Help Honing My San Francisco Itinerary!

Old Feb 1st, 2014, 11:10 AM
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Help Honing My San Francisco Itinerary!

Our family of four, Mom, Dad, and our daughters ages 7 and 4.5 will be traveling to be tourists in and around San Francisco in late March early April of this year, and after reading over lots of lots of forum posts, trip reports, and online reviews, I have a bit of a SF wish list to see and do while we’re there, but I just don’t quite know how to organize it, maybe what to add or delete, so I’m turning to the experts…

My tentative plan is to arrive the morning of March 31st (via Amtrak), and set to exploring the city. The longest we can stay is until Apr. 8th (the train leaves late evening 9pm) Here is my wish list:

Inside the City:

Alcatraz – the night tour
Golden Gate Bridge – walk across or rent bikes?
Golden Gate Park (to include the Japanese Tea Gardens, Koret Children’s Quarter, Carousel and Conservatory of Flowers)
Palace of Fine Arts
In-N-Out – no explanation needed
One ride on the Cable Cars
Lombard Street
Exploratorium or California Academy of Sciences – which one for our age kids?
San Francisco Walking Tour – but which one? Do I go for the classic Golden Gate Bridge tour, or do you have a favorite?
Pop in to see the fortune cookies being made

At the end of our vacation, we would rent a car and explore a bit…

Outside the City:

Muir Woods Nat’l. Monument
Mount Tamalpais State Park – or would you choose one or the other: Muir Woods vs. Mount Tamalpais?
Half Moon Bay – Mavericks (even though I know the waves won’t be breaking)
Jelly Belly Factory Tour for the kids & why not throw in the Budweiser Factory Tour for the hubby

When we’re doing our outside of the city things, in what town(s) would you recommend staying? I’m not quite sure time wise how to account for some of these activities?

We are originally from Southern California, so we have been to Hearst Castle, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, and Monterey, which I know are frequented suggestions to group with a SF vacation, but I’m excited to combine the city sights with some outdoor fun and hiking. If I’m missing the mark, with any of the activities I have planned, please set me straight! Thanks in advance for your helpful feedback!
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Old Feb 1st, 2014, 11:27 AM
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If you have read lots & lots of posts here - you have undoubtedly read my lllooonnnngggg post.

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

I'm not 100% sure - but I don't think you can see the actual waves at Mavericks from the shore. Maybe Goldens can verify this.

Stu Dudley
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Old Feb 1st, 2014, 12:34 PM
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With children that age, I would not do the Alcatraz night tour. Too cold and creepy.

In and Out - not a fan, so I would skip it.

Walking tours - can be several hours long and boring for your children. If you want to see the fortune cookie making, take the Chinatown tour. That way, if your girls get antsy, you can leave and just stroll thru the fun shops in Chinatown.

Go to Muir Woods

Jelly Belly Factory/Budweiser - I would do these as a day trip from SF. Only about an hour or less away, depending on the day of the week and traffic. If you end up wanting to spend the night, Fairfield is the closest town. There is also a Six Flags in Vallejo.

You may end up finding plenty to do in the City and not have to venture out of town.
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Old Feb 1st, 2014, 05:43 PM
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>>Exploratorium or California Academy of Sciences – which one for our age kids?
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Old Feb 1st, 2014, 08:36 PM
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We've taken our kids to S.F. every couple of years since they were little, because DH has a convention there frequently.

One activity they both really loved, even though slightly cheesy, was the Big Red Fire Truck tour.

I think I recall checking out renting bikes with the kids, and decided there was just too much riding on city streets for me to feel comfortable. But I could be mis-remembering.

The Cable Car Museum is actually quite interesting for all ages, and it's free.

On the cable cars. First of all, get the metro pass (forgot what it's called); it includes the cable cars. We always stay in the Union Square area (DH's meeting is in that locale), and end up taking bus and cable cars A LOT. While there are almost always lines at the ends of the cable car lines, the conductors try to leave room for locals to ride, so you can often catch a cable car elsewhere on the line. Also, the California line, while it doesn't have the incredibly scenic views of the other lines, is still a cable car, the kids should still enjoy it, and has few to no lines.
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Old Feb 1st, 2014, 08:36 PM
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We've taken our kids to S.F. every couple of years since they were little, because DH has a convention there frequently.

One activity they both really loved, even though slightly cheesy, was the Big Red Fire Truck tour.

I think I recall checking out renting bikes with the kids, and decided there was just too much riding on city streets for me to feel comfortable. But I could be mis-remembering.

The Cable Car Museum is actually quite interesting for all ages, and it's free.

On the cable cars. First of all, get the metro pass (forgot what it's called); it includes the cable cars. We always stay in the Union Square area (DH's meeting is in that locale), and end up taking bus and cable cars A LOT. While there are almost always lines at the ends of the cable car lines, the conductors try to leave room for locals to ride, so you can often catch a cable car elsewhere on the line. Also, the California line, while it doesn't have the incredibly scenic views of the other lines, is still a cable car, the kids should still enjoy it, and has few to no lines.
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