First visit to San Fran

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Sep 29th, 2003, 01:33 PM
  #1
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First visit to San Fran

Hello folks,
I'm visiting SF for the first time next week. Anyone want to contribute to a "Top 10 Things To Do and See the First Time in San Fran" list? Any tips on taking a day trip (or two) to wine country would also be welcome. I also plan on driving down to the Monterey and Santa Cruz areas; any input here? Thanks!
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Sep 29th, 2003, 02:55 PM
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I live in the Bay Area and Monterey Peninsula. In SF: Reserve a spot on the tour to Alcatraz before you get to town. Great way to see the city from the bay and enjoy the tour of the prison. This is a popular tour and sometimes sells out for the day, but easy to get tickets if you plan a few days in advance.

Take a Grey Line tour to become aquainted with SF. Great way to start your trip.

Skip Santa Cruz and head to Monterey Peninsula. Visit the Monterey Aquarium and drive the coast. Carmel is the well known town, but find Pacific Grove while on the Peninsula. It is a real town with more beach area than Carmel. Many first timers miss PG...a great little town.
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Sep 29th, 2003, 04:37 PM
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I can come up with my top choices but there is so much to do and see in SF you won't run out of ideas.

1. Alcatraz or at least a Bay Cruise
2. Ride the Trolley Cars
3. Eat in and explore Chinatown (would recommend the Salt and Pepper Crab at the R & G Lounge and the marinated beef)
4. Check out Golden Gate Park (Esp the Japanese Tea Garden and the Flower Conservatory)
5. Stroll around the Palace of Fine Arts (next to the Exploratorium)
6. Walk around Pier 39, eat and watch the Sea Lions
7. Take a day trip to Muir woods to see the Redwoods
8. Check your dates for any special events that might be interesting to attend
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Sep 29th, 2003, 05:25 PM
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Hi redhart,
I have to agree with Bob1 that the Greyline tour will give you a wonderful overview and give you an idea of some things you want to see more in depth. I lived there for 7 yrs.

Take the cable car, walk through Chinatown and into North Beach area. It is a wonderful walking city.

Wish it was me. Have fun!!
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Sep 29th, 2003, 05:29 PM
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esg
 
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Rent bicycles and ride over Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito and return by ferry. "Blazing Saddles" has many shops along Embarcadero with bikes, helmets, maps, and locks available. This was highlight of our trip to SF with our kids this summer.
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Sep 29th, 2003, 05:47 PM
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Check out the San Francisco Chronicle's website - www.sfgate.com

There you will find a wealth of (mostly) tried & true information about SF and the entire region - everything from transportation to maps to dining to neighborhood descriptions to wine country to you-name-it. It's a very good resource for visitors. For example, if from the main page you click on Bay Area Traveler in the green left panel that will lead you to the SF Visitors Guide. On that page you will find an article about the the top 10 things to do and another about SF for 1st timers.

Enjoy your holiday.


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Sep 29th, 2003, 05:49 PM
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In no particular order:
1. Visit Crissy Field
2. Have coffee in North Beach
3. Walk up Coit Tower and see WPA murals
4. Drive up Twin Peaks and take in the view
5. See the restored Conservatory in Golden Gate Park.
6. See Mission Dolores
7. Walk across Golden Gate Bridge
8. Walk up Nob Hill just to say you did it and visit Grace Cathedral.
9. Have Sunday afternoon tea at the Palace
10. Visit Pac Bell Park
11. Walk along the Embarcadero
12. Visit the Ferry Building Farmer's Market
13. Walk down the Vulcan staircase in the Castro neighborhood
14. See the Victorians and views in Pacific Heights.
15. Visit a neighborhood (Castro, Cole Valley, Noe Valley, the Marina, the Mission, the Inner Sunset) and see why we live here.
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Sep 29th, 2003, 11:37 PM
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I used to live in SF and still have some of my favorite haunts to visit..SAB's ideas are wonderful and provide you with some great ideas about the city.
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Sep 30th, 2003, 05:28 AM
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Is the greyline tour better than the trolly tour? I assumed that the greyline was an enclosed bus and you would see more on the trolly.
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Sep 30th, 2003, 08:38 PM
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Greyline runs both the trolley and the bus. I'm sure the trolley tour is nice but the real cable cars are a lot of fun!!
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Oct 1st, 2003, 01:34 PM
  #11
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Thanks everybody! I'm PSYCHED!
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Oct 1st, 2003, 01:39 PM
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How about "wine country"? I'm not a huge wine person, but is it worth a day trip? Can anyone recommend any specific "untouristy" wineries? Is one "wine country" town better than another? I'm more interested in the actual scenic drive...thanks again!
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Oct 1st, 2003, 04:22 PM
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I'd stick to the Sonoma wineries for less touristy. Do a search as this topic has been discussed in much more detail than I could do justice to here.

I'd add the following as some suggestions: With the CHrissy Field part you might want to have lunch at Green's in Fort Mason. It's a lovely view and good vegetarian food(not necessarily vegan or low fat..but often very good). The North Beach area is wonderful to paddle around in. CHeck out Mario's Bohemian Cigar store for great people watching, a meatball or eggplant sandwich and great coffees.I just read today in the SF Chronicle that Grace Walden does walking tours of North Beach. I put it on my list of things to get to this winter. Contact her at:[email protected] You might also try Cafe Jacqueline in North Beach for stellar souffles. I'd also add Japantown and specifically a steam at Kabuki,noodles at Mifune and a movie a Kabuki Cinemas.
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Oct 1st, 2003, 05:26 PM
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If you're in town on Sunday, October 5th, you might want to check out the Castro Street Fair.

http://www.castrostreetfair.org/

I think it's fun to check out local things - San Francisco is king of street fairs.

Can't decide which I'd like to see more, The Ethel Merman Experience - featuring a big drag queen impersonator doing Ethel performing '70s rock - or The Woodyz - a big band, rockabilly drag band made up of women impersonating men.

As much as I love Ethel - I'm not really a big fan of '70s rock.

The craft booths are usually kind of cool - there's a photographer who shows up every year and features his work - photos taken around the world. Great colorful stuff.

All available by taking the "F" Streetcar line down Market Street to Castro (or via the underground Metro (not BART).
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Oct 1st, 2003, 05:30 PM
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Castro Street Fair is the best San Francisco street fair IMHO. Folsolm Street Fair is as San Francisco as you can get (it just passed).
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Oct 1st, 2003, 08:07 PM
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Folsom Street Fair is too edgy for me - I have a feeling most of America would be shocked about what goes on in public at that one!

Castro Street Fair is much more my thing - kind of like cabaret drag queen - all the gayness, but served up in a non-threatening, mainstream way.
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