easier if I could find a garage, see the park for a few hours, then head back and check into the hotel late afternoon.
CarolM is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 07:54 AM
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carol - I think it's worth a try. When we went last Oct, we got to the park late morning; we got lucky that someone who got there early was pulling out of a spot. You might also park on the roadway - just move your car in 4 hours or you'll get a ticket. And about the Ferry Bldg - I was there in Oct and again a few weeks ago. I loved it, but I would not miss out on a full day north of the city because of it. The sights north are very special.
Centralparkgirl is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 08:21 AM
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1 idea would be to not rent a car at the airport. Take BART to your hotel. Just rent the car for the day to go to Muir Woods, etc then drop it off late. This would save hassle and the parking charges. Note: I have no idea how late they allow drop-offs at city locations.
tchoiniere is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 08:25 AM
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Carol: With the car, do head to GG Park. Afterwards, head out to Ocean Beach and stop by the Cliff House for views and a cocktail. You could then drive thru the Seacliff area, see the Palace of Legion of Honor, Palace of Fine Arts and take a look at Fort Point, under the GG Bridge. I took my DH on this drive a few years back. He grew up here in N. Cal and had never seen this part of SF.

Just something different.

MY
MichelleY is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 08:36 AM
  #9  
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Michelle, that sounds interesting... thanks. I'll look into this -- see how wiped-out we are that first afternoon, or maybe do some of this Sunday.

I'm pretty set on keeping the car the whole time -- I got a pretty inexpensive rental, and like the convenience of having it if we want to go out at night (restaurant with valet parking, etc.) and to/from airport. Makes sense for us convenience freaks.
CarolM is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 09:08 AM
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The ferry Building is great on a Saturday.
If you have a car, I think the drive to Carmel is worth it. Its a beautiful spot. Also, I really enjoyed the wine tour that we took when we went - but that is pretty much a full day event...
ruckus is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 09:27 AM
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Have you read all my suggestions on a post I did a while back??

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...1&tid=35129049

On Sunday, save your streetcar transfer and after visiting the Castro, hop on the 24 Divisadero on Castro St and head south to the Noe Valley (24th st). See the walking tour in the link above. You won't want to walk from the Castro to the Noe Valley - there is a VERY steep hill in between. There are many lunch spots on 24th in the Noe Valley. My favorite is Savor(we're having lunch there today), but there is also Toast, & Barneys for outside dining (west of Castro) plus lots more. There is a sandwich shop on 24th & Castro where you could get a take out & have it on the bench in front of Satrbucks & "people watch". After the Noe Valley, walk on 24th St east to the Mission (it's downhill). North on Valencia to 20th St. Head west on Valencia, stopping at Bi-Rite ice cream store (on north side of st) for a salted caramel ice cream cone. There is also a bi-rite market on the south side of the street. Then head across the street into Dolores park & hang out a bit. It is very active on a sunny Sunday. If your legs are tired, catch the J-Church Muni Metro from the southwest corner of Dolores park & head back to Union Sq. If you still have some energy, return to Valencia & continue walking north to about 18th st & then south on Mission. Take a bus from Mission St back to the Union Sq area. Great way to spend a Sunday.

Personally, if you have already visited the Ferry Building, I would skip it & start the morning in the Castro. Perhaps take a free City Guides walking tour of the Castro at 11am www.sfcityguides.org . Hopoefully you'll be able to get inside the Castro heater on the tour.

Stu Dudley
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Mar 23rd, 2009, 09:33 AM
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Correction - Bi-Rite is on 18th St, not 20th st.

Stu Dudley
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Mar 23rd, 2009, 09:35 AM
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Carol, no problem. Figured I would throw that out there. I can't imagine trying to park in SF. Enjoy SF as it is a great city.

I would vote for Alcatraz but I am really a history buff so I knew I would like it.
tchoiniere is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 09:45 AM
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Hi Stu, yes I've read your famous recommendations thread! I need to look things over more carefully, and wasn't sure where to start Thanks for all the details here -- I have to pull out a map and get oriented... it looks fantastic.

We actually haven't visited the Ferry Bldg. so I figured we'd do that Sunday morning before the Castro. We might still be able to make the 11am walk (maybe???) If not, should we visit the Ferry Building later in the afternoon on Sunday?

I don't think we'll get inside the Castro theater because it's the SF Independent Film Fest when we're there -- they've got a film at 12, another at 3... we probably won't check those out 'cause we'd rather see more of the city than be in a film. But it'll be nice 'cause I think that'll make the area even more bustling
CarolM is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 09:48 AM
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If you're in the neighborhood (actually, it's worth a special visit), Tartine Bakery at 18th and Guerrero is sensational -- great place for coffee and a pastry, or for breakfast or lunch (try the croque monsieur).

I would not miss the Farmer's Market at the Ferry Bldg. on Saturday morning, particularly if it's nice weather. Wander around, grab something to eat, and sit out back looking at the bay. Great way to start the day. (Or make a reservation for lunch at the Slanted Door, go to the market first, and end with lunch!).

Have fun!
sf7307 is online now  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 09:51 AM
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How about having dinner at Slanted Door on Friday??? The concessions inside the building close sometime around 6 or 7.

Stu Dudley
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Mar 23rd, 2009, 09:52 AM
  #17  
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thanks tchoiniere! I also appreciate the historical, if I have reference beforehand (if i've read a book or seen a movie, etc.) so i might just appreciate alcatraz... i have to look into it!
CarolM is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 10:20 AM
  #18  
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We don't have many vegetarian restaurants where I am (south florida) -- so I'm trying to take advantage of SF's offerings in that area (hence Millennium, maybe Greens). Also, maybe Aziza for Moroccan (something else we don't have here). Is it scandalous to say that I'm not crazy about "Asian" food? (I hate to lump it all together like that, but i'm just not into chinese, thai, vietnamese... i know, i'm nuts.) But i do LOVE indian food, and read about Dosa which also looks great.

tartine sounds good! yum!
CarolM is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 10:40 AM
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Carol, most restaurants have at least one vegetarian entree on the menu, or you can ask to prepare any dish vegetarian style.
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Mar 23rd, 2009, 11:15 AM
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Carol, I would recommend Escape from Alcatraz or the Birdman of Alcatraz for their perspectives of it. History Channel also has had a documentary on it that airs quite a bit. Plus the view from Alcatraz is unbelievable. If you can't fit it in this time, there is always next time. I was there 2 years ago and wanted the night tour but couldn't fit it in so did the day tour and it was phenomenal
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