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A few SF recommendations/itinerary review

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Jul 31st, 2014, 08:28 PM
  #1
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A few SF recommendations/itinerary review

Hi, all.

I'll be attending a conference/workshop in SF in a couple weeks Monday-Wednesday, but I'll have Saturday and Sunday beforehand off. I'm mostly planning to visit friends, but I thought I would solicit some advice.

I'm staying in Union Square, and am thinking of dinners at Fino, Hopwater Distribution, and Cafe Claude, which would leave one night free. Any other thoughts? Claudette? Maybe something a bit more informal/cost-effective?

I arrive Saturday around 10:30 am. I was thinking of maybe hightailing it to Cliff House for maybe a light lunch at the bar, (or maybe Louis") then walking to the Legion of Honor until close. I presume the 38 and/or 1 buses are my best bet?

Sunday, I was thinking of going early to Sausalito (transport advice? Bus v. ferry? And what to do there besides just meander a bit?) and then spending the afternoon in Golden Gate Park. The place feels so huge, so any recommendations for what not to miss (Conservatory of Flowers? Japanese garden? One or two more things?). I will plan to skip the De Young and may aim for a good bit of wandering, unless you think I should take the shuttle around that day? I will plan on the 5 bus.

Thanks!
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Aug 1st, 2014, 07:21 AM
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You will be here during the peak tourist season - and you might find it difficult to get a bar seat or table at the Cliff House Cafe or Louis. Also it's fog season - so be aware of that. How had you planned to get to the Cliff House?? If you take a taxi there directly from SFO, I don't think you'll arrive much before noon. If you plan to take a taxi to your hotel and then a taxi to the Cliff house - add another 3/4 to 1 hr before arrival. If you plan to take a bus to the Cliff house, add 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hrs from the hotel - thus arriving around 1:30 or so. If you then plan to walk to the Legion - it is a steep uphill walk - so perhaps you need to go to your hotel first to drop-off any luggage.

We've never dined at Fino, Hopwater, or Cafe Claude. Near Union Sq/Financial Dist we usually dine at Gitane, Sam's, or Farallon (if someone else is buying). I think Farallon has an "early bird" special at the bar. There are other restaurants we like along the Embarcadero/SOMA.

Why Sausalito??? The village itself is kinda touristy & sometime tacky in places - but the views are nice (assuming no fog). Personally I would rent a bike at the Wharf and then ride along Ft Mason, Crissy Field, visit Ft Point (watch the surfers if there is good surf), then bike over the GG Bridge to Sausalito, then ferry back to the Wharf.

Stu Dudley
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Aug 1st, 2014, 07:26 AM
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Thanks for the tips. Was planning to take BART to Union Square hotel on Saturday. Won't be checking a bag. I assumed I'd get there by 12, and to lunch by 1, but maybe I just need to skip the lunch bit Saturday and eat at the museum.

Thanks for the restaurant recommendations.
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Aug 1st, 2014, 08:28 AM
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Personally I would stick with your original idea for Day 1--it will be a nice excursion to a couple of my favorite places. You can take the 38L from Geary and Powell--according to 511.org, it should take about 45 minutes, plus a 7-minute walk to the Cliff House itself after you get off the bus at 48th Avenue & Point Lobos. I've managed to quickly get seated at the Cliff House every time I've been there (with my husband). Great views (if it's not fogged in, as Stu mentioned). The uphill walk up to the beautiful Legion of Honor is pleasant. From there, after your visit, you can catch the 18 bus to Geary and transfer to the 38 back to your hotel. A nice afternoon.

As for GG Park, my favorite places are the Japanese Tea Garden (I stop by there once a month to enjoy the subtle seasonal changes) and the DeYoung. Even if you don't want to go to the exhibits, you should go inside and take the elevator--no entrance fee--up to the tower for wonderful views of the city. Also, you can get a good light lunch at the museum restaurant without paying the entrance fee. I like the Conservatory of Flowers but really enjoy the spacious SF Botanical Garden. The California Academy of Science, which has a steep entrance fee, is also in the central museum section and worth a visit if you like natural history museums. There are lots of other places to wander to as well. Take the N-Judah Muni metro line from Powell and Market to 9th Street and Irving and walk the short way into the park.
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Aug 1st, 2014, 08:37 AM
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Kal
 
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We had a late lunch/early dinner after the Giants/Pirates game at Epic Roasthouse's Quiver Bar last Weds. (Embarcadero area)

I will now put their Wagyu Burger in my Top 5 of Burgers All Time.
And if you get there early enuff, you'll get a table with an outstanding view.

Fino was good but it was a few years ago since we've been there. Some friends dropped by earlier this year and gave it a thumbs up, tho.
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Aug 1st, 2014, 09:07 AM
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Thanks, all. I think another transportation option at times for me could be uberx, especially if I'm wanting to maximize time.

Unfortunately, I'm not much of a bike rider, so as lovely as Stu's suggestion sounds, I think it may not be the best for clumsy me. Therefore, should I opt for the ferry to Sausalito? And, how early on a Sunday can (or should?) I get there?

Thanks.
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Aug 1st, 2014, 09:10 AM
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I like your first day plan and agree with April.
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Aug 1st, 2014, 10:56 AM
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If you land at 10:30, I don't think you'll get on BART until the 11:27 departure (maybe even later by 20 mins) that arrives at the Powell station at noon. Then you need to walk to your hotel, check in/drop off any bags, then walk to Geary for the 38 Geary (wait time - 15 mins?), take the 38 Geary until the end, & walk 10 mins & arrive at the Cliff House at 2PM. When we eat at the Cliff House Cafe, we arrive "off season" around 11:30 on a week day and there is sometimes a wait for a table, but never a wait at the bar. I suspect there might be a wait on a Saturday during the peak of tourist season at 1:30 to 2:00. Your day 1 is a good plan - but don't "bet" on a beer & clam chowder (or something else) at the Cliff House and then walk to the Legion of Honor & get there before 4:00PM. I would ditch plans for lunch at the Cliff House - but admire Sutro Baths, the shoreline around the baths, the new museum next to the Cliff House, and then the Legion of Honor.

I don't know about transportation to Sausalito - but I think I would not want to consume the time getting there & back just to walk along Bridgeway and admire the views back to SF (fog?), and the touristy shops along the way. How about doing a "stairway walk" or visit North Beach/Chinatown, Cow Hollow/Marina, Mission/Noe Valley, Crissy Field/Ft Point (great views)?

http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...mendations.cfm

Stu Dudley
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Aug 1st, 2014, 01:27 PM
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On a nice day, I like taking the ferry to Sausalito. It's a pleasant town for a walk and lunch, with great views.

Or walk from Ft. Mason to the Warming Hut would be great too.

Or walk from one end of the Embarcadero (AT&T Park) to the other (Fisherman's Wharf).

Or stick with Plan A (Cliff House/Land's End).

for me, all of this would depend on the weather. I don't make weekend plans until I know what the weather is going to be like.
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Aug 2nd, 2014, 07:59 AM
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Just my two cents but wouldn't it make sense to combine the Cliff House , lands end and Golden Gate park in the same day. It'll be a long day, but can't imagine taking public transportation to the same area two days in a row. We had a lovely hike from the Cliff House to the sutro baths, continuing on the coastal trail to the labyrinth and to Eagles point. We then returned to the Cliff House. We didn't start this hike/walk until after 5, and it was still daylight when we returned. You could do Golden gate park in the morning, (Sunday) after visiting the museum, take the park shuttle to the west side of the park and walk to the cliff house for your excursion to lands end.
I agree with others about Sausalito. A little bit too touristy but ferry ride is nice and views are great. I would do this on saturday afternoon, have a late lunch there then head back.
I'm not a local but just my opinion from our past visits. Enjoy!
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Aug 2nd, 2014, 08:27 AM
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>>Sunday, I was thinking of going early to Sausalito<<

>>Sausalito. A little bit too touristy but ferry ride is nice and views are great. I would do this on saturday afternoon,<<

Good point made by mabella. You don't want to go to Sausalito in the morning. IMO, the main reason for going there is the view back to San Francisco. If you go in the morning, the sun will be in your face and you won't be able to see much of San Francisco - except silhouettes. Same for walking across the GG Bridge

Stu Dudley
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Aug 3rd, 2014, 08:36 PM
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I hadn't thought about flipping the order, but then I worry that Sunday (Legion of Honor, maybe 2-3 hours; and GG Park and sites) would be too packed. Although, I could start at Legion at 9:30.
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Aug 9th, 2014, 09:22 PM
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I am going to Sausalito Saturday (to meet friends) and Golden Gate Park/Legion of Honor Sunday. Thanks for the tips.
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